TOP 21 Survival Pick Up Lines

Let’s face it, finding another survival-minded partner isn’t the easiest task in the world.  Sometimes it can feel like trying to start a friction fire with water soaked wood.  Or, like trying to find the one edible cattail in a marsh of poisonous water irises – darn near impossible!

And let’s face it, survival-types aren’t known for being the most socially suave category of people, am I right?  It takes a special person to understand the things that survivalists really get excited about – like composting toilets, stacked and racked food storage, gravity fed water systems, heirloom seeds,  Bug Out drills, wild edibles, household arsenals and the list goes on and on.  You know what I mean.

Well here at Willow Haven, we know a good survival partner not only makes a lot of sense, but also makes life more rewarding.  They aren’t just someone to reload magazines when lead starts flying. They’re a key component to a solid support system.  Consequently, we are extending our survival training to help with this social dilemma.  Don’t worry we’ve got your back!  Hopefully our advice in the skill of approaching a survival minded partner will help.  You won’t, however, be able to use the 2 is 1 and 1 is none philosophy when choosing a survival life partner.  That probably won’t go over so well.

Without further delay, below are the Top 21 Survival Pick Up Lines:

Survival Pick Up Line # 1:

Stop.  Just stop.  You had me at ‘food storage’.

Survival Pick Up Line # 2:

Here.  I brought you a bouquet.  It’s edible.


Survival Pick Up Line # 3:

You know, I’d love to invite you over to my place, but my bunker location is a secret.

Survival Pick Up Line # 4:

Hi.  Let me buy you a drink?  Excuse me bartender, do you take gold?

Survival Pick Up Line # 5:

I’m going to do something really special for our dinner and movie date tonight.  I’m busting out the good stuff – Mountain House and Red Dawn.


Survival Pick Up Line # 6:

I’ll show you my Bug Out Bag if you show me yours.

Survival Pick Up Line # 7:

Girl, without you it’d be TEOTWAWKI for sure.

Survival Pick Up Line # 8:

Is that a Bow Drill Spindle in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.


Survival Pick Up Line # 9:

I bet you look beautiful through the amber lens of a gas mask.

Survival Pick Up Line # 10:

Wow, you look hypothermic.  Hurry – let me help regulate your core body temperature!

Survival Pick Up Line # 11:

It’s a good thing you’re naturally beautiful.  All those other chicks are screwed when the grid goes down!

Survival Pick Up Line # 12:

You give the phrase “double tap” a whole new meaning!


Survival Pick Up Line # 13:

Let’s Bug Out from all this noise and head back to my Debris Hut.

Survival Pick Up Line # 14:

Wanna barter some of my heirloom seeds for your organic eggs?


Survival Pick Up Line # 15:

If you were a survival tool you’d be a ferro rod because you’re on FIRE!

Survival Pick Up Line # 16:

DANG!  I need to come out of my bunker more often!

Survival Pick Up Line # 17:

Let’s pretend S already HTF and we’re the only people left.  The human race now depends on us.

Survival Pick Up Line # 18:

You must be magnetic because you’re making my compass needle move!


Survival Pick Up Line # 19:

You’re showing early signs of dehydration.  You’d better let me buy you a drink before it gets serious.

Survival Pick Up Line # 20:

Wanna start a friction fire?

Survival Pick Up Line # 21:

You’re the only person I’ve ever met who’s made me ask myself, “Am I OK with 15 years of food storage instead of 30?”


WILLOW HAVEN OUTDOOR: Full Spectrum Survival Training!

There’s no better place to meet like-minded people than at a SURVIVAL COURSE at WILLOW HAVEN.  Click here for the FULL COURSE SCHEDULE.

Got a good survival pick up line?  We (and thousands of other readers) would love to hear it!  Post in a comment below.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


5 Things I Learned by reading Prepper’s Home Defense by Jim Cobb

If you’ve been thinking about ways to beef up your home security tactics for a HYEPGF scenario, you should consider popping the $11 on Jim Cobb’s newest title Prepper’s Home Defense.  Below are a few cool things I learned.

You might be wondering what HYEPGF above stands for.  I’ve never heard it before either.  Actually, I just made it up.  It doesn’t stand for anything – so you aren’t going crazy 🙂

In his book, though, Jim does supply a list of prepper acronyms that I thought was pretty cool.  He lists a ton of them.  Test your own prepper acronym knowledge – here’s a pop quiz.  Answers are at the end of this post.

SERE = _______________________

FAK = _______________________

MZB = _______________________

POTUS = _______________________


Are you right-handed or left-handed?

According to Jim, only 10% of the worlds population is left-handed.  He applies this principle to designing a security perimeter and knows that, if given a choice, people will most often choose the direction of their dominant hand.  Very interesting…

Operations Security (OPSEC)

I also really like how Jim compares prepping to military operations security.  The parallels make a lot of sense.  From ‘keeping your mouth shut’ to ‘noise and light discipline’, he brings up some really good points that I had never considered.  The idea of using landscape fabric to black-out windows is genius.


Yes, he even discusses BOOBY TRAPS and even gives a low-tech, low-cost trip wire perimeter alarm idea that I’m definitely going to steal.  I quote:

“Connect the wires running from your alarm device to the jaws of the clothespin.  Place a small piece of plastic between the jaws, preventing the wires from touching.  A tripwire is connected to this piece of plastic and strung where you want to the place the alarm.  Then, when the wire is snagged, it pulls the plastic from the clothespin, causing the jaws to close, completing the electric circuit, and activating the alarm.”

He even discusses helpful hints to identifying the leader of an on-coming horde for what he calls “SNIPER TARGET SELECTION”.

