Beyond the Bug Out Bag – Taking it on the Road

In the January/February 2016 “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #157), Jackie Clay-Atkinson has written about emergency planning beyond the bug out bag. Namely, taking it on the road.

If there should come a time when you need to get out of Dodge, have you considered a travel trailer stocked with survival supplies? How about tent camping as a temporary means of shelter? What about buying your own piece of property to escape to?

Or what about a combination of the above?

Take a look at the whole article, linked below the following exerpt.


Emergency planning beyond the bug-out bag

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

In many emergency situations, simply staying home can be your most sensible choice. After all, most of us have stocked up on a good supply of food in our pantries, have made provisions to store large quantities of water, and have alternative ways to keep warm, should the power go out during cold weather.

At home, you’ll have plenty of clean, dry clothes and comfortable bedding and your family will feel much less threatened than if you leave for destinations unknown in an emergency.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. 1-800-835-2418.

Your first priority is to decide whether and when to bug out. In early 2015 I featured a two part conversation on DestinySurvival Radio with Bill Cirmo, who has devised a system to help you determine your BIBO number. BIBO means bug in or bug out.

Biew what I wrote about our visit here. That post includes the link to part 2.

Cirmo also sells travel trailers, stocked or unstocked, depending on what you need and can afford. Find out more at


Brave the Elements With These Cold Weather Camping Tips

Editor’s Note: The following post originally appeared on the Article and photos by James and Rachel, Idle Theory Bus.




This is a special guest post from James and Rachel who have been on the road for three years and have become experts in car camping no matter the season. Follow their journey at

Life On The Road

Three years ago, we quit our jobs, gave away our stuff, and moved into Sunshine, our 1976 VW Bus. We wanted to simplify. We wanted peace. We wanted to spend our days outside, in the warmth of the sun, in places that still tremble with wildlife and boast unpolluted views of the Milky Way. We couldn’t do that in the city. So we hit the road and made its remote destinations our full-time home.






Living Simply

We base our journey around wild, undeveloped tracts of land. Each night, we camp in new and unknown places, under a wide sky.

We fund our travels doing farm work, picking peaches, harvesting grapes, and planting kale. It’s rewarding work that connects us directly to the food we eat. Between farm stints, we explore wilderness areas, hiking, watching wildlife, and identifying native plants.

Out here, on the road and off the grid, we’ve found a less civilized and more primitive existence. Living without running water, or grid-based electricity, we have greatly simplified our lives. We’ve learned that we can enjoy a great quality of life without the many possessions society deems necessary.

Whittling our material possessions down to what fits in the bus, it becomes increasingly important to carefully curate our belongings. A Biolite CampStove is one of our must-carry items, because it connects us closer to the land. It is unspeakably gratifying to harvest fallen wood from the forest floor for fuel to cook dinner. Even better, the same wood can simultaneously charge our phones and electronics. Because of BioLite, we are one step closer to achieving our dreams of a sustainable life off the grid.

Off-Season = Best Season

Living on the road, our travels don’t stop with the end of summer. We used to be true snowbirds, fleeing snow and evading below-freezing evenings. Sharing 80 square feet can be tough, especially when days are short and we spend more time inside our tiny home on wheels. But the hardships we endure are well worth it, because they also deliver mountain top highs.

We’ve learned to stay north as the first snowstorms settle in. Avoiding an entire season, we missed an entire side of the natural world. We must experience the extremes of nature in order to live a life that’s fully alive.

Let our experiences be a lesson: cold, short days shouldn’t prevent you from getting out to explore! Winter is a great season for trekking into the snowy outdoors. These long months offer unmatched beauty and solitude. Often, we find ourselves wonderfully alone in destinations that are packed throughout the summer.

Even if we don’t spend the entire winter season in powder, we make sure to slot ourselves into a few snow storms. Waking to a white world is an unmatched road trip experience.








