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28 Nov 23:29

How Watch Lume Works: Everything You Need to Know

28 Nov 22:44

What is Rembrandt Lighting and How to Use It for Portrait Photos

by Brandon Jackson

Photographers who shoot portraits are likely familiar with Rembrandt-style lighting as well as other styles such as loop, butterfly, and so on. This is especially true if you have taken a lighting class or have been reading up on the subject. You may be using this specific type of portrait lighting in previous images and might not even realize it until reviewing later. (Ask me how I know).

[Read More]

28 Nov 22:42

Wine! Carry It Off Beautifully With This Suitcase

by Debbi Kickham, Contributor
Whether you’re heading to wine country to stock up, or if you simply prefer to travel with your wines, a VinGardeValise is a perfect solution for the traveling wine lover.
28 Nov 22:35

Discover Mesoamerica’s Beekeeping Heritage At This Polished Yucatan Hotel

by Jared Ranahan, Contributor
Planning a trip to Mérida? Don't miss out on this fascinating eons-old cultural tradition.
28 Nov 22:30

This Little-Known Webpage Will Sell You the Freshest Candy

by Angela L. Pagán

Halloween might have kicked off our cravings, but candy season is still in full swing. The pumpkin-shaped chocolates simply transform into tree-shaped ones, and chocolate kisses make their way into cookie batter. The question is, do you know how to ensure that you’re only purchasing and gifting the freshest chocolates…


28 Nov 12:55

Stop Wasting Time Culling Your Photos, Use This Tool Instead (Sponsored)

by Ellyn Kail

A few years ago, the results of a wedding photography survey* grabbed headlines: according to that survey, photographers spent, on average, just 4% of their time actually taking pictures. The majority of their time was consumed with other tasks, including photo editing, business and admin duties… and culling. While that finding might have been surprising to some, it did shed light on just how many hours photographers are spending at their desks—and how invaluable it could be to streamline that workflow. 

In 2022, photographers wear more hats than ever before, juggling clients, deadlines, and marketing for their businesses. But they also have more tools at their disposal, from AI-powered retouching apps to client management software. Now, there’s FilterPixel, an application that’s saving photographers tedious hours of work behind the computer—and rapidly drawing the endorsements of hundreds of industry insiders.

Introducing FilterPixel

Here’s how it works: you import your photos into FilterPixel and select the genre of your shoot (wedding/event, portraits, and beyond) to help the AI analyze your photos. Your photos will automatically be sorted into categories: accepted, rejected, and untagged. 

The AI will accept or reject pictures based on common mistakes or unwanted elements (blurry, out-of-focus subjects, closed eyes, etc.). “Untagged” photos are similar to “maybes,” giving the photographer the choice to accept or reject. All of this is done in moments—literally (massive batches, of course, take a bit longer, but you can get through 1,000 to 3,000 images in just about 20 minutes). FilterPixel is cloud-based, hence the lightning-fast speed. 

For photographers, that means no endless zooming, scrolling, and sorting. At any point, the photographer can change an acceptance into a rejection and vice versa. You can also rate your photos directly in FilterPixel using a star rating system or color tags so you have that information later when editing and retouching (no need to waste time rating the rejects). From there, you can export your selection right into the photo editing software of your choice. 

In recent years, we’ve seen intelligent tools address a number of headaches for photographers, replacing outdated manual workflows with smarter alternatives. To start, we saw underexposed photos instantly brightened, red eyes eliminated, and unwanted objects removed. Today, there’s an AI tool out there for generating Instagram hashtags, and there’s even a website that generates stock “photos” of people using just AI (no camera needed). Needless to say, some of these gadgets have been more helpful than others. 

What is a “photo culling software”?

The idea of “photo culling software” itself is relatively new, first emerging into the mainstream in around 2020, the same year FilterPixel launched. FilterPixel stands out not only because of its purpose (few tools are devoted specifically to culling) but also because of the AI that powers it. As you use FilterPixel, you’ll find it adapting to your desires, tastes, and needs. The more you use it, the better it’ll get at analyzing what kinds of photos you want to keep and what you don’t. 

If, for example, you’re intentionally incorporating closed eyes or dreamy blur, it’ll adapt to that preference. (It’s worth noting that FilterPixel is pretty great at distinguishing between intentionally and unintentionally closed eyes, right off the bat.) And it improves quickly; even if you notice occasional mistakes in your first batch, that information will help the AI do better on the second. 

For that reason, this is one tool that offers the best of both worlds: it saves you time, but it also gives you full control over the creative process. And that makes FilterPixel unique when compared to its competitors: with combined features like ratings, AI learning, and capabilities for different genres, from the mainstream to the niche, it allows for a highly personalized experience, with the photographer in the driver’s seat. 

Another handy feature offered by FilterPixel is automatic grouping in Survey Mode: if you have a batch of similar shots, they’ll sort them together in one place so you can review, judge, and select the best of the bunch. Or you can have the AI do it for you, selecting what it perceives as the top shots. As always, you can make adjustments to FilterPixel’s selections as you go. 

AI Filters

You can also use their automatic tags (and apply your own) to filter photos into galleries around a specific theme, such as “perfect focus” or “hugs” and “kisses.” FilterPixel is also able to detect technical details that you might miss, so it can be helpful to take advantage of their AI sliders, which sort photos by sharpness and quality. These sliders are perfect for quickly identifying which photos are (technically) better than the rest, without having to zoom in and out on every detail. Rest easy that you’ll deliver a variety of images to your clients without duplicates and without agonizing over which photo to choose; let the AI do it for you.

You can also use Comparison Mode to analyze similar images side-by-side, based on factors like Focus and Eye Quality.

Ease of use

Although FilterPixel has a multitude of features (and pairs perfectly with whatever photo editing software you already use), you might be surprised by its ease of use. A sleek and intuitive layout means there’s almost no learning curve, so you can start using it right away. And it offers a tailored approach to a number of different genres; beyond wedding/event and formal portraits, they also have specific parameters for selecting family/group portraits and newborn photography sessions. 

Led by Aayush Arora and Pratyush Goel, the FilterPixel team has extensive knowledge of machine learning, and they’re constantly channeling that knowledge to help photographers solve workflow frustrations. Their customer service is second-to-none; if you have a question, they’ll hop on a Zoom call to walk you through it. Feedback is not only welcomed but encouraged.  

FilterPixel Assist

One of the most promising innovations to come out of FilterPixel’s ongoing conversations with photographers is FilterPixel Assist, which offers an even more personalized approach to culling. Designed for photographers working in all genres and niches, including wildlife, cityscape, and architecture, FilterPixel Assist is an AI-powered assistant; you upload previously culled galleries from your archive, including selected and unselected images, and it’ll adapt to your culling style. The more photos you upload, the better. 

After “training,” the AI essentially functions as you would, selecting the images that fall in line with your previous choices and rejecting the ones that aren’t up to par. Oh, and it only takes 24 to 72 hours to learn before it’s ready to start culling. Assist is free for FilterPixel users, and it’s currently available in beta. 

FilterPixel Pricing

Finally, perhaps we’ve buried the lede here, but FilterPixel is surprisingly affordable given its available tools. To start, they offer your first 10,000 images free and a 14-day free trial. There’s also a free version that offers basic features, including manual culling and instant export for unlimited photos. It costs just $9.99 per month for a Standard plan and $11.99 for a Pro plan with all the bells and whistles. 

For the chance to add an extra few hours to your workweek—which could be spent on new projects and reaching out to new clients—it’s a steal. If you want to give yourself the gift of time (and impress your clients by beating all your deadlines), check it out.  As a bonus, FilterPixel is offering Feature Shoot readers 20% on all plans; use the code “FS20” to apply it at checkout.

*See The Fourth Annual Wedding Photography Survey by Your Perfect Wedding Photographer, 2019-2020, for reference. 

The post Stop Wasting Time Culling Your Photos, Use This Tool Instead (Sponsored) appeared first on Feature Shoot.

27 Nov 16:58

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Bourbons Under $100

by Brad Japhe, Senior Contributor
The world's best bourbon and the world's most expensive bourbon rarely overlap.
26 Nov 20:42

The Commode Bowl--A Toilet-Themed Football Tradition

by John Farrier

VCHS TV reports that it all began in 1948 in the town of Dunbar, West Virginia. Two neighborhoods represented by two amateur football teams, the Riverside Rats and the Hillside Rams, wanted to prove which was the tougher of the two. On Thanksgiving Day, they squared off in a pads-free tackle game.

These days, the rivalry is more friendly and the event is far more than just a game. The Commode Bowl, as the game is called, is preceded by a parade with floats and vehicles decorated with toilets, toilet paper, and toilet plungers.

This year, the Rams prevailed and carried off the trophy after a final score of 28 to 6.

-via Dave Barry | Photo: WCHS

26 Nov 13:18

First Drive: Lamborghini’s Savage New 802 HP Countach Would Leave the ’80s Original in the Dust

by Dsimms29
It's bigger, faster, and has gobs more power—and it shows out on every corner.
26 Nov 05:54

An Intro to the Military Phonetic Alphabet

by Brett & Kate McKay

If you’ve got a military buddy, you may have heard him spell something out using whole words that begin with each of its letters.