Survival Weapons

What Prepper’s Defense book would be complete without at least a couple of chapters on weapons?  From guns to knives to make-shift chemical concoctions, Jim does a great job in laying out the options and helping the reader wade through all of the available weapons choices.  I especially liked his improvised ‘hand-spike’ fashioned from a hub cap removal tool.  Nice touch.

Bottom Line

If you like reading about prepping – especially defense – you will like this book.  It’s a great compilation of security strategies to help protect your ‘fort’ and ‘family’ in a HYEPGF scenario 😉  You can check the reviews on Amazon at:

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


Answers to quiz:

SERE = Survival Evasion Resistance Escape

FAK = First Aid Kit

MZB = Mutant Zombie Biker

POTUS = President of the United States


How to Bug-In: What You Need to Know to Survive a Grid-Down Disaster

Today, published an article I wrote title: How to Bug-In: What You Need to Know to Survive a Grid-Down Disaster

Hurricane Sandy is yet another sober reminder that none of us are exempt from disaster.  Sometimes, BUGGING OUT is not the best decision OR possible.  In this article I discuss a few thoughts about prepping for a potential Bug In Scenario.

Here is the link if you are interested in taking a look:

Thank you to Brett and Kate McKay for the opportunity.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,



Bug Out Pack Review: The All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (A.L.I.C.E. Pack)

I wish I had $1 for every time someone mentioned or had a question about the military ALICE Pack.  This Bug Out Bag Review Post is long overdue.  In my experience with discussing the ALICE pack with survivalists, campers, soldiers and outdoors men and women, there seems to be very strong feelings about this pack – either people love them or hate them.  I’ve used an ALICE pack before for short overnights but never really put it through the rigors of a potential Bug Out Scenario or hiked with it fully loaded as a 72-Hour Kit.

So, with BUGGING OUT in mind, this post is a review of the MEDIUM Military ALICE Pack as a potential Bug Out Bag.

First, the specs:

  • Main compartment 19 inches x 11.5 inches x 9.5 inches
  • Three pouches (5 inches x 2.5 inches x 9 inches)
  • Main compartment capacity (approximately): 34 litres (2075 cubic inches)
  • Total capacity (approximately): 39.52 litres (2412 cubic inches) – this is maximum volume of all the compartments
  • Separate pouch inside large main compartment
  • Accessory loops for storing extra gear (12 on the top front under top flap, 2 on bottom, 3 on each side)
  • Capacity: 39.5 litres / 2413 cubic inches
  • Material/Fabric: Nylon


As I transferred over the contents from my existing BOB to the Medium ALICE for my 6 mile test hike, it was quite clear that everything wasn’t going to fit.  I normally recommend Bug Out Bags being in the 3000 cubic inch range and the Medium ALICE comes in at around 2400.  I now completely understand why the ALICE pack was traditionally paired with a Belt & Keeper system shown in the illustration below.

This system was designed to carry a variety of items including canteens, entrenching tools and ammunition pouches.  However, when you pair these two items together, you look exactly like a classic soldier – not really a look I’m going for in a Bug Out.  Thus, if using the ALICE pack as a BOB, I would opt not to use the Belt System.  However, the ALICE pack does come in a LARGE size which is about 3800 cubic inches – plenty big for a BOB.  So if after reading this post you decide you might want to try the ALICE – I might suggest the LARGE over the MEDIUM as a primary BOB.

Pack Design

The ALICE pack was built with one purpose in mind – rugged performance.  Field tested by countless soldiers around the world, the ALICE has earned its reputation as a rugged beast of a pack.  With that said, it is a NO FRILLS pack.  Don’t expect the posh features and design of a recreational back-pack.

The Medium Alice has 1 Main compartment with 1 inside pocket, 3 outside pouches and 1 flat velcro pocket on the flap.  it is not hydration compatible but you could probably rig one using the large pocket inside of the main compartment.

The side of the pack does have several webbing loops (top, middle,bottom) which can serve as lashing points.  The middle webbing is horizontal and the top/bottom loops are vertical and though not designed to be MOLLE compatible you can still strap on MOLLE pouches.

The above photo is a view from the bottom of the pack.  Especially with the MEDIUM ALICE, you will have to strap your tent/tarp and foam pad to the bottom of the pack.  There is webbing on the bottom of the pack to help with this.  You can also use the aluminum frame as a lashing point as well.

Speaking of the frame, notice the pack in these photos is mounted to an aluminum frame.  You can use the ALICE pack without the frame but don’t waste your time – especially with loads of 40 lbs or more – it is really uncomfortable.  The frame helps to distribute the weight and makes a HUGE difference with heavy loads.  It also keeps the pack away from your back – which is nice in warm weather.

The ALICE pack isn’t the most comfortable pack in the world.  I can certainly tell the difference in the padded straps and hip belts versus some of my other recreational back-packs.  For extended hikes, this is important.  For this post, I hiked about 6 miles in the medium ALICE with about 35 lbs of gear and the comfort level was manageable, but less than desirable.

I’m used to easy access bottle pockets and without the belt accessory to carry a canteen, you pretty much have to take off the pack to get a drink of water unless you’ve jerry-rigged a hydration system.  This was a huge frustration for me.

My biggest frustration with the ALICE pack was the strap closures and adjustments.  I hate those OLD SCHOOL metal strap adjusters and closures where you have to feed the webbing in and out of the metal buckle to get open or adjust a pocket.  It is ridiculously time consuming and frustrating and nearly impossible in cold weather with gloves on.  I much prefer modern squeeze buckle closures.  Fortunately, the 3 pouches on the ALICE at least have snap closures but I hate snaps too.  The main compartment is controlled by the old school metal adjusters.