The Southern Rockies: A Winter Wonderland

The Southern Rockies are our top destination for winter travel. Remote dirt roads, towering fourteeners, and sweeping mesas offer diversity and solitude, especially off-season. We can spend weeks in a 40-mile radius and never grow bored.>

We welcomed the winter season in the foothills of Durango, Colorado and wound our way south to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We got caught in a snowstorm the San Juan Mountains, and barely made it down the slick road. We stood in still silence as elk pranced across the sagebrush mesas near Taos, their footprints the only sound in the universe. We watched parts of ourselves drift through the rapids of the majestic, stately Rio Grande.

Our favorite detour on our southbound route was The Rio Grande del Norte Monument, our country’s newest Park addition. These 250,000 acres were constitutionally preserved in 2013 to protect the rare, high-desert mesa. Junipers, pinion trees, and sagebrush span broad vistas that reminded us how small and insignificant we really are.

For great views of the Taos plateau, check out the Guadalupe Trail in the Wild Rivers section, a four mile roundtrip hike that’ll warm you up on chilly day. For nighttime accommodations, the primitive campgrounds are a steal! At $7 a night, we had the entire place to ourselves, under the bright diamonds of Orion’s Belt.

A Happy Camper Is A Toasty Camper

Don’t be scared to venture out in cold weather! With some tricks and good packing, you can keep toasty warm and safe, even when temperatures plummet into the single digits.

Here are our top tips for winter car camping:

  • Bundle up Smart. Having the right gear makes winter life so much simpler. Hydroflask bottles keep our beverages hot for hours, so we’re always sipping on warming drinks. Muck Boots are hands down our favorite winter boot. Waterproof and rugged, they get us through single digit days with toasty toes. A good sock wicks moisture, keeping your feet dry and morale high.
  • Keep active during the day. Plan activities that get your body moving; the best natural heater is physical activity. Take a snowy hike. Instigate a snowball fight. Dance. You’ll discover that cold dissipates in the face of pumping blood.
  • Avoid driving at night Curvy back roads become treacherous when melted snow ices at dusk. Limit travel on snowy roads to daylight hours, and drive with care!
  • Sleep in your vehicle. In the winter, we don’t pop our canvas top at night. The insulation of your car will maintain a warm ambient temperature, so all you need is a zero degree sleeping bag to stay toasty.
  • Keep on the Sunny Side. When choosing a spot to park it for the night, look for campsites with full exposure to early morning sun. You’ll enjoy the sun on your face as you prepare your morning brew.
  • Up Your Photography Game. Shooting photos in the snow is tricky. The white reflects sunlight, and creating a disaster out of your highlights. Mediate that issue by investing in a polarizing filter. The filter acts as sunglasses for your camera and transforms a daylight dilemma into a correctly exposed shot.
  • Barbecuing isn’t just a summertime activity! Grilling out is a perfect way to keep warm and enjoy views of the snowy forest. Pick up a bottle of locally grown and fermented New Mexican red wine to sip as you grill; it’ll warm you from the inside out. A spicy Syrah pairs with grilled ribs perfectly. See below for one of our favorite recipes:


Recipe: New Mexico-style Baby Back Ribs with Green Chile BBQ Sauce





  • Grass-fed Baby Back Ribs
  • 3 cups Grass-fed Buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Homemade Green Chile BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Roasted Green Hatch Chiles
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 Teaspoons salt
  • Empty bottle

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool. Funnel into glass bottle and serve immediately. Enjoy with a campfire, a glass of red wine, and good company!

The night before you grill, slice and remove the tough white membrane from your ribs. Rub the ribs (defrosted) with the salt and thyme. Brush on buttermilk and marinate in a pot or tupperware overnight. This tenderizes grass-fed beef to fall-off the bone status. This is a must, as ribs can be tough cooked over fire.

Heat your BioLite Portable Grill to a medium-high temperature. Stoke that fire! Place ribs on grill and cook 40 minutes on each side. Let the fire die a bit, and baste the ribs with a cup or so of your homemade BBQ sauce. Grill on low fire for another 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes and serve!

