This is another gear review of the items I utilized at a recent class we taught. This class was Survival Basics in Versailles KY. After the video you wills the actual gear list and links to the products that Dan’s Depot sells. Remember by taking a hands on class, you learn get immediate feedback on what works and what doesn’t work. I give some suggestions on each in these reviews.
- Dan’s Depot Tarp
- Big Agnes Sleeping Pad
- Military Bivy
- Sleeping Bag
- Poncho Liner
- Teton Backpacker’s Pillow
- Eberlestock Rain Cover
- Eberlestock Warhammer
- Eberlestock Little Brother (comes with Skycrane, or order seperately from Dan’s Depot)
- Eberlestock Dry Bag
- Pee bottle
- Beaver Bill Axes
- Gerber Axe (new one which holds saw blade very well)
- MSR Stove
- Mountain House Meals
- Rothco Jacket
Thanks for watching and please let us know if you have any questions on any of these gear pieces.
We had a question some time ago that I answered on video about using apps for phones and tablets in survival training. I got a ton of private messaging about that post. In that video I said there wasn’t an app out there that was useful. I still stand by that statement. If there is ANYTHING that you utilize in your survival kit that requires batteries, you need to rethink it. You will have to take great pains to carry plenty of extra battery backup or simply choose to gain the knowledge so you succeed without it.
That is exactly where these apps might come into usefulness. Survival training is a different situation all together, than actually surviving. Lets take a look at my top three for training.
1. Theodolite – I love this app for training. It is basically a view finder that integrates GPS positioning, compass, inclinometer (measures angle of slope), rangefinder, map, and camera all into one useful app. I personally use this for two distinct reasons.
- The first is that I use it to keep track of tracks (pun intended). I can very easily document tracks and their location, and then easily put them on a map to see patterns of travel. By studying patterns and directions such as this, hunters could more easily develop strategies for hunting and or trapping. For survival training you know that all animals must have water. So developing a keen sense of where and how to find water by following tracks is an incredible source of knowledge.
- I have also used this to locate and geotag edible, medicinal or otherwise interesting species of plants. This will help me find them at a later date. Prior to this app I did this for years with small pieces of surveyor’s flagging. This app makes it more useful without the need of flagging which oftentimes comes off or otherwise destroyed. By using this app I can easily return to a species I am interested in throughout the seasons so I can study how it looks in different seasons, weather, etc
2. Wild Edibles with Steve Brill - I use this app more than any other. The main reason I started using this app is because the book I had by Steve got wore out. I bought another one and it too got wore out. I take it to the field often. This app has helped me to easily get all the information I need to study edible and medicinal plants. In my estimation this is the only app out there that can assist you in studying edible and medicinal plants easily. Steve has done a great job of giving technical information and adding humor and recipes in as well.
The beauty of an app such as this, is you really get to take a lifetime of research and study done by someone such as Steve and stuff it in your pocket. It is like stuffing Steve Brill in your backpack and having him talk incessantly about edible plants. Just joking on that one, however there is an incredible amount of work that has gone on to get this app together. You will love this app if you have interest in edible medicinal plants.
3. iTrack Wildlife – This one is relatively new to me but I am finding it incredibly useful. This app is PACKED full of research and wonderful photographs. You can find a track and it will help you decipher what animal made it, show you other sign such as scat, skulls, and even give you a link to Wiki articles on the animal. It also includes articles on how to get started tracking, etc.
With all that said there is no better teacher than dirt time either will a skilled teacher or solo. However these apps make it much easier for us to carry in our hand useful tools to further study what we are seeing while we are out and about.
Thanks for reading, I hope to see you on, or off the trails sometime soon.
You will hear us often speaking about the importance of training with your gear. We mean ALL of your gear. If you add something to your setup, you need to take it outside and use it first. You need to know the ends and outs of how it works, how best to carry it. If it is an item that you are afraid to use because it might wear out, or break, then please do yourself a service right now and give it away to someone else. You must train with your gear before you need it. If you have some piece of gear that requires you to also pack directions on how to use it, then please fix that now. You should never require directions to use your kit items. The biggest one that falls into this class is a compass. If you think you are going to figure it out when you need it, you are making the same stupid mistake that thousands of others make. You are smarter than that, get some training or train with it now on your own before you need it.
