Setting goals for a new season

At the start of every season I find myself thinking about what next. Winter has come to Minesota. So I am once again trying to set some goals for a new winter season. Last winter my biggest goal was to do my first solo camp in the snow. This I did. Was it successful, well I like to think it was. I learnt a lot about dealing with winter loads, cold weather and batteries. To name a few things. I will say it was a challenge that I really enjoyed. The problem now is what challenge can I give myself this winter?

Although this site was originally started as a place for me to learn about personal safety and survival when out solo camping, It has certainly evolved. I decided to use it, Not only as a blogging site and learning curve for me and others to learn from, but started adding videos and reference to my personal You Tube Channel. I originally had 2 channels, keeping the ‘Novice survivalist” and “Second chance George” separate got to be a challenge. I struggled to decide where and what I post to the channels. So I decided to combine the 2 channels and call it “Second chance George , The Novice Survivalist“. Yes I know how original. But as it turns out it worked out.




I made up some play lists and separated the different types of video into 2CG and NS using the “NOVICE SURVIVALIST SERIES”  as a separate play list to show my ” Survival interest” videos. But once again I digress. My point was to get to the idea of making separate goals for my 2 “channels”  per say.


Now I have to come up with goals for both.  This brings up some questions, is a camping video a survival video or 2CG?. The problem becomes where and how I camp for the video. Can I separate 2 videos for use in both channels with one camp. In the past I have tried to set goals for both channels when planning an outing. The easy choice is to show the camping part, how, where, when and what I typically do. For example my camping videos typically include a walkabout in the local area I am camping. A 2CG thing. I then will try often to include a 2 minute tip or review of a new product I am using. These I feel are NS videos. Most times I am successful. So back to goals for this winter.

I would really like a challenge for myself. One up last winter. The only way I see, is to do a winter camp again but with a little bit more of a challenge. How to do this. Having thought about this over the past couple months I can only come up with one. A more “Bush crafty” video. What will it entail.

Obviously It will need bush craft as the focus. Why bush craft. Well I believe if you understand basic bush craft skills you have enhanced your survival skills in the “bush” or wilderness. Knowing the 5 or 10 C’s of survival is well and good. For 72 hours!. Which is what it was designed for. Bush craft on the other hand is more for long term survival. Being able to use the supplies you bring and the rest comes from nature.

Originally I had planned to do this in fall before the weather got to much. unfortunately it just never happened. Other things came up. Life has the way of testing you. So it looks like I have to do a winter Bush Craft camp. And now its a real challenge. 20180106_192421In Minnesota the falls are cool to say the least. Winter is just harsh. This last winter I went on our (10 or so guys) normal annual Ice fishing trip. One morning we woke up to -25 Deg. Weather. Fortunately we were renting a house on the lake. Obviously I will have to consider this. There are challenges and then there are challenges. Right now I think I know my limits. And -25 Deg. is not one I want to face when out bush crafting. Keeping this in mind and many other issues I will face, will take some planning.

What are the goals?

BASIC BUSH CRAFT CAMP, include BASIC bush craft as the focus, utilizing minimum carry in and the rest from what local nature provides.

CAMP METHOD CHOICES,  Tent, hammock or Tarp camp. Tent is out, did that last winter. So its up to hammock or tarp.

Tenting last winter

Personally winter hammocking requires a lot of things to carry. One thing I try to avoid. So its tarp camping then.


WHERE TO CAMP, This is the one important part for me. It ahs to be a place that has the necessary things I will require for basic bush craft camp. Namely wood!!!. I will require a lot of wood. Fire and shelter being the main ones. I will need a lot for the fire because it will be my only heat source at night. Besides the obvious sleeping essentials and sustainable clothing. But that will need to be at the absolute minimum I can afford. I need to have a fire close to my shelter to survive the night, wood to sustain that fire ALL night. Having watched and read about this it will be my biggest challenge, collecting enough from the close proximity of the site.

So there you have it my first real goal for this winter. Tarp camp in winter in Minnesota, Joy!.

Oh just so you know I have NEVER tarp camped!. What can I say it, will be a real challenge, one I look forward to with some trepidation.

However!, Remember Knowledge is a survival skill. I need to get all I can get my hands on for this challenge I have set myself.

The planning begins, first off … Get all the knowledge I can……..

Up next detailing the goals and what I need to accomplish them. Stay tuned

The Novice Survivalist.



Hobo style camp mess kit.

QUNLEI Camp Mess kit for 1- 2 Adults.

via Its growing on me. The more I use it the more its convincing me to go back to natures fire instead of the gas burners. Perfect for 1 or 2 campers its the whole package. Check it out

Hobo style camp mess kit.

Enhancing your ME time in the Outdoors

Although the title says Me time, Enhancing anytime in the outdoors is something to consider. How you do this is a personal preference. I personally like to take along some activity I enjoy while outdoors. This ranges from, Cameras, food to be cooked or some reading or listening material. Just depends on my mood or reason for getting outdoors.

Because I have a You tube channel I like to keep it current with regular video posts. These videos range from walkabouts of a favorite area or trail, camping, fly-fishing to a review of some of my favorite equipment I use when out and about.

My age and medical history determine I get regular exercise. For most of us that means the Gym. For me I do not have the time or inclination to go to the Gym. Besides all those young hard bodies out there just make me uncomfortable. Just me, nothing against the younger generation, keeping in shape is a good thing. I learnt my lesson on not doing just that. and at my age, I just need to walk and get the blood flowing. A good long walkabout in the woods not only gets my needed exercise in, but clears my often over charged mind and body. Nature has a way of helping us relax our mind and soul.

Here are a couple of my favorite things to do in the outdoors and the “stuff” I use to enhance my outdoor experiences. Typically on a walkabout.

Coffee, tea or a small meal

Finding a good spot to sit down and relax, a place quiet and away from others for me is the perfect time to have a “cuppa”. Which “cuppa” is determined by season. Summer, fall, spring is typically tea time, Winter is Coffee time. This is for me the easiest choice for enhancement. I get to relax over a good beverage, and get to use some of my favorite outdoor accessories and it keeps me in practice for some basic survival skills.

In my daypack (L.L.Bean Maine Warden Daypack.) I carry certain things at all times on my outdoor adventures. They are part of my survival system or kit for a 72 hour survival unplanned stay for what ever reason, being a mishap or just me planning on staying.

Part of the system (survival kit) is a one burner camp stove, a Bush box pocket stove, canteen with nesting cup and a couple packets of tea and coffee, sugar to enhance my pleasure.

All I need for a cuppa

Canteen and nesting cup

My mood on the particular occasion, as well as time or available resourses determine what I use to heat the water, if there are a lot of small sticks burnable its the bush box. if not, then its the Pocket rocket or Peak one stove. These allow me a quick cuppa and some down time. always a great enhancer on a walkabout.


In my daypack (L.L.Bean Maine Warden Daypack.) I carry certain things at all times on my outdoor adventures. They are part of my survival system or kit for a 72 hour survival unplanned stay for what ever reason, being a mishap or just me planning on staying.

L.L Bean Maine Warden Daypack

Part of the system (survival kit) is a one burner camp stove, a Bush box packet stove, canteen with nesting cup and a couple packets of tea and coffee, sugar to enhance my pleasure. My mood on the particular occasion, as well as time or available resourses determine what I use to heat the water, if there are a lot of small sticks burnable its the bush box. if not, then its the Pocket rocket or Peak one stove. These allow me a quick cuppa and some down time. always a great enhancer on a walkabout.

Sometimes when the mood dictates, time of day and some planning and preparation prior to the outing. I will make a small simple meal. My diet limits me to what I can take to cook. typically no meat is involved.

Typical pre prepped meal

Before leaving I may prepare some goodies such as chopped onion, tomatoes and peppers, along with some spices. I small bag of some sort of pasta, typically a veggie mix, some Parmesan cheese and my meal for the outdoors is set. The meals are typically simple to prepare and all I need is to boil the pasta and quickly grill the onions, tomatoes and peppers ( and garlic). Using the very same setup I use for my cuppa.

Wildlife and photography

This is one of the main reasons I get outdoors. Besides for my much needed exercise. By wildlife I mean all wildlife, from small animals and birds to small flowers, grasses and giant trees.

For me its the little things we so often miss while trudging through the outdoors. I am always on the look out for small things, in the trees or on the ground. They, for some reason fascinate me. I thinks its in the detail I find.


I carry with me 4 things to enhance this extra activity. I do not own a fancy digital camera. But I do own a Samsung Note 8 smart phone. The camera on this is exceptional, and built in software helps me to clean up my poor photo skills on the layout etc.

The other 2 items I carry are a monocular and a smart phone adaptor to attach my Note 8 to the monocular. This allows me to get pictures a little to far away for the use usual zoom on the phone. If you decide to get one a word of advice. get a sturdy tripod. when zooming everything, not just the subject is “zoomed “. That includes any, I mean any camera shake. may a good picture I have taken has been spoilt by my hand shake.

There you have it. my outdoor enhancement kits.

Yes it does mean owning a decent daypack, in which to lug all this around. Ok! truth be told the “stuff” I carry is not heavy. except the tripod which just happens to attach to the out side of my daypack. The food bags and all the other extras ( Survival and nature seeking stuff) are really not that bulky and fit perfectly in my day pack. Choose wisely when getting a daypack and make sure it will hold all you need for your enhanced day outdoors. I have gone through many translon packs to get to the L.L.Bean.

below is a selection of pictures from my outings. Always good to have and look through as a reminder of good times had in the outdoors, and to share and brag about with friends.

Other things to consider when out and about.

Build a temporary shelter. (using natural items or stuff from your survival kit, and remember to undo all you did before leaving)

Get fancy on the meal

Take friends along and each to their own for the meal and then share

Fishing in an out of the way water hole

Make a video and share with friends

Take the time to clean up a favorite area of trash. (Be prepared to carry it out)

Bush box coffee kit


Remember, Knowledge is a survival Skill, outdoors the place to learn

The Novice Survivalist


A B.O.B, Just what is it?

First let me clarify what is considered to be a reasonable B.O.B. (Bug out bag), Or should I say, I took the time to have a look see as to what many consider a B.O.B. Personally I go to the whole idea of  “It depends on your personal needs and preferences”. But I wanted to see what the Guru’s had to say. Well just because.

LEFT: LL Bean Day pack                              RIGHT: Karrimore 30L back pack

After all they are the experts, I was interested and wanted to know if my 2 packs I currently use as my walkabout and overnight camp “carry all’s” ( L.L.Bean Maine Warden Day pack and the Karrimore SF, Predator 30) would make the grade as a Bug Out Bag or do I need to add or have a new separate Bag.


Here is the basic description…from  

“A bug-out bag or BOB is a portable kit that normally contains the items one would require to survive for 72 hours when evacuating from a disaster, although some kits are designed to last longer periods. Other names for such a bag are a BOB, 72-hour kit, a grab bag, battle box, personal emergency relocation kit, go bag, GOOD bag, INCH bag. or quick run bag. The focus is on evacuation, rather than long-term survival, distinguishing the bug-out bag from a survival kit, a boating or aviation emergency
See more on

Well, that surprised me. I was under the impression that a Bug Out Bag was for Major survival and disaster’s lasting longer than 72 hours. From this description its not a long term survival bag unless specifically designed for longer period survival. Which of course I assumed. Well lets see what else the experts say.

The suggested contents of a bug-out bag vary according to each his own. Here is a list of what is suggested. I find it hard to believe this could all be fit into a reasonable sized Back pack.

I have whittled it down a bit as it tended to include Items I assumed were covered before, such as warm clothing, tents etc.

