Stacy Lyn Harris’ new book HARVEST

My mouth has been watering for Stacy’s new book ever since she told me she was writing it a few months ago.  HARVEST is finally out and I think it’s her best title yet.  With a freezer packed with wild meats from this year’s hunting season, HARVEST couldn’t have been released at a better time of year.

Harvest has heart. The very nature of the book is coordinated around food that has families working together in order to bring them together. For Stacy Lyn, food is much more than sustenance, it is the medium through which familial ties are strengthened. The time and effort Stacy Lyn has put into cultivating and crafting recipes that will draw you back to the fond memories regarding your own family’s table is evident throughout. The masterfully shot photographs of the dishes alone will have your senses in a delicious uproar!

Harvest includes Stacy Lyn’s cherished family recipes, free-range meat dishes derived from her husband’s hunting obsession, and lighter takes on decidedly southern classics—all prepared simply, in the freshest way possible. The book covers food from the garden, pasture, woods, and water in four sections:

  • “The Garden” features Fried Green Tomatoes, Jalapeño Poppers, Corn Chowder, Fried Squash with Tomatoes and Pesto, and other recipes to make you wish it was summer all year long.

  • “Beyond the Garden” delves into beekeeping and raising chickens for an amazing Honey Butter to pour over Cinnamon Pear Buns and your favorite Egg Salad Sandwiches with Refrigerator Pickles.

  • “From the Pasture” focuses on free-range, pasture-fed game recipes like Braised Short Ribs, Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo, and Juicy Pork Chops, plus a how-to on sausage-making.

  • “Seafood and Fish” includes Stacy Lyn’s favorite entertaining recipes, Best Ever Clam Bake and Perfect Fish Tacos.

  • For city dwellers or anyone who feels Stacy Lyn’s way of life is out of reach, 15 “how to” articles, peppered throughout the book, offer steps for cooking and eating sustainably in any setting—including container gardening, saving seeds, preserving, foraging, composting and more.

For more information about Stacy Lyn, subscribe to her websites, and and follow her on your favorite social networks @stacylynharris on Facebook and Instagram.

Find HARVEST on Amazon here:

One knot every survivalist should know – The Trucker Hitch

TRUCKER HITCH:  Step-by-Step Tutorial + Video!

The Trucker Hitch is an impressive knot that is comprised of two very basic knots.  The name comes from its use in the transportation industry when tying and securing heavy loads.  It can be used to tie down a load using rope with crushing force.  It is the ratcheting strap of the knot world.  I use the Trucker Hitch to secure my kayak to the roof rack on my truck.  In survival, I primarily use it when setting a rope shelter ridgeline or when sleeping in a hammock.  However, it is extremely useful, whenever the need may arise, to stretch a rope very tightly between or across two anchor points.  While the Taut Line Hitch is also a tensioning knot, the Trucker Hitch allows the user to tighten a rope with considerably more force (if that is necessary or desired).

To tie it, start with forming an overhand loop on the standing part of the rope.


Then, pull a bight from the working end up through the loop.  This creates a slippery overhand loop.


Next, run the working end around an anchor point, such as a tree.  Note that pulling the working end too hard during this step will result in undoing the slippery overhand loop, so care must be taken here.  This is why it’s called “slippery”.  The working end should then be run through the slippery loop, pulled tight, and then secured with two Half Hitches.

Pinching the line on each side of the slippery overhand loop will allow for easier tying of the Half Hitches.

In a frictionless world, the design of the Trucker hitch allows for a 3 to 1 advantage when pulling a line tight.  As can be seen in the labeled diagram, every unit of force pulled on the working end results in three times that unit on the standing line.  The physics of this mechanical advantage is what allows the user to pull the standing line so tight between two objects.  Due to friction through the loop and around the anchor point, the mechanical advantage isn’t a true 3 to 1, but it’s still enough to tighten with impressive force that will rival even modern ratcheting straps.

I’ve also filmed a video about how to tie the Trucker Hitch.  You can watch it here:

If you liked this tutorial and would like to earn 18 more of my favorite survival knots, consider my POCKET FIELD GUIDE: Survival Knots – VOL I.  It can be purchased anywhere books are sold for $6.99.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,



Creek’s “Anyone, Anywhere, Anycondition, Anytime” Fire Kit now available at




APOCABOX: Spend less time finding your gear and more time using it.

I’m excited to OFFICIALLY launch the APOCABOX!  Even though I haven’t publicly announced it yet, the response has already been a bit overwhelming so a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who is already on the list for the August 15th Inaugural Shipment!  I can’t wait to see what you think!


Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself…

For those of you who haven’t heard of the APOCABOX, you should definitely watch my launch video linked below.  (Yes, that’s me in the screen capture!  Even more of a reason to watch this video!)

Video URL:

The DEADLINE for the next APOCABOX drop is August 1st.

Find out more at

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


Build a Bug Out Kindle: A Digital Survival Library at Your Fingertips



If you haven’t already, check out the article I wrote over at ARTOFMANLINESS.COM about putting together a BUG OUT KINDLE.  I list some of my favorite survival books as well as discuss the advantages of packing an entire survival library in your Bug Out Bag.  It’s not for everyone but certainly an idea to consider for some…


Have you considered an idea like this???

Here’s a link to the article:

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


2 ‘Best In Their Category’ Preparedness Books

Recently, two of my friends had books published that I would consider to be ‘Best In Their Category’ on the survival bookshelf.  I thought I’d take a moment to share them with you.



I’m the first to admit that Food Storage isn’t my thing.  It’s not my area of expertise and something I won’t pretend to know everything about.  That’s why I love this book.  I like learning from the best!  Angela is truly one of the top experts in this country (maybe even the world) about the topic of food storage for self-sufficiency and survival.  Rather than spend hundreds of hours (which I don’t have) searching on the internet for long term storage solutions, this books has ALL the answers in one well organized and well written spot.

Angela lives what she preaches so you can trust what you’re reading will actually work.  She covers short term and long term storage solutions as well as storing water, preserving your own food, how to pack foods, strategies for buying foods in bulk, organization and even sustainable ideas such as livestock, gardening and hunting.  Her knowledge in this field is mind boggling.  She includes tons of resources that would take forever to find just searching – if you’d ever be able to find them!

If you need a blueprint for storing food, this manual walks you through the nuts and bolts from A to Z and helps you get it done.  The worksheets and planning sheets make it foolproof.  Food storage is a huge part of a long term survival plan.  This book is just what I needed to get my butt in gear!

If FOOD STORAGE for SELF-SUFFICIENCY and SURVIVAL sounds like a title you might be interested in, pick up a copy on Amazon here: CLICK HERE  It will not disappoint.


Jake & Miller’s Big Adventure (A Prepper’s Book for Kids) by Bernie Carr


You may have already heard of Bernie Carr – she’s also the author of the best-selling The Prepper’s Pocket Guide.  I don’t have kids but I know many of you do so that is why I thought I’d share this title.  It’s not often I see a survival themed book designed for kids and this one is awesome.  I support survival awesomeness in all categories – even children’s books!

I can imagine loving this book as a young boy – following the young, intrepid explorer Jake and his dog Miller as they fill up their backpacks with all the necessities they could need for any possible emergency situation – a first aid kit, a crank radio, Mylar blankets, water filters and more.  This is my kind of kids book.  Boys, especially, want some adventure in the stories they hear and this book fits that bill, while also introducing them to self-reliance and preparedness.  If you’re looking for a cool, adventurous self-reliant themed story for the kids in your life – look no further – pick this one up on Amazon here: CLICK HERE

That’s it for now.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


7 Awesome Movie Survival Blades

In many movies, the cool knives get more attention than the actors themselves.  I certainly have my favorite survival blades over the years and they all aren’t necessarily knives.  You’re already thinking of some I’m sure.  Below are my TOP 7 SURVIVAL MOVIE BLADES.


# 1: First Blood: Rambo’s Survival Knife


How could this knife not be #1.  RAMBO is synonymous with survival and this knife is basically where the phrase “survival knife” came from.  The design with hollow handle and included mini survival kit was revolutionary at the time and everyone had to have one.  This knife was my first survival knife.  I got a cheaper knock-off version of the authentic movie replica but I was 10 years old and didn’t care.  It was and still is my RAMBO knife.  I still have it.  It’s actually in a shadow box hanging on my wall.  This knife played a big part in my love for survival.  Below is the one I got when I was 10.



The authentic version looks like this.


Here’s a link to a great history of the Rambo knives if you’re interested:


#2 The Edge: The Lockback Folder


I love that this knife isn’t an ‘in your face’ survival knife.  It’s a basic lockback folder.  THE EDGE is one of my favorite movies with a classic survival story; a plane crashes and a group of guys have to survive deep in the bush (while also being hunted by a blood thirsty grizzly).  Even though it’s just a movie, it is a simple reminder that even a basic every day carry pocket knife can make a huge difference in helping to provide basic survival needs.  If you don’t already, consider carrying an every day carry pocket knife.  It just makes good survival sense – you never know!

