Those of you who have been reading this site for a while now know that I have written about and enjoyed a couple other Ron Hood survival videos. Read our review of “Ultimate Survival Guide” and “Advanced Survival Guide.”

His videos are not only funny but full of useful information all in one place. I know you’re going to want to watch these videos over and over again. I got a new one, “Survival Basics I and II,” and I wanted to tell you what I thought of that one as well.

I really liked this one because it covers the first 48 hours after an emergency as well as key things such as staying dry and minimizing heat loss. You may think you already know all there is to know about these basic subjects but somehow Ron hood finds a new angle. I mean, I don’t think I would ever have thought to fill a trash bag with pine needles as a make-shift blanket. The fact that he covers basics also makes these videos a great gift for your kids or your younger prepper friends who are just getting started. It’s great to read a book but watching a video has more richness to it. I only wish we hadn’t lost Ron Hood a few years ago because I think he would have been really great at maximizing the fun of a YouTube channel. There are a lot of those channels now and they’re fun to watch too, but Ron Hood’s personality is part of the appeal of these older videos.

Some of the basics that he covers is firemaking, which you can’t learn too much about in my opinion. The techniques on wayfinding were incredibly valuable. Watch these techniques and take notes in your offline prepper notebook. You can easily tell direction both during the day and at night with the techniques that Ron clearly explains.

It goes over what to include in your own mini kits and maxi kits and all kinds of other things. The coolest things to me were the wayfinding sections with shadows and a watch, and the figure 4 trap looked like something worth trying out. All you need to make a small animal trap is a knife and the diagram of this cool leverage-based trap in your mind. As in the other videos, Ron’s wife Karen helped out with sections on how to clean fish and how to cook maggots. These and other survival videos by Ron Hood and others are available at Stoney-Wolf Productions.

I recently wrote a review of the first Ron Hood video I had ever watched. It was called “Advanced Survival Guide” and you can read that review here. I got three of his videos while I was at SHOT Show this past January and this is the second of the three reviews I have planned.

This one is called “The Ultimate Survival Guide” and it covers survival in cold climates and very hot, dry climates, as well as hot to do things we all got to do like poop. And in the case of women, deal with that time of the month. That’s what’s covered in the “Taboo Topics” chapter of this, and Karen Hood covers this tidbit of information for women, as would be expected.  If you have a lot of survival guides you may have heard of a lot of this information before. But a big part of the fun of watching a Ron Hood video is the presentation. He really has fun with it and presents the basic information in an easy to remember way, so it will not be something you really have to think a great deal about if you’re trying to remember it in a time of emergency.

For instance, the part about pooping in the woods…I watched this with my 9-year-old son and he was cracking up at all of the different ways that Ron found to say “poop.” For instance, “When you have to leave some trail timber…” Yes, Ron probably used euphemisms more times than he really needed to, because you knew exactly what he was talking about, but that was part of the fun. There’s a review of this video on Amazon that says it’s “a bit crass,” and I have to say I did not find it crass at all. I also really appreciated his attitude about people who poop in popular camping spots. He was right on in his advice to not poop in the first flat spot you come to, because that’s likely where someone is going to want to put a tent there. I wanted to see more of Karen, but she only had a couple of bit parts, talking about some women’s issues.

He started out the video with survival basics, talking about how many calories you need just to keep yourself alive. His advice, based on the amount of calories in say, beef, versus wild foods like a squirrel, which he gives, reveal that it is better to use your energy (burn your calories) making shelter than being out in the cold shivering.

He showed how to easily make a belt out of paracord, so you always have that on your body. That’s a quick and easy project that now my son wants to do. The inside of the paracord could come in handy if you follow Ron’s advice to make a bone fish hook. I appreciated that he showed how the process of carving and chipping away at the fragment of bone was actually done. He even showed that it doesn’t work exactly right all the time if it doesn’t break in the place where you want it to, but you can still fashion something useful.

There was a useful section about things to have in your car, which includes some items that did not make my recent post called “Assembling a Car Emergency Kit.” He recommends a shovel and tow chain and good gloves, which I agree is essential if you are driving in snow.

The desert survival section covered collecting water. He demonstrated that the technique of digging a hole and covering it with clear plastic that I wrote about in the how to collect water post doesn’t really work! By far the most water that he collected came from the technique of using the plant’s transpiration. And now I know the truth about how useful cactuses in the desert really are.

Remember, this is a survival guide covering basics. He goes through  what to do if someone has heat exhaustion and heat stroke. How to wrap a blanket around yourself for the most coverage. And, perhaps most importantly, what to do when you have to cut some trail timber. Al told, another recommended video. I’d say, particularly if you are a visual learner, and you want demonstrations rather than reading about something in a book, or if you have a grandchild who wants to learn DIY things. It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you’re new to “prepping” or you’re interested in survival, you can’t go wrong.

