Todd Walker

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Wooden handle axe lying on wooden table, ready for use

By Todd Walker – Survival Sherpa

It’s cold and you need firewood back at base camp. That standing dead oak tree 200 yards from your shelter will provide you with enough BTU’s for heat and cooking on this frigid weekend.

What’s the best strategy to get the fuel back to camp?

You can only carry x amount of stove-length firewood in your arms before your back shuts down. The efficient method is to cut longer lengths at the harvest site and haul it back to base camp. How long? The answer depends on your functional fitness level and the diameter/density of the log to be hauled.

You need to conserve calories since the only means of conveyance is your body. Firewood provides heat. Heat cooks food. Food provides calories.

Hauling Long Logs

I first witnessed the technique as a young boy when my daddy hired Mr. Colbert to cut timber on our land. Get this, his name was King… King Colbert!

Mr. Colbert was strong as Paul Bunyan’s ox, Babe the Blue Ox! He hauled pulp wood logs to his old log truck on his shoulder. Paul Bunyan was folklore, but King was the real deal!

Now, you don’t have to be as strong as Mr. Colbert to transport firewood, a few simple tips, and upping your functional fitness, will have you toting logs like toothpicks.

Here’s my rule of thumb for hauling logs…

  • A foot or so taller than me
  • Choose trees I can reach around with one arm and touch my nose
  • Walk the path of least resistance (tripping hazards)… even it’s a longer walk
  • Good form equals less injuries

Let’s haul some wood!

Ax-Manship: Tips for Splitting Long Logs for Firewood |

Doing squats here but it’s the same technique only you walk with the log on your shoulder.

Stand the log on end. Position your shoulder just past the midway point of the log. With your legs and hips bent like your about to do a squat in the weight room, keep your back straight and tilt the log backwards (opposite the way you’re facing) as you lift the log.

The longer end of the log will naturally counter balance to your backside. A bandana or extra shirt on your neck will prevent scratches. Now haul it back to camp!

Splitting Long Logs

Grab your ax, two hardwood wedges, and a maul. Simple machines are force multipliers. Carve two pieces of hardwood about 8 inches long into wedges with your ax. The beauty of woodcraft/bushcraft skills is that you craft simple machines on site. This lightens your load considerably.

Don’t overlook the importance of a simple maul for camp craft projects. Uses include but are not limited to…

  • Pounding stuff like stakes and wedges
  • Baton for splitting wood
  • Hammer for mortise and tenon joints on shelters
  • All sorts of camp craft tasks at camp

Here’s a down and dirty tutorial on how to make your own maul:

Back to splitting.

Lay the log to be split on top of another log to elevate it off the ground. If you want to get fancy, cut a “Y” branch to cradle the log. This short “Y” holds the long log steady for splitting and prevents grounding of your sharp ax. Your ax bit won’t take kindly to dirt and rocks.

Once secure, straddle the log and strike the end of the log with your ax to start a split. Remember to keep the ax handle horizontal at impact. It may take a couple of strikes. Once a split opens in the log, drive a wedge into the split above your ax with a maul. Remove your ax and pound another wedge in the crack going down the log. Use the maul, not your ax. The steel ax tends to “mushroom” the top of wooden wedges. And please, never hammering metal wedges with an ax.

Repeat this process until the log splits lengthwise. Take care not to pound the wooden wedge into your “Y” cradle or other hard stuff or you’ll blunt the wedges.

Use your ax to cut any stubborn wood fibers clinging to both halves of the log. Follow safety procedures as if you were limbing. Keep your anatomy clear of ax swings!

Repeat the process to split halves into quarters or even eighths. I prefer quartered if I have my bucksaw at camp. With a shorter folding saw, eighths speed the processing considerably.

Bucking the Split Logs

I’ve found this method of processing firewood saves my ax. Sawing logs into firewood lengths first, then splitting them with an ax, consumes cutting tool resources (sharp ax bit) quicker than splitting long logs first then bucking.

With your logs quartered, you’re ready to process firewood lengths for your tent stove or campfire. Obviously, if you’re burning a long fire, all this processing is unnecessary.

To save calories and frustration, lay the split rails in a notched stump vise you’ve crafted. A simple “V” notch or “7” notch will help hold the rails in place while you cut to your desired length. On the homestead, build yourself a sawbuck.

If you don’t have a takedown bucksaw, order a 21 inch Bacho Dry Cut saw blade and build one from scrap lumber for under 12 dollars. This saw eats through wood like a beaver on steroids! I just ordered a 36 inch blade for larger logs.

DRG and I would really appreciate you subscribing to our YouTube channel. It’s just another avenue for us to Share the Stuff of Self-Reliance! We’ve got a subscriber giveaway planned when we reach 500 subscribers. We’re at 226 now. Thanks for all your support!

And as always…

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,



Todd Walker is married to the lovely Dirt Road Girl, proud father and grandfather, a government school teacher, a lover of the primal/paleo lifestyle and liberty. His website, Survival Sherpa, provides information about ‘doing the stuff’ for self-sufficiency, preparedness, natural health, and functional fitness. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest. Send him mail:

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition


By Todd Walker –Survival Sherpa

Woodcraft, bush craft, camp craft… whatever term you prefer, is all about building skills of self-reliance. You may keep a titanium spork or cheap plastic spoon in your camp kit, but nothing compares to eating a bowl of squirrel soup from a wooden utensil you carved from a hunk of tree!