Here is an example of me making a rookie mistake along these lines. I bought a new piece of equipment for personal use. I then put it on my pack at the house and went out to do some work. Here is what I found.
I REALLY hope to see you on, or off, the trail….training with your gear!!
The biggest thing I get criticized for by the haters on the Dan’s Depot youtube channel is that I am overweight. While I agree with the assessment, I have never understood why people would rather criticize others in situations like that rather than attempt to assist.
With that said I put this short video together as a motivator for both myself and you to get in better shape. My sole purpose is to help you get started by advising you of one simple truth. That truth is that you do not necessarily need a gym membership and a personal trainer to get in shape. I am losing weight and getting in much better shape by doing very different things. One is that I am stepping up my regular workouts in the martial arts facility in which I train. It is easy to get lazy if you allow yourself to do so when you are the teacher. That is totally due to my laziness. The other is that I have found a place to walk…alot. I walk with a ruck on, I walk with it off, I listen to music sometimes, pther times I don’t, sometimes I do jumping jacks or burpees in the middle.
I suppose what I am saying is that you need to get in shape in the best way that you can. If that means hiring a personal training, or gym membership then do so. If that means walking a flight of steps several times a day, or do squats in your bedroom or hotel room, then do so. Just do something, get active. If the ship hits the sand…..you are going to need it.
Until next time I hope to see you getting in shape on, or off, the trail!
Dan’s Depot and Nature Reliance School are passionate about getting people educated and geared up for disaster preparedness. Some call it prepping, others survival. Whatever you want to call it, we just want people to understand that there are realistic threats to you and your family’s safety.
Through my work at Nature Reliance School we do our utmost best to help educate people from all walks of life, particularly focusing on family preparedness. It is our belief that the “lone-wolf” mentality is romantic notion in which some survivalist goes off to trap, hunt, and fish while he leaves behind a family that is starving or having their needs met by someone else.
In that regard I am regularly asked to come speak to school groups about the topics of preparedness and survival. I am blessed in that I often get to mentor many kids on the topics of character education, communication skills and many other topics along the way.
Dan’s Depot has always been very supportive in assisting me in this work. As you can see in the picture attached to this blog piece.
In that picture you have 6 of approximately 40 students in a group that I taught a shelter building class to here in Central Kentucky. These young men are part of a larger group that come together each week to discuss how to be leaders and communicators in their community as they grow older. We used the wool blanket, tarp, poncho, and Eberlestock pack from Dan’s Depot to show these young men, how to keep their core body temp appropriate. This was an extremely fundamental look and it included appropriate clothes, and methods to stay both warm and dry in bad conditions.
Some of these young men are outdoorsman and hunters already, some of them spend most of their days inside playing videos games. It is an absolute pleasure working with them all. We will be going back several times to teach sections on fire building, water purification, and obtaining food in the wild. They have a big field trip at the end of each year where these guys go out and utilize the skills they have developed in a wilderness setting.
Big thanks to Dan’s Depot for supporting these types of activities for youth!
Until next time Ihope to see you on, or off, the trail!
Camouflaging yourself or your supplies is a whole lot more than just painting something the colors that match the environment it is in. While that is generally the accepted definition, we would like to take a closer and more indepth look at camouflaging yourself. To us, camouflaging involves making sure you are not seen, heard, and/or smelled. To that affect we wanted to put together this blog piece and some videos to help the beginner out there who is just now getting started into this lost art.
Often times when we think of camouflage we simply need to take a step back and look at wildlife. Whether it be a deer, rabbit, or coyote all animals have their own special way in which they stay unseen. Yet, none of these species walks around wearing the latest fad in camouflage.
If you are new to camouflage then you can get inundated rather quickly with all the options out there. There is no need to be that way.
In this blog and the associated videos, we are going to show you some considerations for camouflaging. You can use these ideas for your next hunt, wildlife viewing, or tactical needs.
Please bear in mind that camouflaging is mostly dependent upon the environment in which you are in. Do not feel that any particular camo that I use or mention in this series is good for your environment.