For example, if he’s on the phone and needs to spell his name, he might say something like:

Juliet. Alpha. Charlie. Kilo. 

That’s “Jack.”

Juliet, Alpha, Charlie, and Kilo are words that are part of the military’s phonetic spelling alphabet. 

Not only is this alphabet fun to know, but it can actually come in handy from time to time.

So read on for the civilian’s guide to this combatant’s code.

A Brief History of the Military Phonetic Alphabet

When militaries started using field telephones and two-way radios to communicate in the late 19th and early 20th century, poor connections and external noises would sometimes obscure the messages being exchanged. When lives and the fates of nations are on the line, you can’t afford any miscommunication.

To ensure that messages got through clearly, signalmen developed a system of words that represented each letter of the alphabet. In World War I, each branch of the US military had its own code. During WWII, the military developed the “Joint Army/Navy radiotelephony spelling alphabet” so that the forces could communicate smoothly when working together. The Joint Army/Navy alphabet of this era was different than the modern military’s version; for example, Alpha, Bravo, Echo, Romeo, and Sierra, which today respectively represent the letters A, B, E, R, and S, were rendered as Able, Baker, Easy, Roger, and Sugar back then.

While the American and British militaries had each developed different phonetic spelling alphabets, during WWII they began to combine and standardize their independent versions to streamline communication during joint operations. During this time, extensive research was conducted in which various possible words for each letter were tested to determine which offered maximum intelligibility under the intensely cacophonous conditions of battle.

In 1956, all NATO countries adopted a universal phonetic spelling alphabet, known as the ICAO International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet or just the NATO phonetic alphabet. (Some of the words are spelled a little differently in the US military, e.g., it uses “Alpha” rather than “Alfa.”) There are also phonetic alphabet numbers; a phonetic word represents each number, and some have distinctive pronunciations. 

This phonetic spelling alphabet is not only used in the military, but sometimes in the realms of aviation, medicine, and amateur radio as well.

Why Civilians Should Know the Military Phonetic Alphabet

So why should civilians know the military phonetic spelling alphabet? Most of us probably aren’t radioing in the coordinates of enemy combatants while gunfire erupts in the background.

First, knowing military jargon and contexts like slang and ranks is just cool. Also, you see the phonetic alphabet pop up in your favorite war movies and military-themed video games, and it’s fun to be able to follow along. 

Second, it can come in handy when you’re talking on the phone and need to make sure something gets spelled correctly. Your voice can sometimes sound garbled to the listener on the other end of the line. For example, it can be hard to distinguish between the sounds of B, V, T, and P; F and S; and M and N. While an A might be confused for a K, Alpha is never going to be confused with Kilo.

You probably already spell stuff phonetically over the phone. If the customer service rep asks how you spell your name, and your name is Brett, you might say something like “B as in boy, R as in rabbit, E as in elephant, and two T’s as in turtle.”

Well, with the military phonetic alphabet, you can spell things phonetically with a standard international system while sounding more badass. 

Bravo. Romeo. Echo. Tango. 

Much cooler than boy, rabbit, elephant, turtle.

The Military Phonetic Alphabet

The military’s phonetic alphabet assigns each of the alphabet’s 26 letters a specific, distinct-sounding code word that begins with the letter itself. It runs like this: 

Letter Phonetic Word
A Alpha
B Bravo
C Charlie
D Delta
E Echo
F Foxtrot
G Golf
H Hotel
I India
J Juliet
K Kilo
L Lima
M Mike
N November
O Oscar
P Papa
Q Quebec
R Romeo
S Sierra
T Tango
U Uniform
V Victor
W Whiskey
X X-Ray
Y Yankee
Z Zulu

Military Phonetic Alphabet Code Phrases

Over the decades, soldiers have developed phrases that combine the code words in the military’s phonetic alphabet. Here are some common ones:

  • Charlie Mike: Continue mission
  • Oscar Mike: On the move
  • Bravo Zulu: Good job/well done
  • November Golf: No go/fail
  • Tango Mike: Thanks much
  • Tango Yankee: Thank you
  • Lima Charlie: Loud and clear

There you go. Now you know the military phonetic alphabet. Bravo Zulu!

The post An Intro to the Military Phonetic Alphabet appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

26 Nov 05:51

Podcast #848: The 5 Priorities of Short-Term Survival

by Brett & Kate McKay

While we all wonder how we would fare if we had to survive for months in the wild like Brian does in the book Hatchet, the reality is that most survival situations only last a day or two. You get lost or injured in the woods and have to spend a night out that you hadn’t planned on. And as my guest, Dave Canterbury says, as long as you know some basic skills and pack the right gear, you can turn a potentially life-and-death situation into what’s just a night of inconvenient camping.

Dave is the author of numerous books on wilderness survival, including his latest: The Bushcraft Essentials Field Guide. Today on the show, Dave unpacks the five priorities of short-term survival and what you need to pack, know, and do to deal with the risks of venturing into the wild. We discuss the biggest concern when it comes to first aid, the three elements of a proper shelter, Dave’s favorite method for starting a fire, the safest bet for water purification, what to look for in a perfect survival knife, the five knife skills you should master, the essential knots every outdoorsman should know, and more.

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Read the Transcript

Brett McKay: Brett McKay here and welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. While we all wonder how we would fare if we had to survive for months in the wild like Brian does in the book Hatchet, the reality is that most survival situations only last a day or two. You get lost or injured in the woods and have to spend a night out that you hadn’t planned on. As my guest, Dave Canterbury says, as long as you know some basic skills and pack the right gear, you can turn a potentially life and death situation into what’s just a night of inconvenient camping. Dave is the author of numerous books on wilderness survival, including his latest, the Bushcraft Essentials Field Guide. Today on the show, Dave unpacks the five priorities of short-term survival and what you need to pack, know, and do to deal with the risk of venturing into the wild. We discuss the biggest concern when it comes to first aid, the three elements of a proper shelter, Dave’s favorite method for starting a fire, the safest bet for water purification, what to look for in a perfect survival knife, the five knife skills you should master, the essential knots every outdoorsman should know, and more.

After the show’s over, check out our show notes at

All right, Dave Canterbury, welcome to the show.

Dave Canterbury: Hey buddy, glad to be here.

Brett McKay: So you’ve been teaching bushcraft and survival skills for over two decades. I’m curious, how did you get interested in that? And when did you realize that you can make a career out of starting fires and building shelters in the wild?

Dave Canterbury: It was kind of a strange happenstance, I guess. I started doing 18th century reenacting back in the early nineties and going out and doing the woods with basically loincloth and leggings and moccasins and all that stuff and a flintlock rifle and hanging out with other guys that did the same thing. So I learned a lot of those old time survival skills while I was doing that. And then my brother-in-law actually asked me one day, I was napping some flint arrowheads in my kitchen. And he asked me one day, have you ever thought about making a YouTube video? This was back in 2008 and YouTube was brand new then. And I was like, I don’t even know what YouTube is. And so he kind of explained to me and I made a couple of videos and the videos just kind of took off. And then people started sending messages asking me, “Hey, do you teach in person and can you teach me that? Can you teach me this? Will you make a video on this and that?” And it just kind of exploded from there to where I started kind of doing, I opened an online shop where I sold some of the gear and things that I was using in videos because people were asking where to get it.

And I was like, well, if they can get it from me, then they’ll buy it from me. So kind of being an entrepreneur, I did that. And it kind of exploded to the point where I couldn’t do two things at once. I couldn’t do all of that and work a full-time job as an automotive engineer. So I just kind of one day came home and said, “Hey, I’m going to quit my job and we’re going to do this.” And she’s like, “If you think it’ll make a living for us, then you can do it.” And I did it. And here we are today.

Brett McKay: So one of the things you’re doing, you’ve written lots of books about wilderness survival. We’re going to talk about one of them today, but you also, you’re an instructor, the head instructor at the Pathfinder School. And this is where you teach these skills in person. What are the type of people that come to you for classes?

Dave Canterbury: You know, we get all kinds of people. We get military personnel that come here. We do some government contracts. We’ve taught people like the Michigan DNR, guys from the UP deep winter survival. We’ve taught some search and rescue teams, but we also teach lots and lots of civilians. That’s our main market really is civilians. And we get everybody from the father and son who want a weekend of bonding to learn survival skills to hunters that are wanting to learn better survival skills for longer term hunts and trucks that are way off the beaten path to just normal people who watch TV and they’re like, “Oh, survival is cool. I’ll learn that.” And they come here to learn.

Brett McKay: Well, I’m curious, obviously you teach these skills and they can help people actually survive in the wild. Like these are things you can actually use, but in your experience, when you talk to these regular people, right? These civilians or father, son. What else have you seen happen when people learn these how to start fires or build shelter, for example?

Dave Canterbury: What happens really at class a lot of the time and really what kind of trips my trigger and keeps me doing this, and my instructors as well, my instructors eat this stuff up. And I think what mainly happens is you get people that come to the school that have either never done this kind of stuff before or they’re very new to it. And so they’re very intimidated by a lot of this stuff and it seems like it’s a lot of information and it’s really hard. And the first couple of days are really tough on people, but as they start to repetitively learn the skills, we use what we call an EDI methodology here where it’s educate, demonstrate, imitate, and they get multiple chances to imitate these skills.

