Finding Land for Your Homestead

Before you become entangled finding land for your homestead, take a look at “Backwoods Home Magazine” for May/June, 2017 (Issue #165). It contains an excellent, in depth article on how to look for and find land to suit your needs.

Topics covered include…

  • The run-down place
  • The ready-to-use-tract
  • Raw land
  • Junk land
  • Financing

Below is an article excerpt, followed by a link where you can read the whole thing.

There’s no such thing as free land!

(But if you’re smart, you can get it cheap)

By Setanta O’Ceillaigh

I have been a homeowner since I was 18 years old and I still continually shop for land opportunities in the northeastern United States. My forester education includes land surveying, and as a Tribal Forester, I was tasked with mapping the forest cover types on the reservation. While I couldn’t go walking onto private property without permission, I could use remote tools to fill in the blanks. I use this same knowledge to assess properties that I am looking into for my own use. Some of the tools I use are available to the public but are not widely known.

I have noticed on some online forums I follow that many people are asking where to find free land. One person insisted they heard about the government giving away free tracts of farmland to any applicant and was hoping also to find some secret way to be given a piece of a state or national forest. From what I could tell, they were probably talking about the old Homestead Acts which have long been discontinued. While there is no free land, it’s very possible to find affordable land. (It should be noted that land prices vary greatly from region to region.)

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.

How Prepared Are You for Winter?

Fall is a good time to prepare for winter. Whether you live in town or on a homestead, you don’t want to wait until the last minute.

Jackie Clay-Atkinson shares expert guidance on preparing for winter in the September/October, 2016, “Backwoods Home Magazine” (Issue #161). Check out the exerpt below and click on the link to read the whole article.

Preparing for winter

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

In some climates, winter’s no big deal — just a little rain and cooler weather. But for the rest of us, winter is something to be prepared for. I’ve lived in Michigan, New Mexico, Montana, and Minnesota, all of which have significant winters.

In Michigan, I remember just barely beating a blizzard home from a horse sale, fording snow so deep that it covered the headlights of our Blazer. Up on the high plains in New Mexico, we didn’t have so much snow but we did have wind and cold temperatures. We would fall asleep at night wondering if the water lines to the bathroom and kitchen would freeze.

Read the whole article here:

Excerpt used with permission of Backwoods Home Magazine. (541)247-8900.


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. (541)247-8900.



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


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.


Why You Need a Bunker for Your Family

I don’t know about you, but I get nervous when I hear someone talking about bunkers. I’m concerned it will reinforce negative stereotypes about survivalists. Nonetheless, storm shelters and underground bunkers do indeed have a purpose.

They can provide protection in the event of a tornado or hurricane, as well as protection from nuclear attack. Their usefulness depends on the size and shape of the survival shelter you have.

For that reason I’ve been hoping for some time to do a DestinySurvival Radio show about bunkers. My guest for this week’s show is Ron Hubbard of Atlas Survival Shelters.

You don’t have to have the proverbial “doomsday bunker mentality” to have a survival shelter for your family. Listen to this week’s show, and hear what Ron has to say.


The Man and His Company

Ron Hubbard has been a steel Fabricator for 35 years. He is based in Los Angeles, but he operates mostly in texas and a few other states. His company ships worldwide, and business has been growing due to unease in the world.

The oldest known bomb shelter company in the world is Atlas Bomb shelters, started around 1950 in Sacramento, California. Today the operation is based in Los Angeles and ships bunkers worldwide and distributes throughout the United states.

Ron took over the company in 2011 and made it politically correct by renaming it Atlas Survival Shelters because, in the world we live in today, bombs are not the only thing we worry about.

Incidentally, there’s a good chance you’ve heard or seen Ron somewhere talking about his company. Look for him on rerun episodes of “Doomsday Preppers,” “Storage Wars,” “Shipping Wars,” “Extreme Survival Bunkers,” “Decoded,” “Boy’s Toys,” Military Channel, PBS, and “All You Can Eat.”

He’s been on the Alex Jones Show, NBC’s “Today Show,” “Inside Edition,” “20/20,” “Good Morning America,” the BBC, History Channel,” and Fox Business Channel. He’s also been featured in several big name national publications as well as more than 100 international newspapers.

With all of that said, I was honored to have Ron as my DestinySurvival Radio guest this week.

First Considerations

Before we get further into the subject of bunkers, Ron believes in all aspects of preparedness. That includes having storage food, the means to have clean water, and shelter. He sees his role as helping you to have adequate shelter.

A survival shelter is insurance that protects you and your family. When you buy one, you’re making a long term investment. They’re built to last decades–100 years and beyond.