In this first video we discuss visual cues to camouflaging. In it we take a specific look at some considerations of fabrics and how much light they either absorb or reflect. A garment that reflects light will be more easily seen. A garment, ruck, or kit that has the ability to cast more shadows on the garment itself is more useful. That is why ANYTHING you can add to your camo that is three-dimensional is superior to only two dimensional. Also pay close attention to the portion of the video where we discuss lines. Any pattern that has distinct lines on it and contrasting colors next to one another is….not so good. I won’t go so far as to say it sucks, but it does. Note the variance you can see when I discuss the Vietnam era camouflage.
Now that you have some basics in camouflaging, you need to definitely consider movement strategies in your environment. As mentioned in the first video, when you can you need to move in areas where there is a lot of vegetation to break up your outline. You should also consider exposing your outline on ridglelines etc. NEVER walk along a ridgeline if your purpose is to stay concealed. You should always walk along the military crest of a hill. The military crest is just below the ridgeline and allow you to see the top and possibly just over it with out having your bodily form exposed. I have hunted deer my entire life and you will very rarely see wildlife going down a ridge line (unless maybe it is a strutting turkey) , you will find their game trails along that military crest. Keep in mind in this video we are discussing the need to stay concealed. Think of it as sniper movement rather than a patrol movement.
The last video we wanted to share is about auditory considerations. It is much like movement strategies. If you have the best camouflage available including a top-of-the-line ghillie and you then go about charging your rifle, opening velcro pockets, talking, farting whatever then you are wasting your time, money, and energy into camouflaging yourself. You must do all you can to stay quiet. The human ear is not as able as most wildlife. If you disturb the wildlife, you then alarm and alert everything in your environment that you are there. If you are attempting to stay hidden from other wildlife, you have made a huge mistake. If you are tactically minded and you are hiding from other tactically minded individuals, you too are then alerting them. They should be paying attention to their environment as well.
Those are some considerations for camouflaging. The only one we did not cover is olfactory considerations. It is pretty difficult to show how things smell on camera. So consider this, you obviously can smell, but you can also disturb the plants and such on the ground and cause them to smell. Stepping on moss, kicking up fresh dirt, these and similar issues are ones in which you increase the opportunities to scent you.
We hope you liked this blog post. It is a bit longer than most of mine. I thought it best to put it all in one blog rather than breaking it up into parts. Please let us know your thoughts on that. We are always searching for better ways to help you get more prepared.
Until next time, I hope to see you on, or off the trail!
I am regularly and repeatedly trying out new kits and gear. I love that part of my work. One of the things that the Dan’s Depot crew has often told me to do is to keep trying out new and varied things. If I can find gear that is either completely exceptional and/or rugged and affordable, they will find a way to offer it.
What I wanted to do in this video is to do a run down of every item in my kit that I utilized in a recent class. This particular class was a collaboration between myself and Rodney Van Zant of Iron Sight Defense. It was basically a class designed to teach the participants the basics of DEFENSE during an “event”. Said event, being any number of situations. The men and women in the class were required to ruck in with their gear including weapons and survive for 3 days in the wilderness. The class was primarily in two parts, the academic portion, and the practical application portion. (For a quick look at some of the photos from class check out our Nature Reliance School Facebook Page) With all that said, this video is a run down of what I carried with me all weekend. Below this video you will find a listing of all the items in the video. If they are sold by Dan’s Depot, then they are hyperlinked for you to check out the great pricing on the website. Thanks for reading.
- Tactical Research Boots
- Merino Wool Socks
- Proper ATACS FG Pants
- Proper ATACS FG Battle Shirt
- 5.11 Belt
- Rite-N-Rain Notebook
- Tactical Tailor Hat
- Morale Patches
- Rothco LS T-shirt
- Polypropylene Shirt
- Polar Fleece Jacket
- Down Vest
- Liner Pants
- Bivy Cover
- Poncho Liner
- Eberlestock Rain Cover
- Eberlestock Warhammer
- Eberlestock Fanny Pack
- Eberlestock Little Brother
- Kleen Kanteen
- 5.11 Tac Vest
- Silva Ranger Compass
- Frontier Pro Straw
- Midland Radio
- BHK Knife
- Fobus Holster
We did 101 Uses of Paracord and it went crazy, because a lot of people will talk about doing it, write about doing it, but few folks will go out and invest the time in actually doing it. So, here comes Mr. Bandana to do the same thing. We have for you now 101 Uses of a Bandana. We did much like we did before in that we tried to show a range of survival, camping and other practical uses. At the same time, a whole video of that is boring, we know that. So we took an opportunity to laugh at our selves and hopefully provide you with a laugh along the way, so you will be inclined to watch the whole video.