Bottom Line

The bottom line is I LIKE the Medium ALICE pack, but I don’t think I’ll be switching it to my BOB anytime soon.  I certainly wouldn’t turn it down or turn my nose up at it as a BOB, but it’s not my first pick.  Unlike many others I spoken with, I do not LOVE or HATE the ALICE pack.  In general I really like it, with a couple frustrations that would prevent me from getting too excited.  It would be a great secondary BOB for an additional family member.  The ALICE pack has been been phased out by MOLLE Packs in most of the military branches.  Thus, surplus units can be found on-line or in military surplus stores for a very affordable price – typically $60-$80.  This is an excellent value if your style is to go with a traditional military style pack versus a modern recreational style pack.  Everyone has different preferences and the fact is that some people just like and prefer military gear and some don’t.

As I’ve said many times before, choosing a BOB is a very personal decision and the fact is that MANY different types and styles of packs will work.


Medium ALICE Pack Pros/Cons


  • Built to last
  • Rugged & Tough
  • Versatile
  • 2 sizes (both sizes mount on the same frame)
  • Proven by 1000s of soldiers in the field
  • Very affordable
  • Not the most comfortable pack on the market
  • Old school metal adjusters and closures
  • No easy access pockets for bottles, etc.

If anyone is interested in picking up a Surplus Medium ALICE pack – we have a few in stock for $65.  Here is the link:

I know some of you LIKE the ALICE packs and some of you HATE the ALICE packs.  Help others reading this post make an informed decision by sharing your thoughts and personal reviews in the comments section.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


Product Review: KA-BAR 5704 ZK (Zombie Killer) Chop Stick Machete

**Note** This is a GUEST POST from Bill Anderson. Bill is an avid survivalist and has worked in the commercial natural disaster and hurricane preparation industry providing first response for natural disasters including hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike.

As an outdoor enthusiast, I own several different styles of machetes that I use for different purposes. My pack always includes a Woodman’s Pal, Latin and Bolo machete. I am constantly on the lookout for new styles or an “improved version” of the machete. I am a huge fan of the Walking Dead series and I was excited when Creek asked me to try out the new Zombie Killer line of KA-BAR machetes and write a review.

KA-BAR provides the following description for their line of ZK machetes:

In an ever-changing world, the need for preparedness has never been greater. Without notice the game can change and the rules no longer apply.

Questioning your gear at a crucial moment is not an option. Whether setting up a camp or securing your perimeter, ZK knives are designed to perform under the most rigorous, unexpected and apocalyptic situations.

This is my review of the KA-BAR 5704 ZK (Zombie Killer) Chop Stick Machete:

I am not going to go into details about how nice the packaging is (and it is). I do not care about the box. I choose a machete for its functionality and features.


  • Blade Length: 9”
  • Overall Length: 14-5/8”
  • Weight: 1.25 lbs
  • Thickness: 0.205”
  • Steel: SK5
  • Made in Taiwan


  • Angled blade: Ideal for cutting limbs and clearing brush
  • Full tang: Durable
  • Pry bar tip: Useful for opening doors, sewer drains, etc.
  • Pry bar hook: Located at base of handle
  • Neck Knife: Additional blade included with Chopstick
  • Interchangeable Glass Filled Nylon Grip: Reduces fatigue and slippage
  • Nylon Sheath: MOLLE compatible with a micro sheath for neck knife and large stuff sack with Velcro pad
  • Lime green shoe lace: Ideal for lashing

 When unpacking the Chopstick the first thing that I noticed was the ZK Apocalypse symbol on the blade.

Unfortunately just beneath it at the base of the blade it reads “Made in Taiwan”. I was a little disappointed by this.  I prefer to purchase American.

There are a few features packed into the Chopstick. The “Zombie” green handle can be changed out to a black grip that is included. The sheath is MOLLE compatible and very well built.  (More details on the sheath to follow)



Having unpacked the Chopstick, I was anxious to put it through some field tests so I set out into the woods.  The machete has a nice weight to it, but it is not evenly balanced.  The bulk of the weight lies along the cutting area of the blade, so when it is out stretched in your hand, your wrist has a tendency to turn downwards.  It was immediately apparent that the machete does not come with a sharp edge.  I set to work trying to chop through random saplings only to find that I was expending entirely too much energy.


I had checked the sharpness of the blade before setting off into the woods and decided it would be in my best interest to pack a sharpener. Prior to sharpening the blade I wanted to compare the difference to the machete straight out of the box and after sharpening it so I took a 2” caliper branch and made over 20 chops to the branch. After sharpening the ZK Chopstick I made 12 chops just a few inches to the left.



The rounded handle and beveled grip should allow the user to make repetitive chops while reducing fatigue and hand cramps. In my experience, my hand was feeling the shock after the initial attempts to cleave through the branches with a dull blade.  I think this was made worse by the uneven weight of the blade.

A unique feature of the ZK Chopstick is the tip of the blade.



The blade itself makes for an excellent pry bar. In an urban survival scenario the pry bar could be utilized to pry open a variety of things from doors, man-hole covers, etc. In addition to the pry bar tip there is also a hook at the base of the handle.



I am assuming the hook could also be used as a smaller pry bar, but due to the width of the hook as well as its size I do not believe there are many practical uses for it.  It also has a rounded edge and I do not believe it was designed to be utilized as a gut ripper. However, I did find it useful to support my pinky finger at the base of the hook when gripping the handle. This allowed me more flexibility when gripping the machete and enabled me to grip the handle further back from the blade.


The ZK Chopstick also comes with a neck knife.