Over the holidays, I discovered that Dirt Road Girl and my mama are very fond of a particular wooden cooking utensil. It is more of a spatula than a spoon and their favorite for stirring chili and soups. You’ve got a favorite cooking spoon, right? Well, this design can’t be found in stores any longer. They’ve looked!

Tag. I’m it. I told them I’d carve one.

It’s pretty simple. You remove the wood that is not a spoon and… bam! … you’re slurping soup by the campfire.

Spoon Carving 101


To get started, you need only a few basic tools. You can buy expensive carving knives, but a sharp, thin-bladed, inexpensive knife will work just fine. One specialty knife you’ll want to acquire is a crooked knife. A wood gouge also works. Most self-reliant types own a short-handled hatchet or ax. A small folding saw will save you loads of frustration.

Basic Tools List

  1. Hatchet/ax – short-handled and sharp
  2. Knife for detail work – I used my Mora Companion
  3. Crooked/hook knife – Mora brands are inexpensive and great little cutting tools
  4. Saw – small folding saws on Leatherman tools, Swiss Army Knives, or camp saws work well
  5. Pencil or marker for outlining your design
  6. Wooden anvil or platform
  7. Wooden maul to baton round wood into carving blanks

What Wood Works?

There are many wood sources for carving blanks. I built a fence for a neighbor this summer and trimmed a 3 inch maple limb clearing the fence line. Tossed it in my wood pile for a future unnamed project. Glad I did. Also, storm damage yields excellent pickings as well! Your neighbor will be glad to have you “clean” up their dropped limbs.

Maple has a very tight grain and works well for carving, especially the ladle indention. For this project, I wanted to try sycamore. It is more grainy and twisted than maple. But we have a field full of young sycamores in the bottom of our land.

Some in the woodcraft/Bushcraft community view Sycamore as a trash tree. It’s actually a great tree for survival and self-reliance… beyond woodworking! But we’re carving spoons today. Here’s a few facts you might want to know about this distinctive wood…

Sycamore Woodworking Profile

  • Sycamore is grown commercially for pulp and rough lumber.
  • Interlocking grain makes nice accent pieces for woodworking.
  • Turns easily on a lathe for bowls.
  • Beautiful specking on gun stocks.
  • Music boxes; guitars and violins.
  • Hard to split which makes sycamore an excellent butcher’s block.
  • Quarter sawn makes this wood more stable for projects. Flat sawn tends to warp.
  • It gets one of its nicknames “Buttonwood” from it ability to create durable wooden buttons.
  • The wood is food safe and was used for food crates and barrels in the past.

Note: Do your due diligence to ensure your wood selection is safe for cooking and eating purposes.

Watch our tutorial video at the end of this post for the finer points of spoon carving.

Safety and Grips

Here are few whittling grips and techniques that are helpful and safe:

  • Overhand Grip ~ Hold the knife in your hand like a tennis racket. The spine of the knife should be facing away from your body and in line with the V formed between your thumb and index finger. It’s like you’re shaking hands with your knife handle.
  • Chest Lever ~ Grip the knife in the opposite manner of the overhand grip. The cutting edge will be facing the V between your thumb and index finger. Holding the wood with your off-hand, bring the knife and wood towards your chest making a scissor pattern. With the cutting-edge on the wood anchored in your chest area, contract your back and shoulder muscles to remove wood in a power, yet controlled manner.
  • Thumb Lever ~ Place your off-hand thumb on the spine of the knife in an overhand grip and push the blade with your thumb for better precision cuts. You can also use your thumb as a fulcrum by rotating your knife spine against your thumb for sweeping cuts.
  • Knee Lever ~ With an overhand grip, brace the inside of your wrist against the outside edge of you knee. Pull the wood towards your body making contact with the anchored cutting edge. This controlled motion, performed properly, produces fine curls and shavings.
  • Gloves ~ For beginners or even seasoned whittlers, a leather glove on your off-hand may prevent a bloody mess on your spoon.
  • Keep it Horizontal ~ Your ax has less of a chance of biting you if it strikes the wood with the handle horizontal. Increase this angle at contact and you increase your chances of burying the hatchet… in your anatomy.
  • Avoid the Triangle of Death (the triangle formed between you knees and crotch). Nick a femoral artery and your spoon carving days are over.
  • Alone in the Blood Circle ~ If you have onlookers admiring your whittling abilities, be sure they are outside your Blood Circle. To define your circle, spin in a circle with your outstretched arm, cutting tool in hand. The area inside this circumference and just beyond is your blood circle. You’re the only person allowed in this area.

Wooden Spoon Care

  • Not dishwasher safe – hand wash and dry
  • Keep ‘em lubed

Once you’ve completed your spoon, you want to make it last. To do this, the wood needs to be sealed.

Note: Green, non-seasoned wood spoons have to be dried before sealing. Place them in a paper bag for 5 or 6 days to allow them to dry slowly. Humidity will determine how fast they dry. Another method I hear works is to place completed “green” spoons in a sealed plastic bag. Check them every day or so for moisture build up inside the bag. Wipe the moisture off and re-seal until the wood stops releasing moisture.

