Living off the Land – Survival in North Temperate Regions

I began a series a couple of ago wherein I post old training films. I happen to like them. They remind me of something you might see on the TV when I was a kid, if you’re watching at just the right time of day.

These films need a lot of love. You can find them if you know what you’re looking for, but the quality varies from film to film. I have downloaded them in the highest quality possible, worked some magic on the image quality, corrected the sound, and uploaded them to YouTube. There you can always find the latest I’ve posted.

So here’s the first one. It’s a US Navy training film from 1955: Survival in North Temperate Regions – Living off the Land. It’s  is on recognizing, procuring, and preparing plants and animals found in North Temperate Regions.

Without further ado, here it is:


Where I come from: A peek into my life

Today I’m going to set some things straight.

Here’s the new schedule. Mondays will always be new videos. Fridays will be new videos, old videos, or something different. This will give me time to post to WordPress. I love to write! I’ll also have a greater chance to connect with people on my Facebook page. Check out the Facebook and YouTube channels links above.


I’m the father of three girls who keep me on my toes! There’s never a dull moment when they’re around. During the week I repair computers and I stay busy with family and friends. On the weekend I like to get out and play!

I was raised on an old farm in rural southern Indiana. Its been in the family since the American Civil War. I’ve lived in this area my whole life.

I grew up next door to my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, lots of cousins. I am still close to them.

I was outside all the time growing up. There was always something to do. There was wood to cut, gardens to tend and harvest, basketball to play, track to run, fishing, boating, hiking, and camping. Something to build, something else to repair. Snow to shovel in the winter, leaves to rake in the fall. I was involved with scouts, family, & church.

It was a blast growing up in the country. My closest cousin was only a couple of years older than me and we were always getting into something. We hiked the woods, climbed trees, played in the hay loft, and tormented our sisters. You know, normal boy stuff.

When I got into high school my cousin’s mom married and moved to the Louisville Kentucky. The cousins who remained were all more than 10 years younger. I got more involved with they day to day doings of the homestead and spent a couple of summers working as a Junior Councilor at church camp. One summer I spent all but two weeks camping.

Then, there was my Dad. My Dad was a character! The funniest man I’ve ever known. He knew all the best jokes, taught me how to play basketball, and was my best friend. We had went throughout the farm painting certain trees to be the “holes” for our own frisbee golf course. We would hike the woods, sometimes late into the night. Talking for hours.

In my 20s, I moved to the city to be closer to work and friends. (Well to be accurate, it was because of a woman.) I got out to parks, walked my dog, played basketball & frisbee golf, but I spent less & less time in the backwoods.

Finally sometime in my 30s I realized it had been a couple of years since I’d been out for a hike. We have wonderful parks here in town, some with miles of trails, but it wasn’t enough. I needed to get my hands dirty. I wanted to make a fire and cook. I wanted to be all alone. I needed the wild, the back country!

YouTube was getting really popular and I had been watching it, a lot! In the videos I liked best, people were going out in the woods having fun. Some of them claiming to be “bushcrafters”, others “ultralight backpackers”, or whatever. I thought it was pretty cool, so I was going to join them.

So I grabbed my iPod touch and without any thought or training, I started making movies. I flew by the seat of my pants. The lighting was terrible, the pacing was horrible, I couldn’t talk well on camera, and the camera angles left much to be desired.

Eventually life took a turn and I didn’t have time to go out anymore. A close death in the family, the stress of daily life, and several other problems got to me. My marriage broke down and I was just living day to day.

Last spring I had finally had it! I had to get out more, but a simple 4 mile hike one afternoon on the Knobstone Trail turned into several days of pain. I was in really bad shape! Living in the city had made me soft! But still the back country calls to me.

I’ve increasing my activity and eat better. I found a weight vest to wear while doing chores. I get up in the mornings and do free weights here at the house. Go to the gym a couple of times a week to get a good aerobic workout. I’m averaging a pound a week weight loss. Last month I did 10 miles on the Knobstone and didn’t feel like cold death the next day!


I know we can all improve our lives through being in the great outdoors. We get caught up in the craziness of everyday life. Returning to nature resets our body’s stress levels and helps us to find peace.