Want to own a knife just like this?  Here is the guy that made the movie version:


#3: Book of Eli: Wicked Machete


This is definitely on my short list of favorite survival movies.  In my opinion, Eli’s machete is one of the coolest in any movie I’ve watched.  I think, though, that it’s his skill in using it that makes it so cool.  This is the trick with all good blades and weapons, the effectiveness is really in the hands of the one who wields it.  Choose your blade and practice using it.  Skill and effectiveness will soon follow.  That’s where the admirable stuff comes from.  Anyone can buy a knife.

The Book of Eli movie image Denzel Washington



#4: Rambo First Blood Part II: Rambo’s Push Daggers


These daggers are often overlooked when discussing Rambo blades but these little suckers were critical in getting him out of mess.  He used them to lay waste to an entire boat full of bad guys.  Having back up blades on our person ‘just in case’ is a great idea.  There are so many concealable and comfortable options these days.  There is really no reason to ever be unarmed.  I love these blades and this is one of my favorite scenes in the whole Rambo series.


#5: The Patriot: Tomahawk


Ok, there is nothing cooler than accurately throwing a tomahawk.  That is just flat out awesome.  This scene where Mel takes out an entire mess of redcoats is gory but his use of the tomahawk is beyond impressive.  It’s no wonder why natives used them so extensively.  This is one of the few ‘tools’ that also doubles as an incredibly awesome looking weapon.  I was at the Blade Show in GA a couple years ago and met two brothers who make some of the coolest tomahawks I’ve ever had the honor of holding.  If you’re looking for a sweet hawk you have to check them out:


#6: The Hunted: Tom Brown Tracker Knife


Benicio Del Toro uses this knife like a beast in the movie THE HUNTED.  Most people either love or hate this knife.  I like it.  The movie made it famous but I appreciate the unique design regardless.  It’s hard to design a new and unique knife and I think Mr. Brown did a great job keeping it simple and functional.  It’s definitely different.  I also like that it’s designed by a survival instructor.  It actually comes with a manual that describes the many ways one can use it.  Here is a link to the instruction manual if you’re curious:  It’s made by TOPS and some more photos can be found here:


#7: Crocodile Dundee: Dundee’s Bowie Knife


Chuckle.  “That’s not a knife… this is a knife.”  You know you’ve said it!  This is one of the most famous movie quotes in the history of television.  I remember when you could carry knives like that.  Now, people look at you like you’ve got a bomb strapped to your forehead.  That fact still doesn’t sway my love for a good well-made classic bowie knife.  Though he made this knife style famous, they have the reputation to back it up.



I’m sure there are plenty of other great movie survival knives out there.  Which ones am I missing?  What are your favorites?  Have you ever bought a movie replica knife?

Remember, it’s not IF but when,


Wild Game for the Holiday Season??? Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living by Stacy Harris

As the Holiday Seasons approach, some of you may be looking for ways to incorporate hunted or gathered wild edibles into your Holiday meals.  If so, I’d like to remind you of a great Wild Game cook book that I reviewed a few months ago – Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living by Stacy Harris.

SustainableLivingFullCover_FInal_2-3 copy



Stacy is hands down an authority on wild game cooking.  Click here for my original review:

A Wildly Fantastic Wild Game Cook Book Author: Stacy Harris


Here’s also the Amazon link if you’re interested in adding it to your library:

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,



8 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Gas Mask

The driving plot behind some of our best-selling post-apocalyptic fiction novels in America is a looming reality for many people and nations in the world. As droves of Israeli citizens line up at the post office in Israel to pick up their government-issued gas masks, many of us can’t help but ask the depressing question, “Should I buy a gas mask?”


In this article I’ll do my best to clear up many of the questions and myths that surround one of the most iconic symbols of the survivalist movement – the gas mask.

To make an educated decision about whether or not to go on a gas-mask buying spree, you should first consider the following:


Surplus does not necessarily mean ‘good deal’

At one point or another, all of us have seen the military “surplus” gas masks advertised online, in catalogs or in Army/Navy retail stores. These masks are “surplus” for a reason. They’re either outdated and have been replaced by more effective models or they are defective. Many of the older surplus masks are famous for being incredibly difficult to deploy and also very ill-fitting even when strapped on correctly. You’ll never find a guarantee of performance on these domestic or imported surplus masks. There’s a reason for that, too. Many of them also ship with filters that are also long expired. I’ll get into that in a later heading. The price of surplus gas masks is enticing, I’ll admit, but the risk is not worth the savings. A good current gas mask that’s up to spec is going to cost at least $125, and more for many models. And that doesn’t include a stock of $40-$50 replacement filters. Surplus gas masks do make great novelties for the man cave, however.


