Great Thread, took a while to read through, there have been a few years pass since
I was once amongst the mix, but i picked the wilderness rather than the city.
it was not foreseen, we lived in montana (ex and i) and she wanted to go to school, the school
was in utah, so we kept our house here and stayed with friends in their basement there. They said
it would be fine, they could put up with us for a year. Was that ever short lived, 2 months into it we
came home from work/school (i got a job down there in a auto body shop, still had bills to pay here
and try to survive there as well.) They decided we were no longer welcome. So after a night in
the car, we decided to stick it out and stay no matter what so she could finish school, its only 10
months or so, already in debt for it anyway, we had to pay close to 3K up front, and the rest were
student loans. I could not see wasting the money already spent. It took some convincing to get her
to agree. But we lived in the car at a truck stop until payday, paid our bills here in montana, and figured
out what we had left, which was not much. So we hit the local thrift stores and did some pricing.
We found a great 10 person tent used for $20, some sleeping bags and a few other things and
went looking for a spot to set it up.
If you ever go to Salt Lake area, as you are driving down the interstate going south you will see
the Bass Pro shop. Next to it is a road going up the mountain. If you follow that road for about 14 miles
or so, that is where we called home for the remainder of her school.
We found a spot that was remote but easy to get to in the car, and that was near water, we had a
nice little running stream next to our campsite. Coldest water i have ever been around, even in summer
you could not get into it without shivering. But it was a water source.
We scraped by on food and gas until the next payday, and hit the thrift stores again, picked up some
more supplies, small propane grill, some cooking tools and a cast iron skillet.
Slowly every payday we would pick up a few more things that we needed.
We ended up with a comfe little spot to live. Away from people.
The big drawback was no running water for shower since the stream was way to cold and
winter. On top of a mountain gets real cold in the winter, and it gets cold faster than flat land.
There were some things i learned along the way, and some things i came up with to make life
First thing, do your self a favor now, and hop on ebay and order a p38. For those that dont know
what they are, here is a link.
I found mine in a army surplus down there and have never been without one since.
One of my ideas i came up with, since i worked in a body shop and had access to power during the
day was to rig up lighting, it can get very dark out in the woods at night, and most the time that is ok,
but there are times you need light. So, if you can make a friend that has a car charger, find your
self a used car battery, and stop by a junk yard and buy a used headlight and wire harness/socket.
charge the battery when you can, wire it up and you have lights. Or if you wanted to go a bit further
you could even look into LED lights, i'm sure with a car battery a led light would last a LONG time.
Another thing i learned, and i'm not so sure i should be sharing this, but when you are down and out
the simple things most dont even think about make a huge difference in your outlook on life.
Things as simple as a soda every now and then make a huge difference. There were many times
where $0.50 for a soda was out of our budget. Until i was talking to a guy who was down on his luck
as well and he told me a trick. I am not going to say this is something you should do, but look up
'soda machine hacking' on youtube. It works. Granted its not the best thing to do, but some times
it's the little things that keep you from blowing a cork at the world. Its good knowledge to have.
for winter in the woods, pick a low spot to set your tent up if you have one. use the natural
surroundings to block the wind. When you find your self in snow, use it to your advantage,
try to cover as much of the tent with snow as you can without causing it to implode on its self.
This serves a few uses, one it is a great insulator, will help keep the cold wind out, and two it
helps camaflodge your tent. you can even pick up a cheap white sheet to cover the top
to make it blend in more.
There are many tricks i learned surviving in the woods in those 10 months, but the most important
is enjoy what you do have. Sure , we were broke, homeless for the most part, we had a house
it was just 500 miles away. Go into it with the mind set of camping, but dont loose your edge and
not be aware of things.