Tag Archives: super shelter

Class 25/52 – Last, But Not Least..


Well, it’s time to pack up the Survival 101 gear until next Winter, as Spring’s unstoppable forces roll in with warm weather. Thanks to Class 25/52 for making another great class!!

Not only did Doc Campbell bring and share his wealth of knowledge on wilderness medicine and mini-kit, but he also brought his badass drone to take pics of the signalling phase.


Here you can see the split open garbage bag, space blanket, and ground to air signal. I have been clearing pines for the landowner, so we use them for bedding. Green on green does not afford the contrast, but the angles are noticeable from altitude.



And here you can see the value of a signal mirror..


What happens when you show up to class and your buddy didn’t tell you about the “Man in the Creek” drill? Well, misery loves company..


Cozy super shelters the night before..



And a heartfelt thanks to Rick, for the use of his land and his spontaneous decision to jump in the creek.


Check back in next winter or email us to be put on the Survival 101 notification list http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

If you can’t wait that long, BPO’s 1 day course will be debuting this Spring. Stay tuned..






Class 24/49 – First Timers…

**Team Inferno broke my thermometer, so i posted the class temp as the forecasted temp from a couple days prior.  Accuweather & Wunderground state that the actual recorded low temp was 24, not 37 as I originally posted, so that is even better for these guys!!

Congrats to Survival 101 Class 24/49 and special props goes to this young man for surviving his first ever camping trip!! Not many people would choose their first camping trip to be in 20 degree weather with no sleeping bag and a cold swim in the creek, but with a former Spec ops and Judo instructor for a dad, it must run in the genes.


It was also the first time this returning sasquatch combined the Super Shelter principles with a natural shelter..


It was the first time I got to photograph  the shiver rings in the creek drill..


And  the first of many adventures to come with this SAR team candidate..


Job well done..


Spring is here, but we may still get a cold snap. Email bigpigoutdoors@gmail.com to be put on the notify list if Old Man Winter hangs in for a couple more rounds.   http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html


Class 5/34/15 – Practice what you preach…


After almost 3 weeks in sunny 70 degree Florida, we rolled back just in time for the arctic blast that is gripping the country with forecasts of single digits in our area. I figured it would be a great time for me to hit the woods with an ultralight shelter version and run the Survival 101 drills.

Last night I headed out with my hunting pack to simulate the overnight bivouac without a sleeping bag and jump in the creek in the morning. While I sleep out with every class, I don’t wallow in the creek with them as one of our safety protocols.

On the way  to the camp when I got a call from a buddy asking if I wanted a hog he just shot. Fate would have it, that I was visiting with a friend that was down from New York and wanted to bag a hog. So my buddy dropped this beauty off, and 6 1/2 minutes later it was poacher cut up and I was back on my way. Click here to see that technique. I have since modified it to start with one side’s legs first then the backstrap, flip over and repeat. https://bigpigblog.com/2013/12/23/poachers-cut-1-0/


Back on my way, I set up a “String only” super shelter with a 1 mil 9 x 12 drop cloth. At some point, I plan on doing a blog series about what I have learned since Mors first taught me that technique 15 years ago, but for now, the 1 mil version only weighs 9 ounces compared to 18 ounces for the 2 mil. Durability is the big question as 1 mil is pretty thin.



I bedded down around 11pm after building up my fire, brewing some pine needle tea, and making a hot water bottle.



I woke up at 1:30 am when the fire died down and loaded it a little too hot on next run.


So instead of shuffling layers, I opened the front to vent. Lulled by the primitive television, I drifted off to sleep again.


I woke at 3 am this time, loaded it up, closed the front up and bedded down. I couldn’t sleep until somewhere around 5 am, not because I was cold, but because my brain booted up and I started my usual lay in bed and think about all types of things, some practical and some nonsensical.

I woke up for the last time at 7:30 am and checked the low on the thermometer. It read 5 degrees. The indoor low actually occurred during the the open front stage.


Even though I had 1000+ calories in my pack in the form of almond butter packs and coconut oil, I wanted to simulate a hiker whose last meal was lunch. I did a 24 hour fast, drinking pine needle tea that night, and thawing out the leftovers for a morning brew. Staying hydrated during any fast is top priority and the tea gives you some vitamins.