Human evolution hasn’t managed to keep up with the pace of modern life. We medicate bored children when they won’t sit still in class 8 hours a day. We medicate our dogs because they don’t get enough exercise and bark too much. We medicate ourselves because we’re depressed when what we really need is good dose of sunlight.

The longer I live, the more I’m becoming an advocate for outdoor adventure. Go ride a bike. Toss a ball. Get some sun. Talk to your neighbors. Go backpacking. Do something that makes you feel alive!


Welcome to my journey. I’m preparing for my first thru-hike of the Knobstone Trail, about 50 miles. There are skills to learn and practice, exercises to do, gear to test, things to make and fun to be had.

Welcome to Backpacking with Just Plain Phillip.

Birthday, Views & Software Woes!

We were out celebrating my sister’s birthday and we made a side trip to the Clark State Forest in Henryville. We went to the top of the fire lookout tower to see the view and found something I hadn’t seen before.



Our first stop was Good Fellas Pizza. It’s a little hometown pizza place just north of here in Henryville Indiana.

I had the baked spaghetti and sis had the fettuccine alfredo. The sauce tasted great, but there wasn’t enough of it. 

Momma enjoyed her ham and cheese. We’re also ordered fried pickles and cauliflower, both were excellent!

I’ve ordered the pizza and sandwiches here a number of times and really enjoyed them. I think I’ll pass on the pasta next time though.

If you’re ever passing through southern Indiana on I-65, check them out. They’re a local business with great service and food.

Fire Tower

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We turned north on the way out. Heading out to the park for a little drive through the country. Henryville forestry is on the left as you’re heading out of town. It’s got about 60 camping sites between the primitive and horse camps. There are a couple of nature walks both totaling less than 2 miles, but my goal was the fire lookout tower.

After a short drive through narrow country roads, we came to a hill. Once you reach the summit you will find a small lot on the left and a lookout point with lots of room. A little farther along on the right is the fire tower. We pulled in and off to the top we went.

All the way up we kept finding graffiti. When we got to the top we were in for a real treat! (Not!) Some wonderful artists had decided to use the inside for a canvas.

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Artwork wasn’t all we found. Love Locks…People come up here with a lock and attach it to the bars as a symbol of their love. How sweet!

We had a good laugh at some of the writings on the way down. It’s been nice to hang out with my sister more lately.

Software Woes…RIP iMovie ’09

Yeah that’s right. I was still trying to use iMovie ’09. Told you it had been a while since I have made any movies.

This is the first video full with my new camera, the Polaroid Cube 1080p. I loaded the video into my old version of iMovie, but alas it failed to produce a decent result. So I had to acquire some new software!

I always head for the open source options first. I watched a video about a couple of applications and decided to try Open Shot first.

Open Shot

The video I saw was amazing! So I downloaded and installed it. Launch.

Boom! Crash!

So restart the computer.

Boom! Crash!

Open Shot is not on there anymore. It’s probably an amazing piece of software, but I can’t try it till they work out the bugs.


So next is ShotCut. While not as impressive looking as Open Shot, it’s still got a lot under the hood. Download and install went fine, so now the moment of true…Launch successful!

After a few minutes of getting used to the interface and figuring out the way it all worked I was in business! Editing was a breeze. Figuring out all the settings to make YouTube was a little harder, but I figured it out pretty quickly.

ShotCut is definitely ready for prime time. Check out their site for more details and a free download.

There you go!

Hope you enjoyed the video. If you did, please join me on my YouTube channel.

Check out my Facebook page Backpacking with Just Plain Phillip.

New year, new trips

Happy New Year!

So if you’re reading this, you made it. It was a rough year last year for the entertainment industry wasn’t it? We lost a lot of talent!

Last year I made several trips to the Knobstone, spent a lot of time at Lapping Park, hiked and swam at Deam Lake, took a trip to Red River Gorge, and a day at Otter Creek Park. I’m very blessed to live in a spot that is SO CLOSE to lots of great places!

This year I have designs on several more places in the area:

Charlestown State Park

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Opened in 1996 this is one of the newer parks in our state system. It’s only 25 minutes from my house and I’ve never been there!