This includes

  1. Water (Washing, drinking and cooking.)
  2. Non-perishable food
  3. Water purification supplies.20180722_215615.jpg
  4. Cooking supplies.
  5. Multivitamin
  6. A first aid kit.
  7. Necessary clothing
  8. Fire-starting tool
  9. A disaster plan (emergency centers, rallying points, possible evacuation routes).
  10. Emergency literature for reference.
  11. Standard camping equipment
  12. Bedding
  13. Medicine to last an extended evacuation period.
  14. Battery or crank-operated radio
  15. Lighting
  16. Portable solar charger
  17. Cash
  18. Fixed-blade and folding knife
  19. Swiss Army Knife
  20. A Multi-tool
  21. Duct tape and rope or paracord
  22. Tarpaulins for shelter and water collection
  23. Wire for binding and animal traps
  24. Compass
  25. Hunting equipment
  26. Small Fishing tackle IMG_20180708_125632_766
  27. Signal mirror
  28. Emergency whistle
  29. Rubber tubing
  30. Trash bags
  31. Bandana
  32. Super glue
  33. Hatchet
  34. Pepper Spray
  35. Folding Saw
  36. Hand Sanitizer

Surprisingly my packs have most if not all of the above. I do not have Pepper spry and non perishable food. Some thing I need to look at. Typically I add the food stash before leaving on a trip or walkabout. I do see the need and you should have a stash of non perishable food. At least handy enough to add to the pack ASAP. Maybe stored with the bags in a prepacked stuff bag.

Although this is a VERY basic look at a BOB bag. The list is a great reference or reminder. Check your kit and see if it makes the grade. Remember that this is a general list and each item will differ according to your needs. just be sure it meets them. Being a Novice at this I am learning. Every time I look up a subject I learn. Be sure the items you add are meaningful and not a “gadget type item”. Weight is a concern. If you cannot carry it for an extended period its of no use to you. IMG_20180116_204628_854

Does your B.O.B make the grade…. time to check…Up next Ill be taking a closer look at the my 2 packs I use for Walkabouts and overnight stays. I have as I mentioned before, been on a tear to reduce weight and size of what I carry. I felt I over packed on trips and carried a lot of “Gadget things”.

Can they still make the grade as a BOB now I have “minimalized”.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill. Always take time to add to it.

The Novice survivalist





Dealing with low Mojo 2- follow-up

Well campers and Novice outdoors people as promised with the results of my MOJO test. Here I am back from my MOJO booster outings. How did it go. Well to be honest….it was splendiferous to say the least. I learnt a couple of valuable lessons from these past couple days and will try to share with you my thoughts on this.

If you remember I was suffering from the dreaded low mojo. I needed a boost and got it from a you tube friend. It the form of a ALFA TOWEL.Alfa towel I did what I promised and got off the couch, started feeling better about the situation and went outdoors. Something I should have done on my own mojo. Fortunately the TOWEL provided the needed BOOST.

I packed up my daypack. I decided to load it up as a 72 hour survival bag. As if I was going out for the walkabout and had the necessary “things” I would need if something unexpected would happen. Making a quick walkabout into an over nighter. I am a little too old for the absolute minimum, so did my best to be a setup that would be reasonably comfortable and still be light enough for my old back and legs to trudge over a couple miles without me collapsing from exhaustion.

So all packed up, I knew I had to break my fly-fishing skunk from my last Camp. You fishermen and women understand how this can get your goat. It bothers you forever until you break it. Nothing worse. No sleep, constantly thinking of how you are a failure, need to get out and fish in the hope of breaking this the worst SKUNK ever known to man. So headed out to my favorite fishing hole. The one that always producers, It never fails me, It a certain skunk breaker. No problem there…….. Well Ok so it failed me. I had to go to another hole to break the skunk.20180628_090242 It was nothing special just a couple small strippers and was enough to let me know I can still fish…. and catch. Feeling a little better of myself, While secretly rubbing the Alfa Towel on my arm I headed back home safe and secure in that I had completed one task of my challenges. It took me awhile to catch a fish , but hey I caught some. To late to go walkabout. so set a date and repacked my daypack…again.

Fast-forward…..July 2nd. Got my backpack and set off for Cannon River Wilderness Area. A favorite place for me to walkabout. Has all I need to get the Mojo going. A perfect day , 85deg, slight breeze and not a cloud in the blue sky. Decided to add some food to make a early dinner while on walkabout.20180704_111437.jpg I normally will pack my military canteen pouch, it has a canteen, my folded up bush box and small side pockets where I keep my tea makings. I like to stop along the way and indulge in a cuppa tea when ever possible on my out and about’s. Adds to the walkabout. 20180619_183112Something you should consider adding to your outings. Anyway added a quick easy to cook simple meal. It consisted of some vegetable pasta, some peas and chopped carrots, salsa and some parmesan cheese. All I needed to do was boil the Pasta and the peas and carrots and the other stuff and bingo, dinner is served.

I arrived at the CRWA and headed out on my walkabout. I wanted to check out another camp site I found on the map of the area and thought it would have some potential for a hammock camp over nighter.

15 minutes and 88 bug bites later, I realized that I had packed bug spray but had not put any on. Fortunately I had packed a hand spray in a easy accessible side pocket on my LL bean day backpack. 20180702_1842346594723975262186363.jpgCouple sprays later I was back on my way. The bugs were horrified and although I was totally surrounded by them They kept their distance, Well most of them. The woods were in full display. Wonderfully green all over.20180702_193947.jpg There was a lot of standing water from recent rain and that accounted for the huge amount of hungry bugs about. Although the area is known for bugs in summer there were more than I expected. But I persisted. and it paid off in spades. What a day to be out in nature. Lots of birds ( bugs to eat) butterflies and even saw a couple dear.

After stopping at the camp site I used for my solo winter snow camp. (video)  


I wanted to see how it looked in summer and there was quite a difference. I headed out to look for the other camp site. I did find it but was disappointed to find no place for hammocks. So headed back to the old camp and made some tea.

Looked around the area again and set about making dinner. I only had my military canteen cup and had to finish my tea before making the pasta.20180702_181338 But all was well and after a good dinner and relaxing a bit and enjoying the views of the cannon River I packed up and headed back. All in all a good walkabout. It was worth the effort, and a huge moral booster for my beaten down trodden ego.

What did I learn you ask? well here it is….

  • When your MOJO is beaten up, look to friends to help you through the hard times. Whether its their intention or not their support can well be the turning point.
  • Breaking a skunk can be a test of your metal. Persistence pays off.
  • The outdoors offers a great moral booster.
  •  Don’t forget the bug spray…..

One thing I should mention. It was humid under the tree canopy. I lost 4lbs hiking that day. Sweated up a storm, Probably the best diet I’ve ever been on. So Ill add that to the list

  • Found a great way to lose weight without dieting

The MOJO is back, feeling strong and energized again. Amazing what silly things can turn your bad times around. Even a simply red Alfa towel from a good friend.

Want to see the result. click here for the video from my you tube channel.

Remember, Knowledge is a survival skill. a good friends are a great resource when times are a little challenging.

Be Safe out there

The Novice survivalist




Dealing with low Mojo

Well Campers Here I am…Sitting at the “puter” banging away at the beaten up keyboard.(Yes, I bang at the computer, I am a 2 finger terror). Besides dealing with calluses on my 2 index fingers I persist. Although at times unsuccessfully I do persist. One thing I was taught was that “nothing succeeds like persistence”.Almost! I find myself having to fall back on some limited “mojo”. To get me  through the tougher times I some times find myself dealing with.20180606_173851.jpg The last couple of weeks have been hard and very frustrating. I did break that up with a visit to my children, brother and sister-in law and some good friends in San Diego, Always a moral booster. Other than that wonderful time, the weather here has not been very co-operative at all. Lots of rain, thunder lightening, work schedule etc. etc. Frustrating all my attempts to get outdoors and relax and blend with nature. We have all been there. And that brings me to today.

After a long day at work I got home and collapsed onto the couch (OK its a fold out thingee, I forget the name.). I sat there exhausted. Thinking I have a long week to deal with. Only one day (night actually, work nights) off. Whoa is me. I was pitiful to see, a grown man beaten and bloodied. Not pretty. I sulked for awhile and was staring at the boob tube when I looked down at my expensive coffee table. (Not really, got it at Walmart for a 20.) However it matches my foldout thingee. (Still cannot remember what its called.) Ok so I looked down and saw something that was sent to me from a You tube friend. Steve from Adventure outdoors. A favorite channel I am subscribed to. Very fun and always upbeat. Good for my well being. Any Hooo. He had made up some red hand towels which he named ALFA TOWELS. He is always ( tongue in check) referring to himself as the ultimate ALFA male.Alfa towel He said he would send these to deserving , budding or wanna be ALFA MALES. Low and behold one arrived in the mail. He said they had his mojo on them. His Ultimate Alfa male scent wiped from the sweat of his brow.

So, Yes I actually did this, I rubbed my arm and said to myself lets see what happens. I immediately passed out on the couch thingee….(I’ll eventually remember the name of that darn thing). I awoke about 4 hours later with a really bad rash on my ar…..No not really. I woke up from my exhausted nap. I thought well that feels a little better and maybe just maybe Steve has something here. What would a ALFA male do in this situation I have found myself in these last weeks. He would ADVENTURE OUTDOORS.

Basically, I decided to get off the couch thingee and get my butt in gear. I went into my cave and started going through my camping, kayaking and walkabout stuff. Yes I have a lot. And as I said in previous posts I like to play with them. After rummaging around for awhile I decided to pack my walkabout ( LL Bean) day pack .

After doing that and sharpening all my knives and my Camp tomahawk. img_20180622_113620_763.jpgI decided I will go walkabout tomorrow and you know what, Ill stop on the way and get in some fly-fishing. After all, I have a skunk to break. After I spent 5 hours on my kayak over the week end while camping and caught ZIP!!!!!.


So having packed all the necessaries into my backpack. (72 hours survival, some coffee for the walkabout, along with a quick meal I’ll cook on the walkabout) I charged my batteries , No not mine, my Gopro camera  and other video things I use. Packed all up and set it by the front door.

Not true , I repacked about 4 times ,you know me. I am now set. I hit the couch and back to the Boob tube. Every time I felt sorry for my self I looked at the ALFA TOWEL then over to the front door to my pack. (If you wondering my fly fishing “stuff”  is always in my truck) and realized this.

When you are down, The mojo low, look at your friends and give them a thought. Maybe, just maybe, reminiscing about them will pick up your mojo and get your butt in gear. Get out and do something. Nature calls, the outdoors hail for your presence. Do not disappoint it. (Nature) give them a visit, prepare correctly, just as you should always do and you never know what will happen.

So stay tuned for the after action report. Will the ALFA TOWEL do its alleged thing or is there something else at work. We will….wait I remember its call a FUTON, you know the couch thingee…….

We will see.

Always be safe, be prepared and remember KNOWLEDGE IS A SURVIVAL SKILL. That includes knowing people who unwitting can get you through some tough times.

Till I return, triumphant from my successful fly-fishing and walkabout….

The Novice Survivalist


ADVENTURE OUTDOORS is a great channel. Please stop by and check out some fun videos and give Steve a like or 2. tell him I sent you.


The whole Camping Dilemma thing…

This is a problem I have been dealing with since I first became more involved with the whole camping, outdoor thing. I know a lot of outdoor types deal with this in many different ways. What to do. Yep ….

Making the choice to either Tent camp or Hammock it. I struggle every time I decide to go camping. Whether it is a short quick overnighter or for a couple nights. I know, for me and I’m sure many others it depends on when, where and weather.20180619_224141 When I decide to go, I go. No matter what the weather decides to be on that day or days. Obviously I check the weather before I go, And although I tend to pack days before I plan on leaving (I tend to over do things and l end and up over packing , then spending the rest of the time cutting back before leaving.) I check the weather updates every day for changes in the forecast. I seem to believe the weather people, some times to my peril. They are by no means accurate and the further way I check the more changes I make as I get closer. I would be better off just waiting to the day before, having everything laid out and pack the night before. But I don’t. Why because playing with my camp stuff is one of my joys.