My “rescuers” showed up at 9 am to be my safety team for the “Man in the Creek” drill.  Anytime you are survival training, always have a safety net and plan in place if things take a turn. Rick and Mike were there to monitor for hypothermia and I had a sleeping bag a short hike from my camp for my solo overnight. I had multiple contacts that were aware of my plans and a charged cellphone. Redundant, multiple safety nets mean you can push hard and train safe.

It was 15 degrees and time to take a morning dip in the 34 degree water.


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I ran through the same mental exercises as my students while I waited for the shivering to set in and then got to work.

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Usually we do this drill with natural tinders, so everyone always packs man made after that point, but having done that multiple times, I wanted to time the drill with my personal survival kit (PSK) contents.

My safety crew forgot to start the timer, but using PJ balls and fatwood made lighting the fire a breeze and took only a couple minutes.

Numb hands made the Strikeforce my choice of ignition as it fills the hands better when your dexterity sucks.


As my buddy Roberto likes to say.. “Fatwood. Don’t leave home without it!!”


Icy pants…


This post isn’t about bragging. Hell, 5 degrees is shorts weather in Alaska…

It is about “walking the walk”, something I value and appreciate in instructors. When I was LE, I took my job seriously. Bad guys were my main threat, so I trained, worked out, shot 3gun matches, and joined a MMA team. I chose those endeavors because they were realistic training modules for serious threats. Serious threats require serious training, and wilderness survival is no different.

Jobs change and new threats rise to the top. Getting caught out in crap weather overnight or falling in the lake are possible scenarios in my winter time work. While the threats may change, the reason to make yourself uncomfortable, experience numbing pain, and train hard don’t.


If your work or play takes place in the wils or you are looking for a challenge, there a two more spots open in this weekend’s class – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

Class 38/54 is fueled by Possum Punching Power…

Do you..

A. Ice you hand after punching a possum in the face when it crawls in bed with you in the wee hours of the night?

B. Stick your hand in ice water to simulate the hypothermic “fumbles” during the “Cold & Wet” drill?


If you guessed both A and B, you are correct.

Look deep into this Marine veteran’s eyes and you will see the mindset that makes a ten minute dunking in a cold creek seem like a bath, the patience to overcome old injuries and physical limitations, and the determination to persevere despite having only one numb, non-dominant hand to start his fire.

Maybe it was a heat crazed dream from building his fire too big at 3 am, maybe it was the bedtime story I told about having to punch a bear at Ekaneetlee Gap early one morning that was coming through my tent, or maybe, just maybe a possum really did try and cuddle with him in his warm shelter. None of us will ever know, but I do know that as soon as I saw this man hit the water, that he had the most important survival gear on board… the “Survival” mindset.

Congrats to Class 38/54 for spending the night out in 38 degree weather, wearing only T-shirts and equipped with only simple shelter kits. Great application of the super shelter principles and beds so thick, they were fit for a possum.


Natural tinder time…


The “Home invasion” crime scene…


Deer leg dinner..


The team embraces the shrinkage…


The warmer the air temp, the longer the swim. At ten minutes in, this band of brothers are in the zone…


Sometimes, humor can warm the spirit faster than a fire. Thick beards help too…


Hustle time…


Skills = Success, Success = Confidence


Pride, confidence, and faith. Those are the feelings I get when I look at this picture.

Pride in knowing that I helped three new friends along the path.

Confidence in their knowledge, skills, and mindset.

And faith that if facing challenges in the wilderness, that they will overcome.

These men weren’t forced to be here. They paid money, left their families and warm homes for the weekend, all to endure some tough conditions and challenges.

Why you ask? The answers are down by the creek…

Come find “your” answer at the next BigPig Outdoor’s “Survival 101” class**: http://bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

** Spring is here and 101 classes need cold weather as one of our instructors. Classes in March and April will be scheduled at short notice if the weather cooperates. Email me at bigpigoutdoors@gmail.com to be notified of 101 class announcements.