And then they build on each other to where they start off by doing one thing and end up doing 10 things at once to accomplish what you would need to do in an emergency scenario. And they can do that in 15 or 20 minutes or less, depending on the weather conditions. And the light kind of comes on in their mind of I don’t have to be worried about this anymore. Now it’s becoming muscle memory to me and I can do it without thinking about it. And so I’m much more comfortable in an outdoor environment than I was. And now that you always see things on the internet in a survival situation, 99% of what people call survival is nothing more than inconvenient camping. And if you get that through your head, I didn’t plan to be here overnight, but I’m going to have to be, then you’ve got to look because the mental game is a huge part of survival.

Brett McKay: Yeah. I know when I’ve done like a navigation course, land navigation course, things like that, it feels awesome. In a world where you have GPS that tells you exactly where you are and how to get to places, it’s cool knowing that I can do this stuff without that. I mean, there’s something, I don’t know, it’s a big confidence boost.

Dave Canterbury: There’s no question in my mind about it. I mean, the people that leave here, their confidence level is 1000% of what it was when they first showed up on day one. And that happens no matter what the class is, whether it’s a survival class, a bushcraft class, a trapping class, it doesn’t really matter what it is. It seems to be a theme with every class that when they start, they seem a little intimidated, maybe a little shy, maybe a little overwhelmed with some of the information that they’re getting and information overload and skills. But by the end, everything is like, man, this is the greatest thing I’ve ever done.

Brett McKay: So in your latest book, it’s the Bushcraft Essentials Field Guide. You distill what you call your five by five survival system into this really easy to read and digest book. You can carry it in your back pocket. That’s what’s so great about it. And I’d like to unpack this five by five survival system for our listeners today. And so basically the five by five system, there’s five priorities you got to think about in a survival situation. The first one is self aid. So this is like first aid, but for yourself. When you’re in a survival situation, that inconvenient camping situation, what are the medical conditions you have to be most concerned about?

Dave Canterbury: Well, obviously bleeding is your biggest one, right? You’ve always heard, everybody talks about the rule of threes. Three minutes without air, blah, blah, blah, right? Well, you can’t go three minutes with an arterial bleed before you die. So that has to be always your number one priority is your self aid and bleeding and stop blood loss is probably the biggest part of that. A twisted ankle, something like that, a jammed finger, those aren’t big deals. I burnt myself pulling my pot out of the fire, those are all self aid items you need to worry about. But as far as what you really want to know before you step foot in the outdoors is how do I stop major bleeding?

Brett McKay: I like how your system with these numbers and lists that are really easy to remember. You’ve got the five B’s of self aid and first one is bleeding. What are the other B’s of self aid?

Dave Canterbury: So they’re really not in any particular order other than bleeding being the first priority, but these are just five things that are the most common types of injuries that happen in the outdoors. And obviously you’re not trying to cure some chronic illness out there. You’re trying to attack things that are going to happen to you on the fly while you’re hiking, while you’re camping, while you’re hunting. So you’ve got bleeding, you’ve got break sprains and strains, you’ve got blisters, burns, and then bites and stings. Those are the most common things that are going to happen to you. So if you take a wilderness first aid course or study material that teaches you how to address those type things, you’re going to be much more prepared in the beginning to go outside.

Brett McKay: So what do you think you should pack? So you’re ready to treat some of these five B’s. Like what’s like the essential you think you should have if you want any outdoor expedition?

Dave Canterbury: I think that depends on your skill level. I think that depends on the setting involved and how many people are there. If you’re from an instructor standpoint, it’s a little different than from an individual standpoint and depending on your skill level, your emergency kit or your IFAK, your individual first aid kit, could amount to a lot or a little. For me, really it boils down to I want a tourniquet, first and foremost, handy. I want to be able to stop bleeding immediately if I have to from an arterial bleed. Then I want things that I can use for pressure dressings. So your shemagh will work for that. There’s plenty of things that you can carry in your kit that’ll work for most of that stuff. And then things that you can use to isolate a break or something like that. Obviously you can get things off the landscape and you have a shemagh, duct tape, those types of things in your kit. The majority of the things that I carry in an actual first aid kit, what I would consider a first aid kit would be something like a tourniquet, an Israeli bandage and some kind of blood clotting agent.

Brett McKay: Gotcha. And with a tourniquet, it’s something you probably need to practice. You don’t want to do it all the way, right? But like you want to know, you want to be comfortable with how to use that thing when you need to.

Dave Canterbury: I mean, that’s probably the biggest problem that I would say in the world today of everything that you read on the internet is everybody understands that a tourniquet is an important piece of kit to have because it can save your life. How to use it effectively in a short amount of time to save your life and having it within reach is a whole different ball game. So you have to understand, you have to practice putting this thing on. You have to force yourself to carry this thing at close proximity. It’s not really good enough. I would say to most people, it’s not good enough to have it in your backpack because your backpack could be over leaning against a tree when you cut yourself 15 or 20 yards away chopping wood. So if your tourniquet is not right there and you’ve got to take time to get to it, that’s time you don’t really have. So you also need to understand stopgap mechanisms, things like your belt that you can just pull off your waist and throw it around an arterial bleeding until you can get to a proper tourniquet. So those things are important to understand too, because nobody that’s not a professional in the industry of an EMT or a paramedic is going to carry a tourniquet on their waist 24/7 when they’re in the woods. Most people will not do that. They just don’t have the discipline.

Brett McKay: So in the book, in the field guide, you go into detail about medicinal herbs and plants. What role does that play in your self-aid rubric?

Dave Canterbury: Again, I think a lot of that is going to depend on your personal skill level and your knowledge level of the landscape. And part of being a good woodsman is to understand what trees and plants can help you with things like stopping bleeding, with things like an upset stomach, with things like a possible food poisoning, with things like some type of a burn. And there’s lots of things on the landscape that can help you with those type issues, but you have to know how to use them, how to harvest them and how to prepare them. And that’s again, that’s part of… That’s a more advanced intermediate level skill than a basic level skill. And this book really covers what we teach from the basic to the intermediate level. It doesn’t cover what we teach in the advanced level courses. However, learning plants, trees, especially trees. And I say, I harp on trees a lot because trees are a four season resource, plants are not. So the chance of you finding the right plant at the right time of year at the right location when something happens to you, is much less than the chance of being able to find a tree that will do similar or the same, whether it’s harvesting the inner bark, the root, the leaves, all those types of things, and then preparing them.

Brett McKay: What was an example of a tree that can be used for a medicinal purpose? I think most people when they think trees, they think, well, that’s just a source of firewood or they don’t think…

Dave Canterbury: Yeah, for sure. I agree with that. Yeah. I mean, you have to remember that oak is, well, pine, let’s just start with pine. Pine’s probably one of the most common trees of the Eastern Woodlands and pine has some fantastic medicinal properties. A white pine, all pines are antiseptic and antibacterial in nature with a sap that runs through them. So not only is it a good accelerant for fire and things like that, it’s also a great resource medicinally. You can use pine sap to actually pack a cavity or a cut that you lost in the woods from your mouth to pack it, to keep bacteria out of it until you get where you need to go. You can use it almost like a new skin over a large abrasion area. You can spread pine sap over that and it will protect things from getting into that abrasion wall. So help to give it some antibacterial properties and antiseptic properties as well. And you can use white pine bark for bandages if you take a small sap and you cut it off, you can use it for a bandage. You can obviously use all types of inner barks and things like that for splints.

The inner bark of certain trees does different things for you. White oak, which I talked about a minute ago, was the actual symbol for Materia Medica in Europe for 500 years. Like we have the cross with the snake on it in the United States. The oak leaf was that symbol in Europe because the oak is such a powerful medicinal tree. Anything basically that you have wrong with you from the neck up, you can address with the inner bark of white oak. Whether it’s a sore throat, a stuffy nose, all that stuff can be affected with a simple decoction of white oak inner bark.

Brett McKay: And I imagine this is the sort of thing using plants as medicinal herbs. It’s something you need to actually do with an expert so you know you’re doing it right. You can’t just read about it on the internet. You probably need to actually do this stuff.

Dave Canterbury: Yeah. I mean, I would never dissuade someone from self-training. Most of the… 99% of the training I have was self-taught. So I would never dissuade someone from that. But what happens with training and the reason people go to training is number one, they’re getting expert advice. But number two, they’re also reducing the learning curve dramatically from how long it takes to learn something on your own.

Brett McKay: So the next priority in your five by five survival system is shelter. I’m curious, is this in an order? So it’s like, did shelter come before fire for a reason?

Dave Canterbury: Shelter is before fire for the reason that your clothing is your first line of shelter defense. It shelters your body from the elements. And so clothing has to be a priority very close to the top of the list because if your clothing becomes compromised, then your first line of defense against the elements becomes compromised as well. So shelter really has to become second over fire because of that.

Brett McKay: Gotcha. So the first rule there is wear clothing appropriate for the environment you’re going to be in.

