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Why I started a survival blog

597 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

SurvivalCommonSense.com was in the development stage long before anyone ever heard of the internet, reality TV shows or preppers.

by Leon Pantenburg

My wildest dreams never included editing a wilderness/survival website.

But I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast as long as I can remember, and for years I was a Boy Scout leader and Girl Scout volunteer. In those capacities, I taught survival and various wilderness skills. I took part in these activities because I enjoy them, and never thought about how the skills might be important down the road. (bio)

In my current day job, I am an instructor/mentor for communications students at Central Oregon Community College, in Bend, Oregon. I don’t claim to be a survival expert. I am always learning, and always looking for new information related to wilderness/urban survival. I spent most of my career as a journalist, writing feature stories about interesting people and places and for years I was an investigative reporter.

Indirectly, that work lead to this website. In 2006, I was working for The Bulletin in Bend. Within a one-month period, two people died of hypothermia after getting lost in the backcountry. Subsequently, I was assigned an investigative assignment that would result in a winter survival guide for Central Oregon.

The research opened my eyes. I couldn’t believe the misinformation and just plain junk ‘news’ and articles that were promoted as fact. As a result, we published a Winter Survival Guide that was published in 2007, it went over very well, and received several awards.

Concurrently, I continued teaching scouters and kids some basic wilderness skills. After one session, a parent commented:

Leon's snow cave

I love winter camping and making snow shelters!

“What you teach is simple and easy. It’s just common sense survival.”

And also, I was getting increasingly concerned about the proliferation of “survival” shows on TV. While the shows did get people interested in the concept of survival, most of these shows sacrificed valid information for ratings. Some of the hosts’ shenanigans were dangerous, and provided a very bad role model for inexperienced viewers.

I guess my wife, Debbie, got tired of hearing me rant and rave about dangerous advice, non-realistic programming and charlatan survival instructors. She lined up the initial website, and Debbie’s comment  was essentially “Put up or shut up.” So, I stopped ranting and started writing.

My survival blog, SurvivalCommonSense.com, came online in late 2009, quite frankly, a few months after my middle son died of cancer. It was a grievous period and I buried my head into writing. It was a way to focus my thoughts and, hopefully, help someone else’s family from suffering such a tragedy.

Initially, I intended it as a resource for Scout volunteers.  To my amazement, people from all over the world started following the site, and now SurvivalCommonSense.com gets thousands of views daily and has reached hundreds of thousands of people. (Check out my YouTube page where some videos have received over a million views.)


I’m active outdoors year-round. My favorite season is whichever one is going on.

Here’s why it works. I never claimed to know everything. But I do know a lot of experts on survival subjects, and my interviewing skills and investigative experience means my “bull alarm”is finely-tuned. I question and test everything.

And that’s what you’re going to get on this website – factual, proven survival techniques, tips and equipment recommendations  that can help you survive any emergency. I field test many products and items, some of which are sent to me by commercial manufacturers for review. However, I am NEVER paid to write a review or make an endorsement, nor will I accept compensation for writing a review.

There are a few advertisers who have offered to sponsor my site and I’m grateful. It helps me spend the time I need to keep the site up to date and factual. However, I never accept payment to produce a positive product review. Read more about my advertising policies, affiliate relationships and blog philosophy here.

Thanks for stopping in, and welcome!

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