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Survival Experts

‘Above Average’ Joe

The ‘Above Average’ Joe is a guy with an exceptional passion for learning. He has always had an interest in finding uncommon uses for everyday items and believes that if you can’t find at least three uses for a single item it isn’t worth having.  Joe started down the path of survival and preparedness several years ago and treats every day as a learning experience.

Joe is excited to share the things he learns from his own personal experiences and research with the Survival Life community, and strives to ensure that every  “average Joe” has all of the information they need to be confidently prepared in this unsteady world that we live in.

Joe is the author of one of’s best selling books on Vertical Gardening & Container Gardening.

He is also the author of most of the Survival Guides you’ll find included in membership to the Lamplighter Society. Joe is also the co-creator of the various survival courses available to Survival Life members, including The Prepper’s Playbook, How to Cook and Store Food Outside, When the Food Runs Out, Gone Before Gridlock, The Home Survival Course, and many others.

Joe is passionate about the many benefits of knowing a wide range of survival skills, and enjoys empowering others by teaching them how to incorporate survival and preparedness knowledge into their daily lives.

Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive, no matter what this world throws at us. You can follow Joe by subscribing to his newsletter on the homepage, or by following him on Facebook.


John Landry

Detective John M. Landry, Ph.D. is a retired full-time law enforcement lieutenant who now serves as a reserve Detective and Police Instructor in South Florida. He also served as the Director of a Law Enforcement and Corrections Academy in Central Florida.

He has been instructing law enforcement officers since 1995, and is certified to teach law enforcement firearms (rifles, shotguns, and pistols), defensive tactics, TASERs, chemical weapons, handcuffing, expandable batons, knife tactics, close combat, and officer survival. He is a member of various professional organizations such as the Archangel Anti-Terror Training group. He started training in Judo in 1974, and has been practicing and/or teaching martial arts ever since.

In 1988, Dr. Landry began his career in the security, personal protection, and law enforcement fields. He has been assigned to federal, state, and county task forces focusing on smuggling, organized crime and auto theft. He has also served in almost every assignment in law enforcement such as a State Emergency response Team member (E.R.T), street patrol, criminal investigations, and training where he has taught virtually all high liability and use-of-force topics.

In 2004, Dr. Landry was recruited to serve as a law enforcement liaison for a security contractor to work for the United States Department of State in Iraq. He also has earned a Doctorate degree in Education and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration.

As the son of a decorated Army Combat Medic World War II veteran, Dr. Landry has always had an interest in combat, law enforcement, and military topics. He has trained with a military intelligence unit and currently serves as a senior member of the United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol.

Dr. Landry is the owner and President of Modern American Combatives (M.A.C.), LLC. which provides training to law enforcement or military agencies, as well as self-reliant citizens. Dr. Landry currently teaches his “D.A.R.E. TO SURVIVE” – DETECT-AVOID-RESIST-ESCAPE PROGRAM, combatives and self-defense and is available for seminars or private training sessions. Read more: Full Contact

Craig CaudillCraig Caudill

Craig Caudill is the Chief Instructor at Nature Reliance School which is headquartered in Central Kentucky. Craig was blessed to grow up with parents that enjoyed the outdoors. He spent his childhood years exploring creeks, and woods at his home and at the family farm. He spent many weekends with his dad and other friends, sleeping in tipis and lean tos in reenactment events as well as caves and other wild places. He also spent a great deal of time hunting and fishing, and was taught very important “woods ethics” by his dad.

At an early age he challenged himself with two distinct “woods sabbaticals” in which he walked into the wilderness with very minimal supplies (a knife) and stayed for nearly 30 days each. These two experiences left him understanding the limits to his knowledge of bushcraft and wilderness living. It was those two experiences that have led him to the last two decades of practicing and honing practical wilderness skills alongside primitive skills (i.e. Native American and other aboriginal culture skills)

Besides his own regular, dedicated lifestyle of training he has also trained with notable instructors including, Richard Cleveland of Earth School, Tom Laskowski of The Mid-West Native Skills Institute, Rob Speiden of Nature Awareness Tracking School, Dave Canterbury of the Pathfinder School, Jon Moore of He is also an active martial artist holding advanced black belt degrees in both Aikido and Judo. He is also an active student of tactical mindset and techniques, both armed and unarmed. He has trained with notable instructors such as James Yeager of Tactical Response, Rodney VanZant of Iron Sight Defense, Aaron Little of Performance Edge Training, and Jason Gaines of Practical Defense Academy.