Dave Canterbury: Exactly. And environmental changes. I mean, obviously I’m not sure where you’re out of, but here in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky area, the weather can change, swing 50 degrees in a single day very, very easily. And you can experience three to four seasons in a day depending on the time of year here as well. It could be 70 in the afternoon and that night it could snow. It’s just the way the weather runs here. So you have to be prepared not only with the clothes that you’re wearing, but with the clothes that you have packed in your backpack to be sure that you are prepared for any elements that may come.

Brett McKay: All right. So beyond clothing, what are some basic go-to shelters that people should know how to make?

Dave Canterbury: When it comes to shelter, more importantly even than shelters to build, like what you’re talking about tarp configurations, obviously, correct?

Brett McKay: Right. Yeah.

Dave Canterbury: Okay. More important than that is understanding the elements of a shelter. That’s not as simple as just putting up a tarp. A tarp is just like putting on a raincoat or a wind jacket. It’s going to keep you from wind and it’s going to keep you from rain and keep you from snow, but it’s not going to do anything for you as far as being able to sleep because you have other elements that you have to think about. So when you learn to build a shelter, there’s really three main elements you have to understand. And that is you need something to sleep in, something to sleep on and something to sleep under. And the under becomes the tarp. Something to sleep in becomes a sleeping bag or a bivvy bag. And the on becomes something that you can sleep on top of on the ground that will insulate you from conduction from the ground in cold weather. So you need all three of those elements within a shelter. It’s not as simple as I’m going to carry a tarp or a space blanket and I have a shelter. To build a proper shelter, it takes three elements.

Brett McKay: So for the sleeping on, what do you recommend for that, for the insulation?

Dave Canterbury: It depends again on the situation. Obviously if you’re going into a wilderness area or into the country or whatever you call it with the intention of camping, then you’re going to take all of your camping stuff. You’re going to have a sleeping pad, you’re going to have a sleeping bag, you’re going to have a tent. It’s the problem that you run into is when you don’t have that kind of stuff. And everyone should carry a certain amount of emergency gear with them, even if it’s just for a day hike. And so the three things that we usually tell people to carry is we tell them to carry an emergency space blanket, a large contractor trash bag, like six mil trash bag, and that becomes your mattress. If all else fails, you can stuff that thing with debris and get that four inch offset of insulation from the ground. And then, obviously, you need something to sleep inside of. And that could be as simple as a small bivvy, a stuffable sleeping bag that becomes very small, something that will protect you. We make a survival bivvy that will actually take it down to about 40 degrees if you’re wearing proper clothing that is the size of a baseball. It’s not the optimum thing, obviously, but for one or two nights you could use it. And you can always stuff that with more insulation if you need to and just slide into it like a squirrel’s nest.

Brett McKay: On the space blanket, you pointed out, I thought this was interesting in the book, you want to get an actual good quality space blanket, not like those cheaper ones that you can get at Walmart that fold up into a little square.

Dave Canterbury: Yeah, I mean those origami blankets, I call them, you’re never gonna get that thing back to where it came from in that bag. Nobody’s gonna be able to do that. And they’re very flimsy. They’re not a trashy piece of gear. They’re not something that’s not worth having one of, especially because it’s so small you can put it in your pocket. However, if you’re building an emergency kit, that wouldn’t be my first choice. My first choice would be a reusable emergency space blanket. That’s gonna be more robust if I have to use it for a ground sheet, if I have to use it for some type of rain gear in an emergency, if I have to hunker around a fire with that thing and wrap it around me to trap body heat, I want it to be more robust than just that thin piece of mylar.

Brett McKay: Alright. So we talked about shelters. So if you just got something you can, like you talked about that trash bag, the space blanket, and maybe just an emergency bivvy bag, you’re gonna be good for most situations.

Dave Canterbury: You’re gonna be better off than not having it. That’s for sure.

Brett McKay: Right. Well, so beyond that, like let’s say you wanna start thinking about more complicated shelters, like a lean to or whatever. Is there one that you think that it’s good to know?

Dave Canterbury: Once you understand the elements of the shelter, then it’s shelter design. And we teach five shelter designs here at the Pathfinder School as our mainstay. So you have… You know, and you can do all of these with an emergency space blanket and a trash bag. So you have a lean to, which is basically two points on the ground, two points suspended. You have a plow point, which is a triangular shelter where you’ve got three points on the ground and one point suspended to a tree or a pole. You have a fly, which allows maximum airflow if you’re trying to keep yourself cool in hot weather, which has no points touching down and two points suspended. And then you have a raised bed, which you can use your trash bag for this to suspend your bed completely off the ground on tripods. And then last but not least, you have the typical A-frame where you have four points touching the ground and two points suspended. And that’s gonna give maximum trapping of heat. If you can stuff one in there with your backpack or whatever, and we have one open then you’re gonna trap more heat that way in cold weather environment.

Brett McKay: We’re gonna take a quick break for a word from our sponsors.

And now back to the show. Let’s start with the next priority, which is fire. Why is fire so important in a survival situation, even if you’re in a warm climate?

Dave Canterbury: Well, number one for water disinfection. I mean, groundwater disinfection is important for any time, and you can carry filters and things like that, obviously, if you are just hiking around and you’re carrying some of my water filter with you, but the problem with water filters is they have a lifespan. And if you don’t have a brand new one in your emergency kit, who knows what the lifespan is gonna be for the one you’ve been using for the last 10 hikes? So you need to plan to be able to boil water. And so that’s the number one priority of the fire is to be able to boil water. Then number two is obviously signaling for rescue because fire is a good way to signal for rescue if you’re trying to be found. Then there’s a multitude of other things that fire will do for me from obviously keeping your body warm, rapid rewarming from the inside. If you can heat water up and drink it, things like creating a hot pack with your water bottle that you can put against your body while you’re sleeping or down at your feet. If your feet are getting cold, you can use that fire to sterilize instruments that you have to use to like pick thorns out or stingers or splinters or things like that out of your skin.

You can use the ashes in the charcoal. The charcoal is good if you feel like you’ve been poisoned. You can basically mix the charcoal and a slurry of water and drink that. And it will absorb some of those toxins and make you throw some of that stuff up. The ashes are antiseptic in nature. They’re a good styptic and they’ll stop surface bleeding and capillary bleeding very well, like from a shaving cut or something like that. So there’s a multitude of things that fire can do for you in a survival scenario. So the very important aspect of survival in general is to be able to start a fire on a moment’s notice.

Brett McKay: Do you have a preferred fire lay?

Dave Canterbury: You know what? [chuckle] My preferred fire lay is a pile of sticks. I think that most people overthink the fire lay. Unless you are purposely building a fire for a certain reason, like you’re trying to build a top down fire where the thing burns from the top down so it burns longer overnight with bigger logs and things like that, that’s a purpose built fire. But to get a fire going immediately, really you just need a good large tender source and a pile of the smallest driest sticks you can find because fire loves chaos. So if you’ve got enough airspace underneath to create a venturi effect or updraft so that fire sucking air from the bottom and pushing it up and you’ve got plenty of airspace for it to breathe and you’ve got dry sticks that can catch fire quickly with lots of surface area because they’re small, you don’t have to have a particular fire lay. You just need a pile of sticks on the fire.

Brett McKay: What about fire starting methods? Do you have one that you recommend for a survival situation?

Dave Canterbury: Yeah, it cost a $1.79. It’s called a BIC lighter. That is always gonna be my number one priority or my first choice because it gives you instant flame and BIC lighters are very robust. You can get them cold and you can warm them up. You can get them wet and you can dry them out. You can pretty much run over them with a vehicle and you’re not gonna break them. And even if they run out of fluid, they’ll still spark so they can still start a fire for you if you’ve planned ahead. Then I would say probably next to that would be a ferrocerium rod only because of the longevity of the rod versus the longevity of the flint and the lighter and the longevity of fuel that you have. That should be your next choice would be the flint and steel or what people call flint, which is a ferrocerium rod. And then the last choice for me would always be a magnification lens probably on my compass that I could light charred material with off the landscape. Once I have that next fire mentality in place, I start my first fire and I immediately char something off the landscape or a piece of clothing like cotton material so at the next fire, any of those fire starting elements will give me a burning ember.

Brett McKay: Well, you mentioned char. For those who don’t know what that is, what is char and how do you make it?

Dave Canterbury: Okay. So char is a very important thing that’s very underrated in the survival world. Char material is basically carbonated natural material. So whether it’s a piece of cotton bandana, a piece of your blue jeans that are made out of cotton or something off the landscape that will readily char like punky wood, something that has lots of surface area where the wood’s starting to rot away. Those things can be put into a sealed container and your water bottle and cup will work for that without the lid on it. Cover them up, put them in the fire and you’re basically carbonizing that material and not allowing oxygen in. For fire to happen, you need fuel, heat and oxygen. If you don’t get any oxygen in, you’re just creating a large lump of coal, just like they make charcoal now, like they made charcoal pencils in the past. And that material will readily take a low temperature spark and create a live ember. So whether it’s a magnifying glass in the sun, a small strike off a ferrocerium rod or even the spark from a spent BIC lighter will light that material and give you a live ember to put into a bird nest to give you the next fire.