And here’s a benefit you may not have thought of. You can use your survival bunker for more than a hideaway when the big one happens. You know, the end of the world as we know it.

Use it now as a hunting lodge, “man cave” or just a place to get away for relaxation. If you make use of it now, you’ll know what to expect from it in the proverbial SHTF scenario.

Demand for bunkers has increased in the past few years, according to Ron. I can understand that, but I wouldn’t have expected it, due to the poor economy. Apparently concerns about national and world events are foremost in people’s minds.

Half of his customers are women. They’re the ones trying to get men on board with getting a shelter.

Incidentally, three things should be in place before you purchase a survival bunker.

  • Land where you feel safe.
  • Money or financing for the purchase.
  • The whole family needs to be on board.

Which One Do You Need?

There are different kinds of shelters. Ron makes them all. But the kind that will withstand a nuclear blast is round, made with corrugated pipe. A shelter in the shape of a square is a tornado shelter or fallout shelter at best.

As Ron tells it, he doesn’t make a lot of money on his shelters, in spite of what seems like a high price tag at first glance. His largest unit is 500 square feet in size and runs about $150,000-$200,000.

Though the bunkers aren’t cheap, they come well equipped. His popular Hillside Retreat unit comes with a master bedroom, kitchen, bunk room and large bathroom. That’s because, when you’re living underground, you’ll want some sense of normality and to have your personal space.

Ron has given thought to details such as the configuration of the entrance. Also, air systems are up to military standards.

Ron is proud of a new offering. It’s an 8′ x 10′ square shelter which would be placed several feet below your garage to serve as a tornado or fallout shelter. It’s larger than the popular storm shelters being sold by other companies today.

The shelter’s new design is really an old one because it comes from the 1950’s and 1960’s–back when they were built so well for the military and public civil defense. What’s more, it costs less than $15,000 and can be fully financed.

Plan ahead when you purchase your survival bunker. It may take 2-3 months to have Ron’s most popular bunker in place. He has some smaller units on hand already, but has to build the larger ones.

Practical Considerations

While you have to plan carefully where you place your shelter, zoning isn’t an issue. Neither is terrain, as I would have guessed. If your water table is high, Ron can make your bunker water tight, like a submarine.

You can power lights and electronics in your bunker with a generator, solar or wind power, and battery banks. Ron and I briefly discussed these options.

Ron acknowledges his bunkers aren’t EMP-proof, but he mentioned steps you can take to protect your electronics. However, it’s not entirely clear how great the impact of an EMP will be. It may not be as bad as the most dire predictions would have us believe.

Fear or Reason?

None of us knows what will happen next. 9/11 changed the world. What lies ahead could cause that to pale in comparison. The purchase of a survival bunker represents a level of hope because you’re hoping for the best but planning for the worst.

How the masses will react in the SHTF situation is Ron’s greatest concern. He’s optimistic though and believes Americans will pull together for good.

Ron says he’s not a fear monger. In fact, he tries to calm down anxious prospective customers and help them think through what it is they really need. Isn’t that the kind of thoughtful customer service you want when you’re considering buying a survival bunker?

Dig Deeper

OK, bad pun.

Now, it’s your turn to find out more than what I have room for in this post. Hear my conversation with Ron Hubbard by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for August 13, 2015. (Right click to download.) Check out his site at The site has a wealth of information about the shelters and includes dozens and dozens of pictures.

By the way, I have no financial ties to Ron’s company, so I won’t make anything from a sale if you buy one of his survival shelters. However, you can do Ron and I both a favor by mentioning DestinySurvival when you get in touch with him.

Watch the short video below, and you’ll see Ron giving a tour of the Hillside Retreat.



Shelter, Fire and Water will Help You Make Ready to Survive

Panteao Productions has come out with a couple more DVD’s in their Make Ready to Survive series. I reviewed the first three videos, which you can read about here. I’ll discuss one today and another soon. Shelter, fire and water are covered in the DVD I’m reviewing today.


Shelter, Fire, Water

Dave Canterbury of the Pathfinder School is the instructor in this presentation. He begins by giving his background as an instructor of primitive skills. Then he moves right into the subject matter.

It doesn’t get any more basic than shelter, fire and water, especially when you’re in an outdoor survival situation. Dave makes it all look so easy. It’s good to be able to learn from such a practiced expert. But be advised. He goes through his material quickly and concisely. Be ready to take notes, or watch the video several times to be sure you’re getting the most out of what he has to say.


Make Ready to Survive - Shelter, Fire, Water



Shelter topics include…
  • Knots
  • Cover
  • Hammock
  • Small hut
  • Long term hut
Early on he reviews the 10 items he discussed in his Panteao Productions video on survival kits. (It’s one I’ve reviewed previously.)

