Tag Archives: wilderness survival

Women’s Only Survival Class – 3/17-18 Last Minute Openings…


The first Women Gone Wild class was a success, with Mother Nature hammering the class with a relentless 2.5 inches of rain!! The ladies turned adversity into triumph, building shelters and fires in the rain and overcoming multiple survival challenges.

The creek was so swollen that we had to hunt for an eddy that would allow full body immersion without getting swept away.


This weekend, I am hosting another private Women’s Only class, but there have been a couple of last minute cancellations.

Click here to read about Sophie the Survivor’s experience

Click here to read about the curriculum

And email me at bigpigoutdoors@gmail.com if you want to sign up



Class 28/44 – The double birdie pyros…


What does an double bird shooting accountant that was dragged to Survival 101 class know?

That she can overcome pain, adversity, push through physical and emotional barriers, find support in her loved ones, and accomplish something she didn’t think she could do.

Kerrie : “I can’t believe I did that”

Me: “I knew you could”

Sitting in 44 degree water after a 28 degree night in a survival shelter borders on crazy. Every fiber in your body screams, you start gasping as the cold water steals your breath, your mind seeks excuses to get out, your thinking becomes cloudy, and you question why you are sitting in a cold creek in the mid of winter shivering with your classmates.

And then it happens. You dig deep. You tame your breath. You find your reason for living. You focus your mind. And then you shoot your instructor the double bird.

And while the double bird was directed at me, it was really aimed at fear… pain.. self-doubt… social stigmas… and death itself.

Not everyone’s experience in the Creek drill is the same, but I highlight Kerrie’s because I watched her crush all those demons that day. I watched her go from inexperienced to being able to save her life and others under physical, mental, and emotional stress. Cold, wet, shivering, and confused, she was able to gather material to build a life-saving fire, a skill that very few possess nowadays.

This weekend I will be training another cast member for Naked & Afraid.

It, like all the other shows, are an illusion of reality. Reality doesn’t play fair, impose rules, or have an emergency crew on standby.

Reality knocks you out of your boat into icy cold water, like Craig Strickland and Chase Morland   stealing you from your beautiful wife and family.

Reality soaks you and your children on a cold, dark night like David Decareaux and his two boys  ripping you from the lives of your other children and loving wife.

Reality is the nighttime callout my SAR team got for a busted leg on an icy trail New Years day.

Reality will crash your car, dehydrate you, make your throat swell shut from a bee sting, and a whole load of other nasties.


Reality, inspired by these heart-breaking stories, also allows us to accept the ultimate responsibility for ourselves and family and do something about it.  It allows us to prepare our bodies and minds in the safety of a training environment or at home.

It allows us to train our mindset, like Kerrie..

It allows us to train our skills like Team Dirty Water..


And it allows us to choose the right gear, like Josh..


In our comfortable world it is easy to forget that the forces of calamity lurk in the shadows. It is also easy to forget that we alone have the responsibility and power to to fight them, alone if necessary.

As I type this, I look out the window at the snow falling. It is 18 degrees and I am about to head out the door to work outside.

Natural law is hard at work. The icy cold, the bone chilling wind, the never ending assaults on my body’s warmth.

I imagine in Kerrie’s office however, it is warm and cozy. Her co-workers chat about the latest news while sipping mugs of coffee. Removed and oblivious to the dangers outside, the keyboards click away and the phones ring. At the end of the day  when they emerge from their office it will be a hasty walk to the car. As the bitter cold attacks them, there will be a deep, primal reminder of their vulnerability.

There is however, one amongst them that needs no reminder.

Maybe she walks a little slower, soaking in the elements as they launch their onslaught to her comfort.

Maybe she smiles confidently knowing she has endured much worse and found untapped sources of strength.

Maybe she cranks out the defiant, double bird in the face of anything, and everything, that would try to take her life… 

Upcoming Survival 101 courses



P.S. – Moms that get survival books from their boy and read it in cold water rock!!


Land Navigation classes – 11/11 & 12/2…


Not all those who wander are lost, but if you want to make it home or to another destination, it is best to spend some time honing your navigation skills.

Join BigPig Outdoors on November 11th or December 2 to learn or polish those skills.

Click here for more info: Land Navigation class

BigPig Outdoors at REI Knoxville – Nov & Dec


Back by popular demand, I will be at REI Knoxville on November 15 and December 13.

If your plan to survive a wilderness emergency involves sitting on the couch and watching survival reality shows, that’s great, my search and rescue team will be happy to come look for you.

If however, you are like the 100+ REI customers that have taken it upon themselves to seek out better mindset, skills, and gear, come see us.

November REI Class

December REI Class

BPO at REI Knoxville – August & October


I will be speaking at REI Knoxville again on August 31st and October 4th. The spots fill up fast, but sign up on the waiting list if you can’t get in and you will get notified of the next class. Hope to see you there.

August – “Reality of Survival”

October “Reality of Survival”