Choose Your Sealant

Vegetable oils can turn rancid over time. Mineral oil is petroleum-based… “they” say it’s safe to ingest. I’ve read, haven’t tried it yet… too expensive, that walnut oil is great for sealing wooden eating/cooking utensils. Yep, it’s a nut oil that supposedly will polymerize to form a hard covering that prevents the oil from turning rancid.

I’ll stick with my homemade Fixin’ Wax recipe. Heat up slightly and rub liberally on the wood surface.

Now for the video:

I’ve had offers to buy my spoons. It’s a hobby for now but could turn into a cottage business if one wished to hone this skill. They make great gifts for ladies and men alike. Plus, food just tastes better from a wooden spoon you crafted with your own hands!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,



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Todd Walker is married to the lovely Dirt Road Girl, proud father and grandfather, a government school teacher, a lover of the primal/paleo lifestyle and liberty. His website, Survival Sherpa, provides information about ‘doing the stuff’ for self-sufficiency, preparedness, natural health, and functional fitness. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest. Send him mail:

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

How to Find the Right Bug Out Bag

By Todd Walker

What nasty turn of events would warrant you grabbing your Bug Out Bag and heading for the hills… on foot if necessary? Or better yet, your well stocked retreat?

Be careful how you answer this loaded question.

There’s a long list of bug out worthy disaster scenarios according to some survival experts. Some of are real experts, some well-intentioned, others are attention whores. Read the fine print and think logically.

Most on-the-run survival advice is romance rolled into a 70 lb. “tactical” sack on your back.

I’m convinced that many preppers embrace the huge BOB thesis because of its romantic appeal. What experts in the preparedness community say doesn’t always harmonize with actual experience.

Here’s 4 reasons why…

Image courtesy of Mountain Goat Diaries

1.) Too Much Stuff

The vast majority of hopeful bug-outers are nowhere near physically capable of carrying 3 days worth of water (8.34 lb./gal. x 3 = 25.02 lb.) for a 72 hour excursion – plus other gear. But you’ve got the water issue covered with a handy water filter and a metal container and collapsible bladders, right? Just lightened you pack considerable.

What about the other stuff? You’ve got to have ammo, guns, food, gear, clothing, first aid, shelter, and 12 unique ways to build a fire. Then there are those heavy ‘comfort’ items.

You’ll need an ATV just to get the 75 pound bag out of the yard.

Since DRG and I have BOB’s at the ready, does this make me a hypocrite for writing this?


BOB’s have their place in our overall plan. The same goes for my  Get Home Bag – a totally different creature. Both are akin to having AFLAC as supplemental insurance.

You may have seen pictures of me and Dirt Road Girl training with our backpacks. They make great workout equipment. Physical training and testing and Doing the Stuff to gauge what weight we could realistically carry if we were ever forced to use feet instead of wheels.

But mostly (I mean the 99% kind of mostly), our intended purpose was to add resistance in our functional fitness program – not train to hump 100 miles to our retreat. Actually, 96 miles on nicely paved roads.

2.) Untested Stuff

Our bags are packed with gear and supplies we have tested. Weighted so we can carry them. Being un-tacti-cool, they look like something you’d see on an AT section hiker’s back. BOB’s are truly a last resort item in our prep plan.

4 Monolithic Myths About Bug Out Bags

By the way, we don’t have doggie bug out bags for ‘Moose’ and ‘Abby’, our two spoiled rescue mutts. I know. I’ll hear from some of you about our lack of pet prep. But our dogs fit so nicely in the back of our bug out vehicles (BOV). Nothing special about our BOV’s. They’re just daily drivers.

3.) Child Stuff

On top of that, we don’t have small children tagging along behind us as we machete a path through briars and brambles. Small children alone are reason enough to abandon the thought of trekking through the woods to safety. It would not be safe. Or smart.

Here’s the thing.

We don’t plan on using our BOB’s for anything other than dire emergencies – like a nearby chemical spill or our neighborhood is on fire.

If we are forced by Mother Nature or man-made nastiness to leave our stocked home, we have optional safe destinations (pre-arranged) with written plans for our family on getting there. We’ll throw our BOB’s in the vehicle just in case the black top turns into a very long parking lot and forces us to abandon our wheeled transportation.

4.) They’re Potential Refugee Bags

Options are great to have. But bugging out to nowhere in particular makes you a refugee. This whole live-off-the-land theory is just that – theory. Heading to the hills to survive fosters the romance of living off the land like mountain men. Once there, you won’t be alone. Other scared Refugee BOB-ers read that same book or blog and will be joining you. Hungry. Thirsty. Desperate. Armed. And desperate. I repeat myself.

A Better Option

If things deteriorate to a point of eminent death if you stay put, by all means, get out of dodge! Be smart. Plan now to have a pre-determined, well-stocked, alternative location(s).

Don’t have the money to purchase a secluded off-grid homestead or retreat? Neither do we. Talk to relatives and friends who are willing to work out a plan to provide a safe retreat. Make the plan reciprocal, of course. [Sherpa Tip: Plan to bring more to the table than you take.] Having backup plans to your backup plans is anti-fragile prepping.

Hunkering down at your own home to whether a crisis would be better than strapping on a refugee bug out bag and heading to parts unknown. If you’ve prepped even minimally, think of what you’d be leaving behind by heading to your ‘secret’ wilderness survival spot. Especially if you have to stretch 72 hours of resources to last a week – or God forbid, forever.