Brett McKay: What’s your take on things like the bow drills? Is that more just interesting to know as opposed to… That wouldn’t be your first go to?

Dave Canterbury: No, I mean, we teach the bow drill fire here. We teach the hand drill, we teach pump drill and all of those things have lessons built into them of how to handle material off the landscape and variability within a process. I don’t really teach them as a survival technique per se, because I think if you’ve gotten yourself into a situation where you have to make a bow drill fire, you’ve done so many things wrong already. I mean… It just shouldn’t ever happen. And the chance of someone being able to build a fire like that off the landscape are very, very slim if they haven’t done it hundreds of times.

Brett McKay: Alright. So we’ve talked about self-aid, we’ve talked about shelter, we’ve talked about fire. The next part of the five by five survival system is hydration. So how long can we go without water? Is it like three days or what’s the rubric?

Dave Canterbury: The rule of thumb is three days, just like the rule of threes, which in my opinion doesn’t really count for much to be honest with you, because most of that stuff has so many variables within it that you can’t call it. You understand, you know what I’m saying? I’m saying if you, 90% of people go to the woods dehydrated to begin with, because as a race, we don’t drink enough water. We drink milk, we drink pop, we drink energy drinks, we drink beer, but we don’t drink much water. Drinking more water is becoming a thing now that we’re all feeling like we all want to be healthy. More people drink more water. But most of the time, people go to the woods already partially dehydrated. They’ll add to that heat, stress, exercise, and the dehydration becomes that much faster. So that three days can be dramatically reduced depending on what you’re doing, what your hydration level was to begin with. That can go down too. In a sunny, arid environment where you have no shade, that could go down to hours.

Brett McKay: What are the biggest issues when it comes to hydration in the wild?

Dave Canterbury: Truly speaking, I think the biggest issues are people just don’t do it enough. I think people forget to hydrate. I know that happens here at the school. No matter how much you tell people to hydrate, they forget. And we almost invariably get someone who gets at least slightly dehydrated almost every class because they just haven’t drank enough water. It’s not because they don’t have the availability, it’s because they just don’t do it. So I think that when you talk about in the wild, I think that you should plan to, at every time you cross some type of water source, you should plan to hydrate. Whether that plan becomes I’m gonna use a water filter or I’m gonna stop and I’m gonna boil enough water to carry with me to the next water source, then you need to be collecting water at every opportunity and drinking water at every opportunity because the best canteen you can carry is your belly.

Brett McKay: Alright. So make sure when you go out into the wild, have water on you, and then along the way, look for water. And recommended for water purification, boiling water is probably your best bet?

Dave Canterbury: I mean, it’s gonna be your safest bet is to pre-filter that water through a bandana or something like that and then boil it. However, there’s lots of water filters on the market that are 99.99999% effective and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that they’re unreliable sometimes unless they’re brand new. And even then, if you don’t filter the water prior to using the filter, those filters tend to get clogged up very badly and then you have another problem. So even with a great water filter, like the GRAYL, which is probably my favorite water filter, I tend to pre-filter my water if there’s any turbidity in it whatsoever before I put it through the GRAYL.

Brett McKay: So the last thing in the five by five survival system is navigation and signaling. What navigation, like basic navigation skills you think people should have in order to survive in the wild?

Dave Canterbury: Well, I think everybody should learn to use a compass well enough to walk in a straight line, to shoot a bearing, keep the needle in dog house, leapfrog their way from point A to point B so that they are walking a straight line because the lateral drift is really the main reason for carrying a compass to begin with. If you don’t have a map, then the only thing that compass really does for you is keep you in a straight line. And that’s why people walk in circles over time is from lateral drift and a compass eliminates lateral drift. So being able to shoot an azimuth, follow that travel bearing and understanding how to leapfrog from one point to the next so you don’t have to look at the compass continuously is probably the mainstay of skills you need so that you can at least walk in a straight line in one direction.

Brett McKay: And like navigation is definitely one of those skills you actually need to do it to understand it. You can read about this stuff, but I think that the game changer is when you actually learn how to shoot an azimuth, things like that. That’s how it just, the light bulb will go on once you do it.

Dave Canterbury: I agree with that wholeheartedly. I mean, I think that people don’t understand the power of that right there. The power to walk a straight line even is something that people don’t understand until you take them out and put them in a squared off coordinate area and tell them to walk straight from one side to the other and they can’t do it. They’re gonna be off one direction or the other. Once you put a compass in their hand and say, plug this bearing in and now walk from this tree to that tree to that tree that are in that same line of travel and get to the other side and you get where you’re supposed to be, the light bulb automatically goes on. Hey, now I got it. Or you put them on a navigation course and you give them an azimuth from one point to the next and they find it by walking that straight line, that’s when the light bulb comes on that, man, this is a tool I need to have.

Brett McKay: For signaling you mentioned fire can be a good signaling tool. Any other tools you like for signaling?

Dave Canterbury: I mean, your compass should have a mirror on it for sighting. So you should have a signal mirror readily built into your compass. It’s not the best signal mirror because it’s got a shroud around the mirror itself. So when you get to that 270, trying to reflect 270 you have a problem, but it’s a good, good signaling device. Fire’s a good signaling device. Anything that you have that’s orange is a great signaling device within your kit. So space blankets should always be bought orange, not green or camouflage. If you’re gonna use a space blanket, you don’t want to be a secret squirrel. You want people to know where you’re at. So taking that space blanket that’s five feet by seven feet, taking it out of the package at your house before you ever need it and putting SOS or three big black X’s on the back of that that are universal signals for needing help, as soon as you erect the shelter, you’ve put up a five by seven signaling device that can be seen from the air on the ground. And then really I tell my students that you should carry a 3X, 4X, something that’s two or three times bigger than what you would ever wear t-shirt that’s orange, that’s a hundred percent cotton, throw it in the bottom of your pack, and if something happens to you, put that thing on over everything else you’ve got so you can be seen.

Brett McKay: Alright. So we did the five by five. So we got self aid, shelter, fire, hydration, navigation, signaling. I noticed that food isn’t in there. Why is that?

Dave Canterbury: Well, there’s several reasons food’s not in there. Number one, food’s not a priority in the short term of survival. It’s just not. Most people have plenty of food in the tank already. Most of us are… I don’t think there’s very many people out there that are five or 10 pounds overweight nowadays, some a lot more than that. So you’ve got some food storage already. And then in a 72-hour scenario, it shouldn’t be a problem for you not to eat other than psychologically. It’s not gonna do your body any harm for you not to be able to eat for two or three days. People go a lot longer than that without food. The problem becomes the psychological factor of not having food, but in a two or three day scenario, that shouldn’t be a problem either. So food should be the last thing that you think about. Now, obviously once you’ve got all your survival priorities taken care of, now it’s time to think about the peripheral things. Okay, well can I go over to this pond and catch some fish or catch a frog or grab a snake to eat? You know, things like that. Those are your peripheral things that you think about after your survival priorities have all been handled and checked off the list.

Brett McKay: Gotcha. So yeah, again, survival, it’s not like my side of the mountain. You’re not Sam Gribley making an oven inside of a tree and cooking things.

Dave Canterbury: Right.

Brett McKay: But yeah. Okay. You don’t have to worry about that.

Dave Canterbury: It shouldn’t be. I mean, that’s long term survival. That’s living off the land. That’s pioneering. That’s a whole different concept than I just flipped my four-wheeler in a ditch while I was scouting this year’s deer hunt area and I twisted my leg and now I’m gonna have to wait for somebody to come get me because I can’t walk.

Brett McKay: So we’ve been mentioning some gear throughout this conversation, but one thing you did in the book that I really liked is you provided a list of five containing like just some really basic essential gear for survival situation. And you call it the five Cs of survivability. What are the five Cs?

Dave Canterbury:So your number one is a cutting tool of some sort. And those five Cs aren’t single necessarily single items. There are five categories, right? So you should have cutting tool or cutting tools, right? My recommendation to most people is a folding saw, a belt knife and some kind of a pocket knife or SAK. So they got plenty of things that you can use to cut. Your second C is combustion devices to start fire. Again, we talked about three. And most of the stuff falls into those categories. You should have three of these things. Your cover element is gonna provide in, on, under. So there’s three things there. Your container should be a metal container that’s impervious to fire, single walled, and you should probably have two of those and at least one nest and cup. So you’ve got three containers. And then the last one is cordage, and cordage is what you’re gonna use to tie lash and bind everything. You can carry one type of cordage or 10 types of cordage, but I would say at least some kind of a Mariners bank line or what’s called a tarred line and then also paracord would be the minimum.

Brett McKay: And like how much space does this stuff take? ‘Cause it sounds like a lot.

Dave Canterbury: You know, it sounds like a lot, but you could put it in a 10 liter dry bag or a 10 liter day pack.

Brett McKay: Okay. So it doesn’t take up… Yeah, I mean if you think about… So like a BIC lighter, you can just keep that in your pocket.

Dave Canterbury: Correct.

Brett McKay: Flint and steel. That’s super small. A good knife, you’re gonna have that on your belt probably.