KA-BAR’s idea to include a neck knife with their line of ZK machetes is great. Unlike the machete itself, it actually has a nice edge to the blade right out of the box. I love this concept as it gives the user the ability to cleave through brush and branches with the Chopstick while having a smaller blade for intricate details or bush craft. As said, the concept is great, but the reality….not so much. The neck knife is made in China and in my opinion is not worth the time they took to stamp it. It appears to be made from a very low grade steel and I found it very uncomfortable to grip in my hand barely being able to get three fingers around it.  In my opinion, the handle needs to be longer.  I considered wrapping the handle portion in paracord but if I did that then it would not fit in the micro sheath. That being said, nobody is purchasing the ZK machete line for the neck knife, so if you own one or are considering purchasing one I would recommend changing out the neck knife for a sturdier better built neck knife.

Sad, but true:  My favorite thing about the ZK line of machetes is the sheath.



As previously mentioned, the sheath is MOLLE compatible though it does not include straps. It would be necessary to purchase a set of Blackhawk or Condor straps to attach to other MOLLE webbing. It has a large belt loop allowing the user to attach it to any size belt. There are two lashing holes at the top and bottom of the sheath. The sheath has a Velcro pad on the front of the large stuff sack allowing you to add your favorite “Zombie Hunter” patch or any other patch that you like. In addition to the adjustable Velcro straps and snaps for the machete there is and additional micro sheath with snap for the neck knife. The front stuff sack is huge. I am 6’2” and can fit my entire hand in it. It would be ideal for storing a sharpening stone and a mini survival kit while still leaving room to spare. Once again the ZK logo is displayed (back of sheath)


After using the KA-BAR ZK Chopstick in the field I have decided that I will not be including it in my gear.  I really had high hopes for this machete because I am both a KA-BAR and Zombie fanatic.  I had wanted to make a home for the machete in my zombie apocalypse kit alongside my DEET free Zombie repellant and Hornady .40 cal Zombie Max rounds.  There is no doubt that the machete looks tough and after sharpening the Chopstick, it was very proficient at chopping and splitting wood. However, there are several other machetes on the market including the Bear Grylls Parang (See previous review by Creek) that do a better job and are more comfortable to use.  The retail price on the KA-BAR website is $79.41.  Hummmm.  It is manufactured in Taiwan, the weight distribution of the blade is off, and the neck knife is more of a novelty than a functional knife.  In short, my favorite thing about the machete was the sheath.  There are much better options in this price range.


All that being said, , if you are a collector or a zombie apocalypse fan, then the ZK Chopstick (along with the other machetes in the KA-BAR ZK line) is a cool novelty blade to display.  I have no doubt that if the zombie apocalypse was to ever come, it would be a very good tool for splitting a few zombie skulls.  But for everyday use in the woods, I believe there are more practical machetes on the market.


**Note** This is a GUEST POST from Bill Anderson. Bill is an avid survivalist and has worked in the commercial natural disaster and hurricane preparation industry providing first response for natural disasters including hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike.

Questions from the FRONTLINES: An On-Going Willow Haven Q & A Series

I am spending an increasing amount of each morning answering e-mails with questions about a variety of survival related subjects.  Most often, they are from people who have picked up a copy of my book (Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag) and have some follow-up questions.  I find myself always saying, “That’s a really good question,” and I’m sure there are others out there that could benefit from the answer.  Consequently, I have decided to start a post series titled Questions from the FRONTLINES where I list and answer these questions (anonymously of course) in a regular blog post for all to read – and offer feedback of their own.

With that said, many SURVIVAL TOPICS – especially BUGGING OUT are very subjective topics.  Oftentimes, there are no right and wrong answers – rather preferences.  These answers are my personal opinions and some of you may not feel the same way.  This is fine and expected.  Voice your opinions in the comments – tactfully, of course.


Questions from the FRONTLINES

 QUESTION: I am a beginner at creating my BOB and am in the process of obtaining items for my families bags. This is a fundamental question about a crisis and how you prepare… at what point do you have to think about Staying At Home Prepping, an 72-Hour Bug Out Bag (I assume to get to either a shelter or a predetermined location) and an INCH Bag? I am about ready to purchase my primary bag and am trying to determine what size to get, something around 2500-3500 cubic inches for a BOB or something like a Bergen which would be more for an INCH bag. I only want to purchase one bag and one set of equipment for the bag. Do you plan for an BOB Bag and hope you only need it for 72 hours and if it is longer you fend for yourself or do you plan for an INCH bag knowing you might be overkilling it a bit but you can sustain yourself for much longer?

Creek’s ANSWER: First of all, for those of you who have never heard the phrase INCH bag, it means  your I’M NEVER COMING HOME bag and is designed for LONGER than 72 hours.  These are some great questions which I will address in TWO sections:

Section # 1: STAYING AT HOME PREPPING – otherwise known as BUGGING IN

You should always be thinking about this.  Hopefully you will never have to abandon your home.  Ideally, you will be able to stay at home if something crazy (natural or caused by man) does happen.  You must think about how to address the SURVIVAL CORE SIX within your home in the event of a disaster or grid-down scenario.  The CORE SIX are SHELTER, WATER, FIRE, FOOD, FIRST AID( and Hygiene) and SELF DEFENSE.  This includes all kinds of considerations such as heating, food storage, water storage, electricity, home protection and medicines.  It can be a bit overwhelming to think about this if you are just beginning.  Here is how I suggest starting.  First tackle a few critical categories for a 1-week GRID OUT time period.  If you are forced to go COMPLETELY OFF GRID FOR 1 WEEK, make sure:

– You can heat your house for 1 week 
– You have enough water for 1 week (or have a back-up system in place to get it)(i.e. hand well pump)
– You have enough food storage for 1 week
– You have a supply of prescription meds for 1 week
– You have a plan for disposing of waste (human waste & trash waste)

Prepping for 1 WEEK in the small list above covers you for THE VAST MAJORITY of all GRID DOWN Disasters and will really force you to at least get a plan of some sort in place – which is more than 99% of people out there.  It will also force you to really start thinking about preparedness.  However, you wouldn’t be asking about an INCH bag if you didn’t believe something more catastrophic is looming (or at least possible).

