Don’t get lost. That’s one of the first principles of survival, particularly in the remote areas where many of us might find ourselves.
In a SHTF scenario, it’s easy to imagine pushing into the wilderness (or what’s left of it) and away from densely populated areas. Even your prized ultimate bug-out location might (and possibly “should”) be off the beaten path.
Survival navigation is one of those foundation skills that everyone would be well-advised to learn. It’s not a surprise that land navigation is one of the first core skills all Soldiers are taught in training. Regardless of background, learning to read a map and navigate terrain is essential to both short and long term survival.
Change is the constant. Expecting all your plans to go… well… according to plan, isn’t a recipe for success. When even the best laid survival plans go up in smoke, having a core skill set with land navigation is going to be a serious advantage.
Editor’s Note: What I loved about Glen’s book is that it teaches such a core expertise in an easy to follow manner. Moreover, it’s not “just a technical manual”. It puts the fundamental skill of land navigating within a larger context of survival skills. Really, it’s about many different survival skills, with navigation being the common thread linking them together.
Without further delay, here is the BDS exclusive with Glen!
An Interview with Glen Martin, Author of Prepper’s Survival Navigation
Tell me about your book. What is it about?
Wilderness navigation foremost, but a whole lot more. When I was first approached by the publisher about writing a book on land navigation I was apprehensive at first. There’s much more to land navigation than just knowing how to read a map and compass, that’s the easy part. The awareness and understanding of your surroundings, your physical abilities, where you are, whether it’s winter or spring, day or night, how you walk, or hike, your pace count, and speed all go hand and hand with your map and compass while navigating.
We all know the best planning in the world cannot account for the unexpected. In wanting to cover those unfortunate mishaps that could occur on any outing or family vacation I pitched my plan to the publisher who was immediately on board with the idea. So the book contains several other chapters including how to build different types of emergency shelters, cold weather or winter survival skills, signaling for help, fire craft, survival medicine, even what to do and what not to do when you know you are lost.
What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?
Excellent question and you may be surprised. At first I thought this book will be a breeze but I was mistaken. I did learn how to read and understand a compass when I was very young. I use to draw in great detail my own maps of the Strawberry Mountain wilderness area that surrounded our home. I’ve also spent countless hours exploring different wildness areas. Some of my favorite adventures included areas in Alaska, Oregon, California, Nevada, Texas, and of course northern Idaho where I now live. What I’ve never done was try to teach others what I thought I knew. What I’m trying to say is; no matter how well you may think you know something, when you are putting yourself on the line in front of so many people you better have it right.
My research was more of a confirmation of what I knew, a little bit of what I thought I knew, and a whole lot of what I knew very little about, the medical aspects in particular. I spent many, many hours poring over military manuals in particular. These manuals I used to confirm what I knew was correct with the added benefit of finding new or improved aspects of navigating along with tips I had never thought of. It was like cramming for a college exam.
Other chapters in the book that I lacked in expertise I searched out through multiple sources in other books, well known or government websites, or direct contact with professionals. These resources are also listed in the book. For example and thanks to Dr. Joe Alton and nurse Amy of Doom and Bloom dot net.. They were a tremendous help in the survival medicine chapter.
How long did it take to write?
I was given a time frame of I believe 6 months to write the book. Here again I thought this will be a snap but as I explained in the research question it became a bit more daunting to make the deadline. The time it took to confirm and practice old techniques, learn and research other aspects of the book not directly related to land navigation but important to any outdoor adventure gave me worry but we made the deadline with extra time to polish up the finished manuscript.
Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?
It’s not about the end of the world and survival. It’s a book of skills, most of which are very easy to learn that are no longer taught. Like some subjects you may remember from school that you thought you would never use once learned you will find yourself using navigation and other skills presented without ever knowing it. You may find yourself taking those wilderness vacations or visiting that remote lake with confidence you would not have visited before. You will look at the mountains, rivers, and even the stars differently. You may very well save a life if not your own. I would like people to enjoy the book but I would like to see them practice what they read and if you want to make some really big points, practice with your kids, they will love it.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I was born in California but our family wanting to get back to a more self-sustaining lifestyle away from the city moved when I was around ten years old to the base of the Strawberry Mountains and later near the Cascade Mountain rage of Oregon. I spent my youth on a dude ranch giving guided horseback rides and packing hunters into the mountains on horseback for Elk, Deer, Bear and other critters. Knowing well how to live off the land it was not uncommon to find me in the mountains often alone on a hunting or fishing trip with little more than my rifle or fishing pole.
