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Bushcrafting Gear!!!
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Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 09:41:20 MST Print View

Okay, so we kinda hijacked the first aid kit thread a little, that's my bad. So I'm starting this one specifically for bushcrafting items that you currently carry, want to carry, or if you have no idea whatsoever what bushcraft is. I know BPL isn't the ideal place to discuss taking relatively heavy tools into the backcountry, and some less informed people may even start ranting about LNT principles, base weights, blah blah etc. But that's okay, because as humans we can only grow and learn from debate and experience.

I currently carry:
1. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet with sheath - 1 lb. 8.2 oz
2. Bahco Laplander Folding Saw - 6.6 oz
3. Mora Bushcraft Knife 2010 with sheath - 5.2 oz

The GB hatchet is my favorite woods tool. With proper skill, a person can wield it with extreme efficiency. De-limbing, carving, whittling, processing logs for the fire; all can be accomplished with a good hatchet. If you have ever wanted to build a permanent shelter for the night, build traps, or really do anything in the backcountry involving wood working, I believe a hatchet is the ultimate problem solver. Gransfors Bruks axes are hand forged in Sweden by master axe smiths, not drop forged like mass produced axes, and they arrive at your home quite literally razor sharp. They can even be used (again, with proper skill and knowledge) to skin and field dress game.

A folding saw is meant to work in conjunction with either a knife or hatchet. Sawing logs down to manageable lengths for splitting is much more energy efficient than hacking at them. I love the Laplander because of its light weight and top quality construction. I have used many folding saws and this one has the best value to weight ratio. Other good saws are the Sven Saw and Sawvivor but they are heavier and bulkier and meant for processing larger amounts of firewood, such as when you are car camping. But if you are car camping, why not bring a full size large wood saw?

My Mora I bring with me literally everywhere when I venture into the woods. It's perfect for small wood processing and general camp tasks. And one can usually be gotten for under $30.00. For the price, I haven't found a better blade. I have a small but eclectic collection of survival knives, some cheap and some very expensive, and the Mora is still my favorite.

I do not bring everything with me on every single trip. It all depends on conditions, and I weigh the pros and cons the same as I do any other piece of gear. The hatchet is for winter use when I want a substantial and lengthy fire. If I bring the hatchet, the saw comes to, with minor exceptions. In the summer and warmer shoulder months, one of my knives usually serves alone, unless I feel like making my primary goal about experiencing and exploring a new place and not focusing all my attention on logging as many miles as possible.

You may now talk about bushcraft gear, debate the merits of even owning bushcraft gear, or flame at me for being an idiot. I'm honestly fine with any of those. :)

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 09:58:33 MST Print View

Other than outright weight issues, tools like axes are really in opposition to leave no trace principles. I appreciate the skills used in bushcraft, but they don't meld with basic UL principles or wilderness travel.

Folding saws are very effective for use on downed wood in areas where wood gathering and fires are allowed. The Bahco is strong and not freakishly heavy; the new Gerber sliding saw is a couple ounces lighter and less expensive.

Neither saws or axes have a place in designated wilderness areas, so bushcraft is really limited to state lands, national forest and private property.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 10:54:55 MST Print View

What Dale said. Other than car camping I've never had the use or desire to make a fire. My tent weighs only slightly more than your hatchet so using it for cutting limbs for a tarp is pointless.

"build a permanent shelter" does not = "for the night"

It is one thing to be creating bush shelters in an emergency situation when you have no other choice but to be doing it on a regular basis just for the heck of it is not LNT and generally frowned upon in many areas.

the areas I hike generally don't allow fires or tree damage so i'm all set with that game.

carrying 2.6lb for cutting implements is unnecessary

Edited by JakeDatc on 02/03/2013 11:02:22 MST.

Pete Anderson
(hosaphone) - F

Locale: Boston-ish, MA
Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 11:05:00 MST Print View

Used to have a Mora #1, recently got a #2/0. Weighs <2oz with sheathe. It's a little bit annoying to use forcefully (and potentially dangerous when wet) because the handle is so small, but the blade is long enough and strong enough to handle just about anything you can throw at it.

Might be cool to have a little folding saw but they are so heavy... I've heard mixed reviews about the wire saws?

Pete Anderson
(hosaphone) - F

Locale: Boston-ish, MA
Re: Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 11:08:32 MST Print View

Actually just did a quick google search and found this... Pretty cool. Guy takes a big heavy folding saw, replaces the handle with titanium and brings it down to ~1.7oz:

Edited by hosaphone on 02/03/2013 11:09:49 MST.

Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Bushcraft Ethics on 02/03/2013 11:50:21 MST Print View

I don't normally make a habit out of building lean-to's just for fun. I do not advocate damaging living trees for any reason other than survival. But for survival training purposes, one needs practice. I don't go into designated wilderness areas with this intention, but national forest and private property are another matter. I have built several permanent shelters in national forest that I have used repeatedly. Living off the land itself is how I feel most in touch with nature.

One could argue that building a shelter with downed wood (in a remote area where any other human contact is slim to none) is even more Leave No Trace than taking an expensive synthetic tent into the backcountry. How much raw natural resources were used to develop fancy man made materials like silnylon and cuben fiber? How much energy is used manufacturing and shipping gear? How much waste and pollution is created during all this? And in 3 years when you decide to get a new tent or tarp when a lighter version that weighs a whole 1.2 ounces less comes out, will you throw your old silnylon gear into the landfill where it won't ever degrade?

You can use nature to your advantage while still respecting it, as well as preserving a natural environment for other people to come and enjoy.

That said, I too have an expensive synthetic tarptent I use while backpacking. I carry Clif Bars instead of foraging for wild garlic and eating squirrel stew. These things take precedence when my goal is to complete a thru hike, or log lots of miles for training purposes. But that is not the only reason I adventure into the Wild.

We take what is necessary to complete our goals. To me that is what BPL is all about; not using what is the lightest, just what is necessary.

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 11:51:47 MST Print View

I hike a lot in areas that are not wilderness. Heck, most of the Oregon Cascades and coast range mountains are essentially timber farm lands . . . second or third growth forests.

We could probably establish an interesting ethics thread on LNT practices on public lands used for timber harvest . . . but this is a gear thread.

My bushcraft gear list:
Esbit tabs - multi use as stove fuel
Guy lines - multi use for lashing things
Schrade pocket knife w/ 2" blade, 0.7 oz
Aging, but still useful brain
Various tarps, depending on the trip

Sorry, I'd rather hike and see countryside these days than spend hours making camp. And, I'd rather carry a 4oz bivi to survive in than a 16oz axe to build a survival shelter in an emergency.

(livingontheroad) - M
bush on 02/03/2013 12:06:24 MST Print View

"Bushcraft" is just a word people use to make themselves feel better about their destructive camping practices.

Building permanent shelters, even of natural materials, on public lands is genrally illegal.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: bush on 02/03/2013 12:14:10 MST Print View

Bushcrafters in training ;)

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bushcraft Ethics on 02/03/2013 12:41:07 MST Print View

IMHO, the Bushcraft movement is reactionary and an expression of dissatisfaction with modern life. At best, it fosters woodworking skills and survival techniques. Promoting the idea of hauling around an axe in forums where people are working on sub 5 pound gear lists is ludicrous.

I've read a lot of forum traffic on Bushcraft and seen a lot of damage done by the practitioners. If people do it on private property, that is their business, but when they step onto public land, I have a lot of problems with it. You should leave nothing but your footprints behind. The 19th Century wilderness concepts are dead and we live on a different planet: where we used to live in islands of civilization in seas of wilderness, we are now trying to preserve the islands of wilderness surrounded by seas of development and with the pressure of ever-increasing population. We should learn from the mistakes we made in the past rather than promoting them.

We should be conscious of the impact of our gear consumption, but that does not justify going out and making permanent shelters. I can see cutting downed wood to make cook fires where it is allowed, but not enough for making shelters. The idea that it is okay to do it in the name of gaining survival skills is no excuse. The end result is no different than littering. The idea is to leave things in their natural state so others can learn and appreciate them.

Pete Anderson
(hosaphone) - F

Locale: Boston-ish, MA
Re: Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 13:07:20 MST Print View

"I hike a lot in areas that are not wilderness. Heck, most of the Oregon Cascades and coast range mountains are essentially timber farm lands . . . second or third growth forests."

Seeing a logging area gives you some perspective on LNT, doesn't it?

I think a lot depends on the area you're in. Alpine environments, high traffic areas, small pockets of wilderness surrounded by civilization, etc, be as careful as you can and do your best to follow the rules and LNT.

Dense forest in the middle of nowhere 200 feet off the trail in a random place on a trail that nobody ever hikes on? Cutting down that standing deadwood is really, REALLY not going hurt anybody...

