The Simple Life Blog

An Update And Top Tips To Survive Outdoors: How Not To Get Lost


 land navigation and map reading


I know, I know it has been a bit since my last post and update, but I have a good excuse I promise! I just finished the manuscript for my next book called Living Off The Grid the follow up to my popular and Amazon best seller Going Off The Grid. Be looking out for it in early 2019. I have some exciting news about upcoming books, so keep in the know with my newsletter you can sign up here. I will be sending out special deals for every release of a new book to my followers on my email list just a little hint… sign up to be cool, and a be a part of the in crowd 🙂  I’m also in the mix for some speaking engagements and book signings in 2019, I will post the updates as I get them.

In addition, I just completely finished the inside of my off the grid house, see a couple pics below on some the projects I have been working on this season.


do it yourself projects

I finally have an office!


off grid diy projects

A great do-it-yourself project to save money.


Below I want to share a guest blog by John Lewis, as I know I have gotten disoriented from time to time while mountain biking and hunting over the years. A couple things I would like to add, as I use them myself – always pay attention to the sun as it rises in the east and sets in the west. I don’t always have a watch or cell phone reception so I use it as a guide to what direction I’m more in likely going in, and also if I need to start heading back to my truck before it gets dark. Also if I’m in a pretty remote area I break branches and leave clear markings behind me, not only for me to follow to get back, but also as a sign for others to find me if I become injured or incapacitated.

Author Bio: I am John Lewis, a blogger, survivalist and outdoor enthusiast. You can follow me over at Epic Wilderness.


In order to be prepared for a natural disaster or a down grid situation, it would be expected in most cases that your goal would be to get the best survival gears and learn up the necessary survival skills to survive these types of situations. One alternative you can look at to survive outdoors is to sufficiently prepare a bug-out bag so that you can reach your bug-out location smoothly. Another aspect would be preparing yourself for situations where you need to defend yourself physically where most people now are looking into ‘boot knives’ for this aspect.

However, in this post, I am looking more to the aspect of how you can navigate to safety when you are lost in the wilderness. This is especially useful if you like to travel deep into the woods because most people would not be able to find their way back without using techniques to get them back to a familiar trail.

Tip 1: Learning how to navigate using a Map

This is one important way of navigation because it can be utilized when you are off-the-grid, without relying on electricity. Usually, we would opt for topographical maps especially for hiking or hunting because the various contour lines in the map would represent different landforms such as valleys or mountains. Knowing the different levels of elevation would be imperative as it helps you plan out how you should approach your present situation.

Keep in mind that being able to effectively do map reading requires practice. Your main goal would mainly be able to visualize accurately different landforms in 3-Dimension so that you can plan which route you should take effectively. You can practice this skill by later confirming whether your anticipation is true when you are going on foot.

By doing this properly, you should be able to identify where you are by looking at different landmarks which are prominent in your intended trail.

Another thing to keep in mind is to store your maps in a waterproof case so that you can prevent your maps from being soaked with water. Remember that using maps would only be truly effective if you know exactly where you are on them, which makes keeping check of your progress really important.

The drawback of using these maps is that some parts of the map may be out of date because maps are seldom updated in this contemporary time. If you are fine with seeing landmarks which are not updated yet and still be on track, there should not be much problems.

Tip 2: Mastering the art of using a Compass

A compass is an important tool to help you make sure that you are progressing in your intended direction. More often than not, we would equip ourselves both with a compass and a map. Usually, we are sure that we need to turn a certain direction to reach a destination (such as turning left), but we are not sure which way is ‘left’.

Since traveling along our intended direction would require us to know our position and that we are moving in the correct orientation, it shows that having a compass is vital. If your orientation is wrong, the possibility of you getting lost is very high.

While using a compass, it may be affected by a “magnetic” north that is present in your surroundings. Hence, rather than pointing to the magnetic pole, it would follow the magnetic field which is stronger in your surroundings.

Tip 3: Using a handheld GPS receiver effectively

A handheld GPS receiver can direct you to a familiar route within a short span of time, but it bears the risk of being not able to function. There are many aspects to a GPS which can help prevent you from getting lost, but I would like to talk about two here: (1) the ability to do ‘scouting’ and (2) utilizing distress signals.

