by Shane White
Here is part two of the two part interview with Tim Ralston, the inventor of the Crovel and a featured prepper on the National Geographic Channel show Doomsday Preppers. If you missed part one, check it out here (My Interview with Tim Ralston - Part 1)
Shane: I am curious about you shipping container bunker. They didn't really go into a lot of detail on this. They kind of showed on the show where you were going to put a couple of bunk beds or something like that. They didn't talk about reinforcing the top. I was just kind of wondering about that.
Tim: What they're doing is in Season 2 they are having me come back for a kind of a follow up. They have me doing a little cameo. I'm out there showing my container. I use a 25-foot aluminum container. I picked it because the aluminum is going to last a lot better underground than the steel. Also, aluminum is already reinforced. The sides have to be reinforced, and the roof I will reinforce every 18-inches with steel and corrugated steel on top of that to keep the earth away from the aluminum top. Plus the dirt that I am digging in is really dry anyway. Once it is packed it will be like concrete around the thing. We're just now in the final stages of preparing that. Putting in the shelves, the bunk beds, the kitchen, and the bathroom and stuff.
Shane: That is pretty cool. And you have like three of those. That is one thing I wanted you to tell my readers that you can't just dig a hole, drop in a shipping container and bury it.
Tim: No you can't. They are designed to hold tons of weight, but that is only on the four corners. The middle has to be reinforced and the side walls as well because of the pressure going inwards. I have bug-out caches all around as well. Now those are dumpsters. Those are great. You take the plastic lids and replace them with steel and the strength of the hinge and bury it in the ground and put them on its side. When you flip the lid up it is like a little awning. Then you can put your stuff in it. They will last forever. They are a great little cache. You put like four of them corner to corner to corner and make a little square it makes a really neat kind of a man cave. I have been putting plans together I'm going to share those with people. It's kind of between here and where we're going to be. If something happens and we have to walk it then I will have a place to get half way there to rest up and then finish the journey.
Shane: It sounds like you have a lot to teach about all of your prepping. It sounds like you have a pretty good setup.
Tim: You know, I have been thinking about this for quite a while and implementing it.
Shane: It sounds like a lot of preppers might not have the funding that you seem to have. I try to tell pepole that something is better than nothing. Just do a little at a time.
Tim: You know, you can do it all on a budget. People are like, ”I don't have a cabin, I don't have a place to go”. And I say, “Do you have $50 a month?” They go, “Yeah” and I say, “Great! You have a cabin in the mountains.” They say, “What do you mean?” Go to your nearest mountain area and go and look at the storage units. Go and get yourself an 8 x 10, put a bed in there, roll it down and lock it up. Now you have a little cabin. If you really needed it when it hit the fan, you could bug-out there. Usually they are built strong with a rolling shutter door to protect your stuff, and then you have a place to go. It would be warm and dry. It's just making due. And when you do eventually get a place up north, grab all your stuff. It's already there.
Shane: I have one last question for you. I was kind of wondering...How is your thumb?
Tim: You know, my thumb is a midget digit. It's still there. You know...I can hold a beer now. I am pretty excited about that. There is no knuckle joint there anymore so I can't bend it, but I can still grab with it. I've had to learn how to do things all over again. It was just a crazy freak accident that was unfortunately caught on national TV. So now I get these gun nuts thinking...you know any gun guy thinks they are better than every other gun guy anyway. So it just gives them fuel to take pot shots at me but unfortunately, they don't know the whole thing. It is in litigation right now so I can't tell you exactly what happened. I was going by exactly how to work this new system. It was a new type of a loading system and it malfunctioned on me. It was an accident just like a car crash. You can't do anything about it but just suck it up and move forward. It was kind of an example of what I kept telling those guys the day before. What was ironic is they asked me, “what is your most valuable tool for prepping. Is it your Crovel...is it your guns...?” I said, “No, it's your mind. It's your ability to stay focused when all hell breaks loose. When the worst thing happens, you stay focused and do what you have too to get through it.” Sure enough, the worst thing happened. And they didn't show a lot of it on the clip but I totally stayed calm. No screaming, no crying. I was just giving orders. I had my boys there. If I panicked then they would panic, so I was very calm. The camera guy was freaking out. A guy from New York. Because it was such a close explosion. It was the shotgun that did it, not the .22. Everyone thinks it was the .22, but it was the shotgun. The blast basically cauterized the entire thumb so there wasn't a lot of blood so there was no freaking out, it was just uncomfortable. I had some new gloves that kept my thumb from flying to the edge of the desert so they were actually able to reattach the tip. So it really looks normal. You really wouldn't notice until I put my one thumb next to the other and then you will say, “Wow! That's really tiny!”
Shane: I bet that made you rethink your medical prepping too.
Tim: Yes it did. I actually got the biggest medical bag that is available on the market. On top of that I got like three more beyond that, so I have everything. You know, I tell people all the time to go out and practice. Go out and do it when there is not an emergency. It seems like every time I go out, I go out almost every weekend now, I will repack my bag, I will look through it and try to make sure I need everything that is in it and that it is as light as possible. You learn so much. I remember packing it out and thinking that you have to have all these things and they all weighed 300 pounds. I couldn't even walk with it, let alone go out with it. So you get to learn. It's all about practice. So if it ever happens again, I am ready for it. I can take care of it.
Shane: Before I let you go, if someone wanted to find out more about you, how should they get a hold of you?
Tim: Go to Gear Up Center. We are just redoing the website and updating it today. That has connections to my Facebook, Survival Hub... So that is a good place to know where we are at and check us out. We are kind of the Sharper Image of survival. I don't have a ton of stuff, but the stuff I do have is what I use. I don't put anything on there until I try it out and I really like it. It's good stuff.