Prepping starts to become a lifestyle once you start planning for longer periods of GRID DOWN or INFRASTRUCTURE FAILURE.  You’ll start to consider SYSTEM SOLUTIONS rather than STORAGE SOLUTIONS.  You will begin to think about things like Solar Power (or NO POWER) living, Off-Grid Water System (Water Well with Hand Powered Pump/Rain Harvesting/Fresh Water Spring), Wood Burning Stove (for heat and cooking), Gardening & Canning, Partnerships with others, and Self Defense & Hunting Tools (and training).

Bottom line, BUGGING IN should always be an option and you should be prepared to do so.  It happens to people all the time.  Even harsh winter storms can take out power and trap you inside for a few days.  Many disasters, though, can drive you away from your home.  This transitions us to the next section.

Section # 2: BOB & INCH Bags

My thoughts on INCH bags….hmmmmm….   As a GUY and SURVIVAL INSTRUCTOR, I love the IDEA of an INCH BAG.  However, as a practical survivalist, I know that if you are NEVER COMING HOME or are trying to SURVIVE LONG TERM, you will want more than a Back Pack – I don’t care what you have in it.  My answer to this question is simple.  Focus on a 3-Day BOB (approx 4000 cu. in.) and find a good Bug Out Location (BOL).  I’m a huge proponent of outfitting a BOB to last longer than 3-DAYS, but it just isn’t practical to live out of it long term.  Your BOL is the place to store your long term survival tools.  However, the addition of a few key items in a BOB can really extend your “SURVIVAL TIME-LINE” if necessary.  These revolve primarily around WATER & FOOD.  A good water purification system can keep you in fresh drinking water for months.  Some basic hunting and food prep tools can also help supplement any food items in your pack.  A good fishing kit with frog gig, a .22 pistol, some snares, a decent cook pot and some spices could all drastically improve your food situation – especially when combined with some basic Wild Edible Plant/Root Training (shameless plug).


You can’t prep for everything.  We live in a crazy world that’s getting crazier by the second.  I find it easier to set manageable goals with time limits when it comes to prepping: for example, a BUG OUT BAG for 3-DAYs, Food and Water Storage for 2 weeks at home – it’s very difficult to prep for completely open ended time-lines or vast scenarios.  I hope I’ve answered your questions without raising MORE!


QUESTION: OK so we got and read your bug out book and we are looking to build ours for our family of 5 (two adults 3 children 8,6 and 2 years old) and our two fidos a large mastiff pit mix and a med brittany lab mix. We are lost on what to do for shelter. All backpacking tents are max 4 people, that may hold the 5 of us if none of my children grow. But realistically we are afraid we will need a bigger tent. Any ideas to fit the 5 of us at a reasonable weight for our BOB. We live in XXXXXX,MO and also have the long cold winters and hot long summers with very wet springs and falls. So a 3 or 4 season is needed.

Creek’s ANSWER: You raise a good question. Sometimes, there just doesn’t seem to be a perfect solution for certain scenarios. After some thought, my personal choice if I were in your shoes would be to pack 2 light weight 2-3 man tents – 1 in the main pack and 1 with the 2nd strongest person’s pack. I would practice setting these up so that the doors are next to or close by each other so that it somewhat feels like 2 rooms to the same tent if at all possible. I hate the idea of separating the family in 2 tents but I really think it’s your best option. A larger 5+ man tent is just going to be too bulky for 1 pack.


Disaster Eye Care: Protection + Treatment + Trauma

**NOTE**  This is a GUEST POST from Dr. Ballon.  Dr. Ballon has been in private practice for 20 years since completing his residency at Duke University Eye Center.  He is President/CEO of The Harman Eye Clinic, in Arlington, Washington.

For those of us who are blessed with good vision, ultraviolet (UV) and safety protection are the main issues.  A good wide brimmed hat cuts out 50% of UV rays, and even may help block tree branches from hitting your face at dusk.  Wrap around sunglasses can help provide further protection, or glasses with a wide temple to block sun from the side.  I used to practice ophthalmology in Hawaii before moving back to Washington state, and a growth on the surface of the cornea called pterygium or “surfers eye” was a very common condition due to glaring sun reflected off the water.  Native Americans in the plains used a feather to block the sun from the side.  Please be aware that eagle feathers are protected, so other feathers must be used in a survival situation.


Creek with Primitive Style 'Sun Visor'

Creek with Primitive Style 'Sun Visor'


For those who wear corrective lenses, shatter resistant lenses are preferred.  Polycarbonate can withstand a 22 caliber bullet fired from 15 feet, but the plastic is soft unless coated with a scratch resistant coating.  Glass lenses are much more scratch resistant, but are heavier.  Both polycarbonate and glass have UV protection.  Photochromic lenses (that turn dark in UV light) are UV protecting, and come in plastic (transitions) and glass (photogrey) brands.  A sturdy frame is important in a disaster situation.  It is important to avoid frames with a nylon string (rimless on the bottom frames) which although stylish, may break and be difficult to repair.  Polaroid sunglasses can improve vision when on the water for fishing, but may interfere with use of LCD devices such as GPS locators.  For contact lens patients, I always suggest back-up glasses.  It is not advisable to make homemade saline solutions due to the risk of acanthamoeba infection.

Laser vision correction is great for those who are good candidates; LASIK may be slightly better in a disaster situation, because PRK (advanced surface ablation) makes the eyes more susceptible to UV light which may cause corneal haze or regression.