Not only do I enjoy my time around my equipment I also spend time checking everything out. I just don’t want to be caught out there and find something does not work or missing parts etc. Something we should all consider doing. I check my “stuff at the change of seasons. Ok, I check them way more than that, but that’s just me . Its the playing with my goodies thing.

Back to the Dilemma. Tent or hammock. Which to take? I refer to the 3 W’s.

  1. When, Dates and the general seasons determine a lot of my decisions, Especially now I live in a 4 season state.
  2. Where, Just where am I going to camp. Is it possible to hammock or just tent. Knowing the area becomes even more important when making the decision. Walk-in, drive-in in or Kayak-in also has implications.
  3. Weather, this I have discussed already but its the final decider for me. If its got a good chance of wet weather I prefer hammock camping. Dry is tent time.

Based on this, Lets look at my decision making process for my up-coming camping trip.

I have a camp site booked for a 2 night weekend. Its a local State park I have camped before although a different site. I wanted to go back and Kayak the lake as last time that was a disaster. I had not checked and secured my kayak drain plug and lost it on the drive to the camp site. This time I intend to spend a day on the lake fly-fishing from the kayak. (Hobie outback). 20161231_135319It is a drive in camp site but as I usually do, I pack as if I am walking in. I am still fighting the over packing and try to keep myself as limited as possible. I am by no means a micro light backpacker. But I am of a mature age (read I’m getting to old to lug a heavy load over any distance). So I am trying to lighten my backpack load. I have yet to be very successful but I persist. I feel the only way I will succeed is to go “totally bush crafty”. Carry a tarp, blanket and pad as asleep system. And reduce my other tools of the trade to get down to a small pack. Some thing around about 35 liters. Not as easy as it seems.

Back to my trip. The weather so far is predicted at 30% chance of rain showers. That I can deal with. As long as they are not thunder and lightening storms. Being out on the water on my kayak is unsafe. So rain is expected. That for me points towards a hammock. For a couple of reasons. The ground will be wet, a trap to sit under. (especially my DD hammocks 3×3) is pleasant in a rain shower. 20170806_143836Plenty of cover and open sides. Better than sitting in a tent. I can use my MSR pocket rocket to cook under the tarp. A win-win situation.

Although my tent ( French army 2 man pup tent) is water proof I dislike being closed up in it. Its roomy but I prefer the views offered by a tarp.20180119_154013.jpg Set up right, the tarp is the best option. Because its not winter and the days are hot and humid, the nights fairly cool. I can get by without needing the under blanket for the tarp. a good thing as its bulky and takes up a lot of room in my pack. Ill just have the bug net, hammock, tarp, snug Pak blanket, light sleeping bag and sleep pad. All these pack smaller and lighter than the tent. This setup with cook set, change of clothes, first aid kit, things bag (possible’s pouch) and water are the lightest option I have been able to pack in my Ozark trails 45l backpack. Its about (without water) 30lbs. Packing the tent adds about another 6-7 lbs. And makes for a tight fit. So its the hammock option. If it was winter the tent is the best option, as it provides better shelter from the very cold winter nights in Minnesota.

As I said its a drive in site and that allows me to take my kayak and fly-fishing stuff with. If I was kayak camping it would probably be the hammock. 20170821_134439But if I am unfamiliar with the locations I would take the tent. There is always dirt to setup on, not always 2 tree to put up a hammock.

There it is! How I deal with the Tent vs Hammock dilemma. I really do not have a personal preference on the hammock or a tent. For me I enjoy both ways to camp and can make the most of both options. The down side is making the wrong choice can be a hard lesson to learn. I have slept on the ground using my hammock as a ground sheet and setting up the tarp on one tree (small spindly thing) as the over head cover. I was uncomfortable but it was not the end of the world. All because I didn’t do due diligence on scouting the area before going out on a camp. A lesson learned and was a great way to test out my adapt or die knowledge and skills. The few I have learnt.

Watching the weather closely right now and we have had a lot of rain these last days. Hopefully it will pass and the days will be pleasant and the fishing great. No matter what its the outdoors and that’s why I go.

Till next time .

Remember knowledge is a survival skill. To learn is to survive.


The Novice survivalist



10 C’s of Survivability. Something to add to this…

Its been awhile since I posted the blog on the 10 C’s of survivability. So its time to look at it again. Now that I have, over the past 2 years, taken a closer look, added the necessities to my survival packing, tried and even succeeded at times to use and get familiar with them. 16831997_10210955726223443_310715801408851710_n.pngI found that although it covers the minimal requirements (and that is stressed by Dave Canterbury, whose brain child it is.) I discovered I need more to survive.

The main reason, I am a novice. I am no Bush crafter expert or survivor guru. So being the sharing kind of guy I am, I thought I would share what I have learnt over the past 2 years of getting outdoors with the 10 C’s at my disposal. Mind you its not a lot. But I have learnt some things you might not have considered.

First off, I and I am pretty sure a lot of people fell into the “this is all I need to survive” trap. No, not true. This is a list of TOOLS needed to help you survive. Obviously you need to know what they are for and  how to use the tools. However there are other things we as a novice survivalist need to know and understand.

Yes these “other thing’s” go hand in hand with the 10C’s list.

The ones that come to mind right away are:

  • Safety
  • First Aid
  • Water retrieval
  • Wardrobe

Theses are just the first ones that I found I had to add to my “tools list”.

Here is the 10 C’s list.

1. Cutting tool (Knife, saw, axe etc.)
2. Combustion tool (Fire starter)
3. Cover (Shelter from the elements)
4. Container (Water vessel)
5. Cordage (550 cord or bank line)
6.Candle light ( flash light, headlight etc.)
7. Cotton bandana
8. Compass
9. Cargo Tape (Preferably Gorilla duct tape)
10. Canvas needle (A sewing kit would do in a pinch)

As I said before this list is for tools you need to survive an unplanned happenstance, where we find ourselves in a survival situation. They are a MUST. However there are other “needs ” we should consider when going outdoors for any extended time.

Lets look at the quick list I just remembered.


Assuming we have all the tools from the list at our disposal, ready and packed in convenient places with easy access. We need to consider our safety. This is a priority when planning for a survival situation or even a day trip outdoors.

Simply doing some research online about where you are going or the area you could find yourself in a survival situation. It does depend on where you are currently living now (Home area or local area), or the area you are planning a trip to. There will be a lot of information about your local area available. Local police departments, City offices or even using a house buying guide from a local online realtor. They have some interesting information regarding your local area. The realtor sites often give information on the area a house is for sale. Police departments will have information on crime areas and fire departments about dangerous fire areas and emergency options for you. They offer advice on safety and have many pamphlets and papers on how to be prepared for a disaster. Check them out.

Things to look for in any area is the obvious. Crime rates, types of crime etc. This will offer a better idea of your neighborhood and a rough idea of what to expect in a disaster situation. Make sure to locate disaster staging areas for your city. Know where they are. 20170227_205305_LIHave a map handy with the safe havens marked on them. Make sure to have a good spread. You never know where you will be when a disaster happens. Make sure ALL members’ of you family have on and are familiar with it. Learn basic map reading with everyone.

When looking at a outdoor trip these basic ideas for your local rea can be used there to. If camping contact the local ranger stations or office for your state or federal location. ( In MN is the DNR, Department of natural recourses) their website will, if you spend time on it, offer up some good advice and information for the area you will be in. Obviously this will concentrate on wildlife dangers, but people issues are also considered. Things to look for is reviews on the area from other visitors, were there break ins to vehicles, police actions or complaints of noise etc.

Safety also includes wardrobe and personal protection. I wont get into that (Personal protection), simply because how you choose to protect yourself is a personal choice. Needless to say, make sure you are familiar with your choice, how to use safely, carry, maintain and understand the local and federal laws of your choice.

Wardrobe is often overlooked. Be sure to have all the needs for all weather types. Disasters don’t have a season. And it may be larger enough to disrupt your life over months, Taking you into different seasons. Pack wisely. Most clothing is bulky and takes up space. But it is a needed item.20161229_203142-copy.jpg Depending on the State or area you live in will determine the requirements. If you have a home base with disaster preparation in it .Make sure to have the correct clothes ready as the seasons change. You don’t want to be digging through your stash to find a heavy snow jacket because you still have your summer kit out. One thing I have found I do is over pack my clothes. Get everything out, put it in a seasonal pile and then go through each pile. Remove duplicates, look at other seasonal piles to see if you have multi-taskers in them. as we had discussed before you may need to move from your home base to a predetermined location or disaster shelter. Deciding what to take is determined by your transport. If by foot less will be available to you, if by vehicle more. However don’t overload either. Choose wisely.


In a major disaster, most times the main concerns are water. Whether for drinking or cleanliness,20180418_145017 you need it. It is some thing or body cannot survive without. Having access to clean drinkable water is a top priority. There will be water around however how safe it is to drink is another story. My advice is have a portable purification system at your disposal. There are many kinds out there from, drops, pills and filters. I would have at least two different kinds on hand. Compact and lightweight is perfect, however if transport allows look at bigger better systems. Water is heavy. Carrying it is difficult. Make sure to have at least something you can use to carry water to last a couple days if used sparingly. This can be applied to a camping and day excursion into the outdoors. Just on a smaller scale.

Be sure you are familiar with how it works, maintain it and storage. Check your systems regularly. Its a major life saver.


This goes hand in hand with safety. Nobody should leave home without some sort of basic first aid kit available.20180508_155304.jpg Whether you choose to buy a prepared kit or make one for yourself, it needs to be able to help take care of you and members of your group reasonably well. You don’t have to be a EMT or trauma physician to use a first aid kit. The name says it all. It is a temporary fix to get you through a bad situation until more knowledgeable and professional help can be found. It is to provide basic medical care right there and now.

What constitutes a perfect first aid kit depends on your personal needs. All Kits need to have the basics. There are hundreds of lists out there for you to peruse. However they will all need modifications for your specific needs. An example is if a person in your group has special medical needs. Such as a Diabetic. Here is a basic starting list to work from. Its one I found on the REI website.

Assorted adhesive bandages
Athletic tape
Blister treatments (such as moleskin)
Medication and ointments/lotions
Antibiotic ointments
Antacid tablets
Antidiarrheal pills
Rehydration salts
Prescription medicines
Basic tools
Small mirror
Blunt tip scissors
Razor blade or knife
Miscellaneous items
Bee-sting kit
Tick remover
Antiseptic towelettes
Burn dressing
Splints and elastic wraps

That’s it for now. There is other “things” to considerer when planning for a disaster. But this is a start.

My advice is to PLAN. Make a list of needs to add to the 10 C’s list that you will need and whittle down to a manageable load. Obviously you will need multiple first aid kits, and water purification systems for your group. each member should have one each for personal carry in their BOB, daypacks, camping packs/ bags that they will have with them at all times.

Remember. ‘Knowledge is a survival skill”

The Novice survivalist







Upadte to my video Page

Hey campers did a quick up date to my video reference page. Added a section of MY EQUIPMENT review videos from my You Tube Channel. Stop by and check it out. Also added a link to the latest video I have posted at the top. Ill be updating that link weekly as I post videos on a regular basis. Stay tuned for the latest……


Why make fire ?

There are a few reasons any Novice Survivalist worth their time, needs to be able to make fire. After all it is number 2 on the 10 C’s of survival list. Especially when in a short or even long term survival scenario. Some more important than others. But before we get into that, lets take a quick look at some obvious ways for you, the survivalist can make fire. As I have said before, I am a NOVICE SURVIVALIST. Period. I am no expert, I am learning this whole survival thing. But I have since starting this blog, read and researched a lot about the whole 72 hour survival scenario. Which is my main concern.

First off, call me lazy, “unbushcrafty” or any other thing that comes to mind. I do not consider myself either. I have learnt basic bush craft and I know I can procrastinate, BUT I am not lazy. Just a “practicalist.”. Because I am a novice, I research and then make choices.20170107_130812 In Making fire and being prepared to do that, I take the obviously quickest and easiest route available to me. This I tend to do for most of the 10 C’s of survivalist list.

