by Shane White
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Tim Ralston. Tim is the inventor of the Crovel and a featured prepper on the National Geographic Channel show Doomsday Preppers. We spoke about many things from his appearance on the Doomsday Preppers, about the Crovel, and also about his perspectives on prepping. We talked for a long time and I tried to get the most wisdom as I could in the space I have. I had to split in into two parts. It’s good stuff. Here is part one of the interview:
Shane: How did they contact you to get on Doomsday Preppers. Did you have to sign up?
Tim: No, actually what happened is…my tool that I designed called the Crovel. It was actually going viral at the time they called. It went literally viral overnight. When that happened they contacted us. I said I will be on the show as long as I can bring my new tool.
Shane: Tell me a little bit about the Crovel.
Tim: It was born out of necessity really. I had this really great tool that my father gave me. It was a World War II shovel that I had pretty sharp. It was in my bug-out bag but the handle broke. I thought, how am I going to replace this handle. I looked in my garage and saw an old crowbar and thought that would make a good handle. I took it to my neighbor who had a welding machine and asked him if he could put it together. I thought this looks cool. Somebody else is going to want one of these. So I literally bought 30 shovels and 30 crowbars and took them to the next gun show and they sold out in about 30 minutes. It was crazy. After that I kept redeveloping it and making it better. Making it stronger. Made in the United States. Now we have four factories just trying to keep up.
Shane: How many are you selling?
Tim: We sold probably over 10,000 units. And that is just internet sales. That has nothing to do with the distributors. I haven’t been able to keep up with those guys. In the wings I have over 400 distributors.
Shane: Reading the description, I didn’t realize that it had a crowbar built into it.
Tim: It actually was a real crowbar but I couldn’t buy enough of them and to get everything I needed in bulk, I would have to get them all from China and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to make it here in the US. So I redesigned it, and I redesigned it. It still acts and has the abilities like a real crowbar. Since then, we have made a new version called the ‘Crovel Tactical’ which is made out of 4140 chromoly. That is like the shovel on steroids. It’s my favorite now. That thing is bulletproof. It’s lightweight. It’s 2.5 pounds lighter than the Crovel Extreme. You can throw it. It’s deadly sharp. It’s the ultimate tool if you need to bug-out that’s the one you would want on your pack.
Shane: You know that Crovel is a really great way to fund your prepping.
Tim: That’s exactly the intent. Now we’ve opened up an online store. We’ve opened an actual display store. So I can do interviews here at the store versus coming to my house. I get a chance to meet a lot of people. Now we are starting to get into the training aspects of it and that’s a lot of fun.
Shane: You’re Everywhere. I had seen the episode of Doomsday Preppers that you are on. I hadnt really realized that you are pretty much all over YouTube as well. Everyone is talking about different things about you.
Tim: Yeah. It’s going really viral. I did get to do a documentary from overseas. Random people and production companies are coming over for a few days. I take them out in the wilderness and teach them about survival and what it all means. Those will be hitting worldwide in November. HBO is coming out with a special. They find it interesting that I don’t fit the typical someone living in the woods with long hair and a beard. I’m a soccer dad who just happens to take precautions for my family. I want to make sure that if anything bad happens I will be here to take care of them.
Shane: One thing that bothered me about the Doomsday Prepper show was that many of the people on the show seemed a little off. You didn’t seem that way to me in your episode. There was one episode I remember where this lady is right next to the capitol building and is inviting people to her house. She has it full of all kinds of goods and just by looking out her windows you can figure out where she lives.
Tim: I have had a lot of people ask me, “Why would you as a prepper share where you are at and what you are doing?” I went into this thing with my eyes wide open. I knew exactly what I was getting into. I run an advertising marketing firm so I knew exactly what I was doing. I was able to not only promote my tool but also promote prepping in general. When I gave where we were going it is a rental house. We have already moved since then. I never gave up the location of where my final destination it. The car that I drove wasn’t my car. I borrowed a buddies so in case someone would see me they wouldn’t recognize me. So I thought ahead and prepared for the worst. The worst being everyone knowing exactly where I live. I want to be able to help myself and my family first and then I will be able to help and save others.
Shane: That was smart. I didn’t think you gave as much away. I know you drive a deuce and a half though. That thing is pretty cool.
