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.

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