The park contains more than 12 miles of trails in the moderate to rugged range! The shortest is 1.4 miles and the longest is 2.9. I’d like to wake up there and hit the trails early to see just how many miles I can get through!

This place is rich in local lore. During WWII it housed the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant. Also home to Rose Island, the ill-fated amusement park which opened in 1932 and was destroyed by the 1937 flood. Legend also tells of a fortress on the Devil’s Backbone built by 12th century Welch explorer Prince Madoc.

Clifty Falls State Park


Also another park I’ve never been to! Opened in the 1920s in Madison Indiana, Clifty Falls is named after the Clifty Creek which runs through the park and houses 4 waterfalls!

Clifty Falls is 50 minutes from my place. It contains around 15 miles of trails ranging from easy to very rugged. Trail two is supposed to be the most rugged trail in Indiana. This will likely be one I try to wake up and go!

Falls of the Ohio State Park


Though not exactly a new trip for me, most of my trips have just been to the fossil beds. I know there’s much more to see here and a little hiking.

This is a popular spot in warm weather. There are I believe two out and back trails that aren’t more than a couple of miles a piece. Rated very easy and sometimes sharing the road with motor vehicles, it’s not the place to get your bushcraft on!

Of course you’re right on the Ohio river, so you’ll see a lot of fishing, occasionally some paddlers, and a lot of fossil hunters. There’s an interpretive center, though I’ve never been I’ve heard nothing but good about it. If you get down far enough you get to the George Rogers Clark cabin or a mock-up of something I might have looked like.

It’s only a few minutes from my house, so it’ll just be a quick little day trip with lots of discovery.

Spring Mill State Park


Also not another new trip for me. I was last up there late summer 2015 and we there many a time growing up.

Located near Mitchell Indiana, Spring Mill is loaded with possibilities for fun. Among them are:

Restored pioneer village! Make sure you go there when the pioneer village is staffed. You’ll find people running the mill, a blacksmith’s shop, working away at the loom, and I’m sure more I can’t think of at the moment. Also stop by the gift shop to pickup the wares made on site.

Caves! You can take a boat ride through Twin caves or if you’re feeling adventurous, hike out to Donaldson cave and climb up through either the wide mouth or up the hill to the peep hole. It’s not a very big cave, but boy is it muddy.

Hiking! The park features about 8 miles of trail ranging from easy to rugged.

Other: More things you can do here are camping, fishing, swimming, and sure there are lots more.

What’s next?

Do you have a favorite camping spot within a couple of hours later? Comment below and tell me all about them!

Thanks for reading and God bless!

Bottle Bag Options

Here are some options for packing your Hydro Flask, Camelbak & Nalgene (or similar) water bottles. Sandwiched between is an overview of a similar product I reviewed several years ago.

So for whatever reason you’ve decided to standardize on a or you’re trying to decide what your best option is. Either way, you’re going to have to have something to pack it in. If there’s no room in your pack, here’s some great options.

Check the end of the post for the popular (and trendy!) options to fill out these pouches!



First up is the Camelbak Max Gear Bottle pouch. It’s an insulated water bottle transport bag. It can securely fasten to any MOLLE attachment system. It’s made from Durable 500D Cordura and nylon webbing construction. It’s a complete zipper enclosure. It holds any .75 L or 1 L CamelBak bottle.

Get a Camelbak Max Gear Bottle Pouch


Next up is the Maxpedition Bottle Holder. This uninsulated bottle holder is made from 1000-Denier Coated Nylon. It’s been  triple coated with polyurethane and a coat of Teflon  to repel the elements. It can securely fasten to any MOLLE attachment system. You can attach a shoulder strap to the available D-rings for a quick hike.

Maxpedition Bottle Holder – For Nalgene

Optional Shoulder Strap


Finally is the Onoola Pocket Carrier for 32oz water bottles. They advertise that they will fit: Hydro Flasks, Lifeline Fiftyfifty flasks, Takeya Thermoflasks and  40oz Klean Canteens. It’s made from Neoprene, so it should offer some level of insulation. The front pocket is large enough to fit the iPhone 6, credit cards, keys, and other essentials – perfect for the gym, hike, or stroll around the park. The nylon shoulder strap is padded at a comfortable 1 inch width, and extends from 27 to 54 inches, making it ideal for both adults and kids.