When I considered the list ( 10C’s), Fire to me was a challenge at first. When I researched fire, everything I saw required I use either a Ferro rod, magnesium plate or Bow. Very few and I mean very few mentioned lighters, or standard box matches. Some thing just about everybody has used. I will admit I got caught up in the whole everything else but the obvious choices first. Then there is the tinder lists from cutting curls, to using cotton balls and petroleum jelly. Then there was the correct method to build a fire.

After sifting through all this I went straight to the Ferro rod. Pretty certain just about the most popular and most covered method of starting a fire. Yep got caught up in the whole survivalist, bush craft thing. But I will say it was fun. And don’t get me wrong it is a necessary skill to  acquire. I just don’t think it is a first option.

After going through the whole Gambit, I finally realized I had totally ignored the obvious. Yep a lighter!.20170107_131007 The standard buy anywhere old faithful Bic Lighter. Then the kitchen matches. Ok I admit they are the obvious first choice and Ok, they may fail in a really wet scenario. There are my thoughts.

In every survival bag, pouch or what ever  you choose to carry your fire kit in, there should be these three to start.

  1. Bic lighter or similar
  2. Kitchen matches or similar
  3. Ferro rod.

In that order they should be used. I do feel that all can fail in a worst case, but for me pretty sure one will work. 20170107_130907In the wet the real trick is fire tinder. You need something that will light easily. There are a lot of choices but that’s another story.

A couple of things to remember about keeping your fire starters working and in good order.

  1. Lighter. Keep the flint/striker dry and check the fuel before going out.
  2. Matches Ditto except fuel.
  3. Ferro rod , Ditto 2.

Pretty obvious. The same goes for any fire tinder you carry with you.

Now to the real reason for this blog!.

WHY MAKE FIRE. And why is it #2 on the list. Well my thoughts on the number 2 is the need for the cutting tool.survival-advice You need it to make fire. Build a shelter (#3), shelter gets you out of the elements, wet and cold. Certainly our biggest danger is exposure. BUT #2 is as important as shelter.

When we find our selves in a survival situation the first thing to do is DO NOT PANIC. Clear thinking is what is needed. Making cover and starting a fire will by far help settle you down. Shelter and warmth in a wet or cold scenario is paramount. Escape from the elements, no matter how small is a huge boost to morale and knowing we have these small luxuries, lets us know we can survive.

These small accomplishments with huge implications, is why we make fire. We can dry wet clothes, warm up, make a warm meal, no matter how small, have light and settle our minds. That is the most important issues we face accomplished and if possible, as fast as possible. To me a Bic lighter kept dry and full of fuel is the obvious first choice. having other methods even better should it fail.

So all you novice survivalist….Practice making fire, have three go to methods and you are most certainly going to increase your survival rate ten fold.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill, however don’t for get the obvious !




I’m a PACKRAT, always evolving..

For those novice survivalists out there, a word of warning. The disease known as “packrattingsyndrome” is fast becoming the leading cause of space removal. Common side effects are loss of free space, constant scrabbling in the lost spaces, loss of hard earned income. If you suffer from these maladies…..not to worry you are evolving into a true survivalist.

Ok so I was being “tongue in check” on that opening passage. But it is a common practice for the novice survivalist to evolve. As we learn, we improve, not only in knowledge but in the things we acquire for our needed survival preparedness from that acquired knowledge.

Everything we find needed for our survival has to be carried, Kept in order and maintained. The containers for carrying need to be convenient, in size, weight and comfort. If it lacks one it will eventually fail you. Too small it will not have enough, to big it will be to heavy for any prolonged need to carry. Comfort will limit your ability to use over a long period. No matter how good shape you are in. This is the dilemma we all face.

The most common item we deal with to perform our personal carry items are backpacks. And there are many kinds we look at.

My current walkabout day pack

The “BOB” (bug out bag), the daypack, the camping pack, the major longer term pack for survival should a need arise.


When looking to get a pack, For what ever reason. We need to make sure it meets certain criteria. This is a personal decision for all of us. What we feel we need for the pack to meet basic requirements for its intended use. Size ,weight and comfort being the main concerns. Other things like deign,construction and added features should be considered.


My Camping pack

Because of this we as novices are constantly evolving. We learn more and with that comes the need for more needs. We have to then update our equipment to meet those needs. For me, I am learning to survive a personal disaster. This would be when outdoors solo. I need to know I can get home safely. My “disease” is daypacks or over nighter’s. I am constantly adding subtracting and modifying my needs for this. This in turn changes my needs for carrying said changes and so I evolve. Hopefully for the better. For others it maybe BOB bags, get home bags or major survival bags for your disaster preparedness.

One of my camping packs. Alice Medium pack


As I said for me its a passion to find the perfect daypack or overnighter (a 72 hour personal disaster pack). Recently I added a pack, yes, I know, added not updated. although it could be used as a 72hr survival pack I got it for my favorite hobby I pursue in spring, summer and fall.

first attempt at fly-fishing daypack


Besides camping I am a maniac, borderline fly-fishing junkie. Self taught I love to be on the water fly-fishing. Why I cannot explain. It is something I love to do. Peaceful, relaxing and outdoors. That’s it. So although I have a daypack. A budget one that has turned into one of the best buys I have made. Even if it was originally for another use, it has become my go to daypack. The OUTDOOR PRODUCTS QUEST daypack. It lacked one feature. the ability to meet my fly-fishing needs.

For awhile I have kept an eye out for a pack that will work. Finally, I believe I have found it. The L.L. BEAN MAINE WARDEN DAYPACK.

L.L. Bean Maine Warden Daypack

However time will tell. I will put it to the test this summer. Right now it looks the bomb.

Although I have got a bit off track here I wanted to make a point. We are all packrats by heart. Having the right equipment, means constantly evolving . Because of this I consider myself a PACKRAT, always evolving.

My stash of packs grows, my space decreases….I am a NOVICE SURVIVALIST.

My stash can be found reviewed on my YouTube channel under my play lists. stop by and see how I have evolved.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill. Because of it, we evolve….


Another Mighty Mini Multi-tool.

Remember a previous post, I posted about surviving on a dime. All about the Gerber Dime multi-tool. Well say hello to the GERBER SPLICE, the Dimes little brother. Very small very compact, light and a perfect addition to a key chain, EDC, survival or possible’s pouch.

These small guys, and there are a lot out there, are often forgotten. They can and are considered part of the 10 C’s of survival.


They perform multi functions. Most good ones have a blade. saw, screw driver, file, bottle opener and of course scissors. Some have tooth picks, tweezers and many other “tools”, The survivalist may need in a survival situation.

The Gerber Splice has a multitude of options on it. Although not really designed for heavy mechanical work. But for the survivalist it has its uses.


The most obvious (As with most multi-tools) are the scissors. These are fairly sturdy for the size of the tool and are probably the best I have seen on a multi-tool this small.

The Splice is small enough to attach to your car keys, pouch or even in a women’s handbag with out adding a lot of weight.

This one I own, has a home in my Fly-fishing day pack. Inside a small survival bag. Yes even in my fishing pack…..

When I go fishing I tend to wander along rivers and lakes. I lose myself in the moment. Something that I find good for my well being. Fly fishing especially takes me away. Unfortunately I fish solo a lot, and hence have the need to have a survival pouch with me. Just incase I loose my self to much. Its a small compact kit and the GERBER SPLICE fits in perfectly as a survival multi-tool for an overnight mishap.

Here are the specifications of the Splice.

  • 5.51 x 5.91 x 0.59 in
  • 3.2 ounces
  • Scissors
  • screw drivers (2)
  • Knife blade (2) one is serrated
  • File
  • Bottle opener20180414_045339

Interested check out the link on My Things page. Under cutting tools in the 10C’s list.

As a survivalist these Mighty Multi-tools are a must for your prepared kits.

Remember to keep your survival pouches up to date. For what ever the occasion.

The Novice Survivalist


Sun and Snow Lunch with the Animals

Today was a good, No a great day. Finally some sunshine and a hint of the end of winter here in Minnesota. Well I hope it so !.

As soon as I confirmed what I was seeing outside ( Checked weather forecast on my mobile phone app). I grabbed my “stuff’. And hit the road to my favorite haunt for a Sun and Snow walkabout.

Weather report. PERFECT !

Little did I know I would be sharing this time with others. No not humans. Surprisingly I was alone in that aspect. I mean the birds and animals were out with the same thoughts as me, and in force. Ducks, Woodpeckers, Egrets, Geese, Crows, Squirrels, Rabbits and even a close encounter with a deer. The whole gambit.

I have been working on putting together a Day Pack for my summer fly-fishing adventures I have planned. As per normal I over did it. However I was determined to test it out (A dry run per say) before I actually get out and wet a fly.

First fishing day pack attempt. Not good

Needless to say… to big, to heavy, not comfortable etc. . etc. . I was not surprised . I had those thoughts before I even got this chance. But had to try it out and get an Idea of what needs to change. Some thing the novice survivalist should consider when planning a trip, Bug out bag etc. . When done, test it outdoors. You will soon find out what’s good and what’s not.

But that was not the point of this post. Although it was relevant to the day planned.

So there I was, Rearing to get outdoors. I had prepared a little lunch to take along and cook outdoors. This is becoming a favorite “thing” for me, when going walkabout. I’m considering putting together a list of meals I can try outdoors with minimal kitchen supplies.

I arrived at the parking lot at the Cannon River Wilderness Area County Park, Here in the Northfield/Dundas area. (I go out there a lot for some quick outdoors fixes, when time permits). Put on my boot chains, (Still a little icy), and grabbed the pack and headed for the Cannon River.

First thing I became aware of was the abundance of birds, fresh Rabbit and Squirrel tracks in the still pristine snow. Then I saw the VERY fresh Deer tracks. Which just happened to be going in the same direction I was. I followed them to the river edge. Then they disappeared!. I looked about and saw nothing of the deer. Or so I thought. I was busy making a video for my YouTube channel to share this glorious day, when I noticed something twitch in the view through my camera on my phone.

Deer enjoying the sunshine with me.

It just looked like another rock or large tree trunk in the snow. On closer inspection, from about 20 feet away, it was that close, was a deer lying in the snow. In the sun. What Joy!. I didn’t want to disturb it, so I just stood and watched it. It did not see me for a good 5 minutes. Then got up and trotted off in the opposite direction along the river bank.

After watching the birds flitting about and the squirrels playing chase in the snow. I set out to find a spot to prepare the lunch I packed. 30 minutes later, bingo. The perfect spot on the edge of the river.

Outdoor log kitchen in the snow.

So set up my camp kitchen, and cooked a magnificent lunch.

Lunch consisted of Potatoes cut into small cubes. pre-boiled. sprinkled with some Mrs. Dash, Garlic and herb salt free spices. I used my pocket rocket gas stove and Sea to Summit pan and grilled onions, peppers and some mushroom in Olive oil. Added the potatoes and browned them up. Lunch, very tasty. Sat down enjoyed the meal while watching nature romp and flitter by.


Time was flying by and after making a short review video (FROGG TOGGS poncho). I reluctantly packed up and headed back home.

We often find ourselves complaining of the Snow, Ice and cold here. Me included, but then you have a day such as this. I am glad I caught it on video, I cannot wait to share it with my friends and family. I’ll be posting it on my channel soon. Ill add the link on my Video and reference page.

Be sure to stop back and watch a Lunch in the snow with nature all about.

Remember knowledge is a survival skill. Go outdoors and enjoy it, while knowing your knowledge you have gained, has you better prepared.

The Novice Survivalist


Another survival skill…Optimism!!

Hello all. Well here I am at the “puter” again. Its 10pm Friday night and I had plans for first thing tomorrow. I have spent this week prepping.