  • Shelter – no power to your house is better than an extended stay in a debris hut… or a FEMA cot.
  • Food you normally eat – not 11-year-old MRE’s. There are only x amount of deer and squirrel and such scampering through the woods to feed yourself and your fellow evacuees.
  • Guns, gear, and medical supplies – rent a semi-trailer bug out vehicle maybe.
  • Normal routine and familiar people – these vanish on a wilderness bug out – just before the edible plants and animals.
  • Neighbors to help with security. You know your neighbors, right?

Know Your Stuff

Bug out bags that are carry-able by the average person should not be packed for comfort. Pack your kit for use. Use the stuff you pack. Never buy shiny objects to stow in your kit without testing and using them regularly.

4 Monolithic Myths About Bug Out Bags

When your survival is on the line, unfamiliarity with your gear may cost you more than lost time.

Keep Stuff Normal

Keeping your life and surroundings as normal as possible in a crisis decreases stressors, which will be abundantly present during any emergency. Why invite another monkey to ride on your overloaded bug out bag.

We all need our version of childhood security blankets. It might be your favorite coffee mug, pillow, or your cushy sofa. This stuff may seem trivial and soft to hardened survivalist, but being separated from these ‘security blankets’ adds stress.

On a more personal note, I spent 4 months living in a homeless shelter during the Y2K non-event. My basic needs were met: I had a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. What I missed most was my roof, my food I enjoyed at my table, and having the ability to wear clothes from my closet.

Being homeless taught me to appreciate the ‘security blanket’ of home. Normal stuff we take for granted. The stuff we use in our daily lives.

I’ll close by answering my original, loaded question. Bugging out on foot, even without small children in tow, would require a rather large load of S*** Hitting the Fan to force me and DRG to leave our home with only the stuff in our BOB’s. Not my idea of romance. – Survival Sherpa

What would it take for you?

7 Tips to Keep You Alive and Found in the Wilderness

By Todd Walker

Get out there! Spend enough time with Mother Nature and you’ll likely experience emergencies.

Even the most innocent outings are potential survival situations. That fishing trip can turn nasty for all the wrong reasons. Your day hike may find you sleeping under the stars with a busted knee.

Always carry a minimal what-if emergency kit. With these tools, a survival mind-set, and Doing the Stuff skills, you increase your odds of staying alive and being found.

A.) Mindset Training

No matter the crisis or survival situation, your ability to come out on the other side alive is largely dependent upon your attitude. Recognizing that there will be added stress – mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual – is your first step.

Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands. – Seneca the Younger

All your other skills will be affected by your mindset. Obviously, the more skills and knowledge you have, the more comfortable you’ll be when starting a fire to stay warm when your lost in the wilderness. Being collected enough to start a fire not only provides physical life support but boosts morale.

The more you practice skills, the more you’re attitude improves. Doing the Stuff beforehand keeps panic at bay.

B.) There’s No “I” in Team

This clever slogan adorns team t-shirts and locker room walls in the world of sport. Unfortunately, the saying won’t work on surv”I“val. There it sits, smack dab in the middle of the word!

In some cases, “I” is all you have. This scenario requires you to be a team of one – without a camera crew filming or emergency personnel standing by. You’ll have to survive on your wits and create your own ‘luck.’

C.) Resilient First Aid

Injuries happen. A scrap becomes infected. A misstep twists your ankle. Now you’ve become the doctor. All the more reason to pack a basic first aid kit. Learning basic first aid builds resilience.

The larger threat in wilderness survival situations is hypothermia and hyperthermia. Getting cold and wet leads to hypothermia. You’re ability to make sound decisions is reduced when your body’s core temp drops.

D.) Improvised Emergency Shelter

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Mother Nature is temperamental. She likes to see how much hell you can handle while visiting her “house.”

Humans aren’t built for prolonged exposure to nature’s elements. We require shelter. We may stumble upon a cave if one is available. But one advantage we have over our furry critter friends is our ability to use logic and reason to survive.

Any crisis over a couple of hours in wet, cold conditions will likely escalate into a life-threatening setting. Shelter is more important than water in this case. Humans can only go three hours without shelter. Having experience in building emergency shelter can save your life. If you’re caught without a piece of plastic or a tarp, you’ll have to improvise and use what nature provides.

Here’s some ways to build a temporary ‘home’ in the wilderness…

E.) Fire

7 Tips to Keep You Alive and Found in the Wilderness

The ability to make fire is everything in the wilderness. This skill aids in cooking, purifying, heating, signaling, security, and comfort. Fire affects all your other physical and emotional steps to survival and rescue.

Fire is life!

F.) Signaling Rescuers

This one doesn’t get much attention but may be your best hope of being found alive. A series of 3 of anything (sound or visual) let’s search and rescue know you’re in distress. Three whistle blasts, rocks, logs, and/or fires. Use fire at night and smoke during the day. Be sure not to set the surrounding forest ablaze.

If you want to be found, leave a trail or signs for search and rescue. Leave a bandana or strip of cloth hanging from branches if ground rescue is involved. Also build arrows with natural or man-made material to indicate your travel direction.

For ground-to-air rescue, find an opening or clearing and create large signals with straight lines and 90 degree angles or circles. Use logs or rocks that contrast with the background. Build a log cabin fire setup with dry tinder and fuel in the bottom and green leafy material on top that will produce lots of smoke. Fire it up when you hear airplanes or helicopters.