I’ve known about Ron Hood and his survival videos for a while. But I have to tell the truth…I had never watched any of the videos! While I was at SHOT Show earlier this year in January I got to meet the people behind the production company, Stoney-Wolf Productions. I even got to say a quick hello to his wife, Karen Hood, his widow who is carrying on the survival training since his passing in 2011. After watching the “Advanced Survival Guide” video, I was really sad that he was no longer around to make more videos.

I felt like I was in one of his training classes along with him. I really enjoyed his approach of both funny with practical information. I have a 10-year-old son who is big on watching survival videos on YouTube. He watches about 5 different channels religiously and to be honest, I felt that I wasn’t going to learn anything new in this Ron Hood video. It was filmed in 2009, and I wasn’t sure my son would stay interested and get anything out of it.

Let me tell you, not only did he get something out of it, he stayed glued to the television the entire two hour length of the video! I was amazed. In fact, me, my husband and my son watched the videos together and we felt like we were watching a thriller and we should have had some popcorn with it. We all enjoyed it. My husband, who hadn’t watched any Hood videos before either, said, “He’s knowledgeable, approachable and the information is still very relevant.” My husband and son got ideas for projects they can make together (Apache throwing stars!) and we all will never look at a tent pole and empty shotgun shells again (use them to make an impromptu hunting bow).

Hood even eats a slug at the start of the video! I already knew that cattails were edible, but Ron told me new things about cattails that I didn’t know, such as using the fluff as insulation, and making cordage out of the leaves and arrows out of the stalks. He also tells how to make a pocket for a handmade sling.

This video is divided into two parts. The first part is the Advanced Wilderness Survival Skills (Primitive Weapons, Tracking Basics, and the second part is Urban Survival Skills. That section was slightly less interesting, but still had some useful information on how to handle things around your home in the event of a social breakdown. Most other survival sites don’t really talk about what to do with our waste…urine and feces…but Hood approaches the topic of “deletion” with practicality and humor in a way that seems like it will work…as long as you have plenty of trash bags around!

He walks through how to get water from a hot water heater. It’s more involved than simply opening up the drain at the bottom. And to tell you the truth, we’ve lived in our house now for 5 years and it never occurred to me to clean out the hot water heater the way he suggests that we do it. That is definitely on my list of household tasks from now on.

Karen played a big role in this video. She spoke about how to use the concept of “copy canning” to build up your emergency food pantry. Essentially, whenever you eat something from your food supply, buy two next time you go to the grocery store. You’ll slowly build up a stock pile without going out and spending a lot of money all at once. She also has a segment on parking lot and vehicle safety, reminding everyone, but especially women, to be aware of your surrounds and vigilant everywhere you are, such as in the grocery store parking lot.

While watching this segment, I felt that it was unfortunate that her segments were so strictly gender based…Ron got to build the cool survival stuff and Karen got to talk about the food pantry. But I reminded myself of when this was filmed. Things really were different then as far as “prepping” being a more masculine thing to do. And the fact that they were bringing a woman into things in the first place was probably a big deal at the time. I even enjoyed watching their baby crawl around in some of the segments.

What really sets these videos apart is the fact that they’re real. Real knowledge from a real person who tells you how things are really going to go when you start making something. I’d recommend these videos for the beginning “prepper” or person who is worried about how they might survive in a SHTF fan situation. By watching this video you will get a lot of knowledge on how to use things you already have access to. You could watch many hours on YouTube without getting this much clear, concise education. I also recommend this video for kids who like DIY type projects. There’s a lot to learn for just about anyone here, even people who think they already know pretty much everything. Purchase this video and others from Stoney-Wolf Productions.


It’s nice to enjoy the finer things in life. For drivers, it could be English cars. For foodies, French wine. For outdoorsmen, Italian knives.

The Fox Knives Njall is designed by Jesper Voxnaes and made in Maniago, Italy. It is a beautiful and uncompromising piece of equipment. The blade is 4.25 inches long and is made of Bohler N690Co stainless steel with a fine edge. This gives you great edge strength and rust resistance. The satin polish gives off a wonderful shine. The clip point is stout and has a deep belly, making it a good choice for a skinning knife. The steel is also .19 inches thick, allowing it to baton through wood easily. However, the cutting edge is only 3.5 inches, so this blade will only handle thinner pieces of wood.

The handle is olive drab micarta and is held in place with stainless steel tube pins, which can be seen in other Vox fixed blade designs. There is also an option for orange G10 scales for better visibility.

The knife weighs in at 8.07 ounces and does a fair job chopping for a knife of its size. This is because of the added heft towards the belly of the blade. However, the micarta handle scales are quite smooth and the Njall almost came out of my grip without a lanyard. Consider horizontal batoning if you really need to get through larger pieces of wood.

This knife is practically a light saber when it comes to processing tinder. The fine edge holds well and creates feather sticks without a problem. Because the handle is quite comfortable, I was able to make quite a tinder pile before needing to relax my grip.

