Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and while he doesn’t claim to be an expert survivalist, he’s interviewed many who are. This survival blog is a collections of articles and stories based on a lifetime of experience.
As a newspaperman and journalist for four decades covering stories about search and rescue events, Leon has seen his share of floods and forest fires, hurricane and tornadoes, earthquakes, mud slides and other natural disasters. He’s also reported on too many tragic outcomes from wilderness emergencies.
It’s unfortunate that people die unnecessarily from outdoor accidents and emergency situations when simple, common sense actions might have changed the tragic outcome. He also saw survivors miraculously rescued or walked out alone, who were calm in an emergency where they 1) stopped to reflect and 2) thought about a solution, 3) observed the obstacles and opportunities, and 4) made a plan. This concept is a survival philosophy with acronym, called S.T.O.P.
Since 2001, Leon has been actively involved in a Boy Scout Troop in Bend, Oregon as an assistant Scoutmaster and is a Scoutmaster Wilderness Skills Trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. He, along with other highly skilled and capable outdoor Scouting enthusiasts, both men and women as well as the Boy Scouts they serve, practice tried and true techniques for surviving the outdoors in any situation.
Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is to apply thoroughly tested and practiced, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been vetted by real people in the field.
After graduating from Iowa State University too many years ago to claim, Leon completed a six-month, 2552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. (To read his book about the journey, click on Mississippi River Canoe Voyage.)
His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John
Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California.
Some of Leon’s canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota, and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. He even canoed with his wife on their honeymoon along the Potomac through urban and wilderness regions of Virginia. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter.
Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.
Check out Leon’s popular videos from the Survival Common Sense YouTube channel.