Number Message Code Symbol
1 Require Assistance V
2 Require Medical Assistance X
3 Proceeding in this Direction
4 Yes or Affirmative Y
5 No or Negative N

The above chart indicates to rescue how to proceed. Use any available contrasting material to make these symbols a minimum of 3 feet wide and 18 feet long to alert aircraft.

Shiny Object Signaling

A signaling mirror or any shiny object will work to alert pilots. Reflected sunlight can be seen for several miles. For more details on signaling with shiny objects, Creek Stewart shows you how to improvise here.

Always leave the 3 W’s with a trusted friend or family member:

  1. Where you’re going
  2. When you plan on returning
  3. Who’s in your group.

[I intentionally left water and food out of this post. Well, to be honest, I’m running short on time and don’t have the energy to cover these in this post.  We’ll chew on these later.] – Survival Sherpa

Keep Doing the Stuff!

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Steps to Take Before Crossing Your Doorsill

By Todd Walker

My bud over at For Tomorrow We... shared with me his article on building an office emergency kit. It reminded me that I should update my kit – and plan. Tip ‘o the hat, my friend!

If you’re fortunate enough have a job in today’s shrinking economy, it’s likely that you spend over a third of your life commuting to and from work. Whether your ‘office’ is a construction site, hospital, toll booth, boardroom, or classroom like mine, you must leave the house to get there.

Having a few preparedness tools stacks the deck in favor of you getting home.

And it all starts…

Before Stepping Over Your Doorsill

I give Dirt Road Girl a hard time about how long it takes her to get ready when we’re leaving the house. She returns the good-natured ribbing *hands on those beautiful hips and eyes rolling* as I start my ritual of loading my pockets and belt with stuff I carry everyday.

I just smile and say, “Ya never know!”

Pockets Full of Preps

The stuff you carry on your person is known in the prepper community as EDC (Everyday Carry). If you work in a victim zone (Weapons Free Zone) as I do, you’ll have to get creative with preparedness and self-defense items.

Ask a prepper if he has a knife on him. You’re likely to hear what my daddy’s says…

“I’ve got my pants on, don’t I!”

But wait! There’s more room for other useful stuff besides a knife.

Wallet (some conventional and unconventional items)
  • Money (stash some so the spouse and kids don’t find it)
  • Duct tape – wrap 3 feet around an expired store card
  • I.D. to prove your residency when local law enforcement have blocked off your neighborhood after a natural disaster
  • Survival Wallet
  • Emergency contact numbers on a card. If your smart phone is lost, stolen, or dead, it’s no longer real smart. I personally don’t have my adult children’s phone numbers memorized. That’s why an old-fashioned paper card is important.
  • Pre-paid phone card. They work if you find a pay phone at a truck stop.
  • Condom. Of the extra-large, un-lubricated variety. Settle down, now! Condoms have more than one use. Creek Stewart shows 11 redundantly resilient ways a condom could save your life – with pictures and videos!
  • Sidearm – This item, along with a spare magazine, is on my person everywhere I go. The only exceptions are places my government permission slip won’t allow me to exercise my natural rights – like my victim zone classroom!
  • Flashlight – I carry a Streamlight ProTac 2L clipped inside my pocket.
  • Reading glasses – LightSpecs go where I go. I use the two LED lights on these glasses far more than any other flashlights I own. DRG can tell you about my flashlight fetish.
  • Cell phone – smart phones are pocket-size, survival super-computers.
  • Swiss Army Knife – tool of my trade as the resident handyman at school
  • Tooth picks – it’s a personal thing.
  • Chap stick
  • Lighter
  • Metal mechanical pencil – for school.

Okay, stop stuffing your pockets! You’re beginning to look like the Michelin Man.

Here’s a place for the rest of your stuff…

Your Man Purse

Guys ~ time to swallow your pride and invest in a good man purse. One peek into the bottomless pit the ladies call a purse will convince you of its utility.

Manly men and only a few metro-sexuals correctly refer to their Man Purse as Get Home Bags (GHB). A book bag, shoulder bag, brief case, or duffel bag will serve the purpose. Keep in mind that a well stocked GHB isn’t built to get you through a sudden zombie apocalypse or end of the world scenario. GHB’s are simply a stopgap measure to get you home safely.

Your family is depending on you – prepare accordingly.

Here’s a look at my GHB ‘man purse’:

Maxpedition Jumbo™ E.D.C. Versipack® – (I have no affiliation with this company).

Steps to Take Before Crossing Your Doorsill

My Maxpedition Man Purse

I’ve owned this pack for a few years and absolutely love its utility! Your ‘office’ environment will determine the type of GHB you carry and it’s contents. If you wear suits and ties to the office, the Maxpedition line of bags will stick out like a man wearing a speedo to a lady-preachers convention. Choose a GHB that blends in naturally.

What should you pack in your Man Purse – GHB?

