Last Line of DefenseOutdoor
Mike was into off-roading before YouTube or Instagram existed. As an "Army brat", he spent his youth rolling through the mountains of California, Colorado, and Hawaii, tinkering with his vehicles to make them ever more capable after each return trip. He learned the skills necessary to survive the harsh terrains by diving in and getting his hands dirty. Always with a camera, and with epic landscapes in every direction, Mike began documenting his adventures and sharing them for the world to see. His YouTube channel, Last Line of Defense, offers instruction and inspiration to an army of subscribers who are just itching for a reason to head for the mountains.
Firearms and self defense are big parts of your life. Where’d you pick that up? What would you say to someone who’s hesitant to take up shooting?
Mike: I began shooting recreationally as soon as I was old enough to buy my own guns. After getting my concealed carry permit and doing some training, I developed a deeper desire to protect myself and the people I love. That led me to train even more. To anyone hesitant to take up arms, I’d say that firearms are the best self-defense tool available, and perfectly safe in the right person’s hands. If you’re relying on someone else to defend the things that matter to you, you’re opening yourself up to disappointment.
You have a common sense approach to preparedness. What are some practical things we can all do to be better prepared?
Mike: Awareness and knowledge are key. Being aware of your surroundings will help you avoid many of the pitfalls that others face. That’s true when talking about self-defense, injuries, or even a flat tire. You’ll win 100% of the battles you avoid. Knowledge is gained through experience. Don’t be afraid to try and fail a few times. I’d rather hit some roadblocks on a joyride than when it matters. Start by carrying “the 10 essentials” and adjust your bug-out bag or EDC as you get better at predicting potential needs.
What are some things that commonly ride under your DiamondBack?
Mike: I use my truck for so many different things and I have a lot of hobbies, so my loadout changes day-by-day. The constants are the same as for most guys: ratchet straps, tie-downs, extra fuel. In the winter, and when I’m going off-road, I’ll take my recovery gear. After that, it’s whatever I’m getting into that day. Lumber for the chicken coops, mountain-biking gear, camp kitchen. As often as possible, it’s an overlanding loadout.
Between your day-job, outdoor pursuits, and vlogging, you’ve got a ton on your plate. When do you sleep? Any tips for those who spend their day looking out the window but never seem to have the time for their passions?
Mike: Life’s short and you only get out of it what you put into it. I’m not one who buys into the idea that you have to make something of yourself, so to speak. I just don’t want to look back at earlier years and say “what a waste” or “I wish I had done that.” So whenever I’m lucky enough to come across an opportunity, my default is to go for it. Look at guys like Elon Musk and it’s hard to believe that we all get the same 24 hour days, but we do. It’s up to each of us how we use those hours.