Tag Archives: Survival 101

Class 59/61 – Whiskey Sam’s Wet Weather Warriors…


When you ask a nine year old to think up a code word and he replies “Whiskey”, you know trouble is brewing…

And so was a storm that soaked the woods and the 101’ers this weekend. While the temperatures were mild, the challenges were still there, with longer soaking times until shivering and wet woods for the firestarting challenges.

Congrats to Class 59/61 for taking their outdoor safety into their own hands, keeping a good positive mental attitude during rainy weather, and working together in a large, diverse group.

The BUSAR Beast’s Bag O’ Wet Tinder..


And congrats to Brian “I Shot a Boar in the Head on My Hike Home” for his exciting story about his off-trail adventure after class…



Class 33/47 – Refuge for Weary Dads

baby daddy

Justin showed up for Survival 101 on Saturday morning with bags under his eyes, owning the “dad with an infant” look.

On Sunday morning, I saw a man transformed after spending the night out in 30 degree weather, with nothing more than his clothes, a piece of plastic, and his new found fire-starting skills. His quote, seen above, made me realize that I should market my class as a “Weary Dad or Mom Refuge”..

Congrats to Survival 101 Class 33/47, feeders of the hungry flame!!


The victorious Team Hunt..


Pool boys..


Mastering the thermostat..



Class 42/44 – Worst weather, for Virgina’s finest..


Congrats to Class 42/44, a group of dedicated Search & Rescue personnel, for facing the challenges of Survival 101 during some very challenging weather!

When the weather forecast stated “high 30’s and an inch of rain”, I told Rob, “I guess we have the worst weather for Virginia’s finest!!”

Well the weatherman got the temp wrong, but they nailed the 1″ of rain, as it poured all night, filling the creek up nicely for the “Man/Woman in the Creek” drill.


Gathering bedding..


I always say that if I had to be the subject of a search or rescue, that I hope it would be in Virginia, under the jurisdiction of VDEM. After spending the weekend with members from multiple Virginia teams, I feel even more strongly about that statement.

Looking forward to the Virginia SAR Conference in April and training with more of VDEM’s finest.


BigPig Outdoor’s Holiday Special…

xmas pig


Skip the mall and head to the woods this year for a gift that could not only save your life, but lasts a lifetime!!

Even better, grab a family member or friend and take advantage of the “Buy One, Get One Half Off” sale on all Survival 101 and S.O.S. classes.

Follow the links below to learn more and sign up. Gift certificates are available if you are giving it as a gift. Sale ends Monday night.

Survival 101 – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

Skills Of Survival – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html



Survival 101 Dates Announced & The Why’s of Cold Water..


  • December 12 – 13
  • January 9 – 10 – Giles County, VA
  • January 16 – 17
  • February 20 – 21
  • March 12 – 13


I had a conversation about the cold water immersion part of the Survival 101 class this past weekend and I figured I would share the rationale, as I have had numerous people second guess their ability to handle it or the benefit of the drill. So here goes…

The first and foremost reason of the “Man or Woman in the Creek” drill is because it is a realistic scenario. The tragic story of  Craig Strickland and Chase Morland are just two examples in the tens of thousands over the course of our history.

Whether your clothes are soaked from falling into a body of water or soaked from rain, sweat, or snow, the end game is the same. It is cold, you are wet, and you need to solve the problem.

Doing that under the safety net of training allows you to experience a “worst case” scenario of being cold, wet, or injured, and helps mitigate the adrenaline dump if you face that scenario in real life. You will understand the cold water gasp reflex, know how long it takes for you to start shivering, how your fine motor skills are affected when the blood is pushed out of them, the mental confusion, and the awkward feeling of walking through sludge as your muscles warm up. You will know how to prioritize, focus, and accomplish the steps to handle that worst case scenario. You will also know that if you or your family are ever thrust into that situation, you have the confidence and skills to handle it.

In fact, while working alone last year, I unexpectedly fell into the lake with my rifle and pack in 30 degree weather and emerged laughing because it was a non-issue. You can read more about that here: https://bigpigblog.com/2015/01/29/man-in-the-lake-lessons-learned/


The second reason is that cold water combined with cold weather sucks!! It will mentally break you and allows you to dig deep and find reserves of toughness in yourself. The cold waters of the Pacific are routinely used to break BUDs candidates and I recently read about the “Rewarming” drill done during SEAL’s Artic Warfare Training. No fires for them, it’s  just good clothing, body heat, some food, and mental toughness for that drill. Bottom line is that cold water makes you tough and tough people don’t die easily. Image and link  https://www.sitkagear.com/insight/a-navy-seal-rewarming-drill?WT.mc_id=New+Blog+Post+Email_18843098&WT.dcsvid=1145770390


The final reason is best summed up by this quote:

We are a nation of physical animals who have forgotten how much we enjoy being that. We are cushioned by this kind of make-believe, unreal world and we have no idea what we can survive because we are never challenged or tested. –  Chuck Palahniuk

I believe, and would argue, that every Survival 101 student that has faced the challenge, has also emerged a better person from that cold ass creek. Challenging your skills and yourself can only push you forward in life.

See you in the creek…




Click here for more info: http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

Old Man Winter Sponsors Last Survival 101 Class of Season…


Ever wonder how you, or someone you loved, would survive if you had were forced to spend the night out without a sleeping bag or tent in 25 degree weather on one of you adventures?

BigPig Outdoors has been blessed with one more opportunity to learn, test, and experience those skills this weekend, March 28 – 29. http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

Doc Campbell, a wilderness medical guru, will be in attendance and a great resource to rub shoulders with around the campfire. His blog, highlighting his outstanding photography and adventures, can be seen here: http://billcampbellphotography.com/blog/

Last Survival 101 Class of the Season – March 28 – 29…


Old Man Winter is giving us one more chance to learn and test survival skills, so with a forecast of lows into the 30’s, we have scheduled the last Survival 101 class of the season.

Grab your daypack, some grub, and get ready to take your woods skills to the next level.

Click here for more info: http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

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 38/48 – The Big Spoonin’, Beaver Eatin’, Tea Sippin’, Basket Weavers…


My Dad asked me last week..

“Other than put them in the water and build shelters, what do you do with them?”

I always forget to take pics, but when I do, it is of the shelters and the creek drill. This class I planned to do better, but old habits die hard..

Congrats to Class 38/48!!

The Big Spoonin’…


Beaver Eatin’…

20150203_095936 (1)


Tea Sippin’…


Basket Weavers!!!


What else did they learn?

Some learned lessons in perseverance..


Some learned to stow lifesaving gear after use..


Some learned about the “Leave-A-Trace” program..


And some learned they have a real leader in their midst..


Truth be told, there is a lot of lessons packed in to the weekend Survival 101 class. Some come from the lecture, some come from the drills, and some come from within. A graduate of a previous class wrote me a nice note that I will quote:

“Having gone through the course myself, I know firsthand the exceptional experience, not just in survival-craft, but in life-craft too. The course got me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to see my life from a new perspective. These experiences are something we all need from time to time in our lives. Whether they come from a book, travels, a survival class, or something else. They wake us up from an often dizzying world, and remind us of what’s truly important in our lives.”

Special thanks to the BCRS safety crew for coming out to play..


Interested in learning life-saving lesson yourself? Check for Survival 101 dates here: http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html