For you all you trolls out there who will pick through this and find a duplicate and say there are not 101….. There are actually somewhere around 109 uses in this video. Have fun picking it apart.
For all of you who are educated or find enjoyment in this video, we would appreciate you subscribing to your channel, and giving us a thumbs up on the video. Also share it, share it, share it…twitter, facebook, youtube, redditt, text it, by golly show it to someone sitting next to you while you are watching it on your ipad.
If you are so inclined to pick up one of these for your use, please head on over to Dan’s Depot for this huge assortment of bandanas.
I hope to see you on, or off, the trail!
Currency has not been around forever, but bartering certainly has. If nothing more than sharing a good back scratching, we have shared goods and services in exchange for someone else’s goods or services. Most people in today’s world find it easier to simply share currency or swipe their card in exchange for the things that we want or need.
I agree, in many respects, that is quite a bit easier. However, what is missing is a real valuing of those goods and services beyond the use of, or even idea of a government backed currency. I am not here to debate, or to even attempt, to convince you that our economy is going to collapse. For the sake of this discussion and my attempt to help you, lets assume that it does. If so what are the following things worth to you then?
- Clean water?
- 1 ripe peach (or tomato)?
- Your family’s medical needs are met?
- How about your security?
Yeah most if not all of these things or variations of them are provided to us here in the United States, almost casually without much thought to them. I am not saying we have a well oiled machine as to how our society works. However, we do certainly enjoy a fairly well-organized society. If you do not think we do, then please turn off your water, and electric for a month, don’t go to the grocery store for the same amount of time and take all your property and place it in your front yard unguarded. See how that works out for you.
With that said, bartering is still active for many in today’s society as well. Outside of my work with Dan’s Depot, I run two small businesses. Many of you are aware of my work with Nature Reliance School, but may not be aware of my work as Chief Instructor of Bluegrass Budokai as well. In both of these business, I regularly engage in bartering for my services, whether that is trading flint and chert for an edible plants class or trading fresh vegetables for a person to train in martial arts. Most of the small business owners like myself, do this often and regularly.
In this part 1 of our series, I wanted to simply share some thoughts to help encourage you to see the importance of bartering, as well as to start building a frame work on how to start. In our follow-ups in this series we will take a look at several different facets of this practice such as…
- How to go about valuing goods.
- What are necessities vs. comforts.
- How to use items as currency.
- Developing barter groups
Check back with us soon, as we continue this series. We look forward to seeing you on, or off, the trail!
If you are looking for an inexpensive, sturdy survival knife, we don’t believe you can go wrong by picking up a few Moras. Mora from Sweden like all things edged in Sweden, are sharp, really sharp. We sell a ton of these knives at the Depot, so we thought we would feature them in an overview video, showing the ones that most people prefer to pick up.
In this video you see two Mora Companions. One is stainless steel and in high visibility orange, the other is carbon steel and is in OD green. I always have a few of each on hand for my students in classes at Nature Reliance School. You should NEVER lay your knife down for any reason, keep it on you at all times. However, beginners are new to this idea and will lay their knife down oftentimes. To help them, I recommend the stainless in high vis orange simply because it is easy to find and easy to take care of. With all the other knives featured here, you will need just a little care for them to remain great knives. Mainly they need a little oiling from time to time.
The other two knives in the video are the Mora All-Around and the Mora Classic. The All around is very close the same knife as the companion having just a tad bit beefier handle to it. The classic, has the birch handle and is much smaller and makes a great neck knife. Many Dual Survival fans will recognize this knife as the go-to knife for Cody Lundine.
So check out the video and check out the Moras in the Dan’s Depot store, located here. Until next time I hope to see you on, or off, the trail!