Dave Canterbury: Yeah. I mean you definitely want a belt knife, something that’s full tang. Now if you’re just going out day hiking or something, you might be able to get away with a non-full tang knife if you’re not gonna beat the crap out of it. And it’s not really, really cold weather, but I would recommend a full tang belt knife and I would recommend a folding saw. And then again, like you said, an SAK will fit in your pocket. So you’re looking at all these five items. Most of your combustion devices are gonna fit in your pocket. Most of your cover elements are gonna easily fit into a small dry bag or day pack. And then your container, everybody carries a water bottle anyway. Why not make it metal? And so that’s gonna fit in your backpack, on the side of your backpack. And then cordage doesn’t take up hardly any space at all. You can sit on the bottom of your backpack.

Brett McKay: So you mentioned the knife, the full tang knife. It’s like a good survival knife. What are the elements of a good survival knife you think?

Dave Canterbury: You know, what I think is that there’s a lot of confusion about knives. I think that there’s a difference between a bushcraft knife and a survival knife. A survival knife is something that you could use for a crowbar if you had to and not break it. And you could also use it to baton wood with if you had to. And at the same time, it has to be small enough in size that you can do some fine carving with it in case you have to carve things like tent stakes, in case you have to make notches to put things together for shelters. Any of those types of things, you’ve got to have a knife that’s small enough to do that. But some of that can be done by the knife in your pocket. So the knife that you’re carrying on your belt just needs to be a robust enough knife that you’re not gonna break it if you twist it side to side or if you start beating on it really hard with another log to break into dry wood from a wet log situation or split small wood down into kindling.

Brett McKay: And here in the book, you list out five criteria that you think every belt knife should have. The first one is full tang. We’ve mentioned that one. That’s just one continuous piece of material throughout from the blade to the end of the handle. You want a sharp spine because it’s gonna allow you to use it as a striker for a ferrocerium rod. You can also use that to process make tinder with. You want your knife to be carbon steel because it’s easy to sharpen, but they can also be used as a flint and steel ignition. You want the blade to be about four to five inches because it allows you to process wood for shelter building or fire lay materials. And then you want a simple grind, just a blade, the single bevel, like a V grind or a saber to zero grind. And that just makes things easy to sharpen. So those are the five qualities you want in a belt knife. You also list five essential knife skills you think you should know on how to handle your knife. So what are those skills?

Dave Canterbury: I mean, I think that everybody should understand how to be able to cut down a sapling, to be able to make feather sticks if they need to and do fine carving work. I think you have to, with any knife, you should be able to strike a ferrocerium rod. And that comes down to the attributes of the knife because you should never use a blade for that. You should use the spine of that knife. You should understand how to use that knife as a flint and steel device in emergency where you can just pick up a rock, bang it on that knife and get a spark so that your next fire mentality can be utilized with charred material. And I think that everybody needs to be able to understand how to baton a knife. So you’re asking for five and I gave you more than five there, but I think that the base of that is, can I cut down a tree? Can I make proper firewood materials? Can I do carving with this blade? Can I start fire with this blade in two different ways?

Brett McKay: Yeah. People would be surprised if you think I can cut down a tree with a knife, but you can’t. You’re not gonna be felling a big giant sequoia or an oak. It’s like small and you just kind of beaver it. You do like what a beaver do, kind of take chunks out of it until a…

Dave Canterbury: Absolutely. Absolutely. I tell people a lot of times in my classes that when you’re talking about survival and you’re talking about trees and you’re talking about cutting down trees, you don’t need anything over four inches anyway. Four inches is a big enough tree as a cylinder to make good firewood. And four inches on a live tree is structural if it’s hardwood. So if you’re trying to make a structure, four inches. If you’re trying to make fire, four inches. You don’t need anything bigger than that. So your knife only needs to be large enough to take care of four inches of lumber.

Brett McKay: What about knots? Are there essential knots that you think everyone should know for a survival situation?

Dave Canterbury: Yeah. We teach several knots here at the Pathfinder School, but at the basic level, you need a slip knot that you can turn into a rope tackle. You need a half-inch that you can tie that off with, a slippery half-inch. You need a bowline knot so you have an end of the line loop that can be put under any amount of pressure and be able to get it done quickly and easily. You need a double fisherman’s knot or a single fisherman’s knot that you can use to make a prusik loop. And then you need to understand how to make a prusik hitch. If you can do those things on a Marlinspike hitch, you can take care of 99% of anything you’d want to do in camp.

Brett McKay: Okay. Well, let’s imagine, let’s say someone’s listening to this stuff and like, well, this sounds great, but I might not have time to get to a survival school. Can you practice these skills even if you live in like the suburbs or the city?

Dave Canterbury: You can practice these skills in your backyard. I mean, there’s no question about it. You can practice these skills in a park. You might not be able to sleep overnight in a park, but you could surely find some kind of state land somewhere or a campground that you could. You can definitely spend overnights outside in your backyard for sure. So there’s really none of these skills other than the navigation part of it, which a navigation is a little harder practice because you need a bigger area to do it. But again, I go back to all cities have parks and most parks have trees or some type of a landmark that you can use to set up a short navigation course for yourself.

Brett McKay: Well, Dave, this has been a great conversation. Where can people go to learn more about the book and your work?

Dave Canterbury: So the best place to go, honestly, if you really wanna find everything you wanna find link-wise is to go to my Instagram, which is Pathfinder Survival and hit the link tree in my Instagram because that has links to my website, my school, my author page on Amazon, my Amazon influencer page, my website where we sell gear and my Facebook and my YouTube and my Twitter are all in that link tree.

Brett McKay: Fantastic. Well, Dave Canterbury, thanks for your time. It’s been a pleasure.

Dave Canterbury: Hey buddy. I appreciate you, man. Thank you.

Brett McKay: My guest today was Dave Canterbury. He’s the author of the book The Bushcraft Essentials Field Guide. It’s available on and bookstores everywhere. Check out our show notes at where you can find links to resources and where we delve deeper into this topic.

Well that wraps up another edition of the AOM Podcast. Make sure to check out our website at where you can find our podcast archives as well as thousands of articles written over the years about pretty much anything you think of. And if you’d like to enjoy ad-free episodes of the AOM Podcast, you can do so on Stitcher Premium. Head over to, sign up, use code MANLINESS to check out for a free month trial. Once you’re signed up, download the Stitcher app on Android or iOS and you can start enjoying ad-free episodes of the AOM Podcast. And if you haven’t done so already, I’d appreciate if you take one minute to give us a review on the podcast on Spotify. It helps out a lot. If you’ve done that already, thank you. Please consider sharing the show with a friend or family member who you think will get something out of it. As always, thank you for the continued support. Until next time, this is Brett McKay reminding you to not only listen to the AOM Podcast, but put what you’ve heard into action.

The post Podcast #848: The 5 Priorities of Short-Term Survival appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

26 Nov 05:50

Routines Not Working For You? Try a Daily Checklist

by Brett & Kate McKay

Over the years, I’ve tried to implement various morning and evening routines.

The goal of these routines was to get more of the important things done and provide a rhythm to my life.

I can still flip through the pages of my journals and see the various detailed outlines of my routines:

Morning Routine

5:30 AM: Wake up; meditate and pray
5:40 AM: Scripture study
6:00 AM: Journal
6:20 AM: Workout
7:30 AM: Breakfast

Evening Routine

9:30 PM: Review day’s work; review goals (long-term and short-term); plan tomorrow’s schedule
10:00 PM: Get ready for bed
10:30 PM: Read a book
11:00 PM: Lights out

After I’d crafted a routine, I’d stick to it pretty religiously for a week or two.

But, invariably, something would pop up that would throw a wrench into the whole thing.


Work emergencies.

Unexpected (yet fun!) late-night meet-ups with friends.

A car that had to be taken into the shop early in the morning.

Sick kids.

Because my routines were so optimized, if I was off just a little on the timing, it would throw the entire schedule into disarray. If I didn’t get up at precisely 5:30 AM, I wouldn’t be able to do everything in my morning routine.

And because I set such a high standard for what a daily routine was to look like, anything short of it felt like a failure. Routines create all-or-nothing thinking. “Well, I can’t get my meditation in at 5:35; what’s the point of trying to do anything else?”

I liked the idea of routines, but they weren’t working for me.

A couple of years ago, after my umpteenth time failing at sticking to a strict morning and evening routine, I decided to try something different. I created a “routine checklist” — a set of things (separate from my work and mega, river-esque checklists) that I wanted to do every day.

It didn’t matter when I did these things. I was good if I got them done before I turned in for the night.

A lot of the tasks on my daily routine checklist are the same tasks that were in my hyper-structured morning and evening routines:





The only difference is I don’t have a set time for when I take care of these tasks. I can do them whenever I want.

Can’t exercise first thing in the morning?

No big deal. Do it in the evening, even if it means you have to modify your workout.

Going out that night and won’t have time to read?

Not a problem. Get in a few snatches during the day when you take breaks from work.

Highly-structured routines are fragile. They’re so rigid that any slight disturbance can cause them to crack.

The routine checklist is flexible. It can shift to fit the changing landscape of each day. And that flexibility results in more consistency.