The knife doesn’t penetrate as well as other clip or drop point blades that I’ve used because of how stout it is. This doesn’t bother me because there is a lot of strength in the blade and a lower risk of bending the tip when stabbing harder materials. The smoothness of the handle does pose another risk with this motion, since my gloved hand was sliding forward a bit when stabbing in a standard grip.

The sheath is high quality Italian leather and keeps solid retention on the blade. Beware, it does not have a snap or other closure to secure it upside down. The retention could also wear off over time and use. It’s also dedicated for righties (again, I am a left handed gear tester).

In short, the Njall is a beautiful and capable knife that is a companion to any outdoorsman.

For more high quality blade choices, check out



A good knife is an essential part of any outdoors kit. A knife can aid with many tasks like shelter building, food preparation, fire building and self-defense.

But shopping for knives can come down to finding the best quality blade for the lowest price. There are plenty of options in the knife world, and Boker has introduced a fixed blade that delivers a well built knife for less than $40.

The Boker Plus Outdoorsman is designed for, of course, outdoorsmen and hunters. The blade is Sandvik 12C27 steel with a titanium coating for corrosion resistance. A good thing about the coating is that it’s smooth and doesn’t get in the way of batoning and feather stick making. The blade is has a 3.5 inch fine edge and is .17 inches thick, which gives you a durable and light package. The drop point has a false edge that covers about half the blade, which gives the knife great penetration.

But beware, it should not be your first choice if you expect to be prying things apart. The handle is plastic with a rubber molding. With or without gloves, it offers a solid grip on the knife. But I found it to be a little small, so users with smaller paws may get a better fit and feel for the knife. There are four holes in the construction which allow you to lash it to a pole for a spear.

Since it’s a light and short blade, it does not fare well with chopping. It can however baton smaller sticks to make kindling. The knife is great at making tinder piles. The blade holds a good edge and makes very fine cuts on dry wood.

To top it off, the spine of the blade, while not a totally sharp 90 degrees, can make sparks off a Ferrocerium rod.

My main issue with the knife is that it comes with a Cordura sheath that is only for righties (sorry, a southpaw is writing here). Also, it isn’t flush with knife’s construction, which is starting to wear away at the fabric after some insertion and removal.

But all things considered, the Outdoorsman is a solid blade that delivers good quality at a fair price. Purchase the Boker Plus Outdoorsman for $60.


A solid wallet that performs is essential for everyday carry. We got our hands on a Trayvax Summit and put it to the test. How does it handle a stack of cards and cash? You can learn more about this and other Trayvax products here:

It never hurts to slim down your EDC. A good place to start is your wallet. The things can get thick with plastic, cash, receipts and other miscellaneous items. All this can make them uncomfortable to keep in your pocket.

The Trayvax Summit is an excellent way to keep the essential on you in a small and simple package. The stainless steel and nylon construction can hold around eight cards and a small amount of cash. Getting the perfect fit for what you want to carry will take a few tries, but once you do, the cards will be secure with the tension from the strap.

Since it’s slim, it’s easy to pull out of your back pocket, even when sitting down. However, your speed in getting cards out at the register will be a little slower because of the friction from the strap. It’s not terribly slow, but it’s not for the impatient.

To top it off, it’s made in the good ‘ol USA. You can find the Summit and other carry options at

Music in the video is courtesy of

The Survivor Ammo Can by MTM Case-Gard gives you a compact storage unit for keeping emergency supplies underground. Underground storage is often an afterthought for many people when it comes to being prepared for the worst. Underground storage can keep your equipment secure and safe if your primary storage location is destroyed or is unsafe to enter. For instance, if an earthquake strikes, your home may be leveled or be too unstable to enter and rummage around in for your supplies. A single MTM SAC can keep your bare essentials handy or several of them can keep a second round of emergency gear ready in case of the worst.

The SAC is made of thick polymer and has a 7-liter capacity. The total package includes the canister body, lid, protective top lid, plastic bag and moisture control packet. The lid of the can has a pair of foam O-rings to seal out air and water and screws down to the body. While I was skeptical of their ability to keep out moisture and debris, my testing proved me wrong.

First of all, the construction of the protective lid is very tough. I stabbed it with a shovel about two dozen times and nothing went through. This is good because it is very likely the user will hit the can several times while digging it up from underground.

For testing, I first buried the SAC underground for a week in wet soil. The seals held and didn’t let any dirt or moisture in. This did not surprise me. I had no doubt that the foam seals could keep out indirect contact with moisture.

My second test was longer and also against the recommendations of the company regarding how to position the can. I placed it upside down in a bucket full of water for three weeks. When I pulled it out and took the lid off, I was surprised to find that there was no water inside the can. Some moisture had gotten past the first seal, but the inside of the can was still dry.

The SAC can definitely do what it’s made to do. I have no doubt that it would do well as a long-term storage option for keeping emergency supplies underground. Just be sure to check up on it every few months to maintain your equipment. Visit MTM Case-Gard’s website for this and other great products.