Edited by hosaphone on 02/03/2013 13:08:24 MST.

Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 13:34:16 MST Print View

The closest I've ever built a longtime shelter to an established hiking trail was more than 2 miles away. I'm quite confident that nobody will ever find it, even if I told them the general area to look. And the best part is, even if I never return, the forest will reclaim it all in a relatively short time. Bush crafting can be "destructive" if done inappropriately, but so can pretty much everything.

Now for bringing this back to being a gear thread...

Learning how to make a bow drill out of natural materials and charcloth for fire starting will make your fire starting kit weigh in at 0.00 ounces! Huzzah! Pack less, be more. :)

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 13:34:35 MST Print View

"Dense forest in the middle of nowhere 200 feet off the trail in a random place on a trail that nobody ever hikes on? Cutting down that standing deadwood is really, REALLY not going hurt anybody..."

Once you let that genie out of the bottle, you have the present situation.

I remember reading a thread where these guys when out and perfectly leveled a 12'x12' area so they could pitch their tent and reported back with photos. It was ignorance, but fueled by no thought of the impact or consideration of others--- a couple city boys doing what they pleased and having NO CLUE.

ALL wilderness is in the small pocket category. When Lewis and Clark went out there were about 6 million people in the US and there are 300 million now: there quite literally isn't room for people to go around chopping things up where they see fit, regardless if it can be seen from the trail or not. I just don't trust my neighbors' power of discretion.

Pete Anderson
(hosaphone) - F

Locale: Boston-ish, MA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 13:39:59 MST Print View

"I just don't trust my neighbors' power of discretion."

Fair enough, and you are probably right to feel that way...

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 13:47:24 MST Print View

While you are building your tree fort out of sticks and making fire like a caveman most of the people on here are hiking another 5.. 10.. 15 miles.

After hiking 15-20mi the last thing i want to do is have to rely on found dead sticks for a shelter and fire to cook my food. stove.. fire.. food.. bed.

relying solely on a bow drill for 0oz would put you in the "stupid light" category i think. and if you bring a back up then well.. not 0oz

The following are prohibited:
(a) Constructing, placing, or maintaining any kind of road, trail,
structure, fence, enclosure, communication equipment, or other

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:05:56 MST Print View

You left out:

Sec. 261.6 Timber and other forest products.

The following are prohibited:
(a) Cutting or otherwise damaging any timber, tree, or other forest
product, except as authorized by a special-use authorization, timber
sale contract, or Federal law or regulation.

Sec. 261.9 Property.

The following are prohibited:
(a) Damaging any natural feature or other property of the United
(b) Removing any natural feature or other property of the United

Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:06:44 MST Print View

"While you are building your tree fort out of sticks and making fire like a caveman most of the people on here are hiking another 5.. 10.. 15 miles.

After hiking 15-20mi the last thing i want to do is have to rely on found dead sticks for a shelter and fire to cook my food. stove.. fire.. food.. bed."

Thank you for relying on insults to argue against something that you don't understand, it's very much appreciated.

As for the 5 or 10 or 15 miles of extra distance covered, did you only read like 2 or 3 posts in this thread? Different GOALS require different SKILL SETS. I explained if my goal is thru hiking I'm not going to bother building fires every night and making a super awesome tree fort. But my ability to enjoying the backcountry isn't entirely based upon mileage logged for the day; if yours is then that's your thing, just because someone else is different than you doesn't make their way wrong.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:12:10 MST Print View

Jake D, your mindset is way off! You and the rest of the users on this forum are so concerned with pure efficiency. All you do is eat, sleep, and walk and anything in between must be about your bottom line.

Did it ever occur to you that someone might build a natural shelter because it's fun to do? Did it ever occur to you that people do the bowdrill because it's a rewarding challenge? Yeah, a tarp is very light and relying on building a shelter isn't practical for backpacking. No sh*t man! You are looking at this in the wrong way.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:15:07 MST Print View

you know youre UL when ....


Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:19:52 MST Print View

"you know youre UL when ...."

You keep your light heartedness out of here! We are busy flaming right now! RAWWWWRRRRRR!!!!!

Edited by anarkhos on 02/03/2013 14:20:41 MST.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:20:29 MST Print View

Then perhaps it is the wrong forum to discuss hatchets, large knives and building forts in the woods?

Luckily my "home field" the White Mountains are not bushcraft friendly between wilderness protection and natural environmental deterrents.

Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:36:00 MST Print View

Our very own David Chenault takes his Cold Steel Trail Hawk when setting up bear bait stations, which according to him weighs in at 22 oz., as per his 2013 northern rockies gear list thread he made in the gear list section. And I hardly consider a 5 oz Mora to be a 'large knife'. Different strokes for different folks.

I just figured the BPL forum was less about closed minded, weight centric, hyper materialistic debate and more of a place where information can be shared to better people's understanding and enjoyment of the outdoors. I believed the "Light" in "Back Packing Light" was more about helping people use only what they 'need' to get the job done, not about reaching an arbitrary weight threshold.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:47:29 MST Print View

well andrew ...

if it aint marginally ligher, much more expensive, shiny and new ... and you cant sell your old marginally heavier, minimally used gear it replaced on gear swap every few months ... it aint BPL ;)

that aside .. a bit of basic practice in whacking a few bushes would help people when the chips are down ... particularly fire starting in adverse conditions

remember ... BPL is GEARCENTRIC ... not skill centric ... witness the amount of threads in the gear section vs. thread about skills ...

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 14:52:14 MST Print View

"use only what they 'need' to get the job done"

This is the modern world. you do not 'need' to damage forest areas to set up a stick shelter or cut firewood large enough to require a hatchet.

David is setting up research stations and possibly using firewood to heat a cabin. He isn't building a shelter and cutting up unnecessarily large firewood.

a 5oz Mora is large when <2oz and <3" blades are more than adequate. People have done the entire AT without a knife..

Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 15:30:00 MST Print View

"a 5oz Mora is large when <2oz and <3" blades are more than adequate. People have done the entire AT without a knife.."

Agreed. Because they are thru hiking and relying on gear drops and resupply towns, as well as constant contact with other people. No matter where you are on the AT, somebody will be coming along at some point to offer assistance if need be. But I define 'stupid light' as entering the backcountry without the proper skills and equipment to survive, otherwise you could potentially become a burden on others to rescue you.

I am not advocating building a wood shelter on the AT because there is no need to do so. But if I'm backpacking off trail miles and miles from the nearest person, I have to be self reliant to survive. If this website is Gear Centric, then all I wanted this thread to be was a source of discussion on the necessary gear to accomplish these survival tasks. It's Back Packing Light, not Thru Hiking Light.

Andrew Skurka did his entire Alaska/Yukon expedition with just a Swiss Army Classic if memory serves. But he is infinitely more experienced than I am in backcountry exploration, and with my skill set I would not feel comfortable doing what he did without some major upgrades in both my skills and tools.

Brett Ayer

Locale: Virginia
Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 15:43:24 MST Print View

"Thank you for relying on insults to argue against something that you don't understand, it's very much appreciated."

You are on an ultralight backpacking forum and you have a problem with someone that does not understand "bushcraft"?

Now that's funny.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 15:55:20 MST Print View

I generally understand it. (don't have any interest to delve further) I just don't see the necessity of most of it. I find most of it to be very non-LNT and over the top. Seems to involve a lot of Cammo, larger than necessary knives (and other cutting tools), general destruction of trees for minimal gain.

You say you only use dead fall but from what i've seen online is a lot of cutting of green live standing trees for use in unnecessary shelters.

hey look they even created a fence to kill even more live trees

all of that damage for a shelter that looks tight for 2 people. nice. has a great forum to discuss bushcraft gear and techniques..

I agree with what Craig says below.. Learn skills and techniques to not get into trouble. a few miles from a normal trail is what i call "lost" and that means if something goes wrong you are probably immobile and away from where SAR is going to start looking. If you are immobile you will not be able to build a shelter, probably won't be able to find necessary components for a bow drill or other primitive fire making for that matter. If you want to practice, try doing any of those skills without being able to stand on a right foot or arm.

Edited by JakeDatc on 02/03/2013 16:02:16 MST.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 15:56:00 MST Print View

"I am not advocating building a wood shelter on the AT because there is no need to do so. But if I'm backpacking off trail miles and miles from the nearest person, I have to be self reliant to survive. If this website is Gear Centric, then all I wanted this thread to be was a source of discussion on the necessary gear to accomplish these survival tasks."

I agree wholeheartedly about the need for self-reliance in survival.

That's why I carry a tent or tarp and a Bic lighter and I don't rely on chopping wood, building shelters, and fashioning bow drills to survive. Which leaves me plenty of leisure time for "surviving" while watching sunsets and swimming in lakes...