Since shifting to the daily checklist, I do more of the good things I want to do, more regularly. It eliminates the all-or-nothing thinking that comes with strict routines. So I can’t pray and read my scriptures first thing in the morning? Who cares? I’ll do it during lunch.

Other people have noticed the same thing I’ve noticed about routines. When AoM podcast guest Madeleine Dore set out to interview hundreds of creatives and entrepreneurs about their routines, she figured she’d find that they followed pretty set schedules. Instead, she discovered that most of them didn’t have a structured routine. As Madeleine put it, they went about tackling their days and their tasks in “higgledy-piggledy” fashion. And yet were successful nonetheless. There’s power in higgledy-piggledy.

If your highly structured morning and evening routines are working for you, fantastic. Keep doing them.

However, if you’re like me and the structured routines aren’t working, try the daily checklist.

Create a list of 3 to 5 important things you’d like to do every day. Don’t go crazy with this. Keep the list short.

I keep my daily routine checklist in Todoist (here’s how I use Todoist to organize my work and life in general). It allows me to create recurring daily tasks. I have a list called “Daily” that keeps my daily checklist. You can use the note app that you prefer. Or write the list on an index card.

Then do those things when you can throughout the day. Look for the possibilities in spare moments to fit them in.

That’s it.

If you can’t get all the items on your list done, don’t sweat it. Life happens. Try again tomorrow. The list will be waiting.

For more insights on how to be productive and creative, without following a strict routine, listen to our podcast with Madeleine Dore:

The post Routines Not Working For You? Try a Daily Checklist appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

26 Nov 05:50

Why Do Your Knees Crackle When You Squat?

by Brett & Kate McKay

When I started to barbell train with gusto seven years ago, I noticed that my knees would make a loud crackling noise when I squatted. It sounded just like milk hitting Rice Krispies. 

I had never heard my knees make noises like that before, so I assumed something was terribly wrong. 

“Great! I’ve given myself arthritis, and I’m only 33 years old! Maybe those articles in 1990s Reader’s Digests were right: squats are bad for your knees. I bet all the protein I’m eating is damaging my kidneys, too.”

I started to investigate more about my snap-crackle-and-popping knees to see if I should be worried. 

To my relief, I discovered that I don’t have arthritic knees. Crackling noises when you squat are common and typically innocuous. (Too much protein doesn’t hurt your kidneys, either.)

If your knees have been emitting Pop Rocks-esque noises when you squat and you’ve been concerned about it, read on to set your worries at ease. 

Why Do Your Knees Crackle When You Squat?

While it’s alarming to hear your knees crackle and pop when you squat, it’s likely just air bubbles being released as you bend your knee joints. 

This phenomenon is called crepitus. 

Air builds up in the joints, and when it’s released, it makes a crackling or popping noise. 

You can experience crepitus in any joint in your body. 

When you pop your knuckles before a fight, the noise you hear is crepitus. You’re just letting the air bubbles out of your knuckle joints. 

Think of crepitus as friendly little skeletal burps. 

Is It Bad to Have the Crepitus? 

Now you might be thinking: “‘Crepitus’ sounds an awful lot like ‘decrepit.’ So does having crepitus mean I’m on the path to becoming a decrepit old man?”

As long as you don’t experience pain along with your knee crackles, crepitus isn’t a problem. 

Again, it’s likely just air bubbles leaving your knee joints. 

If you experience pain along with the crackling noises in your knees, then you should get that checked out. It could be a tendon issue, or the bones in your knees are grinding against each other. Don’t ignore pain! Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong.

Can You Reduce the Crepitus Noise When You Squat?

While crackling knee noises are likely benign, they can be a little weird and annoying. So is there anything you can do to reduce the crepitus noise when you squat? 

I’ve noticed that my crepitus is loudest when I first start my warm-up squats. The crackling reduces as I progress through the warm-up and into my working sets. When I get to my final working set, my knees are no longer crackling. I guess I get all the air out after so many reps. I also think warming up the tissues around the knees helps reduce the crepitus noises. 

You can also wear knee sleeves. Not only do they provide support around your knees while you squat, but they also keep your joints nice and warm, which can help reduce their crackling. Plus, having a piece of thick synthetic fabric around your knees helps muffle the sound of their crackles and pops. 

Bottom line: If your knees sound like Rice Krispies when you squat, you likely have nothing to worry about. It doesn’t mean you’re getting old and decrepit and will need rheumatism ointment like Uncle Wiggily. But, do watch out for that wily Woozie Wolf

The post Why Do Your Knees Crackle When You Squat? appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

26 Nov 05:43

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

by Derek Wolf
Nashville Hot Chicken Wings on a cutting board with Alabama White Sauce.
Nashville Hot Chicken Wings on a cutting board with Alabama White Sauce.

Craving some spicy wings? Being from Nashville, I am surrounded by classic Nashville Hot Chicken everywhere. I’ve done a few “Nashville Hot” inspired recipes in the past, and I thought it was time for another. So here they are, my Nashville Hot Chicken Wings. 

I brined them in pickle juice for that classic umami flavor and then topped them with a tangy sauce. So if you’re craving wings and love a nice spicy kick, you’ve gotta try these Nashville Hot Chicken Wings!

What is Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

Nashville Hot Wings are a fun take on traditional Nashville Hot Chicken. We are talking brined in pickle juice overnight, seasoned with my Nashville Hot Chicken seasoning from Spiceology, smoked, then fried over the flames and tossed with the seasoned oil.

Nashville Hot Seasoning about to cover the chicken wings.

For this recipe, I chose to serve them with some Alabama White Sauce for a tangy kick at the end! Plus, it helps cool down the spiciness if that’s what you need to enjoy more wings. 

Why You’ll Love Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

A while back, a few of my cooking friends told me the key to perfect wings is to fry them. Frying them gives them that crispy exterior we all love and seals in the smoky flavor!

Now that you’re in on the secret, you too can have perfect, crispy chicken wings. I find them to be significantly better than wings that are only grilled, baked or smoked. 

The frying chicken wings.

My personal favorite is the smoked and fried wing (like this recipe). For recipes like this one, check out my Smoked and Fried Sticky Wings and Smoked Double Fried Wings

I prefer to fry my wings in either peanut oil or canola oil. Whatever you choose, make sure to get an oil with a high smoke point, because we do not want to burn our wings. For example, olive oil tends to have a lower smoke point, so I’d avoid it.

Frying is all about searing in the flavor. That first bite into a nice crispy wing is the day’s best moment. If you follow this recipe, you’ll have some delicious chicken wings!

How to Make Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings Ingredients


  • Chicken Wings
  • Nashville Hot Seasoning
  • Frying Oil
  • Chopped Parsley


  • Pickle Brine
  • White Sugar

Alabama White Sauce:

  • Mayonnaise 
  • White Vinegar
  • Prepared Horseradish
  • Brown Sugar
  • Lemon
  • Cayenne Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Kosher Salt

Let’s Get Cooking 

Prep the Chicken

Adding the chicken wings to the pickle brine.

Begin by adding your pickle brine and white sugar to a large bowl. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then add your chicken wings to the bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.

If you’ve never used a pickle brine for chicken then you might be a bit skeptical about it. However, I’m urging you to trust me. This is an important step to recreate that classic Nashville Hot Chicken flavoring. 

The Nashville Hot Chicken Wings getting their initial seasoning.

Next, discard the excess brine and pat your chicken wings dry. Season generously with ¾ cup of my Nashville Hot Chicken dry rub from Spiceology. Set chicken aside until ready to use.

Add all the Alabama White Sauce ingredients to a small bowl and mix. Set in the fridge until ready to use.

Cooking Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

Preheat your smoker to 250F for indirect cooking. Add some hickory wood chunks for added smoke flavor if desired.

The wings set on the smoker ready to get cooking.

Add your chicken wings to the smoker and cook for about 1.5-2 hours or until 165F internal. As the wings are close to done, preheat a grill, fire pit, or stovetop for direct cooking.

Add a dutch oven to it and *carefully* add your frying oil (leaving at least 2-3″ of space from the oil and the top of the skillet). Heat the frying oil to 325-350F. 

The cooked Nashville Hot Chicken Wings ready to be removed from the smoker.

Once the wings are done in the smoker, pull them off and let them rest for 2-3 minutes. Carefully add wings to the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes. Flip and stir occasionally. Once they are crispy and cooked, pull them off and let them cool for 2-3 minutes. 

Adding a chicken wing to the frying oil.

Add 2-3 tbsp of the frying oil and the remaining ¼ cup of the Nashville Hot Chicken Seasoning in a skillet. Mix thoroughly.

The Nashville Hot Chicken Wings after getting tossed.

Add your crispy chicken wings to a tossing bowl. Cover the wings in the oil and spice mixture and toss thoroughly. Then, serve the Nashville Hot Chicken Wings with the Alabama White Sauce on the side, garnish with parsley and pickle slices and enjoy!

For more Nashville Hot recipes, check out my Hot Cast Iron Salmon, Nashville Hot Smoked Cream Cheese, Hot Chicken Sliders and Hot Grilled Shrimp.  

What to Serve with Nashville Chicken Wings

The wings are served.

Serve your Hot Chicken Wings with a side of celery sticks, carrots, or whatever sounds good to you! If you’d prefer ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing over that Alabama White sauce, that’s okay too!