  • I got a hair cut. (No not for this outdoors adventure I had planned . Just needed one.)
  • Bought groceries. (The old beater fridgeadaire was empty)
  • Did my weekly laundry! (Except my favorite lazy home outfit)
  • Brushed my teeth at least three times a day!
  • Went through my fly-fishing kit and checked I have everything
  • Packed it into my day pack
  • Made snacks and drink preparations
  • Got my Favorite summer fishing hat out (my Tilly).
  • Dusted off said Tilly…(never wash it as that may break the streak I have going from last summer)
  • Looked at the weather forecast for the weekend. (See below)
  • Woke up shaking and blubbering in the corner of my Kitchen.
  • Washed the dried tears off of my face.
  • Got up and put all away, Except the laundry…just to depressed to do that.
  • Dug the “lazy home outfit” out of the dirty laundry basket and put it on.!
  • Got on the “puter” started 37 blogs!       deleted all…

So here I sit…..

Ok I exaggerated a bit.

I only brushed my teeth twice a day and did shower…I think. I just don’t want to look back at all the preparing I did for Naught.

So what to do, what to do. Depressed …Ah! wait ….make a favorite meal…

  • Chopped up Onions, Pepper (Orange one), tomatoes, Mushrooms and Potatoes. (Cut my finger)
  • Boiled the potatoes. Grilled the onions, pepper and mushroom. Added peas and cauliflower. Mixed together.
  • Added Pataks Tikka Masala curry sauce (Medium heat).20180413_220229
  • Made some white rice
  • Chopped up a fresh tomato and some onion, soaked it in Vinegar, added Pepper.
  • Got the Pataks Sweet Mango Chutney out.
  • Looked for the bananas I bought …lost some where.
  • Made a plate of it. (less the banana)
  • Ate it……

    Tikka Masala Curry

Now I feel a little better. Thank goodness I made a lot. As I can see I will be eating a plate a day for the next 3 days…….

Wondering why I am so all Ahooo. Well the weather report of course.

I forgot, I now reside in Minnesota. I was absolutely convinced that spring/summer has finally won the battle. 2 Days ago I was out and about, walkabouting celebrating my “second anniversary of my second chance at life”. It was a very nice 50 deg. No wind, and very little clouds. Obviously gave me a false sense of security. BAM!

Winter storm warning..

screenshot_20180413-232404.png               screenshot_20180413-232438.png

Just great……..

But hey! for me, I can bundle up, Stay home, Write my blogs, Watch soccer, Work on a review video for my YouTube channel, Surf the web for a new fishing day pack. post to my Face Book page, Relax, Nap and maybe, Just maybe,

Wash my Tilly Hat (No, just cannot take that chance).

Wash my lazy home outfit. Nope! the neighbors frown on people doing their laundry naked and nobody wants that.

So here I am……. surviving. If you think about it. I’m practicing survival skills.

  1. Preparation
  2. Food for moral,
  3. Dealing with a difficult situation and
  4. Knowledge…

Till next weekends better weather…

Another survival skill…optimism!!

Remember, Knowledge is a survival skill!

The Optimistic Novice Survivalist.

Minnesota Madness-Ice Fishing.Movie_Snapshot


A Red letter day, Another year…

Whoooot Tooot. !!!!!!!. Another milestone for me.

As most of you are aware, I am a triple bypass heart surgery survivor. On April 11th, 2016, I underwent the surgery after problems were discovered during a routine annual medical check up. Today I celebrate my second anniversary, “Of my second chance at life.”

After the surgery I was advised to change my life style. Food, exercise and mental health included. I made that decision and have since tried to live by it to the best of my ability.

The big change was my personal life style. I went “back to the bush”. I have spent every single free minute outdoors. My biggest medicine. Changed to a almost meat free diet, mainly vegetable and fruit. with some boneless skinless chicken, tuna or a pork chop, once or twice a month to keep the Anemia at bay. I have lost 65lbs,FA11k7KKMwY and gained a wealth of knowledge of the outdoors. Made 195 videos of my second chance, Met new friends from this blog and my YouTube channel ( 2nd Chance George)

All this has been possible because of the unwavering support of my family. Who stood by from the moment I left the operating theater. My 2 girls, Big Sister, Brother and their families, Long time friends, All put up with my new shenanigan’s. Bless them all. Of course my other adopted family here in Minnesota. (They know who they are).

Well how will I celebrate?. 20180410_013404.jpgYep you guessed it. A quick favorite salad (fresh avocado and tomato drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar). Grab my day pack, fly fishing setup and heading outdoors. (I am working on a fishing daypack…lol. It will have all I need to pickup and go Fly-fish….).

Click here to see the video

Spring in Minnesota is finally winning the battle against winter.

So here’s to more extra time, See you out there

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill!

The Novice survivalist (2nd Change George)

Minnesota Madness-Ice Fishing.Movie_Snapshot


Afton State Park. MN. Planning my Walkabout and Scout

Yes its time to get outdoors again. Its been awhile for a camp out. Desperately need some nature selftime. So hit the internet and looked for a place to visit. I went straight to my favorite search website. The magnificent Minnesota DNR.

MN DNR logo

They have a complete list of all camping opportunities, including separate websites for each location.(Right now I am working my way through the website, I think I have a unconscious plan to visit each, State Park, then of course there is the State forrests, National forrests, the…ok back to the search) Each separate site having more information then you can shake a stick at!. Even if you do not reside in Minnesota, you can use this a as great resource for camping and the outdoors if you decide to visit. A word of warning….they have ALOT of places to visit for all interests. Prepare to spend some time on the site.

Back to the search and planning a trip. I have yet to decide what I will be doing. First just browse the website (MN DNR) looking for places that catch my interest. I like to walk in or Boat in camp. Ha! yes they have a link for you to search that specific interest. I’m pretty sure they have a type of camping you enjoy, so try searching that.

I came across this little gem about an hour from home.

Afton State Park. Mn.

The Camp grounds offer walk in and boat in options. First things first are they open year round.

direction to ashton
click to visit page – Afton State Park. MN

What are the restrictions if any and cost. A quick look at reviews, camp ground maps and any pictures they offer. The link for directions, using either Google maps or Bing maps. From that I now have an idea where it is and how far.

Once I have decided this is the place I want to go. I start some research. As you know I solo camp. Safety is of utmost importance for me. As it should be for all outdoors enthusiasts. The research is fairly basic, using both Google (search and Google Earth pro) and Bing. I look for things said or shown that may be of concern. (See previous blog). Satisfied there are no “issues”. I then start planning “What, When and Where” I want to do there. One thing I like to do if possible is go out and do a quick walkabout and scout. This is about an hour from home so just might do that. Always looking for an excuse… to get out and about. This “kills two birds with one stone” to say. I get a look at the area, and get outdoors. PERFECT!

See how that works. Two trips outdoors already planned. The joy. So time to grab the walkabout / daypack.

Day Pack loaded and checked

Check to see all I need is in there. Grab the map downloaded from their website (DNR), and off I go.


The Walkabout and Scout.

As per Google driving directions, they gave me a couple options. As per Me, I chose the back roads route. I never miss a opportunity to see rural Minnesota. You just never know what you may see or find.

Well. What can I say. Wonderful State Park. Everything a Park should have. Camping, Hiking, Horse back riding, Picnic, Fishing and Boat in camping and YURTS……. Oh don’t forget the hills and valleys, Bird watching, game viewing, snow activities and lots more. Just about everything the outdoor enthusiast could ask for. And about an hours drive from the Twin Cities !!. No wonder its so popular.

Arriving I went to the interactive center and picked up a map of the park. Read it carefully and set off on my walkabout and scout. I did about 4 miles and took a couple pictures and some video. OK a lot of pictures and a lot of video. The hiking trails are numerous and varied in all ways. Something for all types of hikers ( Easy, medium or Hard). 2 or 3  Campsites, Yurts, cabins and Group. Plus a walk-in uphill hike to the wonderful 27 site camp for tent etc. Horse back riding is popular in summer, Boating, fishing and swimming are some other options. For me, I headed straight for the walk-in camp site, or should I say straight up to the campsite. Be prepared this is quite a hike and all uphill. But well worth it for me, everything I hoped for.

Here is some pictures for your viewing pleasure. (Smiling). or SEE THE VIDEO FROM MY YOU TUBE CHANNEL.





So there it is, a peek at Afton State Park, Washington County, Minnesota.

If you get the chance GO!. Well worth a visit. I will be heading back. Time to camp.

And that’s a quick, how I plan my trips outdoors, whether camping, hiking, kayaking or walk about and Scouting. What am I trying to say. Well, If you are a survivalist (Novice or not) Plan. If you don’t have a regular plan to follow for any survival situation, Its time to put one together. It does not have to be fancy, have a method and tweak it as you use it.

Want to know more, sign up and You get an alert when I post to my blog and (BONUS !!!)when the Video is up on my You tube Channel. You can also go to the reference page and see the videos I have posted there.

Summer time is coming and we all get to go outdoors. Remember to be safe, plan you will enjoy your time more. I promise.

As always…….

Knowledge is a survival Skill…. Planning and research included

The Novice Survivalist.


Knowledge is a Survival Skill !

Recently I was going through comments posted from my you-tube channel. I had posted a 2 minute tip video, Something I try to do on a weekly basis. With medium success. Its not easy for me to come up with these but they have been fairly popular on the whole.

My 2 minute tip series

Maybe because I cannot hold someone’s attention longer than 2 minutes .What can I say.  Concerning to say the least. But that’s not the reason for this post.


The 2 minute video was on prepping for the new season. I had said that “Sharpening your knifes and your mind” is something we should all do. A subscriber commented that that was a great idea. Not the sharpening your knife, but the sharpening your mind. That got me thinking about something else I tend to do on all my blog posts.

I try to end all my blogs with the words “KNOWLEDGE IS A SURVIVAL SKILL”. Its actually something I practice, not just preach. I truly believe that. As you are aware, this blog I have created was to help me gain more knowledge and skills about survival in the outdoors. Or any other scenario that may arise. First of all I am not a “dooms day” or “apocalypse preacher”.jnw7bglnkkg.png I am simply a person who finds himself often outdoors alone, And have concerns about surviving a personal disaster, Or a natural disaster. I just want to be as prepared as possible, So I can get home or to safe haven, Should something happen. Another question I am asked is “With what and how do I protect myself when outdoors alone?.” Against animals or even unwanted “near do wells” I should encounter while out there on my own.

I do not carry a gun. Its just a personal choice I decided on when I started going solo outdoors. It is  a choice each of us must make and live by it. If you carry a gun, good for you. Just make sure you are knowledgeable in the use, care and laws of owning one. Its just not my choice to carry one. To be honest I am a “Nervous Nelly”. Yes I admit it. Because of that I chose not to ” Carry”. I do have a axe, and number of knives , But that’s it.

Well no, That’s not true!, I do have something else. KNOWLEDGE. I am a planner by nature as I have said before. For me planning is the number one defense for me. My Planning involves many things I consider. Here is a quick look at my planning process.

What do I want to do and Where am I going to do it and how long.

Will I be camping, Tent, Tarp or hammock. How long. And the obvious where will I be going. Once I make the choices, I can now start to research. Where possible I try to do a walkabout and scout of the area I intend to go. I also use Google maps, Google earth pro to look at the area. Not the best but at least I have a fairly good Idea of the area. I use the internet a lot, to find any reviews or information on the area. Local State forestry departments or here in Minnesota the DNR ( Department of Natural Resources) has some good information.


Especially here in Minnesota. Weather is my number one concern. Winter means temperate, snow ice etc. For those of you who do not live in a 4 season state, do not overlook this. For me it means what clothing and type of camping I will be doing. Also food and other camping items to suit. Yes I have a list for that.