As with Panteao’s other videos, demonstrations are shot close up so you can see what’s happening. This is definitely helpful when Dave shows how to make knots. Those knots and plenty of cordage are necessary for making the ridge line for a tarp shelter.

Dave recommends having several items on hand in your pack for making a shelter. I’m amazed by all of the things he brings up which you and I might not think of, unless we’ve perhaps had some experience in wilderness survival. For example, he makes a good case for carrying plastic stakes. You don’t want to create them from branches. Why use your knife, valuable time and energy if you don’t have to?

He demonstrates something as simple as how to shape your tarp shelter to take best advantage of conduction, convection and radiation from your fire.

The huts shown are for cold weather environments. The small hut is a debris hut. The larger hut is meant for long term use if you’re going to be stuck in the woods for days or weeks.



The bulk of the video deals with fire. Topics include…
  • 3 Stages of fuel
  • Natural tinder
  • Things to carry
  • Bed and fire lay
  • One stick fire
  • Fire with duct tape
  • Fire with lighter
  • Magnifying glass
  • Bow and drill
Fire is critical for so many reasons, such as providing heat for warmth, cooking,disinfecting water, and making a signal, to name a few. The sections about fire are quite thorough with everything you wanted to know, and then some.

Heat, oxygen and fuel are the three things necessary for a good fire. Dave describes tinder and kindling to get a fire started and keeping it going. Then he discusses the instruments he recommends having in your pack for making a fire.

Processing your tinder is key for getting a fire going. More surface area and smaller pieces help. Dave discusses the difference between a bird’s nest and a kindle bundle. The bird’s nest is handy for starting a fire with an ember.

When you hear the term “one stick fire” you may be baffled, remembering the notion you’ve heard somewhere that it takes two sticks to light a fire. But that’s not in the picture here. There’s a way to make a fire using a certain size of a log, and you’d better be ready to do plenty of cutting. Dave’s demonstration is fascinating. It’s instructive to know how to manipulate the wood.

Are you curious about duct tape and starting a fire? It has to do with turning the tape’s fibers into tinder. Dave says this is something you should practice before you need to do it in an emergency situation. Hopefully you’ll have other resources available so you won’t have to do this.

What do you do if your cigarette lighter gets wet or is out of fluid? Dave shows what to do in each case. I’m sure it’s not as easy as he makes it look.

I was interested in the magnifying glass demonstration because I remember burning holes in leaves and paper with a magnifier when I was a kid. Perhaps you’ve done it, too. I carry a couple of magnifiers in my pocket at all times because I use them regularly for their original intended use. The goal when starting a fire is to take advantage of the sun and use the glass to ignite an ember.

The last thing you want to have to do in an emergency is start a fire with a bow and drill. But Dave shows how to do it for informational purposes. It’s not something I’d want to master just so I can show off wilderness survival prowess. An awfully lot of work goes into a bow drill fire, just to start an ember. And then you have to get the fire going from that.

Several times during the video Dave mentions whether an activity requires expenditure of energy and burning calories, which you’ll need to replace later. It’s also quite evident that you’ll need a good knife or saw for doing the things he shows us.

After each of Dave’s demonstrations I marveled at how he actually got a fire going. One thing’s for sure. The possibilities do exist. But I hope I’m never in a situation where I have to make a bow drill fire or a one stick fire. It’s far better to have more efficient means on hand for starting a flame.

Two major points are evident from this video. Preparation is key to starting any fire. And don’t be in a hurry.



Water related topics include…
  • Coyote well
  • Boiling
The object of making the coyote well is to clarify water you draw into a hole you dig near a water source. It won’t be completely filtered, but it will be better than the water that comes directly from the pond or lake itself.

Boiling is the most effective way to get potable water. Just bring it to a rolling boil. Letting it boil longer wastes water through evaporation and uses your fuel. And, of course, in order to boil water, you’ll need a fire. It all connects together.


Dress for Survival

Near the end of the video is a brief chapter on clothes. Dave shares some simple tips regarding clothing in both cold and hot weather conditions, using the letters from the words “cold” and “hot” for memory devices.


How You Can Get This Presentation

These Panteo Productions videos are top quality. They’re professionally done and worth having in your survival library collection. Not only can you get them in DVD form, but you can subscribe to view the material online. You can even access it on your mobile device.

Panteao Productions also gives subscribers discounts and a 100% money back guarantee. So you have nothing to lose.

Find the Make Ready to Survive series by going to

Have you viewed any of this video series yet? Why not leave a comment and let others know your thoughts.