If you wind up with some leftover Nashville Wings, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. They make a great on-the-go snack or quick meal!


The Nashville Hot Chicken Wings and Alabama White Sauce ready to devour.

To reheat your leftovers, arrange them on a baking sheet and place them in the oven at 375 F until warm. Alternatively, you can air fry them. Just pop them into the air fryer basket on the chicken setting and leave them in for 8-10 minutes until you’ve got some crispy wings.

Your taste buds will thank you for giving this recipe a go, that is, after they cool down! It’s the perfect Nashville Hot Wings recipe when you’re craving some chicken wings and a little bit of spice!

For more delicious recipes, check out my second cookbook Flavor X Fire or my first cookbook Food X Fire!

Needing more spice in your life? My spice line can help with that. Check them out here.

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings on a cutting board with Alabama White Sauce.

Nashville Hot Chicken Wings

Who doesn't love some Nashville Hot Chicken Wings?!
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Nashville Hot Chicken Wings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Brining Time 4 hours
Servings 4 People
Calories 813kcal
Author Derek Wolf




  • 3 cups Pickle Brine
  • 3 tbsp White Sugar

Alabama White Sauce:

  • ¾ cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp Prepared Horseradish
  • 1.5 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 1.5 tsp Cayenne Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • Kosher Salt to taste


  • Begin by adding your pickle brine and white sugar to a bowl. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then add your chicken wings to the bowl. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight.
  • Next, discard the excess brine and pat your chicken wings dry. Season generously with ¾ cup of my Nashville Hot Chicken Seasoning from Spiceology. Set chicken aside until ready to use.
  • Add all the ingredients for the Alabama White Sauce to a bowl and mix together. Set in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Preheat your smoker to 250F for indirect cooking. Add some hickory wood chunks for added smoke flavor if desired.
  • Add your chicken wings to the smoker and cook for about 1.5-2 hours or until 165F internal. As the wings are close to done, preheat a grill, fire pit or stovetop for direct cooking. Add a dutch oven to it and *carefully* add your frying oil (leaving at least 2-3” of space from the oil and the top of the skillet). Heat up the frying oil for 325-350F. Once the wings are done in the smoker, pull them off and let them rest for 2-3 minutes. Carefully add wings to frying oil and cook for 2 minutes. Flip and stir occasionally. Once they are crispy and cooked, pull them off and let them cool for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a skillet, add 2-3 tbsp of the frying oil along with the remaining ¼ cup of the Nashville Hot Chicken Seasoning. Mix together thoroughly.
  • Add your chicken wings to a tossing bowl. Cover the wings in the oil and seasoning mixture and toss thoroughly. Serve with the Alabama White Sauce on the side, garnish with parsley and enjoy!



Calories: 813kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 61g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 28g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 5543mg | Potassium: 1470mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 25139IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 6mg

The post Nashville Hot Chicken Wings appeared first on Over The Fire Cooking.

26 Nov 05:31

Why the Seiko Turtle Is the Ultimate Everyman Dive Watch

It's the essence of Seiko's beloved, affordable, dive watch-making ethos.

26 Nov 05:29

For Last-Minute Goodness: Dry-Brine Your Turkey for Moist Meat and Crispy Skin

by Daniel Hale

Thanksgiving Day is almost upon us, and there’s a whiff of trepidation in the air. Is the bird thawed? (If it’s not, fill a cooler or kitchen sink with cold water and submerge the turkey. A sturdy bag of ice placed on top will keep it down.) Word on the street is that smaller turkeys—12 to 14 pounds—are difficult to find this year. But you can thaw a 16-pounder in 10 to 12 hours by following the instructions above.

If you have another 10 to 12 hours before it’s time to roast the bird, redeem yourself as a cook by dry-brining the turkey.

Dry-Brine Your Turkey

You’ve likely heard of wet-brining, a technique that has been popular with poultry aficionados for years. It salts the bird from the outside in, not only giving the meat a wonderful flavor, but relaxing the proteins and tenderizing the meat. I love this technique, but don’t always have time.

But I wasn’t willing to abandon brined turkey. It’s just too good.

Dry-Brined Turkey

Okay, so here’s what you need to do. It’s a simple process, and will take up much less room in your refrigerator than wet-brined turkey. (I was always afraid the glass shelves in my refrigerator would break under the weight of the turkey and the brine!)

  1. Place your thawed turkey on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Remove any giblets. (You can use all but the liver to make a basting broth.) Dry the turkey, inside and out, with paper towels.
  2. Rub about 1 tablespoon per pound of kosher salt (we use Morton’s) on the outside of the turkey. If desired, add a bit of sugar and some finely chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, etc.). Put some of the mixture into the main and neck cavities.
  3. Refrigerate the turkey, uncovered, for about 1 hour per pound. This will give you crisper skin.
  4. Set up your grill for indirect grilling and roast the turkey until the internal temperature of the thigh when read on an instant-read meat thermometer is 170 degrees.

Be sure to let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Turkey Recipes

Also Read:


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The post For Last-Minute Goodness: Dry-Brine Your Turkey for Moist Meat and Crispy Skin appeared first on

26 Nov 05:24

What’s the Difference Between Pork Rinds, Cracklins, And Fatback? - Yahoo Life

26 Nov 05:16

6 Books That Will Rewire Your Brain (in a Good Way)

by Jon Miltimore

You can learn a lot about people by looking at their bookshelves.

26 Nov 05:15

Is Health Insurance Really Insurance?

by Peter Jacobsen

Insurance only makes sense when there is uncertainty, but when you take a step back from our insurance industry in the US, you realize a lot of the insurance industry serves the function of facilitating government transfers rather than hedging against uncertainty.

26 Nov 00:27

Top Ten Hunting and Fishing Books

by Sporting Classics Daily

From conservation and historical accounts to fictional adventures, these books make for great reading whenever the season. If you’ve completed this list, make sure you browse our entire selection. Last Stand: George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo, and the Birth of the New Michael Punke’s Last Stand tells the epic story of…

The post Top Ten Hunting and Fishing Books appeared first on Sporting Classics Daily.

26 Nov 00:26

Helle: Quality Outdoor Knives Made in Norway

by Sporting Classics Daily

Helle represents the history and traditions of Norwegian knifemaking where both beauty and functionality go hand in hand. All knives are handcrafted using traditional methods and traditional materials along with some modern influences to improve the overall usability. Made to be used and last a lifetime, each Helle knife comes popping sharp right out of…

The post Helle: Quality Outdoor Knives Made in Norway appeared first on Sporting Classics Daily.

26 Nov 00:26

A Prayer from Dark Timber

by Mike Gaddis

The wisdom of the father, the wonder of the son, Wander together, ’til this life is done- And comes time to remember, all that was one. As I lie dying, if I’ve yet the mind to know, Where I’ve been, and how I came, and why I’ll hate to go, Then spare me a few…

The post A Prayer from Dark Timber appeared first on Sporting Classics Daily.

26 Nov 00:25

Pros and Cons of Striker-Fired Pistols

by Alex Cole

Pistol designs have come a long way from the classic steel offerings. The majority of modern handguns are polymer-frame, striker-fired…Read More >

The post Pros and Cons of Striker-Fired Pistols appeared first on The Shooter's Log.

26 Nov 00:21

Top Guns From Action Movies of the 1980s

by Alex Cole

The ’80s were jam-packed with some of the hottest action movies ever made. These Bad to the Bone flicks featured…Read More >

The post Top Guns From Action Movies of the 1980s appeared first on The Shooter's Log.

26 Nov 00:20

Foxfire Museum in Mountain City, Georgia

Foxfire Museum

In 1966, an English teacher and his students at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Georgia created a magazine that they filled with stories, traditions, recipes, and more, all gathered from their families in southern Appalachia. They named the magazine Foxfire, a common name for the bioluminescent fungus found in the local woodlands. The magazine continued to publish after that first class. After several years, the collected works of Foxfire were published in book form, and in 1974 the royalties from that book were used to purchase a plot of land that is now the Foxfire Museum.

The museum, like the magazine, celebrates Appalachian history and culture. Visitors to this museum can learn about traditional Appalachian folklore, recipes, stories, and daily routines. The museum hosts events, showcases, and is integral to the history of Appalachia.  

26 Nov 00:13

More people disappear in the Alaska Triangle than anywhere else

by Mike Richard

Too many strange disappearances happen every year in the Alaska Triangle. For all we know, it could be wormholes or alien reverse gravity technology.

The post More people disappear in the Alaska Triangle than anywhere else appeared first on The Manual.

25 Nov 12:49

Buy This Denny's T-Shirt, and You Get Free Breakfast for a Year

There's no catch: for $5.99, you can eat at Denny's every single day. (Well...maybe that's the catch.)

25 Nov 12:25

20 Remarkable World Productivity Statistics

by /u/TatianaW
25 Nov 12:21

Infographic- The Benefits of Utilising Metal Raised Beds

by /u/vegegardenbed
24 Nov 02:38

Harvard Cocktail Recipe

Celebrate the holiday properly with this cheers-worthy mix of cognac, vermouth, and club soda.

Visit Uncrate for the full post.