I have thus far made a healthy habit of not suddenly and unexpectedly finding myself in the wilderness without warning and without appropriate gear. That's the best survival strategy I've found to date.

Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 15:56:35 MST Print View

""Thank you for relying on insults to argue against something that you don't understand, it's very much appreciated."

You are on an ultralight backpacking forum and you have a problem with someone that does not understand "bushcraft"?

Now that's funny."

I have a problem with ignorance and the hate and fear that it creates. If someone doesn't know what something is, maybe they should ask a question or two instead of automatically rejecting it as 'stupid', or just mind their own business. I don't know anything about sewing my own down jacket, that doesn't mean I invade the MYOG thread telling everyone they are wasting their time.

Andrew U
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 16:04:48 MST Print View

@ Jake

"I generally understand it. (don't have any interest to delve further) I just don't see the necessity of most of it. I find most of it to be very non-LNT and over the top. Seems to involve a lot of Cammo, larger than necessary knives (and other cutting tools), general destruction of trees for minimal gain.

You say you only use dead fall but from what i've seen online is a lot of cutting of green live standing trees for use in unnecessary shelters.

hey look they even created a fence to kill even more live trees"

Yep, all people who are interested in Bush Craft chop down giant sections of forest. Also, all Chinese people can't drive, every Muslim on Earth is a terrorist, and people from the South are inbred and have sex with pigs!

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 16:29:03 MST Print View

The word survival comes up a lot in the Bushcraft world.

Which, to me, makes no sense. You're obviously prepared enough for this hypothetical "survival situation", miles from trails and people, to have an axe, knife, and saw with you...

So why not just carry gear instead and not goof around with debris shelters, beds of leaves, and drinking out of your shoe?

Your Gransfors Bruks hatchet, while a cool tool, weighs as much as a cuben poncho shelter, quilt, and Gossamer Gear Nitelite pad. For the weight of your saw, you can throw in nice cook kit and water treatment. For the weight of you knife, an SUL pack to carry it all.

All of which would give you a much greater safety margin, efficiency, and comfort in your "survival" situation.

Brett Ayer

Locale: Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 16:39:21 MST Print View

"Yep, all people who are interested in Bush Craft chop down giant sections of forest. Also, all Chinese people can't drive, every Muslim on Earth is a terrorist, and people from the South are inbred and have sex with pigs!"

Can't you find a Corvette forum to tell people that cars should not be made of fiberglass? I am sure it would be well received.

I am sure there are a few R&B music forums that would love to discuss bluegrass.

My point is that even if there is a valid purpose and use for bushcraft skills, this is not the place to talk about it. I would think you would have expected some push back.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 16:42:43 MST Print View

Craig they'd rather run around like Rambo showing off their knives and sometimes guns to show how "prepared" they are. ;) making ridiculous camp setups for an overnight.

Gerry Volpe

Locale: Vermont
Primitive Skills on 02/03/2013 17:14:06 MST Print View

I enjoy learning and practicing primitive skills and teach some of them to my students. I think Busch craft is a loaded term often associated with high impact activities and avoid identifying with it. Friction fire, flint knaping, shelter building, etc can be fun activities. Personally I usually relegate them to sitting around my fire pit with friends or "front country" camping. When backpacking I prefer to have my basic needs met with light gear so that I can focus on walking, relaxing, or practicing the more important soft skills of wilderness survival. Awareness; including tracking, plant lore/knowledge, resource identification, etc along with the skills of water source evaluation, campsite selection, weather reading, problem solving, decision making,etc. Are as or more important than some of the "hard" survival skills and can be constantly practiced even while walking or are integral to the backpacking experience. To the original question if I were going on a hypothetical primitive trip I would probably only add thin leather gloves, a cook pot appropriate for a fire, and my Tracker knife to my backpacking kit. Also the appropriate tools and licenses for any hunting or fishing.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Primitive Skills on 02/03/2013 18:30:59 MST Print View

+1, Gerry. I think it is a perfectly acceptable hobby and I see the fun aspect. The skills you listed could be life saving and not at all out of place for UL hiking and LNT principles. In fact there are skills in your list that everyone should learn for disaster preparedness as well as hiking.

This is the sort of thing that shouldn't happen on public lands and it is a tame example:

Note the logs are saw cut, but the axe is pictured--- for cache I guess.
Bushcraft lean-to

I could see making a litter shelter for practice and then re-distributing the materials, but the example above goes too far. In fact, it wouldn't keep you dry at all; a cheap poly tarp would be far better.