Personalize your bag to meet your needs (meds, contact numbers, etc.). Outside those personalized items, I recommend these items for every Man Purse – GHB:

Essential Steps to Take Before Crossing Your Doorsill

Your packing list

  • Container: I carry a stainless steel water bottle full of agua. The metal container also allows you to kill nasties in drinking water via boiling method.
  • Fire: A couple of ways to make fire – lighter, storm matches, ferro rod, and tinder. Fire is even useful in an urban jungle. My fire kit is in a self-contained Altoids tin.
  • Self-defense Weapons: If legal at your ‘office’, pack heat. There are many compact handguns on the market to choose from. Less lethal pepper spray should also be included.
  • Flashlight: Ever change a flat tire with a mini Maglite between your teeth? Not fun! Invest in a good headlamp for hands-free operation. Don’t forget extra batteries. I wrap 3 AAA batteries in yellow electrical tape with the packing date written on the tape. This does two things – 1.) keeps them in one unit and 2.) reveals their freshness date.
  • Cordage: 50 feet of 550 paracord.
  • Knife: A fixed blade knife and a multitool.
  • Calories: Energy bars, pemmican, jerky, nuts, trail mix, and sardines. Be sure to rotate/eat any nuts in your GHB periodically to prevent spoilage. If your GHB is exposed to extreme heat inside your vehicle, spoilage can be a major concern. My bag goes inside my classroom and house.
  • Cover: Lightweight poncho, tarp or contractor garbage bags. I also pack an emergency space blanket. A tarp is in my vehicle emergency kit.
  • Compass and Map: Navigational instruments that don’t depend on electronics. Detours happen in disasters. A map of your city and state (states if you’re a traveling salesman) is an essential tool. Practice and be familiar with several routes home before a crisis. Reminder: Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
  • Pencil and Paper: A small note pad for taking notes, leaving messages, and playing tic-tac-toe with your imaginary friend in the passenger seat stranded in a winter storm. Seriously, it’s great to have these items!
  • Paper Money: Cache some cash of different denominations in different places in your Man Purse – GHB. I can roll about 5 bills and stuff them into a metal pill container.
  • Band-Aids: I pack Moleskin, a few Band-Aids, moist wipes, Advil packets, hand sanitizer, and a partial roll of flexible equine bandage wrap. I also pack duct tape and a 100% cotton bandana. These last two items are enough to get you home!
  • Dust Mask: A N95 mask allows you to breathe without inhaling harmful dust particles. They’re cheap, lightweight, and can be MacGyvered for other uses. Remember the scenes from 911 of people running through the streets of NY enveloped by dust and disaster debris.
  • Bandana: Speaking of MacGyvered items, pack a 100% cotton bandana in your GHB.  Makes a cool doo rag too!
  • Whistle: A simple signaling device to alert rescuers – if you want to be found.
  • Bug Spray: A small pen-style container fits easily in my kit.

Note to the ladies: Jane over at Mom With a Prep reviewed her GHB, or Day Bag, just for you. Just so you know, she’s not your typical soccer mom. So don’t call it a purse to her face!

A good Man Purse – GHB doesn’t take into account your vehicle or office kit. You’ve prepared your car and office emergency supplies, right? If not, I’m planning a future post on building these additional kits.

Whether you love your job or not, the fact is that you spend a lot of time away from your safe place called home. The important people in your life are counting on you to get home in one piece. Your Man Purse – GHB fills the gap when you step over your doorsill.

Do you carry a GHB? Add your valuable comments, suggestions, or subtractions from my list of contents. – Survival Sherpa

Keep doing the stuff!


P.S. ~ As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please pass it on. You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterest, and our new Facebook pageThanks for sharing the stuff!

2 x 2 = 4 ... 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 ... 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16 ... 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 32 ... 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64 ... 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64 ... 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 128

By Todd Walker

Who’s your partner?

Butch Cassidy had the Sundance Kid. Wyatt Earp had Doc Holiday. Tarzan had Jane. Superman had… nobody!

When Jane got into trouble, Tarzan always came to the rescue. Doc Holiday had Wyatt’s back in the O.K. Corral. Butch and Sundance went down together, guns blazing.  When a villain exposed Superman to crippling Kyrptonite, who had his back?

No one!

But he had super-human strength – and x-ray vision, you say. Right. But even the Man of Steel had a weakness. The last I checked, there are no prepper superpowers to save us. We need help. We need partners.

We all need people who will walk side by side in our journey. Step for step. Prepping without a partner can be done, but not near as productively.

I remember a conversation I had with our activity director as a sophomore in college. He had hiked the Appalachian Trail a few years before. He had one regret on his solo journey from Georgia to Maine.

Being alone.

He’d walk up on a picturesque stream or overlook and catch himself expressing words of awe verbally to a friend he wished was with him. He took pictures but that just wasn’t the same.

We are social creatures and need human interaction. A pat on the back, a hug, or an encouraging word from a partner is all that’s needed sometimes to get us over a hump.

A byproduct of a good partnership causes individual strengths to be multiplied. Working with a partner has the potential to build strengths exponentially.

Consider this example in math.

2 + 2 = 4. 2 x 2 also equals 4. Multiplication is simply adding in a faster way.

But here’s where it gets good. If we take the little number 2 and raise it to the power of 3 (2 x 2 x 2), we get 8: Now the power of partnering begins to shine. Raising 2 to the 4th power gets you to 16.

Just for fun, try some mental gymnastics.

How many were going to St. Ives?

To demonstrate, look at this scenario from my 8th grade math class. Whip out your calculator and read this 18th century riddle that the Guinness Book of World records claims to be the oldest mathematical riddle in history:

As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Every wife had seven sacks, And every sack had seven cats. Every cat had seven kittens Kittens, cats, sacks, wives, How many were going to St. Ives?