Tim: That is one thing that is pretty apparent when I have the deuce. I don’t keep that in front of my store to get out of dodge quick. The only time that I am going to drive that is in the mountains at the very last to go up. That thing is so slow. But it will go anywhere, it will drive over anything, and it will run on any kind of fuel. That was one of my reasons to buy it. It is such an iconic figure. When I do drive it around, it is a great marketing tool.
Shane: I am a little jealous of that actually. I was looking at those before I saw you had one already.
Shane: Since the Doomsday Preppers show emphasized that you were mainly concerned with an EMP event, I saw some comments at different places that noted the electrical circuits on the Jeep that would fry in the event of an EMP. How do you handle this?
Tim: When the show initially aired, I had explained all of those things, but that had all been cut out on the editing floor. That got lost in translation. I already understand that an EMP will fry it. That was just a show. The truck I have now is actually EMP proof. I won’t have any worries about that. I always have a backup plan to the backup plan. My other truck that I had that I was going to use to pull the trailer was grounded and everything was disconnected on the truck. I had the battery out, I had spare parts, I had it grounded to a copper ground outside the house, and I never drove that one. That was just to pull the trailer until I got my shelter finished. Now everything is up there so all I have to do when I bug-out is fill the deuce full of food from the store and take off.
Shane: I figured you would say something like that. I didn’t figure that you would be worried about an EMP and not have thought it through a little.
Tim: Yea. I have a backup to the backup to the backup. Honestly, I think we will have an economic collapse before we have an EMP. Or who knows what will happen in the Middle East. There are so many more things to look at. There are so many things that are coming down the pipe. But they really wanted to nail it down. “What are you really afraid of?” My answer really was, “My neighbor.” That didn’t make sense to them. Literally, it doesn’t matter what catastrophe comes down. What is going to happen is the people that have prepped will be OK. The people who are in denial are the ones I am fearful of because they are going to come after you when they are hungry enough. They are going to try to get what you have. That is the only thing that really keeps me awake at night.
Shane: That is why it is such a great thing that you are doing all of these interviews all over the place and going on these shows…to let people know. And I think people are waking up because there is so much crazy stuff going on right now. The European economy…the American economy, we are pretty much in denial, or at least a lot of us are.
Tim: That QE3 thing. If that doesn’t tell you that hyperinflation is just months away I don’t know what does. People don’t know what that will do to us when you are spending $5 on a loaf of bread. They are going to be like wait a minute. And when gas is like $7 a gallon that is going to wake them up and then they are going to get pissed. And what about all those people on food stamps. What are those people going to do? Those people will have nothing.
Shane: I know the Doomsday Preppers show didn’t touch on what if you are at work and your kids are at school and your wife is somewhere else. I am sure you have plans for that as well.
Tim: We will rehearse and then will go over the backup plans and make sure that they remember it. Where as school where I want you to be so I know that I will find them at this location. Literally within the locker rooms in the shower if anything bad were to come down. No windows, a water source, and I know where you are. This is one of the plans we would have if something were to happen. One of my boys is within walking distance of home so he would just walk home and we would rally from there. My partners, they all know that we have an email system like “here’s the warning and we’re out”. It all comes to information. We have a pretty good network of people out there with their own sources of information. If something were coming down we would be able to warn each other. It should give us at least a couple hours head start before the rest of the community gets the information. For the most part any emergency situation out of 100 people, only 10 will do anything at all. The others will do nothing. Even if they saw things happening, it would not make the 90 move. We just want to be those 10-percent that knows what we are doing and has a plan.
Shane: Because the other people will lean on us whether we like them to or not.
Shane: One think I was thinking of was setting up a hashtag on Twitter for when people see things weird going on in their ares like bank lines or whatever. Maybe there is something like that already though.
Tim: There is a lot of different sources once you get out there. It’s all about networking. That’s a positive and a negative when you put yourself out there. Then you are kind of a target. I look at it as I have always been a target. I try to help as many people as I can. Maybe it will benefit me in the long run. I look it as the more I come out and talk to people. It does help in sales, but it also helps me to prep more. It is better than sitting back and watch everything explode. I would just feel guilty not helping other people when I know there is something that needs to be done.
Part two of this interview is coming October 29th.