Glaucoma is a common eye disease where pressure damges the optic nerves causing tunnel vision.  A cold LASER called SLT is equally effective as eyedrops in lowering the eye pressure and may be an advantage if medicine is difficult to obtain.  It is a good idea to have a list of medications and allergies, and if possible spare medications to keep as rotating stock in a BUG out bag.

A  stye  (blocked oil gland) can be painful, and is best treated with hot compresses.  You can make your own hot compress with a clean sock or bandana and a few smooth stones or river rocks that are gently heated when the campfire dies down.  Be careful to test them on the back of your hand before placing them in the sock and near your closed eyelids.  When the stye drains, there may be a lot of mucous in the eyes.  You can boil water in a stainless water bottle or canteen, let it cool fully then use it to rinse the eyes.  A 1/2 tsp of salt dissolved in the water may be more soothing, but is not essential.

River Rock + Stainless Cup + Bandana

River Rock + Stainless Cup + Bandana

Heated River Rock + Bandana

Heated River Rock + Bandana

Eye Compress made from Heated River Rock wrapped in Bandana

Eye Compress made from Heated River Rock wrapped in Bandana


Corneal foreign body may occur when sawing or chopping wood.  If the foreign body is superficial, you may wash your hands and grasp the lashes of the upper eyelid and pull it down over the lower lid.  If it is lodged inside the upper eyelid it may brush off.  If it does not seek the care of an eye care professional.

Quick tip:  Establish a professional relationship with an eye care provider.  If you have an eye problem after hours, the emergency department is usually not very helpful.  In a disaster, the ER may be overwhelmed and if you can call the eye doctor’s office directly and see the doctor on call, you can save time and money.

Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in adults over age 70.  Lutein is a key factor thought to help prevent this condition.  Green leafy vegetables are a good source of lutein.  Dandelion is universally recognizable and may be a good source of nutrition in a pinch!  One cup of green tea is like a serving of vegetables.  Green tea in teabags is light weight and has vitamin C, lutein and other antioxidants.  You can even use it make an eye pad compress after it cools.

For penetrating corneal injuries or severe eye trauma, it is important to see an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon).  In the field you can make a temporary eye shield to protect the eye with a half of a plastic cup and duct tape.


Paper Cup Eye Shield

Paper Cup Eye Shield


Here is also another Eye Shield made from a Stainless Cup.


Eye Shield made from Stainless Cup and Tape

Eye Shield made from Stainless Cup and Tape


**NOTE**  This is a GUEST POST from Dr. Ballon.  Dr. Ballon has been in private practice for 20 years since completing his residency at Duke University Eye Center.  He is President/CEO of The Harman Eye Clinic, in Arlington, Washington.  Web-site:


10 Reasons Why To Take A Survival Skills Course At Willow Haven Outdoor


Reason # 10:  Because it’s not just about you anymore

That’s right.  Whether you realize it or not, someone looks up to you.  Someone depends on you and will seek your help in a time of crisis.  Someone needs you.  It may be your wife, your children, your parents, your friend or your siblings.  You are someone’s super hero.  You may be the only one in your circle of influence who takes the initiative to learn some basic life saving survival skills.  If the time ever comes when you are tested, don’t fail them.  Learning survival skills isn’t just about you.  It’s about using those skills to help other people when the time comes.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Act now.  You have an obligation to protect and provide for those who need you.

Reason # 9:  To connect with nature

Everything we see, own, use and buy is somehow derived from nature – EVERYTHING!  Mother Nature is freaking AMAZING.  Learning primitive survival skills will connect you to nature unlike anything else I know of.  Working with nature to meet our basic human survival needs is an awesome experience and one that comes with a sense of peace, accomplishment and confidence.

Reason # 8:  Take an adventure!

When’s the last time you did something “Out of the Box”?  Taking a survival skills class is an ADVENTURE!  Step out of your normal routine and spend some time at Willow Haven learning life saving survival skills.  Whether by yourself, with a friend or with family members, a Willow Haven Survival Class is not your average weekend.  In addition to learning survival skills you will also meet some other GREAT PEOPLE from who knows where.  It’s not all serious business at our courses – we have some fun too!  You only live once!

Reason # 7: Our unstable world economy

Let’s face it – we live in an increasingly unstable world economy.  Countries are going bankrupt, terrorism is at an all-time high and you can cut the political tension with a knife.  There also seems to be very thin lines of order between many other categories of people – race, religion and class warfare make national headlines almost every night on the news.  It is undeniable that something unhealthy is brewing.  Our world is in a pressure cooker and at some point a seal on the lid is going to blow.  It certainly isn’t a bad idea to have some basic survival skills under your belt just in case the steam reaches your doorstep.

Reason # 6: Become more independent

Learning survival skills is an expression and act of independence – taking your destiny into your own hands.  There may come a time in your life when the only person to depend on is yourself.  Others may also depend on you.  Institutions will fail you.  Governments will fail you.  No matter how well intended, first responders are overwhelmed in times of large scale disaster and can’t help everyone at the same time.  Rescue teams may take 2-3 days to reach you.  Or, you may have to self-rescue.  At the end of the day, you are the only one responsible for you.

Reason # 5: Personal challenge

Learning survival skills is a CHALLENGE.  No one ever said this is easy.  Survival skills take practice and determination.  Mastering skills such as FIRE can be frustrating and take hours of practice.  However, the reward of learning survival skills is knowing that one day they could save your life.  This personal challenge not only results in an overwhelming sense of accomplishment but also a deep sense of peace and confidence.

Reason # 4: Mother Nature is like the Honey Badger

Just like the Honey Badger, Mother Nature doesn’t care!  She’s a ruthless killer and will show no mercy on you or your possessions when she decides to unleash her fury.  She is in control – ALWAYS.  The best we can do is prepare to deal with the aftermath – which is oftentimes horrific.  Surviving one of her tantrums is just the first step – mitigating the ensuing chaos afterwards is when your survival skills will truly be tested.  Shelter, water, fire and food will all be difficult to secure.