Answer choices: A.) 28  B.) 29  C.) 2801  D.) 1

You could reasonable defend ‘C’ and ‘D’ depending on your interpretation of the poem. If you chose answer ‘C’, you’ve discovered the power of exponential growth.

Exponents in Prepping

Let’s apply this to our prepping partners – even our extended prepper community.

Not everyone is into preparing for life changing events. It’s entirely possible your spouse or significant other falls into this category.

You, on the other hand, have come to the realization that governments can’t fix what’s wrong and their constant interventionism actually makes a bad situation worse. You’ve left the national ‘everything will be okay’ slumber party. You’re living with eyes wide open now.

You want your partner to join you.

If you’re as fortunate as me, your partner in prepping is flat-out, balls to the wall. Dirt Road Girl disengaged her ‘preparedness’ governor after the real estate bubble of 2008. She has our prepping engine maxed out.

If your partner hasn’t joined you on the preparedness journey, you can still climb solo. It’s not as easy or enjoyable, but very doable. Just realize that you’ll be adding when you could be multiplying.

Iron Sharpens Iron

In the process of iron sharpening iron, lots of heat is produced. The last thing you want is to create a bunch of sparks and unnecessary heat with your partner on your climb to preparedness.

If your strategy to convert your partner isn’t working, re-evaluate yourself. You can only ever change one person.


All is not lost. You might be able to influence your reluctant spouse or partner or family member to join you in building self-reliance.

Here’s how:

A.) Avoid annoying acronyms. (TEOTWAWKI, SHTF, B.O.B., G.O.O.D., WORL, etc.)

Your audience should not need a prepper lexicon to understand the babble coming out of your mouth. Keep it simple. Discuss events that are ‘most likely’ to happen and would have a direct impact on y’all. Example:

  • Weather related events – Snow in Georgia is a big event that rapes grocery store shelves.
  • Job loss. There’s no such thing as job security today.
  • Crime. Start making the connection between the economy and uptick in crime.

B.) You can influence your partner without trying to influence them.

  • Make sure they can eavesdrop on that your listening to podcast by an authority on survival and prepping. It’s not coming from you.
  • Do the stuff. People are more apt to trust and follow you if they see your actions match your words.
  • Practice practical preps. When hiking, camping, hunting, or other outdoor activities, first aid and other essentials go along. Maybe they’ll make the connection on the importance of prepping at home. Start by building an emergency kit for the family vehicles. They don’t drive around without a spare tire, do they? Take care of ‘what if’ situations. Especially if you have kids together. Preparedness really hits home then.
  • Do the stuff. ”I really respect talking heads on the TV,” said no one ever!

C.) No bootlicking. Playing hard to get uses a bit of reverse psychology.

  • Be patient – but stand on your principles.
  • Coming across desperate makes you look like a cheap used car salesman in a polyester suit. If they haven’t woken up to the need to prepare yet, they’ll just blow you off.
  • Operate with integrity and respect. They’ll see that you have their best interest in mind if you’re not kissing up to convert them.

D.) Stop hard selling.

  • Do not try to change your partner’s mind by pushing preparedness. Treat him/her with the respect they deserve.
  • Drop the ‘I told you so’ attitude. Divisive comments will only widen the gap you are trying to close.
  • Scare tactics probably won’t work. Highlight the positives of preparedness.

E.) Gain trust.

  • Actions vs. words. When that storm knocks out your power, having emergency essentials at the ready speaks louder than words. Lead.
  • Be humble. When you’re wrong, admit it, apologize and move on. No one is perfect. Don’t sweep mistakes under the rug.
  • Be there. You’ve done your homework and practiced your preps. When the time comes, show out. Become the go-to source for your partner in preparedness.

Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is the classic definition of insanity. Convincing your partner may only take a little tweaking in your approach. Or it may have nothing to do with your efforts at all.

However it comes about, SmartPreppers understand the importance of having your partner on board. Once that happens, get ready for exponential growth!

Keep doing the stuff,


P.S. ~ As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please pass it on. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Pinterest, and our new Facebook page. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

Contributed by Todd Walker of Survival Sherpa

by Todd Walker

Is your body fit to function in troubled times? Good times? Events are happening with increasing regularity that are steering us to hard times.

Stories from Great Depression survivors reveal how physically demanding life became after the crash. The difference in last century and the cliff we’re dangling over now is we’re in a state of soft. Soft bodies, soft drinks, and soft minds characterize today’s society.

Granted, there are exceptions. But look around. We’ve become a bunch of physical softies. You might be soft if…

  • Minimal physical exertion like walking up bleachers at your daughter’s soccer game leaves you breathless
  • Bending to place a case of bottled water under your shopping cart sends you to the chiropractor
  • Planting three tomatoes warrants a two-hour nap
  • Playing outside consists of a game of Angry Birds on your tablet on your screened porch
  • Checking the mailbox becomes an endurance event

If the soft shoe fits you, it’s time to stop wearing it. No one is immune from emergencies. Natural disasters happen. Some time we put ourselves in stupid situations that demand a strong response. If you’re soft, you’re not going to be very useful to yourself or those depending on you.

Excuses for staying soft run on forever. But if you’re sick and tired of being soft and tired, you’re the only person that can change you.