When looking and gathering information about the area I intend to go, I look for any “signs of concern”. Things like people posting car break ins, noisy or unruly neighbor’s. Park ranger activity. Are they present and active. You will be surprised of what information is out there. From this I can get a reasonable idea of people concerns. 20161022_125322.jpgThe ranger stations and websites will give out information of animal concerns etc. If I have concerns that really worry me . I don’t go. That’s it. But to be honest. It would have to be really bad for that to happen. I tend to keep to myself when out doors. Not just from people but known bad “animal areas”. In reality there is no way to predict everything. You go out alone you take your chances.

Friends and family.

I always make a point of letting family and friends know I am going out. My family knows where, when and how long I am going for. I let them know when I leave and always let them know I’m back. They have a “window of concern”. Basically if they do not hear from me, to contact me first, if unable to, then the local authorities. I will have told them the necessary information.


I have lists, both written and in my mind. they include food, camping equipment, transport, time table, maps, clothing and survival/emergency bag. They also include the type of season list. AND knowing how to use what I take.

That is basically it. Being prepared is a knowledge game. Know your area, know your limitations, know your skill levels, Know your ….. and it goes on.

Simply put.


Be safe out there

The Novice Survivalist




A season change, Make the change, Prepare…

Yes a new season is around the corner. What does that mean for you. Well for me, It depends on what hat I am wearing right now means some chores to be done. Different hats? Well right now I am a fly Fisherman, in a couple hours a camper, not just a camper but some one who solo camps, ALOT!. Especially in Spring, Summer and Fall. As I am sure we all do. Then there is the NOVICE SURVIVALIST hat I am finding I wear more and more. Yes I am still learning, and there is much to learn. Although I have shared some of it here, I need to share my experiences and new found knowledge more.

With the change of season, we whether, Fisherman/women, camper or Novice Survivalist, We all need to make the change to the new season. Whichever one it maybe, Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, it does not matter. The process is the same. Ha! Did you notice, I changed chores to processers. For me these tasks are really not chores. I love to look through and touch, feel and look at all the goodies. It’s a little awkward I know but what can I say. I like the stuff I own.

Why I do this, (And you all should be doing it), As every season changes, what and how we manage, carry, or use our tools of the trade changes with it. Whether camping, fishing or hiking. 20180125_195000 This is the time for me to remove, add, clean, maintain my equipment. Some my have been sitting dormant, some well used the last season. All of it needs to be checked before going into storage, or added. This I learnt to do on a regular basis. More than necessary I tend to go through my helpers a little too much. however having a regular timetable is a good thing. Whether weekly, monthly or seasonally it needs to be attended to. This is not the check of what you have packed in preparation for a trip. But a more thorough check and clean of the items you will be using for the new season.

Maintaining your equipment has many advantages. It can save you heart ache. Money and wasted time outdoors. The heart ache is having a item, fall apart or just stop working. Not only is it frustrating, but costs money to replace. All for the sake of a little maintenance. Wasted time outdoors will be lost. I had a “issue” because I did not check my equipment before leaving on a trip I planned on spending a lot of time kayaking. To my horror, I lost the drain plug on my kayak. Not only did I not check before loading up, I did not have a spare. Needless to say I now have 3 spares. (One is none, two is one…) Lesson learned.

So for me its getting out the fly-fishing things. Going through all my Rods, reels and fly assortments I use. Cleaning the rods with a damp cloth and some line butter on my fly lines. reel butter on the reels and a good wipe down.20170210_164007 Sorting out the flies into specific boxes by type and noting what I am short of. Even going as far as testing my clippers to see if they need to be sharpened. Checking my 2 chest packs for worn seams, broken clips and missing tools I need on hand when out there fishing.

Fly stuff done, I will be looking at my Kayak. Yes does it have a drain plug on it. I know. Looking for cracks, worn parts (Cords on rudder, lids sealing correctly and cleaning and lubricating the Mirage drive. (Hobie peddle system).) A general wipe down and making sure the milk crate has the anchor system and that the trolley is still firmly fixed to the kayak. 20170506_113536.jpg Checking my PFD (personal flotation device, i.e life jacket.) is in good working order, with whistle, Kayak flag and paddle all good. Battery system for the fish finder is charged and working….and lots more.

Next camping gear. Pulling out the Hammock, tent,  tarp, sleeping bags, blankets, under blanket, cook set, packs and emergency pouches. Going through each. Looking for needed repairs, tears, worn cordage, sharping the cutters, checking expiration dates on food, medicine etc. etc.

As you can see the next couple of hours, No, days will be busy. What joy. No matter how painful it may seem the time taken is well spent. Not only ensuring a safer trip, with trouble free trips you save money and wasted time dealing with mishaps that these couple hours could have saved you. to be honest I enjoy my time with my prized collection of toys, tools and friends.

This is just some thoughts as I go through my toys. I will be posting more in-depth blogs of how I deal with each set. I will be focusing on the survival side regarding BOB, EDC and other areas a little more. My intention is to come up with a solid check/maintenance list with procedures for the more important items I own and use regularly. Maybe you can use them in the future as a starting point for your needs. When I have them done Ill post on the reference page for you to download and use as your reference, along with videos when possible. Of course I am sure you will have some insights into what need to be added. Keep in mind these lists will be for my needs and a starting reference for you. Adapt them to yours.

Stay tuned….

Remember, Preparation and Knowledge is a Survival Skill….

The Novice survivalist




Some spring (time) in my step

Yep, It getting closer. The more I consider spring, The more excited I get. Now that I live in a truly 4 season area. ( Read Minnesota) I am getting the feel of it. Winters here are hard.20180302_132413 Although I love the snow and have enjoyed the cold brisk air, wonderful snowscapes, walkabouts and even a snow camp (A first for me). Spring has taken on a new meaning.

Recently I went on a local walkabout in the neighborhood. And yes I did feel a spring in my step. Well ok, A spring in my Trudging along. Trudging??, Well at my age you begin to trudge. Its not a bad thing, its just well, I’m not as young as I was and now I trudge, it just means “Getting some where takes a little longer”. We (Trudgers) tend to take in the sights and sounds more. We have time to spare. We are now “smelling the roses” to say. The end result is the same. It just seems a lot more pleasant. Maybe I have been doing my walkabouts all wrong before. No I have never not enjoyed a past walkabout so that’s not it.20180119_153944 The more I consider this the more I look forward to trudging to a river or lake, While dragging the Kayak along at times. Another reason to slow down and enjoy the trudge. (Its heavy and well you know I’m old).

Seriously now, I look forward to some long missed Kayak paddling? Peddling. (I have a Hobie Outback Kayak, It has The Mirage system which allows you to Peddle rather than paddle), 20161104_162208Fly-fishing, The joy, and some hammock camps. Ok a lot of hammock camps, paddles ,peddles and casts with my Fly rod/rods.

Ahhhhh. Spring time. I know its still a little early here in Minnesota, There is still about 5-6 inches of snow on the ground (at least). And I am fairly certain more to come. The good thing is the temperatures are higher on the average. And even today I sat for awhile in the glory of the sun. Oh what splendiffery. (Yes I came up with a new word.)

What has all this thinking and wondering done for me. Got the Spring in my Trudge going. 20170406_135303I am about to start pulling out all my Spring , Summer, Fall toys. Dust them off, clean and polish and get even more excited . Yay for me, Another season to enjoy.

Oh and of course, update my Survival packs for the new season. Don’t forget to do that!

But that’s another story…..

Remember. All together now


Keep it polished and updated. For all seasons.

Be safe..

The Novice Survivalist.


Minnesota Madness-Ice Fishing.Movie_Snapshot
2nd Chance George


The Ultimate Goal.

Hello Campers and outdoors enthusiasts. I have just got back home from a winter time walkabout. And while I sit here contemplating my life and life goals and the walkabout. I had a thought , yes, yes me thinking is dangerous. But  I got to thinking about goals, We always talk or contemplate life goals. I am sure we all have these thoughts some time in life. But I took it a step further, or is it closer? Well you decide on that small point. Here is where my today’s contemplation took me.

We may not realize it but, when we think of doing something, whether going to the store, visiting or walkabout. What ever it maybe, we always end with “then head home.” And isn’t that the Ultimate goal for what ever we plan. 20180302_132140We go (insert where, why, when.) and then return. At my work place, we have a very forward thinking Safety department. Their slogan, ” Our goal is to get everyone back home safely”. Is that not all our goals for everything we do.

Deciding to go somewhere is something we do everyday, we don’t deliberately think about the end goal, We assume. Its what we do. we always return home. Its in our nature.

On my winter stroll (trudge) today, I encountered something I did not plan on. It was not life threating, but was unexpected. Snow, its winter of course and this is Minnesota. Snow is expected to be on the ground. We had just had a good snow fall a couple days ago. (About 4-6 inches). I never gave that a thought, the sun had been out and temperatures up since the snow fall. I just wanted to get outside. Well I did not remember accumulation….a bit more than expected. I found myself trudging…literally trudging through the snow. At times as high as my knees.20180302_115824 It was funny at first, but then got irritating. I had an idea where I wanted to go, but the depth of snow caused me to have to take some deviations to get there. On arrival I found that I had no-where to sit and make my planned cup of coffee and a chat to my You Tube followers. I landed up sitting on a very precarious tree trunk sticking out of the snow. And the horror… No comfortable place to make coffee. (I had planned on using my favorite cooker the Bush box.). 20171213_125746 Last time out there had been lots of small sticks and kindling to use in the Bush box but today …..they were gone . Covered by the 16 inches of snow laying over everything. Opps, did not plan that bit. Lesson learned.

When I got home I considered the walk. It could have been worse, a lot worse.20180302_132413 I had not planned very well. Not good. Practice what you preach came to mind right away. To my embarrassment. But in the end it worked out.

The worst thing was my bottom got wet and a little cold from sitting on the log. Also forgot to pack my sit pad. Yes I forgot a lot this time out. Hopefully when I go out again, I will have learned from this. Yes, even us planners and worriers will forget the things we take for granted. Just as I said in my previous blog...” Murphy’s Law” it never rests, NEVER!!!!

But I am home safe and sound.

And is that not the Ultimate goal?.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill.

Plan and get home to your family, safe and sound. The ultimate goal, today anyway.

The Novice Survivalist


My Walkabout possible’s pouch or Survival pouch.

Hello again campers, I want to talk about some thing that I carry a lot. Actually, every time I go outside in the outdoors on a walkabout. I often use this without putting much thought into it. Is this a good thing or not, well I’m not sure to tell the truth. We should never take things for granted . For example I was looking at the upcoming weekend weather. Something I do a lot since moving to Minnesota. Its just safe practice before planning anything. The weather can change nasty here in a hurry and make things uncomfortable to say the least.


Prior planning is a must. Not just for Minnesota but for everybody, wherever you maybe. If you plan ahead you may just save yourself some heartache or even getting yourself into an uncomfortable situation.

One thing I learnt during my military service was, “If something can go wrong it will.” In the civilian world its known as “Murphy’s law” I am sure you have come in contact with it!. The military are big on this. They plan accordingly. No matter what they are preparing for. Whether to go into battle, a patrol, a road trip, or just guard duty, they plan it out to the minute detail. We can learn a lot from the military. We all know it is impossible to plan for every scenario, but we should plan never the less. Should you be putting together a bug out plan, Day trip, going camping or hiking, take the time to read up on military know how. They have a lot to offer.

This goes for any outing into the outdoors. Be it a walkabout, camping, road trip or just a quick visit . Take the time to plan ahead. I am not just talking about when you are going, time leaving and how to get there. I mean the other things we tend to ignore.

Make sure everybody who is joining you is on the same page. Everybody needs to know where you going, why, and for how long. Then look into the area you will be. What things maybe be a concern, What to do if it the concern or concerns happen. Make sure you have the necessaries you may need for the trip. Like I said we cannot plan for every scenario, but we can be better prepared, giving you a better chance of getting home safely. After all that is our ultimate goal!

So onto what I wanted to discuss. That is a simple survival pouch I carry with me when going on a walkabout in the outdoors. This little pouch I attach to my walkabout back pack. It has a very basic set of survival items I feel can get me out of most situations that I could encounter on a fairly short (day) walk in the wilderness.