Hint: for super-spicy, warming ribs, slather more green chiles on top! You’ll be eating like a New Mexico native.










Survival Shelters – Experience Could be the Key That Saves Your Life

When it comes to survival shelters, experience could be the key that saves your life. I talked about that on this week’s DestinySurvival Radio with Anthonio Akkermans, author of The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook.

Below I’ll share a combination of thoughts about the book and our conversation.


Experience of the Author

Anthonio is definitely experienced in wilderness survival skills and the outdoor life. What he writes about isn’t merely theoretical. If you spend much time outdoors–whether camping, hunting, or whatever–you’ll appreciate his book.

Here’s info about him from the book.

Born in the Netherlands, Anthonio Akkermans studied wilderness skills since he was a child. While still a youngster himself, Anthonio established a youth group that allowed children and teenagers to come out into the woods and learn earth-living skills once a week. This youth group gradually evolved into a school called Wild-Live, based in the United Kingdom.

From the early days, he traveled regularly to a number of states in the US, Yukon territories, Israel and Turkey, where he learned more native skills while teaching what he already knew. He still enjoys traveling and regularly teaches primitive skills in the most unique environments.

An active journalist for various publications, he previously published a book about earth-living skills titled Bushcraft Skills and How to Survive in the Wild, which is sold worldwide.

When not teaching adults on his courses, Anthonio has other commitments. He teaches teenagers through various local charities and shares skills in the archaeology department at Queens University Belfast and other expositions about how our ancestors lived their lives through demonstrations and lectures. He reproduces a huge array of artifacts for various museums, universities and television companies. On several occasions he has worked as a consultant on television and radio programs. He enjoys learning new skills, traveling locally and in different terrains around the world.


The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook


Experience the Book

This book is informative and easy to read. Instructions are thorough. Plenty of black and white photos complement the text.

You’ll find knowledge of primitive skills, use of modern materials, and the survival mindset or attitude. You’ll also become informed about the pros and cons of the various shelters described. I hadn’t heard of a few of them before.

Chapters cover…

Shelter Fundamentals

  • Shelter Starts with Good Clothing
  • Sleeping Equipment
  • Choosing a Place to Shelter
  • Materials
  • Making Cord
  • Making a Hammer

Making Debris Shelters with Your Bare Hands

  • Natural Shelter
  • Rock Shelter
  • Debris Hut
  • Lean-To
  • Stacked Debris Wall
  • Round Debris Wall Shelter
  • Bent Sapling Shelter
  • Subterranean Shelter
  • Snow Shelter
  • Improvements and Basic Furnishing
  • Living in Primitive Shelters

DIY and Modern Material Shelters

  • Emergency Shelter Bag
  • Reflective Foil Blanket
  • Basha/Tarp Shelters
  • Scandinavian Lavvu
  • Ger/Yurt

Modern Store-Bought Shelters

  • Hiking Tent
  • Hammocks
  • Bivvy Bag
  • Bell Tent

Mental Preparedness

  • Drilling
  • Understanding Emotions and Stresses
  • Gaining Confidence
  • Adopting the Right Mental Attitude


How should you and I use The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook? Like a cookbook. Instead of finding a few recipes and working with them, pick a few shelters and learn by doing.

When it comes to instruction, Anthonio doesn’t teach others skills he hasn’t mastered himself. Because of his extensive experience, he says this book was easy to write. It was doing the pictures that took the most time.


Experience You and I Need

The Value of Experience – Anthonio doesn’t sugar coat his subject matter. He tells you and me that reading a book is no substitute for experience and practice. As wonderful as it is to read about it in a book or watch a YouTube video, there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Experience will change romanticized notions we may have about living in the wilderness. It’s easy to become over confident or arrogant about what we think we will do. In the proverbial SHTF scenario, taking off to live in the wilderness isn’t realistic, especially if you haven’t done anything like it before.