Reason # 3: Everything man-made can and will fail you

Planes crash, dams burst, nuclear power plants melt down, gas pipe-lines blow, power grids fail… the list goes on and on.  Survival skills prepare us for the inevitable times when the man-made luxuries and utilities we depend on fail us.  It happens every day.  Knowledge is always with you no matter where you are or where you go.  Knowledge doesn’t require a power source or telephone service.  It isn’t dependent on fuel or batteries.  It’s there when you need it – regardless of the circumstances.

Reason # 2: Invest in yourself

Taking a survival skills course is an investment of TIME and MONEY.  But more importantly, it’s an investment in YOURSELF.  YOU are your most VALUABLE RESOURCE!  Don’t underestimate the power of YOU.  You are unique and amazing.  Take the plunge and invest a little time and a little money in learning some survival skills that can truly change your life.  Knowledge is power.

Reason # 1: Because it’s not IF, but WHEN

FEMA starting declaring large scale disasters in 1953.  That 1st year they declared 13.  In 2011 they declared 99.  It is a statistical truth that large disasters are increasing in frequency and violence with each passing year.  Bad things happen to good people.  Every day unsuspecting people are thrust into sudden and chaotic survival scenarios where they must rely on their knowledge and resources to survive.  Planes crash, cars run out of gas, fires ravage, hurricanes strike, bridges collapse and innocent people are forced to navigate the aftermath.  We live in a crazy world.  You must prepare for and expect the craziness.  Thinking “it will never happen to me” is nothing short of insane.

If those 10 Reasons aren’t convincing enough – I’ve got one more to seal the deal:


Making fire with sticks, carving spears, eating wild plants, building primitive shelters… who doesn’t like that stuff!  Get away from your J.O.B. for a few days and explore the woods a little bit.  You may even surprise yourself!

So what are you waiting for – check out our course schedule today!

Willow Haven Course Schedule

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,


Colorado Wild Fire Bug Out – A First Hand Account

A good friend of mine forwarded me an e-mail he had received about a 1st Hand Bug Out Account from the Wild Fires in Colorado.  I think we can all take a lesson away from this.  Below is the e-mail:

We received confirmation last night that our house is still standing (great news!) but won’t know if we suffered any smoke or heat damage until we are allowed to access to the property. The only thing we have been told is that it will be awhile. They are still concerned about hot spots. We were also thinking that maybe they were stalling us in preparation for Obama’s visit to ground zero today. The long and short of it is we have been glued to the 24 hour local news broadcasts and are still shell-shocked. 

In short, this is how it all came down: 

Even though the fire had been burning for days, we believed – along with everyone else – that it was under control. But you can not believe how quickly that all changed as a wall of fire descended on us. One estimate we’ve heard is that it was traveling miles in minutes. As we scrambled to grab what we could, a friend who works for the volunteer fire department called us to warn us that the fire had reached a road ¼ mile from us. Then the phone rang to tell us to evacuate. We never received a pre-evacuation notice even though we were monitoring the fire on TV. I literally glanced out our living room window and saw a raging fire pouring down on us in the near distance. Next we started hearing explosions and stepped outside to find our house totally consumed in smoke. I grabbed a wrench, ran to the gas meter on the side of the house, shut it down, unhooked the propane tank from the grill on the deck and moved it away from the house. Went back in the house, grabbed our suitcase and some other personal possessions, locked everything down and split. 

It felt like a scene from a movie as we drove away from our neighborhood, so surreal with flying ash and sirens screaming and everyone in their cars with their faces covered (including the cops & firemen) with masks or bandanas. Pure chaos… it looked like a war zone. 


Has anyone else heard a first hand account of Bugging Out from the Wildfires out West?

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,



How do I get started in Food & Water Storage?

If you are asking this question, I’m going to skip all the fancy survival talk about grain mills and meat rabbits and oxygen absorbing packets and heirloom seeds and mylar bags and and food grade buckets and shelf life and all that jazz.  This stuff has been hashed and rehashed on countless other survival blogs.  Maybe I will do a post here sometime titled “LONG TERM FOOD AND WATER SELF-RELIANCE” that deals with securing food and water in addition to your storage items.  I could discuss in more detail the systems I have in place to deal with these issues.  This, though, is not that post.

Researching Survival Food and Water Storage can get a little overwhelming if you let it.  If you are just starting, I’m going to help you Keep It Simple.

If you are asking this question to begin with, chances are that you have LITTLE to ZERO food and water storage in place at this moment.  It’s OK – don’t panic.  But also, don’t wait any longer to get started.  Disasters give NO WARNING and show NO MERCY.

This post is for those who have NO CURRENT FOOD AND WATER STORAGE.  My answer to your question about how to get started is very simple and to the point.

Skip the fancy survival prepping dictionary and BUY YOUR FOOD & WATER STORAGE ITEMS.  That’s right, buy them.  I’ll tell you where.   And, order them now – within the next 24 hours if you can afford to do so.  Once you have a 1 month supply of Food and Water storage on hand, then you can relax and research about how to expand your bounty in a more economical way.  However, you will find that it’s not really that much less expensive…

I keep 1 year of Food and Water Storage on hand.  This means that I have ALL of the FOOD and ALL of the WATER stored on a shelf that I need for 1 ENTIRE YEAR.  I recommend a minimum of 3 months.  But to get started – focus on getting 1 month crossed off the list.

What do you need for 1 month of Food Storage?

Answer: Easy to prepare, nutritious, long shelf life, turn-key full meals.