I am a planner by nature. I plan ahead, but sadly I have never yet got everything thing perfectly right. But I persist. Why because the military beat it into me, they did something right. I am still here today to enjoy the outdoors.

Back to the pouch. Yes its a military surplus pouch I have talked about before, but just touched on it. I got to thinking about it lately. Could it actually help. So I took the time to go through it again and look what is in it. Can it sustain me for at least 72 hours. Although its a small pouch and not really designed to get me through a really bad situation.


It would need some help. Its just to small to carry some needed items for a true survival situation. Why carry it then.

Well its designed with a walkabout in mind. It attaches to my backpack or belt, and I will have certain things in or on the pack to enhance the pouch. Extra light jacket, Water, Food or snacks and my Canteen kit with bush box stove.

When I plan a trip there are certain things I always look at.

  1. Where I am going, and what does the area hold or look like. Do I have a map or am I already familiar with the area. ( Previous visit or scouting trip). I look at all recourses for information.
  2. How long and what I plan on doing when arriving. Am I camping, hammock or tent. What type of camping, is it wilderness or state or federal land. What amenities are available. Walkabout’s include trails I will be on, and how long it will take (best guess, as I tend to wander and stare a lot.)
  3. The weather, obviously the weather people are not perfect, so I check everyday till I leave and make adjustments as needed, clothing etc.
  4. Food and water. Is water (drinking) available, if not can I get my own or carry all in.. Food, meals I need to make and snacks as well.
  5. Electronics, fishing equipment etc. as need.20161229_203142 - Copy
  6. People who need to know where I am, make a list and inform them of your plans and what to do should they not hear from me in the time frame I give them.

All these help me prep. I then take out everything I think I will need and subtract or add as needed. Yes I still tend to over pack. working on that as I go. This pouch for example was a result of over packing. I used to carry my camping possible’s pouch in my walkabout pack. Its much bigger and heavier. I replaced it with this pouch, smaller and less bulky. Takes up no room in my pack.

I am planning a little scouting trip this weekend. A trip about a 1.5 hr. drive away from home. I found this place on an app I have on my phone (” All trails” for those walkabout types looking for places to hike). It looks interesting, although probably better in summer.20170219_222219 I needed an excuse to get outdoors, even with the extra snow we just got. It looks to have a lot of possibilities to camp and Kayak and even get some fishing in. No not this trip. Its just a quick scout.

So jump in the truck and off we go. Well no. I need to check weather, and if its even possible to get into the area. Its a state park I believe. Will it be open to the public on the day I plan on going. What clothing to take, (Its still quite chilly out there). and of course do I have the extras I need , you know “Just in case.”

So with that in mind here is my survival/possible’s /emergency pouch I will carry with me.


Oh just so you know I do have a EDCC

(Everyday car carry) in my truck should I need it for the road trip there…..and back. ( more coming on that…just a heads up.)

  1. Mini multi tool. (Gerber Dime)
  2. Very basic Compass and thermometer.
  3. Pen light/lantern.(Ozark Trails 75 lumen lantern)
  4. Survival bandana
  5. Medical packet.
  6. Survival knife and Ferro. rod.
  7. Cordage
  8. Ferro rod and striker
  9. Duck tape
  10. Cotton balls (fire starters)

That’s it! Very basic, but as I said it is enhanced by the fact I will have it attached to my Walkabout backpack.

Pouch attached to my daypack

These items when added to the resource of my small survival pouch, adds up to a nice 72 hours emergency kit. A must for any outdoor hiker or enthusiast to have easily accessible, without adding to much weight or taking up space in your walkabout backpack.


Well there you go. Something to consider next time you look at your walkabout or day kit. Every survivalist should do the “Monthly” check of your kits and update or at least try to enhance them to your needs. Certainly prior to use, at least. Whether lightening or space saving choose wisely. Don’t leave your self vulnerable because you wanted to save weight.

The Novice survivalist.

Minnesota Madness-Ice Fishing.Movie_Snapshot
2nd Chance George

A buck, a belt and my camp companion.

You may have noticed with the last couple of my blogs, that winter certainly can put a damper on outdoor activities. Personally I enjoy time out in the snow, even some cold snow time beats having to sit at home. A quick walk in the quiet of a snow covered wilderness is always welcome, But some times its just to uncomfortable out there or even unsafe.

Today for example I was coming back home after a few chores completed in town and noticed a small building in ruin.20180221_100531 At first I thought it was just a old building no longer used but just waiting to be torn down. But on closer inspection I found a little treasure. It actually is a Historic site, sitting there in Dundas along the Mill Town State Trail. Another little Gem I knew nothing about. The trail has been added to my walkabout to-do list and a I spent a quick couple of very cold minutes checking out the Historic ruin. It was originally one of the many Textile mills along the Cannon river in the Dundas, Northfield area. Once a booming industry in Minnesota. 20180221_100457Pretty cool and deserves a closer look. Unfortunately as I said it was bitterly cold and before long it became a little uncomfortable. So I had to head back to the truck.

However before leaving I looked in my EDCC (Everyday car carry) pack in the truck and, as usual I had my walkabout back pack with me as well, which comes along when ever I am at leisure and walking out the door heading who knows where. I have a extra “Hoodie” light jacket packed in it just in case. I need it. This day I did. It allowed me some extra time out, that I had not planned on.

I had been working on some house keeping chores during these cold winter “no go” days. Not house work, but the usual task I do monthly of going through my camping, outdoor safety/survival  goodies, Tents, hammock and other general camp stuff. This to put some thoughts in mind for some blogs and videos I needed to do. So I set about doing just that. (See Survive on a dime, can you?). I also decided to do some reviews of my cutting tools I carry and use on a regular basis. These videos of my cutters were uploaded to my YouTube channel and added to my reference page here on my personal survival blog website. (The Novice Survivalist).

The point of this blog post is to chat about the 3 cutters I carry the most. Basically my favorites. I have other Cutting tools which I have gathered over the years, but they have been relegated to a lower rung on the need ladder or to a different need. Normally if a cutter, they have been replaced with a bigger, shinier, sharper cutting tool, better suited for the job I need them for.

Like I said I have videos up or going up on my You tube channel. They are reviews of each one on its own. What I want to discuss now, is what I use them as. I suppose the correct wording would be what is their particular job descriptions. For me there are 3 main job descriptions for a cutter.

Remember the 10 C’s list for survival. Well Cutting tools is first on that list. Its the most important tool for survival you can have. I spend a lot of time perusing the internet looking at cutters. And I always keep in mind my job descriptions I have for my Knives. Namely ..

  1. EDC or what I call my Pocket knife
  2. Belt knife, normally found on my belt on walkabouts .
  3. Camp Knife, used for all the typical chores needed around a campsite.

Here they are, in some more detail and why I chose them.

  1. EDC or “My Pocket knife”

My EDC or pocket knife is the Buck, folding knife.

The mini spitfire. 20180221_112410.jpgSmall compact and holds a great sharp edge. I purchased it about 3 years ago and has been in my pants pocket ever since. I have used it for many things and even abused it and it has held up remarkable well. 20180221_112443.jpgThis knife is my constant companion. If I have a pocket, its in it. I don’t leave home without it.

Here are the specifications from the Buck Knives website.

  1. BLADE SHAPE: Drop Point
  3. “BLADE LENGTH: 3 1/4” (8.3cm)
  4. WEIGHT: 3.2 oz (90.7 g)
  5. HANDLE: Anodized Aluminum
  6. CARRY SYSTEM: Pocket Clip
  7. ORIGIN: Made in the USA

Interested in getting one?. Click the link below and support my blog.

Buck Knives Mini Spitfire Folder Knife

2. Belt Knife. Full tang

My belt knife or walkabout companion is the Browning 0225 Hunting Knife. 20180218_214016Light , comfortable and fits my hand perfectly. I originally bought this a camp knife. Unfortunately it lacks weight for the chores I use a camp knife for. The blade was just a little to short as well. So it became my “belt knife’. BKN16_3220225It can be found on my belt when I go for a walkabout, scout or just exploring locally. I bring it on camping trips and most other places when outdoors. to tell the truth my favorite knife. Unfortunate it cannot do some of the tasks I need for a camp knife.

Here are the specifications from the Browning website.

Description Fixed blade knife with magnetically attached carbide sharpener, 7Cr stainless steel hollow ground drop point blade with a brushed finish, anti-skid grooves on blade spine.

  1. Type: Fixed Blade
  2. Blade Type: Drop Point
  3. Sheath Description: Ballistic Cloth Nylon
  4. Main Blade Length: 3 1/4″Overall Length 8″
  5. Blade Composition: 7Cr
  6. Blade Decoration Browning Logo: Buckmark
  7. Handle Features: Finger Grooves, Lanyard Hole
  8. Handle Material: Injection Molded, Color Tan, Secondary Color Black
  9. Rockwell Steel Hardness: 54-58
  10. Serrated Blade NO

Click the link below to visit the  Browning website. It holds some wonders

Browning 0225 Hunting Knife

Camp Knife

My camp knife. This is probably the only true survival, camping, bugout etc. etc. knife I own. By for the best quality, sharpest and most used knife I have.

The Knives of Alaska, Sure grip bush knife. The quality and sharpness of this knife got my attention.wp-image-617670235jpg1 As far as I am concerned the best money I spent on any of my cutting tools. The perfect weight and length I was looking for in a general use camp and survival knife. It does all the needed chores I need for around camp. Fire prep, wood prep, food prep…the list goes on. I have yet to attempt a chore I need it for and it has not performed to all my expectations. 20170409_185732It is on my belt when in camp. Right from the start of a camp setup. It only comes off when replaced by my walkabout belt knife for a jaunt in the woods.

Looking for a knife of high quality you cannot go wrong with a Knives of Alaska Knife. They offer many different types and needs of knife. Here is a link to their comprehensive website. Take some time to check them out.

Knives of Alaska

There you have it ! a quick look at my 3 constant companions in the outdoors. A must for the 10C’s of survival. And of course fun to play with, safely mind you.

Hopefully it will help you choose the knife you need for your outdoor, survival needs. And keep an extra light jacket handy, just in case….

Remember Knowledge is a survival tool

The novice survivalist





Survive on a dime – Can you?

Hi Campers, I was rummaging around in my camping and survival goodies as usual. I do this about once a month on average. I’m a geek with camping and survival stuff. Love to look at, touch and feel them in my hands. Yes a little odd but what can I say. Sharp shinny things amuse me.

Fortunately I am not rich, Or I would become one of those hoarders you see and hear about on television. I would spend all my days, hours and minutes sitting on the floor in the basement, surrounded by my stuff.

Back on track. I was going through my camping bags, packs and pouches. I am constantly  looking for better ways to sort and spread out my goodies amongst the carriers. You know the quick Walkabout pouch, the daypack, the kayak pack, the overnight camp pack (Hammock and tent options), the more than one night camping backpack etc. etc.

In each pack, I try to have a survival pouch, that I have put together basic survival tools for that particular use pack. I try to match the survival pouch to the size and use of the pack it goes into. I was rummaging through at a small belt pouch I have for quick wandering about in the outdoors. Its a military pouch, designed I believe for a quick access for most used items to be made readily available,(map, compass etc.). I think!. Anyway I had bought this a couple years ago while searching a local Military Surplus store in Fresno California. (Another problem I have. Cannot walk past a surplus store.) I opened it up and inside I found a tool I had thrown in there without much thought.

And that got me thinking about tools we choose and will they work.

This particular little tool is the GERBER DIME.20180217_200244 Its a small, Ok very small multi tool I had purchased on a visit to home depot. It was cute and the price was not about to break my much depleted bank account. Plus of course it was shiny and sharp. My addiction kicked in right away. So I bought it, brought it home and threw it into my belt pouch. My attention is short lived. But hey here I am about to have a better look at a purchase on a whim about a year later. Will it work as a survival tool. Or is it just another extra I have in my emergency pouch that I will probably never use.