Experience also makes evident the need for mental preparedness. Living outdoors isn’t easy. Tasks can take more time than expected, and they can sap our energy. You and I might get depressed and frustrated by life outdoors. Don’t underestimate the importance of something as basic as a good night’s rest.

Try making various shelters. Discover what there is to know. And have fun with it, too because it’s not all drudgery and mistakes.

First Things First – Anthonio makes the case that having shelter should be what we think of first, instead of starting a fire or gathering food and water. Shelter is of the utmost importance because, if you need to find food and water or build a fire, you need a safe, warm and dry place.

Shelter helps us stay warm and dry, which is essential. In hot conditions, shelter can help keep us cool.

It sounds obvious, but the first thing we should consider is our clothing. You don’t want to get too hot or too cool. There’s a reason we’re told to wear layered clothing in winter. In the book Anthonio tells you the best fabrics for layering.

Be sure to carry a tarp when you’re out and about because it can serve multiple functions.

You’ll want a sleeping mat to keep you and your sleeping bag off the ground. You don’t want to lie on the ground because you’ll lose a great deal of body heat.

Finding a Place – Location of your shelter is critical, too. Choosing a spot calls for situational awareness.

Consider several questions. Is it safe? Is it legal to be in that spot? Are materials available for building your shelter? Is it subject to water and wind? Can you safely build a fire there? Is food and water accessible?

When you’re assessing your situation, look for a natural shelter, such as a cave. We talked about this some during our chat.

Going the Modern Way – If you’re not inclined to make a shelter with your bare hands, you don’t have to. Go with something ready-made. Do you have a good tent?

By the way, when I asked Anthonio for some tips about buying a tent, I didn’t get the answer I expected. Rather than talk of how a tent should be structured, he once again emphasized experience.

For example, what’s the situation where the tent will be used? What have others experienced with a given tent? What do reviews of specific tents say?


Experience Our Conversation

Interviewing Anthonio was a challenge for me because I’m not the outdoorsy type. I wasn’t sure my questions were suitable to help you get a handle on the content of the book. I made it through, as usual, and I encourage you to listen to our conversation. Hear it by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for November 19, 2015. (Right click to download.)

Get your copy of The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook by clicking on its title wherever you see it in this post. That takes you to the page where you can place your order.

You can contact Anthonio and find out about the instruction he offers at

If you’ve been camping or hunting and have had to make any of the shelters mentioned in the book, I’d love to know what you think of what you’ve read above or heard in this week’s show. Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.


Starting a Fire with Water?

Ever heard of starting a fire with water? Below is a video showing a unique way to light a fire. Use a “solar death ray” made from plastic sheeting and water.



OK, so it’s a heck of a lot more than you need to light a typical campfire. But could you use it in a survival situation for other applications? Experimenting with different sizes of lenses at different heights could be fun.

What if you had a mirror so you don’t need to wait for noon? Or what if you had several reflectors, such as those used in the Sun Oven?

Leave a comment with any thoughts that come to your mind about this.


Keeping Your Camp Site Safe

Whether you’re enjoying a camp out with the family or hunting for that big buck with a group of guys in the fall, you want to make sure you’re keeping your camp site safe. “Backwoods Home Magazine” for July/August, 2014, (Issue #148) includes an article to help you do just that.

How do you keep your food out of reach of hungry and dangerous critters? What can you do to be sure your equipment is secure? In the article Gary Lewis covers…

  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, & threats
  • Deterrence
  • Distant early warning
  • Available light
  • Equipment security
  • Signals
  • The camera eye
  • Resources
Take a look at the excerpt of the article below. Then click on the link below to read the whole thing.


Small camp security

By Gary Lewis

It might be a sleeping bag in a lean-to with a small warming fire at the entrance. It could be a wall tent with five or six hunters high in the backcountry. It might be a recreational vehicle parked at the end of a road, a hiker’s bivouac on the shore of an alpine lake, or a place to run to in the event of a natural disaster or unrest in the big city. Whatever the reason for the camp, chances are the camper or campers will have to leave, to hunt, to fish, to hike, to go for supplies. Camp is left unguarded, with no doors or locks — nothing between a thief and the potential loot.