After college where I earned my degrees in architecture and mechanical drafting I spent the next 30 years in several western states and Alaska as a design consultant. Now living in the mountains of Northern Idaho with my fiancé I settled into an off-grid lifestyle where I own and operate PrepperBroadcasting.com a 24/7 internet radio station broadcasting over 50 “How To” shows devoted to self-reliance and independence. When not at my desk you may or may not find me exploring somewhere in the mountains of Northern Idaho.
As an author in the survival, self-sufficiency and self-reliance space, what are you personally preparing for?
Several years ago this question would have been much harder to answer. Because I’m back in the north west, living in the mountains, and with solar power no less, I am pretty much prepared. Water is not a concern and there is plenty of both wild vegetation and game. My only concern would be the possibility of an influx of people that dared to come this high and that I think would take a major event.
As far as disasters both manmade and natural that I believe most people should be aware of and preparing for, our economy is near the top on my list along with societal collapse. Be prepared for those around you. Whatever the catastrophe know you are prepared with shelter, water, and food or the retreat where it’s available. And remember bad times no matter the catalyst will bring bad people.
What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?
For so many this would depend on their current situation and where they live but in a nut shell… Location if possible would be my first priority. I would be as rural or off grid as I currently am, then again I prefer the seclusion. Setting location aside or while waiting to make that change if wanted I would work on the 3. Food, water, and shelter. With the most limited in funds there is always something you can do. Even if it’s a three-day plan you have to start somewhere. That’s the first hurtle, getting started but once you have it’s just a building process and so what if it seems to take a lot of time. Keep at it and you will always be ahead of many as well as where you were.
Do you have plans for another book?
I am working on another book and this one will be fiction. It will follow the exploits of two people with nothing in common who have overcome a catastrophic event. They continue on a journey of survival working together continuously facing adversities trying to find a place to start over.
Is there anything else you would like to share with BDS readers?
An old friend of mine closed each and every show with four words “Keep Prepping My Friends”.
No matter where you are or what you have, anything you do will keep you in front of those that do little or nothing at all. Use your wits, learn, and practice what you learn. All skills sooner or later come in handy and may even save a life.
Glen has generously agreed to give away 3 copies in this latest Prepper Book Festival.
A special word about the giveaway question/comment: Please read the question and respond accordingly, even it the answer is “I don’t know”. This week’s question is:
“How important is land navigation to your survival plans given your location?”
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The deadline is 6:00 PM MST Friday with the winners notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article. Please note that the winners must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.Note: Due to customs requirements, this giveaway is only open to individuals with a mailing address in the United States.
The Final Word
For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival 14: Books to Learn, Prepare, and Be Ready for Anything.
If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates. When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of our e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide. Also check the Facebook page regularly for links to free or almost free eBooks that we personally review just for you.
You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!
Note: Currently being offered at $9.99 for the Kindle version. Paperback is also available!
The book covers a wide range of navigation topics, but specifically covers:
1. Orienting yourself via topographical map
2. Finding “North” using a compass and stars
3. Basics of pace count
4. Calculating distance using landmarks
5. Dead reckoning and unfamiliar terrain navigation
6. Low visibility travel in small teams
7. Terrain association to pinpoint current location
8 . Additional instructions on fire craft, water procurement, and basic shelter
If you are looking to increase your land navigation proficiency, this is a MUST HAVE for the survival library.
Bargain Bin: For your convenience, here is a complete list of all of the books in the Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival #14.
Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness
Watch Your Back: How to Avoid the Most Dangerous Moments in Daily Life
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded
Survive in Style: The Prepper’s Guide to Living Comfortably through Disasters
Centerfire Rifles: A Buyer’s and Shooter’s Guide: Special AR-15 Section Included
The Prepper’s Canning Guide: Affordably Stockpile a Lifesaving Supply of Nutritious, Delicious, Shelf-Stable Foods
Life on a Mountain Farm
SmartMom’s Guide to Essential Oils: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Family, Toxin-Free Home, and Happier
Prepper’s Survival Navigation: Find Your Way with Map and Compass as well as Stars, Mountains, Rivers and other Wilderness Signs
If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates. When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of the e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide. Also check out our Facebook page regularly for links to free or almost free eBooks that I personally reviewed just for you.
You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!