Keeping in mind the survival bag its going into, Namely my small belt pouch I use it for just going on a VERY quick walkabout, locally not to far from home.16681512_10210955726503450_6450691838563124670_n Like all survival pouches it has the bare minimum I would need in an emergency. In this case, basing  the emergency on local access to help should some thing on a larger scale occur. But you never know. Would this tool be good enough to get me through the night. Say a 24 hour period. This pouch actually has a fairly small survival knife in it. As well as some other basic first aid / survival things, (band aids, medical tape, fire starters (Cotton balls with petroleum jelly), 550 cord and a small flash light and batteries.16831997_10210955726223443_310715801408851710_n Aspirin, whistle and water purification tabs. And I always have my main belt knife on me where ever I go.)




The DIME as explained on the Gerber Website.

And I quote “We took the standard keychain multi-tool and made it better. In addition to stainless steel pliers, wire cutters, a fine edge blade, spring-loaded scissors, flathead screwdriver, crosshead driver, tweezers and file, the Dime includes a unique blade designed to safely cut and score plastic packaging and a bottle opener that is exposed even when the tool is closed. Compact and lightweight, the Dime is the most valuable change you’ll find in your pocket.”


The specifications from the

Overall Length: 4.25″
Closed Length: 2.75″
Weight: 2.2 oz
Compact, lightweight size fits perfectly in pocket – a daily companion for any task
Convenient, easily accessible butterfly opening
Sturdy stainless steel construction.

I have used it a couple times. Namely the scissors (used to cut some small para cord) The tweezers to take a small splinter out of my forearm. (No, I have no idea how that happened) and I just tried it out as a Ferro rod striker to get some sparks to start a fire. And yes it worked adequately on the first two but as a striker I could not get the back of the blade to strike. For 2 reasons. One the back of the small blade was not a clean 90 deg. cut needed to strike and the blade closed in the direction of the pressure needed to strike the Ferro rod. I did get it to work on the actual sharp side, no problem and maybe by using the “inside of the blade” near the handle will save the blade some what.

As far as the other items it has, The screw drivers, file and pliers/wire cutters, well I am not sure I would need them in a survival scenario. But you never know. Personally I think it makes a great tool for your key chain just as Gerber says. As a survival tool, maybe not. But I will keep it in the belt pouch simply for the tweezers and scissors if anything.

Click on the short video I made showing the DIME and trying out some fire starting skills with it. Good practice to say the least.


Remember Knowledge and maybe with a DIME is a survival skill.

The Novice Survivalist


Just 2 words, Winter walkabout


Hello fellow campers, hikers, backpackers. survivalists and outdoors enthusiasts etc.. etc. You know who you are!

Winter is still going strong here in Minnesota. Yesterday my much needed sleep was interrupted by maintenance being performed on the complex. Unfortunately (Or fortunately) I work nights, While most are at work, I sleep. So what to do, I could not get back to sleep, so decided its a good time to walkabout. Checked the time and weather ( Something all Minnesota residents do before going out the door.) The horror.homescreenPreview

It was a blistering 2 Deg. F. But hardly any wind and the sun was shinning. Oh well I was committed, So off I went. I decided I would go to my favorite haunt. The Cannon River Wilderness Park in Dundas MN. About a 20 minute drive down the road. In winter it is little used, except by those who brave the cold while snow shoeing etc. Grabbed my always ready to go walkabout day pack and headed out the door. Once again Nature provides.

With all the snow on the ground. (about 12inches accumulated) I found a silent snow covered wonder. The birds ( mainly crows and wood peckers) were out in force. Giving a wonderful relaxing background of natures music. There were hundreds of bunny and deer tracks around, but unfortunately with all my searching with my Polaris monocular I didn’t see any. The monocular is fast becoming a must have in the pack for me. The opportunities I have been missing because the sights are just to far away, are now won with this monocular.

Phone and Monocular adapter

Small compact and light weight it provides me with great magnification and I even went so far as to buy an attachment for it to adapt to my Samsung galaxy note 5. (See my video of the adapter and Phone)


Back to nature, It was so quiet I found myself tip toeing around so as not to disturb the quiet. The Cannon river was still covered with ice although it was melted in [places allowing the gurgling river to come though adding to natures song. Along with the odd popping sound of ice cracking.


As usual I recorded my the walkabout for prosperity and uploaded the video to my You tube channel. The title of the video was “JUST 2 WORDS, a winter walkabout.” I thought it appropriate. Simply because I don’t have the flair for words need to describe the place I was and how It made me feel.

I had stopped to have a quick ‘cuppa”coffee using my canteen set with my Bush box stove. 20171213_134007I was just there enjoying the quiet time in the wilderness. I could not think of how to describe this walkabout. So was born a video with the title. The only 2 words spoken in the video are…JUST SAYING !.

Be safe out there.

Remember “Knowledge is a survival skill.”

The Novice Survivalist




2nd Chance George

For those of you who don’t know. I have a You Tube Channel. Actually two. But I post videos on the “2nd Chance George channel”, of my camping and survival ideas and dirt time tests of  it.

So you may find it useful. Check out the play lists. I have been putting them in some kind of order. There are camping ideas, survival tips and some misc. Of interest. Make a cup of coffee and give it a look. Some very good channels listed. And of course if you like the content. Subscribe or share it with a friend you think maybe interested.

The easy way is to go to my references page and choose a video and it will take you to my channel

Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Stay safe and as always be prepared for the unwanted

Knowledge is a survival skill

The Novice Survivalist

Dirt time 4. CONTAINERS

Well finally got to do some dirt time on the series 10 C’s of Survival. My learning curve of survival in a emergency situation. Something , as you know I have been interested in. Actually the reason for the website.20170119_175335 So with the weather being un-cooperative I spent some time going through my camping, walkabout “stuff” I carry with me, looking at CONTAINERS that would be useful should I find myself in an unplanned situation where survival knowledge would get me home safely.

I have added this video to the Reference page under dirt time . Its been wanting for a while so check it out. Maybe you have some ideas on container’s you carry that would be useful and how you would use it should it become necessary. Check out the other dirt time videos while you are there.IMG_20171202_201714_568

Containers part of the 10 C’s of survival. You will be surprised what you carry with you and with a bit of thought use for survival. Give you “kits ” a look from a container point of view…

Knowledge is a survival Skill

Just saying !!!!!!

The Novice Survivalist

The Walkabout.

Since moving to Minnesota I have renewed my passion for wandering the outdoors. I did it before but never as much as here. I love the outdoors. It settles a bad day or just lets me spend some alone time walking about. I have yet to go on a walkabout and be disappointed. Nature is a strong resource for me.

It (Nature) offers just about all the quiet time, interesting views, scenes of wonder, animals and birds you can shake a stick at. Love that expression….finally got to use it on a blog. Ha ha. Seriously though the outdoors can offer anybody and everybody something.20170502_171322 I try to get out as much as possible. Any opportunity or spare time I have I am out there. Some times its just a quick fifteen minutes. Some times a good couple hours. Either way I get the most out of it.

I look for places to go where ever I am. I go on-line and search for local trails and parks. I have a number of apps I use to find even more and have started to travel further and further out of my “local” area.

This year I plan on going even further.

In Minnesota I see a lot of families and couples walking the trails or even biking. Some thing I never had the opportunity to do.20170813_160957 I have one regret. The fact that it took a serious medical issue to get me back out. I had lost my way to the outdoors, And this helped be find my way back.

Life is busy especially in this day and age. Don’t let the outdoors go unappreciated. Get out and say hello. Show your children and friends just all the wonderous things it has to offer. Walk about, camp and explore. You wont be disappointed ….


The novice Survivalist


Here’s a quickie I had to opportunity to squeeze in. Check it out

Winter Walkabout


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


Watch “Ontrip Military Folding Shovel- survival tool ? Will it do in a survival situation?” on YouTube

Had to check one of these Shovels out. To see if it would work for me……



I decided to look at some other options for eating outdoors. So here is what I found that caught my interest…..

SADZA. A favorite meal growing up in Zimbabwe.

via SADZA. A favorite meal growing up in Zimbabwe.

Amazing how certain things will stay with you no matter what. This is one of mine. Having grown up in Zimbabwe, ( Born and bred) I have many wonderful memories to look back on. This particular traditional meal is one of my favorites. Sadza, love the stuff, and it always brings back memories of my childhood.

Click the link above as I go walkabout and feed myself this wonder memory maker.

The Novice Survivalist


SADZA. A favorite meal growing up in Zimbabwe.

Born in Zimbabwe I have many wonderful memories to look back on. Here’s one.

My favorite meal growing up. A traditional meal share around the fire.

Have a look see


A look at my winter walkabout new “EDC” ADDITIONS.

Winter is on its way. I suspect quicker than most want. For me it’s just another opportunity to another season of exploring the wonders of nature. A Lot of folks go into hibernation regarding the winter outdoors. Especially during some of the harsh conditions than can occur here in Minnesota. Last winter we had some -22deg. Wind chill days. Enough to keep even the hardy at home.

For me it’s an opportunity to get out and explore the winter wonderland. 20180302_132216I find that with a good layer of snow providing a silencer for unwanted noise, the quiet and peaceful effect on me is to say the least pleasing.

With the change of season means a change to my daypack and camppack. I will be adding to my “EDC” for winter outdoors. Having been through a winter here in Minnesota, I learnt a couple of hard lessons. Now I have a better idea of what to have with me in the outdoors here in winter. Here are the additions for my winter EDC.

Besides the obvious of dressing appropriate to the conditions. Warm clothes in layers, waterproof boots etc . I have added a few more accessories to enhance my winter outdoor excursions.

One of the lessons of winter I did learn and that is DON’T GET WET!. Obvious isn’t it. Well I thought so. But I was ill prepared for the depth of snow I would be trudging through. When there is a good layer of snow down, it hides all the hidden dips and trip hazards. I know because I believe I found them all.

Dont get wet….

And not deliberately either. One minute trudging along in about 3 inches of snow the next step….12 inches. I usually wear my waterproof ankle high boots. Normally good enough, or so I thought. I went on a walkabout after a good snow fall and found every hole there was. Lesson Learned with in 30 min the bottom of my pants began to freeze and the snow that went inside did the same. Wearing just water proof boots ankle high are not enough.

One of the best buys for winter I have recently made, was for some leg Gaiters, very inexpensive and worth every penny. Less than $8.00, small and take up very little space in your Backpack, or Day pack.

Another addition to my EDC for winter walkabouts, is a good hiking pole, staff or stick. I found a interesting article on Pinterest on how to make a “multi tasking” walking stick. I used the article to make my own hiking pole with some of my own additions. 20181020_131400.jpgIt’s not just for winter walkabouts but become a must have for me for all seasons. I need this more in winter, than any other season. Simply because I now use it in my endeavors to “Not find the hidden holes under the snow”. I use it to prode ahead when in sketchy walking paths that may have hidden ankle breakers. To be honest I like having the walking pole having never considered before. I have grown used to taking it out. At my age balance is not a given anymore, one of the many perks of old age and having that extra leg really is handy to have.

I do own some snow pants that have elastic on the bottom but still use my gaiters “just in case”. Although I have concentrate on winter outdoors here the addition or changes to your “EDC’  for any season is part of being prepared for the weather outdoors. whether winter, summer, spring or autumn. Take the time to make sure you have the additions for each season. You never know when you will need “em”.

Remember the old boy scout adage …BE PREPARED.

Knowledge is a survival skill, learnt it !!

The Novice survivalist

Minnesota Madness-Ice Fishing.Movie_Snapshot


Additions to my Winter EDC.

I have learnt again from last years winter. I needed these for this upcoming winter walkabout, solo overnights etc.

Have a gander and comment, like or not ans share (always appreciated) and don’t forget to subscribe so you too can learn from my mistakes…..

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