Friday, June 7, 2013

Prepping and the Outdoors

Bill Howard interviewed Orion Darkwood about the Prepper Movement on his podcast Outdoors with Bill Howard.  Podcasting allows you to take the show with you so to speak.  Outdoors with Bill Howard can be heard for free on iTunes HERE ,Stitcher, and BlogTalkRadio HERE.


I frequently get into conversations about what was the most difficult hunt I have ever been on and what made it so difficult.  The only thing easy about the hunt I would refer to is the fact that it is easy to pick that particular one as the hardest.  A mountain lion hunt in Arizona back in 2008 consisted of temperature variations from 15 degrees in the morning to the high 80’s by noon.  The land was impossible to traverse other than by horseback, so a situation in which you would be stranded would become a survival situation in all likelihood.

This meant the trip consisted of heavy preparation for whatever circumstance that may present itself.  The planning for such a trip can really enlighten you on what it takes just to live a few extra days without today’s comforts.

The United States was built on such principles, and then as our nation became more and more successful through advances in the free enterprise system, we became much more specialized in our abilities.  Through cooperation from each other it allowed our nation to succeed as no other has in history.

That being said, the curse of our specialized abilities, or careers, has been the loss of knowledge to basic things.  Recently, I heard a survey that found nearly 40% of Americans could not or have not made a sandwich in the last 12 months.  At first I thought this seemed ridiculous, but after further thought, maybe not.  Fewer people have the skill to cook with the access to fast food restaurants at nearly every corner.

I remember vividly my grandmothers knitting or sewing and my grandfathers tilling and tending small gardens.  These skills are slowly dwindling from our bag of tricks.  A nation that purchased Alaska for the purpose of self sustainability has lost the ability to rely only on ourselves in just a couple of generations.

I interviewed Orion Darkwood a couple of weeks ago.  Orion is the president of the Eastern North Carolina Preppers Association which met at William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh on June 8th.  He became interested in the prepper movement while reading the book Lucifer’s Hammer which tells of a comet striking the earth and the resulting issues.  Orion noticed lots of small groups but no real organized group for sharing ideas on preparing for whatever may come.  He then took action in forming the group and it has expanded to holding meetings both in Wilmington and Raleigh.

When asked about the difference between reality and reality television with shows such as Doomsday Preppers, Orion explained reality TV is meant for entertainment, while in reality, true preppers are trying to become self reliant.  Prepping is not just about preparing for a cataclysmic event.  It is the preparation for basically anything that would cause reliance on something other than yourself.  Orion notes preparation may include the ability to get your own fruits in case of a deep freeze in Florida that destroys a large orange crop to your well running dry.

There are so many circumstances in which you could look to and think ‘what if’ that it can become overwhelming trying to truly understand the full results of a situation.  Just in my lifetime we have seen in our very own state of North Carolina gas lines a mile long during the 1970’s and extended periods of power loss with hurricanes Hugo, Fran, and Floyd.  We cannot afford to lose basic survival skills.

The saying ‘jack of all trades, expert at nothing’ may need to be rephrased as ‘expert at surviving.’


  1. Yeah, I personally think that Americans of all political stripes need to get serious about (at least) short term survival without our transportation system and without electricity. In 2011-2012 we lost power for over 20 days (not at once, but twice were 8 days each) and that got me religion, especially re: our backlog of frozen, shrink-wrapped garden and wild game food. Useless when the freezer goes.

    Alas I think too many people (of all political stripes) have the idea that they can either 1) depend on the government to save them, or 2) that their F-150 on 6" lift will carry them safely to the grocery store, which magically will be open for business, not looted, and with refrigeration. I see both of these attitudes every hurricane season. Not good.

    Bill - look me up when you make it up to the Potomac. Happy to join you.


  2. Enjoy discounted prices for outdoor supplies at