Onoola 32oz Pocket Carrier for Hydro Flask

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I used to have a Chute. I found that it’s double cap system was awesome. I could open the small to drink or the large to fill with drink mix. Unfortunately I dropped it too many times and it shattered.

Get a Camelbak Chute

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Nalgene is long known for their quality. I’ve had several of them for years. I don’t like it nearly as much as the Chute. The wide mouth is hard to drink from without getting soaked.

Get a Nalgene

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I’ve never owned a Klean Kanteen, but lots of people like them. You can find lots of reviews on YouTube.

Get a Klean Kanteen


I’ve also never owned a Hydro Flask, but Google seems to think it’s the TRENDY choice. It’s supposed to be well insulated and isn’t their artwork cool?

Get a Hydro Flask

Whichever option you decide, just don’t forget them at home!

Be sure to follow me.

Also check out my other online haunts:

My Facebook Page

My YouTube Channel

Day Hike on the Knobstone – 12-22-2016

Check out my new video!

Day Hike on the Knobstone – 12-22-16 – Backpacking with Just Plain Phillip

I had a short hike on the Knobstone on December 22, 2016. I spent about 4 hours out on the trail. Sorry about the image quality. I have a better camera on the way!

The conditions weren’t bad. The trail was still frozen on the way in, so there were lots of little ice patches. On the way out it was a different story. The trail had thawed so it was pretty slick getting out. It took a little longer than I expected, but I was able to meet up with my sister and have a good afternoon.

I hiked in three miles to Bowery Creek to one of my favorite spots. The creek had running water, which I didn’t expect. So I packed a bunch of water for nothing!

While I was out I had some Starbucks Via Mocha (coffee is always a must on the trail). I also cut some wood and made a fire to fry up some spam and make some Spam Chili.

I had a great day out. Thanks for coming along! God bless!

Don’t give up because it’s hard

“In a world where you can be anything, BE YOURSELF!” – Etta Turner

A few weeks ago I was talking to my friend Aaron about making YouTube videos. He related that he enjoyed them and wanted to know if I’m going to make them again. I said that I didn’t have the time, talent, or equipment. But that got me thinking, I’ve been thinking about it for weeks.

TIME: I have down time when I don’t have more pressing matters. I waste a lot of time on things I don’t enjoy nearly as much as hiking.

TALENT: well that’s just an excuse for being lazy. I can talk to a camera. I’ve forgotten more about enjoying myself the woods than most people I know. It only takes a few thousand hours to get really good at something.

EQUIPMENT: that’s solved easily enough. I went and bought a $20 old Sony camera, and I have a Polaroid Cube on the way from Amazon as we speak. I still have my editing software on the computer.

So I’m going to sleep and when I get up, my first movie should be exported and ready for upload. I forgot just how time consuming it is to stitch those things together! I hope you like it, folks!

Thanks for the encouragement Aaron!

Where I’ve been the last few years

So for a couple of years I ran a hiking channel. I had a decent community going and even branched the channel off from my personal one. That’s about the time things got busy.

My third child came and i didn’t have time for it all anymore. Three years and a divorce later I find myself longing for the woods.  With my children a little older I also have some time, so here we go!

Late spring 2016 I went on a day hike or at the Knobstone Trail and I could tell I was out of shape! I’ve put the effort in the last several months trying to loose weight and build up muscle.

Things are looking better. I’ve been back out on the Knobstone several more times for day and night hikes. Spent a day out at Red River Gorge and one at Otter Creek Park.

I’m in the process of editing a few short videos I made last week and will post them this week (hopefully).

Hope you enjoy the shots from the gorge. It’s great to be back. Got any questions? Comment below.


First Post!

I’m just getting back to making backpacking videos. This is where I will blog about my trips.

A lot has changed in the last few years. I’m going to take it slow getting back in. I’m going to take the best of the old and combine it with the new.

I just took a trip on December 22, and I’ll be blogging about it soon and posting some videos to my YouTube channel, so look out for those.

As always have a great day and God bless!

My YouTube Channel