After dark, the camp and campers are also vulnerable to the creatures (four-legged and two-legged) that roam the night.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. 1-800-835-2418.


Find camping supplies from the companies featured on the Outdoor Survival page in the Prep Mart.


Protein for Survival Situations–How Will You Get Yours?

Protein is absolutely one of the most important components of any diet. But when it comes to getting protein for survival situations, how will you get yours? Are you able to hunt and fish? Do you raise livestock for meat? Do you have quantities of freeze dried meats on hand? Are you counting on getting protein from beans and grains?

We’ll face many major changes when disaster strikes or collapse takes place. Your diet will likely change, too. Is your body capable of handling that dietary change? And when it comes to protein, will you be able to take in the kind your system can properly digest?

On this week’s DestinySurvival Radio I reaired a program from the archives featuring a conversation with Jan Roos, cofounder of Vitality Sciences. The topic for the show is the importance of protein, especially in survival situations.

If you don’t get proper protein in your diet, over time you can develop deficiency diseases. The result is what Jan referred to as the four D’s.

  • depression
  • Dementia
  • Diarrhea
  • Death
That sounds drastic, doesn’t it? But you can see the problem, can’t you? In a survival situation, protein sources like meat, eggs, fish and dairy will be hard to get. Not all of us will be able to successfully hunt and kill wild game. Not all of us have livestock and chickens on a homestead.

And, as wonderful as beans are, they won’t give you enough complete protein. Food bars won’t cut it either.

So, how do we get the right protein for survival?

A unique solution is a product called SurvivAMINO. It’s designed especially for preppers. It’s…

  • Small and portable
  • Easy to store
  • Light weight
  • Easy to use
  • Works efficiently in your body
  • Stable with a long shelf life
I believe you’ll want to put this in your bug out bag or family survival kit. If you’re planning to go camping or hiking this year, you should give SurvivAMINO a try.

I encourage you to hear my conversation with Jan Roos when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for April 3, 2014. (Right click to download.) Take a look at what I wrote in a previous post about my visit with Jan Roos last September when you click here. If you’d like to order SurvivAMINO, click on the ad below this post.

If you have any thoughts about what you’ve read here or heard in my conversation with Jan Roos, feel free to leave a comment below.


SurvivAMINO for Destinysurvival


K-TOR Human Powered Generators – Power to the People and Power by the People

Yesterday’s DestinySurvival Radio was about power to the people. And power by the people. But no political solutions are involved. What’s it all about?

Imagine a family sitting around the dinner table, eating a carefully prepared meal from their survival pantry. The electricity has been out for days, and they’re debating the merits of hand cranked power versus pedal power.’

My guest yesterday knows all about those methods of generating electricity. He’s Ken Torino, President and Founder of K-TOR, a company that makes human powered generators. Perhaps you saw the recent review of the Pocket Socket and the Power Box by Captain William E. Simpson II. If you missed it, view it here.


Who started this power thing anyway?

Ken Torino has degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University. He spent 30 years with IBM in their technology division as engineer/manager/executive at their Vermont facility. He retired from IBM at the end of 2007. Then he founded K-Tor in 2008.

K-Tor and its line of human powered generators are Ken’s vision. He created K-TOR based on the idea that bio-mechanical energy created by every person could be easily and efficiently converted into electrical energy and made available on a personal level worldwide.

Ken is married with five sons and currently lives in Vermont.


Do you know what it means to be powerless?

If you’ve been camping or on a long trip when your cell phone or GPS unit died, you know the need for a way to charge it up. But what if you can’t get to a reliable source of electricity? And what will you do in the advent of a major catastrophe that knocks out power for days or weeks at a time?

That’s when a hand crank or pedal power generator would come in handy. But aren’t there limitations? Hand crank emergency radios sometimes come equipped with flashlights and a way to charge phones. But those can only do so much. Plus, there are so many gadgets with different power requirements and a multitude of adaptors.