Mr. Caudill is also an accomplished author and has written a weekly column for his local newspaper, The Winchester Sun. He serves as “in-house” survival instructor for Dan’s Depot in which he consults on survival gear, does product reviews, and has an incredibly active youtube channel. His own channel for NRS is new and will be including more gear reviews, survival skills, nature awareness, and conservation minded education. He is a featured blogger for “How to Survive Stuff” and has guest blogged for over 30 outdoor/survival related blog sites. He has been featured on Kentucky Education Television for the show Kentucky Life with host Dave Shuffett. He has also written or been featured in several magazines including Self-Reliance Illustrated, Kentucky Afield, Wilderness Way, Backwoodsman and Kentucky Monthly. He is regularly interviewed for his survival knowledge on outdoor/survival related radio shows and podcasts.

He loves teaching both adults and youth, especially to those who are new to outdoor experiences.

gayeGaye Levy

Gaye Levy grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area, graduating from the University of Washington. She spent many years as an executive in the telecommunications software industry and later as a CFO to emerging technology and service companies.

While still working in her chosen field, Gaye abandoned city life and moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on San Juan Island in NW Washington State.

Recognizing the risks of being in a remote area served primarily by Washington State ferries, she soon realized that a disaster of any type, be it natural or man-made, would soon leave her community cut off from goods and supplies from the mainland for days or even weeks. As a result, she learned everything she could about living a preparedness lifestyle and began the process of acquiring goods and skills which would allow her and her family to survive on their own for an extended period of time and without the need for outside assistance.

Since that time, she has come to realize that disasters are not the only risk to our comfortable western-world lifestyle. The threat of an economic collapse and the resultant breakdown of society could result in chaos of the highest magnitude. That, coupled with an increasing risk of military conflict with terrorist groups, has created a preparedness call to action for anyone who has the desire to survive over the long term.

To that end, Gaye teaches the principles of preparedness and a self-reliant lifestyle at her website Backdoor Survival. As a blogger, she shares her nuts-and-bolts knowledge and common sense perspective in a way which is non-intimidating, friendly and easy to understand.

Gaye’s emphasis is on prepping for the mainstream while doing so with compassion for others and optimism for a positive outcome, no matter what. Her hallmark series, Twelve Months of Prepping: One Month at a Time, speaks to the need to prepare without fear and without being overwhelmed by the daunting nature of storing food, water and gear while at the same time learning skills such as fire-making, cooking from scratch, and making your own soaps, salves, and first aid remedies.

In her spare time, Gaye and her husband are avid ballroom dancers and enjoy hiking, kayaking, gardening and living life to the fullest along with their dog, Tucker, in their island home along the shores of San Juan Island in Washington State.

You can connect with Gaye on her website at Backdoor Survival, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

In addition, you can purchase her book, Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage in print or eBook format at

Jeremy Pollack

Coach Jeremy has been studying various forms of martial arts for more than 25 years. He is a Black Belt in Freestyle Hapkido, a grey belt in Tew Ryu Ninjitsu, a certified instructor in Muay Thai Kickboxing, and holds blue belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, Kenpo Karate, and Wing Chun Kung Fu. In addition to hand-to-hand combat, he is proficient in knife, kali stick, staff, cane, hand gun, nunchaku, and sword.

He has trained under some of the world’s most respected teachers, including Master Ken Doyle (Hapkido), Sensei Rick Tew (Ninjitsu), Kru Paulo Tocha (Muay Thai), Grandmaster Carl Totton (Shaolin and Kenpo), and Master Eric Oram (Wing Chun) as well as several respected MMA fighters, including former UFC Champions Pat Miletich and Bas Rutten.

Coach Jeremy has been teaching self-defense to private citizens, as well as controlled force and weapons tactics to police and military for more than 15 years. He is also a reserve soldier in the State Military Police (CA), where he serves on the combative training team. Read more about Coach Jeremy at and watch his self-defense video series here.



Coach Helder

Coach Helder is a fitness and self defense coach who is an expert reviewer who mainly reviews gear focused on the outdoors & emergency preparedness. However, he also reviews products that are a part of his day to day lifestyle. He is a fitness & self defense professional so he features products that will keep him living a physical lifestyle & that he feels would benefit all our readers.

He has a passion for what he does and he hopes to convey that in all his reviews. He feels fortunate to get sent a lot of gear to test and examine. Though for our benefit, most of those products never make it to this website. He only posts product reviews of gear that he approves of & finds useful. He feels that it would be a waste of both his & our time to post reviews of gear that he believes to be inferior. His goal is to Get And Keep You Prepared! Click here to visit Coach Helders site!

Here is Coach Helder explaining his purpose for doing expert reviews:

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