I work with a teacher who got tired of being soft. She had lost over 100 pounds by the end of this school year. She decided to take charge of her life and get strong. She’s an inspiration to many. Her method is not what I would use, but you can’t argue with her results.

Back to excuses. Not having a gym membership is not a valid excuse to stay soft. There are many more exciting ways to get functional fit than striding on a treadmill or pulling on a lat machine. As a matter of fact, doing conventional workouts with traditional equipment will build a baseline level of fitness for you, but washboard abs and python arms are not your aim in functional fitness.

To be functionally fit, you train your body to handle everyday situations. You want to perform movements that use multiple muscle groups. Whole body movement will increase your endurance, coordination, resilience, stamina, strength, power, speed, agility, and balance.

Think of it this way. When in nature have you seen a wild animal doing the same repetitive motion over and over like jogging in a circle for an hour. That’s not how they exercise – neither should humans.

And you don’t need a gym to get functionally fit. Allow me to introduce a workout I did the other day in our local park. Dirt Road Girl named it after the Commodore’s disco hit “Brick House.”

The Brick House Workout

brick house workout

Rolling a section of chimney from the ruins of a brick house in our park.

Chimney flip. Moving this chuck brick and mortar was a challenge. Wear work gloves if you flip rocks or jagged stuff like this. It was heavy enough to work my hips, gluts, legs, arms, and every other muscle in my body. Use caution when flipping heavy stuff. Items like this are homes to various creatures like spiders, snakes, and other scary critters :)

I flipped it end over end about ten times. It ruined my legs and I took a short break to sip from my camel back.

Hydrating on the chimney. Don't forget to stay hydrated before, during, and after workouts.

Hydrating on the chimney. Don’t forget to stay hydrated before, during, and after workouts.

Next up, balance beams. There’s a seating area beside the ruins. I’ve never seen anyone use these for their intended purpose. That’s the beauty of this kind of workout. You can turn most anything into functional fitness equipment.

Balance is something you won’t get much help with from your conventional personal fitness trainer in the gym. However, balance is important in the real world and should be practiced. You never know when you’ll have to cross a flooded creek on a slick log – or walk a straight line in a DUI checkpoint ;)

That blur is me jumping from bench to bench ~ I played the stunt double for Predator in the movie.

That blur is me jumping from bench to bench ~ I played the stunt double for Predator in the movie.

The object is to jump from beam to beam without falling. Jump in a high arc to give you a better chance of sticking the landing. I like wearing minimalist footwear or going barefoot when appropriate. Make sure the beam, log, or bench is not slippery before trying this stunt.

Remember, the most important part of survival is Don’t Do Stupid Stuff! If this looks stupid to you, don’t do it. A safer alternative is to lay a 1×4 on the ground and bear crawl from end to end without touching the ground. If you slip, you won’t fall far.

Brick squats. For this I found a smaller section of the chimney and held it to my chest while doing squats on top of the big section of chimney I just flipped. Do a few squat sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Doing weighted squats on top of the chimney

Doing weighted squats on top of the chimney

Practical Performance benefits: Lifting that case of water, your toddler, or a 50 pound bag of feed.

Timber overhead lift. There are several long, heavy logs laying in our park that I use to work my shoulders and arms. Find one that you can press safely over your head for 2 sets of 10-15 reps.

timber overhead lift

Don’t drop it on your head.

I sometime use shorter logs and balance them on my shoulder and perform squats – or drag them through the park.

Practical Performance benefits: Helps with any over the head lifting, log cabin building, and just looks cool.

Jump on it! Plyometrics are one of the best exercises to increase power. Simply put, power gives you the ability to turn strength into speed, quickly. You need a sturdy elevated surface 18 to 20 inches high. I use two stone park benches. Jump from the ground to the top of the bench and back down to your starting point… and repeat as quickly as possible. Do 2 sets of 10-15 reps as quickly and safely as possible. As you build up your strength and reps, find a higher surface to jump on.

I'm behind DRG's thumb

I’m behind DRG’s thumb

Safety point: If you’ve not been doing much in the way of physical activity, plyometrics are not where you want to start. They are very intense. Build your fitness level slowly before attempting plyos. They are very taxing on your tendons and joints so don’t overdo it.

Alternative to plyos: Do squat jumps. Squat and jump as high as you can. When you land, go into squat position and jump again. Progress until you can do box plyometrics.

Practical Performance benefits: Allows you to finally jump and touch the net (maybe even the rim) on the basketball court, converts strength into power and explosiveness (great for snatching granny from the oncoming bus), and out run your hunting partner while being chased by a grizzly bear.

I finish off my workout with elevated push ups, a few pull ups, and five sprints.

For the push ups, place your feet on the park bench with your hands on the ground after you’re exhausted from plyos and do as many push ups as you can. If you need an easier alternative, put your hands on the bench and feet on the ground to do the push ups.

Keep your body straight and core tight.

Keep your body straight and core tight.

This is my preferred gym, natures gym, to build physical preparedness. The best practical workout of all is actually doing the real stuff like throwing hay, splitting wood, digging fence post holes, clearing land, and carrying rocks for DRG’s garden. When you can’t work on a homestead, at least find a park, backyard, or even a gym and get busy practicing for practical, real-world performance.

Your survival may one day depend on your physical preparedness. Just a thought.

What do you do to increase your practical performance? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section! – Survival Sherpa