Not all gas masks are created equal

Shocker, right? There are certain criteria you need to look for when buying a gas mask. First, make sure the mask and filter is rated for chemical blowing and riot control agents, designated by the CBA/RCA rating, and nuclear, biological and chemical agents, carrying the NBC rating.

Some gas masks on the market are nothing more than glorified surgical masks. While this may be sufficient for most biological threats, it’s also important that any mask and accompanying filter you purchase is certified to protect against nuclear and chemical threats as well. Be sure to discuss this with any supplier before ordering. Third party testing is preferred.

I prefer a mask with filter connections on both sides versus just one side or just in the front. This not only offers more flexibility (i.e. positioning the filter opposite where a gun stock may interfere), but also allows the user to positively attach a replacement filter on the opposite port before removing an expired one.

Field of view is a common frustration with many masks on the market. It’s important to have an unobstructed view during times that warrant the use of a gas mask. Many older surplus masks have small goggle-type eye holes, which virtually eliminate all peripheral vision. How about prescription glasses? It’s important to make sure the mask in consideration accommodates spectacles.


You’ll probably need a few spare filters

Not only do filters have a shelf life, but they also don’t last as long while in use as you might imagine. Most need to be replaced after just several hours of use depending on the environment and gas concentrations. Even if breathing in “uninfected air,” they last less than 24 hours. What does this mean? First, it’s not hard to imagine the need for several filters per person depending on exposure times. Second, it’s important to keep track of the expiration date for any filters on hand. At $40-$50 a pop, the cost of replacement filters can add up quick. I would suggest purchasing a mask that accepts 40mm NATO threaded filter canisters. These tend to be the most readily available and popular.


Too late is almost always too late

Unless a gas mask is securely deployed before attacks are made, it’s often already too late. Especially in the case of biological and chemical agents, even momentary exposure can be fatal. This begs the question about where you should keep a gas mask. Should it be kept in the home? At work? In the car? Or, should there be one in each location? It’s impossible to predict the time and place that a potential threat may take place. Even if you own a gas mask, a sudden and unexpected attack may not give enough warning to deploy it in time before you have to take your next breath.


Paul Bunyan probably won’t make it


Most gas masks don’t play well with facial hair, and I’m not just talking about Duck Dynasty-sized beards either. The 1-week lazy man can be affected. I even have a few female relatives that might have an issue. Any type of facial hair can degrade a critically tight seal against the user’s face. If you’re serious about buying a gas mask, you should also be serious about a clean shave each morning.  NOTE:  Hooded versions of gas masks are manufactured that can be used with beards.


You were not born with innate knowledge on using a gas mask


Deploying and strapping on a gas mask isn’t as easy as they make it look in the movies. In fact, many have died by either putting it on incorrectly or not being able to put it on at all while under stress and panic. There are even accounts of people suffocating to death by not removing the plastic seal before screwing on a new filter. I even did this when I installed my first new filter. It’s an easy mistake to make. There is a reason the military conducts gas-mask training exercises. Properly fitting and using a gas mask requires practice. Hands-on training by a professional is preferred. Prior practice at home is an absolute minimum.


The United States is a big place

It would be very difficult to cover the entire U.S. with nuclear, biological and chemical agents. Most agree that it is those in the large cities who are in the red zones. A farmer in the middle of Kansas is much less likely to need a gas mask than someone who works in Washington, D.C. This should be considered when making preparedness expenditures. There may be better things to spend a preparedness budget on besides gas masks if you live in areas unlikely to be targeted with nuclear, biological or chemical threats.


Gas masks are a means to an end, not the end themselves

You can’t live in a gas mask. They are meant to be a temporary defense for escaping the “green cloud.” If the threat doesn’t stop (i.e. NBC attacks keep coming) and you don’t have a permanent protected place in which to retreat (like an NBC-filtered bunker or safe room), that’s bad news indeed. Even though some gas masks are fitted with drinking straws, it’s just not practical to wear a gas mask for an extended period of time. Gas masks are a short-term solution to hopefully what will be a short-term problem.

