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Videos by Thomas J. Elpel
and HOPS Press, LLC

      The written word is ideal for communicating the inner world of principles and theories, intangible feelings and perceptions, as well as facts, figures, and instructions. Video, on the other hand, is an ideal medium for demonstrating principles and theories as applied in the real world. While a book can convey hundreds of ideas as abstract concepts, a video can provide a quick overview or flesh out an idea in step-by-step action. As the saying goes, "One picture is worth a thousand words." And with thirty frames per second in standard video, it is possible to speak volumes with a lot of pictures and a little dialogue.

      The videos described on this page or listed on Thomas J. Elpel's YouTube Channel complement the text of his books. For example, while the text of Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills is ideal for conveying the philosophical and technical aspects of wilderness living, the Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series shows in detail how specific skills are applied in the real world. The videos complement the book. The book complements the videos, and so it is with all of Tom's books and videos covering wilderness survival and sustainable living. From this one page you can link to all of our video projects spanning a variety of topics.

Videos by Thomas J. Elpel
Click on the video covers for more details!

Slipform Stone Masonry DVD. Slipform Stone Masonry Video
      Want to build a stone house? It's easier than you might think! Slipform Stone Masonry brings to life the nuts-and-bolts of the slipforming process featured in Tom's book Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction.
      Slipforming is the process of using forms on both sides of the wall as a guide for the stonework. The forms are filled with stone and concrete, then "slipped" up the walls to form the subsequent levels. Slipforming makes stone work easy even for the novice. [See more...]
Slipform Stone Masonry
$25.00


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Build Your Own Masonry Fireplace DVD. Build Your Own Masonry Fireplace
      Build an authentic masonry fireplace with the efficiency of a masonry stove! The baffle system in this fireplace extracts heat from the exhaust, warming up the thermal mass of brick and rock. The masonry fireplace can radiate heat for three days after the fire is out!
      In this instructional video, Thomas J. Elpel demonstrates the step-by-step process of building a masonry fireplace, starting from the foundation and ending with the chimney. Elpel shows how to lay up the brickwork for the core of the fireplace, how to build the arch, and how to build the baffle system. With the brickwork complete, Elpel demonstrates freehand stone masonry, using natural rock to lay up the stonework around the brick core. [See more...]
Build Your Own Masonry Fireplace
$25.00


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Classroom in the Woods DVD. Classroom in the Woods: Primitive Skills for Public Schools
      Amid a growing awareness of the need to reconnect kids with nature, Classroom in the Woods vividly demonstrates the power and promise of hands-on, immersive experiences to put kids in touch with the real world. In this enlightening video, author and educator Thomas J. Elpel brings a class of junior high students out into the woods for three days and two nights of hands-on wilderness survival and primitive skills experience.
      Leaving textbooks behind, the kids revel at the opportunity for hands-on learning, as they build a shelter, forage for wild edible plants, make a bow and drill fire set, stalk and observe wildlife, and bake bread in a stone oven. [See more...]
Classroom
in the Woods

$25.00


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Art of Nothing: Three Days at the River DVD. Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series, Volume 1
Three Days at the River
With nothing but our bare hands
      No knife. No matches. No food, sleeping bags or other gear. Join Thomas J. Elpel and 13 year-old daughter Felicia for this extraordinary primitive camping experience in southwest Montana. In the cottonwoods along the Jefferson River they demonstrate all the skills required to meet their basic needs, starting with nothing but their bare hands! Skills include:
      Discoidal stone knives, digging sticks, the cottonwood root bowdrill set, grass sleeping bag on hot ground, boiling water in found bottles and cans for purification, killing, skinning, and butchering a porcupine, edible tree mushrooms, shishkebabs and hot rock stir-fry, and edible plants, such as cattail roots, stinging nettles, rose hips, burdock, mustard greens and milkweed shoots. [See more...]
Art of Nothing Series
Three Days at the River
$25.00


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Art of Nothing: Mountain Meadows DVD. Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series, Volume 2
Mountain Meadows
Camping with almost nothing but the dog
      With little more than stone knives and the dog, Thomas J. Elpel and cousin Melvin Beattie venture into the Rocky Mountains to survive with whatever they can find and improvise from their surroundings. Among the wildflowers, wildlife and scenic meadows of southwestern Montana, they demonstrate all the skills needed to meet their basic needs, including:
      Debris shelter with hot rocks, mullein on sage handdrill set, purifying water with Aerobic Oxygen, killing, skinning, and butchering ground squirrels, wild edible plants, such as sweet cicely, wild sunflower, dwarf huckleberry, musk thistle stems and "artichokes", brook saxifrage, and rose petals, plus cooking on an upright rock slab, making glass-knapped knives, and use of the jo stick. [See more...]
Art of Nothing Series
Mountain Meadows
$25.00


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Art of Nothing: Mountain Lakes DVD. Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series, Volume 3
Mountain Lakes
A survival fishing trip
      With little more than a flint & steel kit and a copper drinking cup, Thomas J. Elpel and daughter Cassie trek five miles back into the Rocky Mountains for a few days of fishing, fun, and survival living. Among the spectacular lakes and mountain peaks, they demonstrate all of the skills required to meet their basic needs, including:
      Rock and log shelter with a fire, flint & steel fire starting, making char cloth, drinking from mountain streams, wild onions and glacier lilies, catching mountain suckers by hand and hook, fishing laws, cooking fish on hot coals, steaming wild vegetable in a stone oven, tin can knives, forging the nail knife, and making a pine bark pot. [See more...]
Art of Nothing Series
Mountain Lakes
$25.00


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Art of Nothing: Canoe Camping, On a song and a Paddle. DVD Art of Nothing Wilderness Survival Video Series, Volume 4
Canoe Camping
On a song and a paddle
      With two water bottles and a flute in their canoe, Thomas J. Elpel and intern Kris Reed go survival camping at the local lake. Amidst the abundant waterfowl, wildlife, and intermittent rain showers and thunderstorms, they camp for three days and two nights and demonstrate all of the skills required to meet their basic needs, including:
      Canoe lean-to and hot coal bed, soda bottle puddle lens, using aromatic herbs to kill germs, harvesting, cooking, and eating cattail shoots and pollen, orache, and desert currants and giant horse mushrooms, steamed veggies and veggie wraps, figure-four deadfall traps, bull snakes, cattail visors, soda bottle fishing pole, mudscreen, cactus slime, and more. [See more...]
Art of Nothing Series
Canoe Camping
$25.00


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Hi Tom,

Art of Nothing: Three Days at the River DVD.       It was a great surprise to get home from work last night and find out my DVD order arrived. I had ordered The Art of Nothing 1-4 and Stone Age Living Skills 1-3. My son and I stayed up until midnight last night watching the first two DVD's. We both feel inspired to get out there now and challenge ourselves. I think a four day trip is in order sometime this summer. Several years ago I went out for two days in the summer. I still half jokingly say that anyone can sit on a log for two days eating cranberries. Three years ago, I did a four day, from nothing camping trip in the winter. Which was much more challenging at -35C. Anyway, enough said. I just wanted to thank you for the videos and say we look forward to seeing the rest very soon.

Cheers!

- Jim M.
Alberta, Canada

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