Interview: Tim MacWelch Survival Expert & Author

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BugOut.com is happy to bring you the first of a series with author and survival skills instructor Tim MacWelch. Tim operates a survival school in Virginia. He has previously trained law enforcement, US Armed Forces, State Department Personnel, Department of Justice Agencies. He and his school Advanced Survival Training have been featured on National Geographic and Good Morning America. He is a contributor to OutDoor Life Magazine.

The first part of the series will be my interview with Tim(below). The next post will be a short excerpt from his latest book Prepare for Anything Lastly, Tim will share some tips and skills in a series of guest posts.

Here is my recent chat with Tim:

Bugout: What items are in your pockets whenever you leave the house?

Tim: My keychain acts as a catch-all for most of my EDC gear. On it, I have 12 feet of 550 cord, an LED light, combo sharpener and spark rod, and a mini lighter – at a minimum. Sometimes I’ll add a small multi-tool on there as well. In my pocket, I’ll also carry a full sized lighter and a folding knife, usually one of my CRKT’s. And if I’m leaving my house, I have a vehicle that is stocked to the gills with survival gear. Food, water, tools, shelter items, boots, fire starters, clothes, rope, traps, and enough hand tools to set up Gilligan’s Island.

Bugout: Do you think having survival skills/knowledge can help in everyday life? How?

Tim: Having some skills and knowledge of survival can definitely help people in their daily lives. Of course, they are better prepared in the event of an emergency. But someone with a survival mindset is also more alert to their surroundings – and they are more aware of the difference between their “wants” and their actual needs.

..someone with a survival mindset [is] more aware of the difference between their “wants” and their actual needs.

Bugout: Are the people attending your classes looking to brush up on skills to help them for camping/hiking or do you find a more SHTF mindset?

Tim: These days, I get an even mix of outdoor enthusiasts and preppers in my classes. This is a big change from 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. Most of the people I have taught over the years have been there (or claimed to have been there) because of their love of the outdoors, and their desire to know more skills that deal with outdoor emergencies. In recent years, I still get that type of person with those claims, but there are a lot more people now who are worried about the grid going down or the financial system collapsing. Lucky for me, there are plenty of skills I can teach that satisfy both types of students.

Bugout: How about some specific suggestions for dealing with the increased hazards of winter conditions?

Tim: Carry cold weather clothing and sleeping bags in your vehicles. Chances are good that wherever you go, your car isn’t too far away. Since hypothermia can kill quickly in cold winter weather, this makes clothing and warmth your top priority (and it’s usually your top priority in other conditions as well).

Bugout: Who is the perfect reader for your new book, “Prepare for Anything-Survival Manual”?

Tim: I don’t think there is a perfect reader for Prepare For Anything. We wrote the book to assist a wide range of people through a wide range of scenarios. Kids can read it, enjoy it, and learn something from it. So can the elderly, and everyone in between. Our goal was to have something in there that would be of help to anyone and everyone. But if you’re looking for the perfect gift for your prepper friend or family member who is into emergency preparedness, then look no further.

Bugout: Does the book cover urban, suburban and backcountry skills?

Tim: All the above. This book deals with urban survival scenarios and how to navigate through man-made disasters, and it deals with the survival skills you’d need if you were injured or lost deep in the wilderness. Our goal was to literally prepare you for anything, and I think we’ve hit very near the mark.


1 Comment


  1. Carlene A Walker

    Tim, I loved your book. Very good information. Too bad I had already written my two books on preparedness and survival or I would have said “Their is nothing left to write about.” Regarding information for women, their is a whole lot more that women should know, and I have put it in my two books.
    How do I get these two manuscripts to Bonnier – Outdoor Life – Weldon Owen for publication?
    Regards Carlene Walker, Prepper/Survivalist

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