Hopefully these insights have helped to “clear the fog” around this somewhat confusing topic. Some reading this article might decide the “surplus” gas mask in the closet purchased online after 9/11 is probably better used as a Halloween costume than a life-saving survival tool. I wouldn’t hold your breath for U.S. government-issued gas masks any time soon. I don’t see that happening in the near future. If you want one, you’re going to have to buy it.

Do you own a gas mask?  Why or why not?

Remember, it’s not if, but when.

Survival Gear Snapshot: September 2013

 What is a Survival Gear Snapshot???

We all like to dream a little, right?  In this (and future) Survival Gear Snapshots I’ll feature a variety of cool survival items (at least ones that I think are cool – you may disagree) in a themed survival-esque photo.  Some things will be affordable and some things will be ridiculously expensive.  The point is to put together a collage of cool survival-themed items.  If you think somethings too expensive – big deal – it doesn’t cost anything to look at it.  I’m currently looking for some good ideas for next month so if you know of some cool survival products or gear companies you’d like to see in an upcoming SNAPSHOT, leave a comment.


To see a larger version of this image click here:

To have your product considered for the next Survival Gear Snapshot, please e-mail


6 Last-Minute Gifts That Any Survival Loving Graduate Will Appreciate

Is there a special graduate in your life?  A brother, niece, son, daughter, wife, mom, dad?  Looking for a unique graduation gift?  Consider a survival and preparedness themed gift that will pay life-saving rewards.  Who knows, your survival gift just may save a life one day.  Below are some useful, cool and affordable survival themed graduation gifts:


Survival Knife


For many, graduation marks a transition period in life – a coming of age of sorts.  There’s nothing like the presentation of a survival knife to say “Congratulations, you’ve made it!”  Though I didn’t get a survival knife as a graduation gift, I remember everything about the moment when I got my first one.  It was special, and over 20 years later – I still have it.  It’s the RAMBO First Blood knife.  A great first survival knife is a Mora Clipper that only costs about $15.  I use my clipper all the time and love it.  It’s a beast for the price.


A Good Wild Edilbes Field Guide


Instead of Dr. Suess OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!, consider a wild edibles and foraging guide.  A good field guide should be in every young survivalist’s library.  My top three picks are:

  • A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides) by Lee Allen Peterson
  • Wild Edibles: A Practical Guide to Foraging, with Easy Identification of 60 Edible Plants and 67 Recipes by Sergei Boutenko
  • The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer

I own all three and highly recommend each.


Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit


If your graduate is moving away from the home nest, a Bug Out Bag might be the one tool that gets them back safely one day.  I moved away from home many years ago but my Bug Out Location will always be my parents house.  This step-by-step guide, written by yours truly, is a no-frills manual about how to build that life-saving kit that every graduate making a fresh start at life should have.  Buy it on Amazon for only $13 or buy it from my web-site for $16.99 and I’ll personalize it with a memorable graduation message for you.




Keep your graduate in fresh drinking water no matter where their travels take them.  The LifeStraw is light weight, effective against Protozoan Cysts & Bacteria (the main threats here in the US) and only $20.  Whether they tuck it in a Bug Out Bag, a glove box or a desk drawer, it will be ready if the time ever comes!  Read more about the LifeStraw HERE:


The gift of EXPERIENCE is ALWAYS better than STUFF

Things are great, but experience is better.  Consider taking your graduate to a Survival Course!  Whether here at Willow Haven or at some other training facility, the skills learned and time spent together will pay lasting dividends.  Invest in an education of a different kind – LIFE SAVING SURVIVAL SKILLS!  Willow Haven Course Schedule


SmartWool Socks

What do socks have to do with survival?  If your feet are screwed, you are screwed – especially in extreme circumstances. These socks have kept my feet warm in frigid temps and also blister free on brutally long hikes.  Whether on a Bug Out or a camping trip, it’s critical to take care of what keeps you moving – your feet!  I freaking love these socks.  I threw all of my other socks away when I got my first pair of Smart Wools. I spend most of my days outdoors and they have never disappointed me.  No one wants to spend their hard-earned money on socks – especially broke graduates!  It may not seem like the most extravagant gift but I PROMISE YOU – it will be the most used!!  Almost every outdoor retailer carries SmartWool Socks.  More info about SmartWool Socks here:



In the increasingly unstable world we live in, the best education may be a survival education.  Your survival themed graduation gift may be the only voice of reason amongst the new ties, photo albums, fancy monogrammed pens, candles, calendars and towels.


What other survival graduation gifts can you think of?

Creek's new survival fiction novel, RUGOSA, now available on!