Go to and buy a 1 Month Food Storage package and have it shipped to you.  Their web-site is  You can select from a variety of packages that will fit your needs.  Their food is good and the cost per meal is very reasonable.  CALL IN YOUR ORDER because often they have deals that aren’t listed on the site.  I don’t get a kick-back, this is just a company I’ve dealt with in the past and know them to be the real deal.  They are ‘just add water’ meals that are individually packaged and easy to prepare.


Another good web-site for Food Storage products is  Their selection of items will make you dizzy.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Remember, you just need to to start with 1 month of turn-key easy to prepare long shelf-life meals.

Buy what are called ENTREE MEALS.  This is a complete Meal-In-A-Bag and you don’t have to worry about buying side dishes, main courses, ingredients, etc…  KEEP THIS SIMPLE!  It’s easy to get caught up in all the details.  Right now, you just need SIMPLE & FAST FOOD STORAGE – an easy solution.  Trust me, I hate spending my hard earned money on food storage too, but I have to say, there is a certain sense of peace and satisfaction that comes from knowing you are not immediately dependent on our JUST-IN-TIME food supply chains.  Our food supply is dependent on SOOOO many factors.  When disaster strikes, it screws with pretty much ALL of these factors.  99% of the food you see in a grocery store is ON THE SHELF.  Their back rooms are filled with empty cardboard boxes.  The food arrives on a truck and is immediately stocked on the shelves.  If the truck doesn’t come today, guess what?  No milk and bread today – that’s what.  Will it come tomorrow?  Not if the roads are covered in ice or if their is a fuel crisis or if someone starts dropping bombs or if a tornado shreds half of your city.  1000s of factors can affect our food supply chain.  Do you think the milk was delivered to this neighborhood in Joplin, MO on the day the picture below was taken.  Heck, do think it was delivered that week even?  That month?

1 Month Food Storage – DONE – check it off the list.

What do I need for Water Storage?

First, how much water per person?  My rule is 2 gallons per day.  I tested this theory for 3 months and it comes out about right.  I could have probably gotten away with less.  This is enough for food preparation, drinking, personal hygiene and cleaning.  Obviously, it needs to be rationed accordingly.  Want to know your exact amount???   … buy 20 gallons of bottled water at the store and turn your faucets off for a week.  Use a rain barrel to gather water to use for flushing your toilet and washing your clothes.  See how long 20 gallons lasts you and your family for food prep, hydration and hygiene.  Take a ‘spit-bath’ in the sink.  Sure, it’ll suck, but it’s also fun at the same time.  Your friends will think you’ve gone crazy.  Who cares?  At the end of the week, calculate up how much water you’ve used (and how many of the empties you had to fill back up!) and that’s your number.

In the mean time, order one of these water storage kits shown below:


You can get them on the Sams Club Web-Site for only $68.88 :

Or, direct from the manufacturer for more $$$ at: Auguson Farms

This is what I use for the bulk of my water storage.  These are 55 gallon food grade drums.  The kit comes with a 2-part water purification/storage chemical which you dump in while you fill the drum.  It also comes with a pump siphon for getting the water out into more manageable containers during an emergency.  Just a note, only fill these puppies up in the place where you want to store them because once they are full – forget about moving them.  55 gallons of water goes a long way.  110 gallons goes twice as long 🙂  These kits are a small price to pay for fresh water when the grid goes down.

1 Month (or more) Water Storage – DONE – Check it off the list!

Don’t get intimidated by photos and videos from other preppers showing off their food storage!

Your storage doesn’t have to look like a well organized bulk foods store.  Much of my own doesn’t look this way.  While the bulk of my food and water storage is through the 2 vendors listed above, I still have shelves packed with a bunch of miscellaneous water containers, dried foods, MRES, etc…  Here is a photo below.

As I’m making routine trips to the grocery store I like to grab a few extra items here and there to add to my food stores.  You’d be surprised how fast you can build up a descent back-up pantry with just a few dollars a week.  This method does take time, though.  I would strongly suggest that you get something turn-key in place and then supplement with this trickle-storage method.


That’s a tricky question and I guess the answer would be “It depends.”  In the event of a complete economic collapse, severe depression, global disaster, viral pandemic or foreign invasion (all of which are completely possible) you cannot have TOO MUCH food and water storage.  Any of these large scale events would change the world as we know it – and certainly how we access food and water.  When people ask me “How much is too much?”, my answer is always the same: “Do you have friends or loved ones?”  Prepping for survival is just as much about taking care of your loved ones as it is yourself and many would argue that their primary motivation for prepping is to take care of other people in the event that the grid goes down – Mom, Dad, Kids, Wife, Husband, Brother, Sister, Grandma, Grandpa…  At the same time, spending all of your disposable income on storage products isn’t the best option in my opinion either.  You have to find your own happy medium.

An important consideration, however, is spoilage.  You don’t want to store an excess of food items with relatively short shelf lives.  I love buying organic food items and fresh local vegetables and meats for my daily meals, but when it comes to my survival rations I buy SHELF LIFE.  Wise Food Meals (listed above) have a shelf life of 25 years.  I really don’t have the time or interest to constantly be checking expiration dates on my food stores.  This, though, is a personal choice and like most things when it comes to survival – you can do it YOUR WAY.  It is the DOING IT that’s important.  A different approach to accomplish the same goal still equals success.

Creek – Do you ONLY store FOOD and WATER in preparation for a WCS (worse case scenario)?

No, I have storage of many items.  Food and Water, though, are the top 2.  Cross these off the list first and then we can discuss ammo, fuel, batteries, etc…  Totally different post for another day.

Tell us about your storage products/ideas/methods in a comment below.  1000s of readers visit this site and are eager to learn for your experiences in Food and Water Storage as well – so am I.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,



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