First, concerning scouting, it is a practice where you would observe the surroundings of your intended route before you go there on foot. You need to use a computer and refer to internet resources such as Google Maps to look at your surroundings in those places. By understanding the general overview of your destination, you would be able to effectively direct yourself out of trouble

After that, you can choose to mark down locations which are essential or interesting to you and transfer those markings into your unit. When you are on foot, these marked waypoints can be used as a convenient reference to get you to your intended route. If you do this correctly, the probability of you getting lost outdoors would be minimal.

Second, concerning distress signals, you can attach your GPS with cell phones or other transmission devices such as Personal Locator Beacons and Satellite Messengers so that you can give out distress signals in times of need. The Personal Locator Beacons would give out distress signals by using the Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS), which is operated and regulated by NASA. This is usually only used in extreme emergency situations.

As for Satellite Messengers, we would usually use this one to call for help. These tools can help us ensure that we can call for help even though we are not within cell-phone coverage, making it really helpful especially when we travel outdoors.


After understanding these tips, you have a higher chance of surviving the outdoors although you are lost in the wilderness. Do keep in mind that this is just the ‘skills’ that you need to acquire to be a better prepper, choosing the right gears may be equally important as well.

For a handheld GPS receiver, the aspects which you may want to keep an eye for is for it to have an excellent display quality where you can read it under different lighting conditions, having a storage which is sufficiently huge while being lightweight and compact, so you can travel with it with ease.

If there are any other methods you can employ to save yourself when you are lost outdoors, please share with me by commenting below!


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Two Things Stopping You From Living The Simple Life

two things stopping you from living the simple life

Simple living is easy, well easier than today’s modern lifestyle, but getting there sometimes is not. I know from the questions I usually get on the subject most people want to live a simpler and happier lifestyle, but they are not sure where to start. I must emphasize this – anytime you make a fairly drastic change in your life there is pain in the beginning – nothing that improves your life long term comes easy, it takes work and perseverance.

I have found there are two main things that stop people dead in their tracks when pursing what I like to call “The Simple Life.” I plan to expand on these two simple living killers in a future book, but I want to share some of the basics for you to get started on your journey of happiness, and freedom.


The 5 Principles Of The Simple Life Healthy Lifestyle Plan

the simple life 5 principles

For those of who follow me or are familiar with my teachings know, I consider health and nutrition to be the cornerstone and key to living The Simple Life.

I always recommend to people interested in improving their life in anyway by starting with their health. Why? It is not because I’m a health guy, and former athlete, but because I have found that health is key to anything and everything to do with living the life you want. How are you going to improve your productivity, relationships, and your overall life if you are like most Americans – overweight, on multiple prescription drugs, problems sleeping, stressed out, depressed, and just flat out unhappy!


Update On My Off The Grid House Projects


Yep it is time to give a Gary off grid house update… so what the heck have I been up to you may ask? I’m back at my property in NE Washington enjoying the beautiful weather and quiet. There are numerous projects to get done this season, mainly rapping up the inside of the house. The good news is mainly the finish work is all I have left – trim, base boards, and just building some things to make my life easier. I needed a TV stand for the living room, but it had to be a certain height and width, and I wasn’t willing to pay $500 or more for a piece of crap made in China… off to get supplies I went. In the end it was well worth it, it only cost me a little over $100 and will match all my other trim. It was pretty simple I bought an off the shelf 30X30X12 unfinished cabinet from Home Depot, a piece of finished plywood and some trim. I think it came out pretty good see the pics below:


How To Find The Right RV For Your Life Adventures

guide to rv living nash travle trailer

Click here to purchase my best selling book The Simple Life Guide To RV Living: The Road to Freedom and the Mobile Lifestyle Revolution

When it comes to starting a life on the road in an RV, or using an RV for the occasional getaway the options today are pretty much unlimited. I would say if you dream it there is more-in-likely an RV for you in today’s market.

Now to the nitty-gritty—the different classifications of RVs. When it comes to the classification of RVs, this is where most people have the most confusion and the most questions. There are five major classifications of RVs:

  1. Class A
  2. Class B
  3. Class C
  4. Travel Trailer
  5. Fifth Wheel