As if that weren’t enough, how long can you turn a hand crank? Or how long can you pedal to generate power? So how is it possible that even a human powered generator could fill the need of the moment?


Socket to me!

One of the greatest attributes of these generators is that they’re equipped with a recepticle like a wall outlet. That means you can plug in the wall wart charger meant to work with your gadgets for charging. The generator uses high efficiency electronic circuitry, and puts out 120 Volts. You can also charge deep cycle 12 Volt batteries.


It’s about power to the people!

Why not power your electronic devices and get some exercise at the same time? The K-TOR pedal powered generator is durable and portable, too. It’s the size of a shoebox in storage mode and weighs less than five pounds. It’s easy to operate and can produce 20 Watts of power. That’s a reasonable rate, considering a human can work hard enough to generate up to 75 Watts.

But let’s not forget about the hand cranked generator. It puts out 10 Watts and 120 Volts. It’s a great exhibition tool, too. It has been used in demonstrations for school science projects and by museums.

Ken says K-TOR generators are made with a modern design for economical mass production to keep the cost down.


Fill in the power gaps.

Human powered generators can be complementary to solar power, too. The sun’s not out all the time, but these generators work when you do.

Also, it seems to me any of the K-TOR generators would serve well overseas for Christian missionary organizations or other groups working in countries where electricity isn’t readily available.


K-TOR means business for power.

When you listen to my conversation with Ken, you’ll note he’s conscientious about producing a quality product that works. He constantly tests and is always thinking of ways to make the generators even better.

He’s receptive to customer input, too. He welcomes e-mails at info(at) Replace (at) with @ in the address when you write. During our interview Ken thoroughly answered a reader’s question I shared with him concerning the price difference between the Pocket Socket and Power Box.


I feel the power!

After we recorded DestinySurvival Radio, Ken graciously sent me one of each of the generators to use and review. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity.

I tried the hand crank generator first. It requires no assembly and is easy to use. However, I discovered I must be a wimp because I have a hard time cranking for three to five minutes as the directions say to do. It really gives the arms a workout.

Ken tells me using the hand crank generator is a little like riding a bike. You have to get a rhythm. It’s important to go fast and go smooth, and go three minutes at a time. It takes some practice.

As a result, some people like the pedal powered generator better. That’s because it’s very easy, and you can crank for a long time. Ken says everybody loves the pedal generator.

You should sit on a stool or chair and pedal straight down to keep it from moving. It’s best if it is screwed down so it won’t move. You might want to try putting it against a wall or sturdy piece of furniture, too. But you must be seated, not standing, when you pedal.

It took my wife and I about 45 minutes to put the pedal generator together. We used both written instructions and the video online. It wasn’t as easy as Ken makes it look on the video, but then he designed it and knows it inside and out. I suspect most people won’t want to disassemble it and reassemble it, unless it’s necessary.

Both generators powered up a cell phone for me, using the phone’s charger. I forgot Ken said the generators put out DC electricity, and I soon discovered AC adaptors don’t work with the generators.

Here’s the paragraph about compatibility as found in the directions for the pedal powered generator.


The K-TOR Power Box pedal power generator provides DC power and has been designed to be used with devices that accept DC current. Modern consumer electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, etc., fall into this category. Appliances like a TV, Microwave and Refrigerator require AC power and are not directly compatible with K-TOR generators. To run devices that use AC power or more than 20 Watts of DC power, refer to the advanced charging guide on


I’m looking forward to putting these generators to practical use. No doubt I’ll strengthen my arms and legs in the process.


You can feel the power, too.

As always with my programs, Ken and I talked about much more than I can cover in a blog post, so I encourage you to hear my conversation with him when you listen to DestinySurvival Radio for February 6, 2014. (Right click to download.) Watch the short videos below for demonstrations of how K-TOR products work.




As always, your comments are welcome on anything you’ve read or seen here and heard on DestinySurvival Radio.