159: Nature Reliance with Craig Caudill

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Craig Caudill of Nature Reliance School is here to discuss a host of topics on how to succeed not only in nature and preparedness but also in life. Craig’s an outdoor survival educator, author, podcaster, master naturalist, and extreme wilderness survival practitioner who brings his lifelong love of the outdoors to his students and Nature Reliance YouTube channel.

Craig teaches military personnel, law enforcement, and everyday citizens real-world tactics to avoid trouble and survive extreme situations. He prepares his students by imparting a healthy dose of insight and real experiences (such as surviving in the woods with only a knife) to build mental fortitude, improve self-defense, and stay safe in the face of danger.

We’re lucky to have Craig Caudill and his four decades gathering expertise in survival skills and advanced tactics on the show this week.Nature Reliance School

Moss Doesn’t Just Grow on the North Side of Trees

One urban legend and pet peeve that Craig is more than happy to dispel for us is the fact that moss doesn’t only grow on the north side of trees.

Why? Because moss needs more water than most plants to grow. And in the Northern Hemisphere, the north side of trees receives the least amount of sun, so that’s the side that’s most likely to stay moist and grow moss. However, moss can grow on all sides of a tree in shady areas.

So, if you get lost in the remote woods, don’t follow the moss as part of your life-saving and essential wilderness navigation. You’ll only get more lost. Instead, stay put—but more on that later.

Moss growing on a tree


One of Craig’s loves in life is tracking. He’s done it for years and teaches many people, from hunters and outdoorsmen to law enforcement and the military.

When it comes to tracking, Craig teaches that Locard’s principle applies, which states that “When two pieces of physical matter come into contact with one another, there’s going to be some evidence that one of them was there.” In other words, a person will leave something behind that an astute tracker can find. So, while it’s impossible not to leave a sign of our passing, we can reduce the signature we leave behind for others to find.

Bear tracks in the mud

Types of Trackers

Trackers typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Man trackers (law enforcement & military)
  2. Hunters who track animals
  3. Trackers who track for the love and art of tracking.

What to Do if You’re Lost in the Wilderness

Woman lost in the woods

Next, Craig discusses his four tips for being rescued if you’re lost in the wilderness. Those four tips are:

  1. Before leaving to go into the woods, tell someone you trust when you’re leaving and when you’ll be home. Also, tell them where you’re going and who (if anyone) is going with you. That way, if you get lost, your trusted person can coordinate help to get you un-lost!
  2. When you realize you’re lost, as Craig puts it, “Stop, Sit-Down, and Wait.” Unfortunately, most people keep walking, trying to find their way out of being. Doing so is a recipe for disaster. Again, once you know you’re lost, don’t make matters worse. Stop, Sit-Down, And Wait!
  3. Have a mobile hand-talky so you can contact rescuers who will be out looking for you. Remember, cell phones often have terrible reception out in the wilderness, so don’t rely on a cell phone as your primary option to call for help.
  4. Put your ego in check and know when your ego is getting you into trouble. When that happens, recognize it, stop it, and follow the sensible way forward. If you let your ego run the show, your ego just might run you into an early grave rather than get you home safe.

Craig’s Best Piece of Survival and Prepping Advice

Chalk board with writing that says "Get Started Today!"

The best time to start prepping was twenty years ago. The second best time to start preparing is today. If you haven’t started, or aren’t as far along as you’d like, don’t worry about it or beat yourself up over it.

The important point is to get started. And, once started, remember to start small and not go crazy. Once you get going, build on what you have, and over time, you’ll get there. Now, what are you waiting for? Get prepared!

The Bottom Line on This Episode With Craig Caudill of Nature Reliance School

Anyone who wants to improve their ability to survive almost any scenario, individually or through extreme group tactics, can do so by putting in the time and effort. On that path, if you’re looking for someone to help you expand your extreme wilderness survival knowledge, choose the right gear, and become better prepared, Craig Caudill and the Nature Reliance School is a great place to start!

Additional Resources


Stay safe,

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159: Nature Reliance with Craig Caudill


  1. Rob on February 26, 2023 at 11:06 pm

    Great episode I’m just not sure how it ends cuts out about 53 minutes in.

    This podcast is great!!

    • Brian Duff on March 10, 2023 at 12:41 pm

      Rob, Thanks for the heads-up about the episode cutting out. For once, it wasn’t an operator error on my part. It should be fixed now. Stay safe! ~Brian

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