Edited by dwambaugh on 02/03/2013 18:32:21 MST.

John Reichle
(mammoman) - M

Locale: NE AL
Bushcraft Saw on 02/03/2013 18:35:37 MST Print View

Once while doing some winter hiking, a combination of factors saw me hit a campsite a couple of hours before dark knowing that I needed to have a fire going soon, and enough firewood to burn all night if things went any further south. The thought briefly entered my mind that it would sure be nice for once to have a saw. However, by keeping my wits, it didn't take too long to find more than enough wood and get a fire going, get my shelter up, get into dry clothes and start drying some things the end, I didn't need the fire all night, but regardless, I didn't need the saw to survive. Quality UL gear and more importantly knowledge and keeping my wits were more than sufficient.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Primitive Skills on 02/03/2013 18:36:34 MST Print View

described as "an overnighter a few miles in".. multiple fire rings.. etc

"hard to keep warm without a big fire" uhh cuz he doesnt have a sleeping bag or shelter worth a damn with temps down to 35F.. duhhh

Edited by JakeDatc on 02/03/2013 18:44:44 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Bushcraft Kit or UL on 02/03/2013 18:45:37 MST Print View

Same weight, two mindsets

One example.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
In the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" on 02/03/2013 19:07:15 MST Print View

ULers: I'm sure that any of you are better at starting a fire with ONLY natural materials or, if your pack fell off a cliff, to gett by with what is in your pockets than the average citizen in Starbucks.

Bushcrafters: Similarly, I'm sure that you could take a BPing trip and carry less weight than the typical Walmart shopper who has decided to "get away from it all".

But each is also better on what they focus on than anyone else.

I do more miles in a day than some guy who, when he gets cold, flintknaps a arrowhead, makes a bow from yew, kills and plucks a goose, and then (having sowed, picked, and woven into clothe a crop of cotton) assembles his own down jacket. But I'm not as good as bushcraft as I'd like to be. To wit: With my 12-year-oldin Desolation Wilderness, last year, I realized I'd forgotten my mini-bic. And I tried to do a fire bow to get an ember to light the butane stove I brought, but it didn't work.

I could learn a lot from bushcrafters.

Bushcrafters could learn a lot from BPL.

Why the arguments?

If you're going to bushcraft, why not head into a logged area? It more closely resembles a post-apocholeptic setting anyway.

If you are going to do a lot of miles, you are going to be on the trail system, where there are rightfully more regulations.

But if I forget some gear or something breaks, or the weather turns, it would benefit me to be better at bushcraft.

If a bushcrafter needed to make some miles, he'd (are there any female bush crafters?!?) benefit from UL concept and techniques.

Hike your own hike.

Chop down your own tree.

But we could learn from each other.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 20:08:32 MST Print View

" But if I'm backpacking off trail miles and miles from the nearest person, I have to be self reliant to survive."

There are a fair number of people on this site who backpack off trail miles and miles from the nearest person, and somehow they seem to manage without trashing the environment and carrying all that extra weight. What are they missing? Or, maybe, what are you missing?

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
{Flamesuit on...} on 02/03/2013 20:54:03 MST Print View

OK, I think I understand what's going on here...

Ummmm....Oh YeaH! Well I hike 40 mile days TO THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN TO BUILD A FIRE AND DIRT HUT!! And I Eat raw Crow! AND I'll BE READY when society collapses and you don't have your fancy Cuban backpacks!!

Did I do that right? This is a pissing contest, no?

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bushybushybushybushybushybushy CRAFT on 02/03/2013 20:59:25 MST Print View

I think it is funny that he is self reliant except that he needs to carry 2.5lbs of cutting tools. Sounds more like he is reliant on major cutting tools and unreliable primitive firemaking.

He said that Andrew has the skills to be self reliant with a pocket knife but he doesn't have those skills. apparently he thinks chopping down trees and lighting fires is a better use of time and resources than learning more and less destructive skills.

Can kid themselves all they want but in reality they just want to cut things with big tools and make fires. Doing these activities on public land is pretty disrespectful to everyone else that might come along.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
{Flamesuit on...} on 02/03/2013 21:01:55 MST Print View

"Did I do that right?"

It's spelled cuben :) Run on sentence. Improper use of capital letters. So, not so much.

Flame on!

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
{Flamesuit off} on 02/03/2013 21:14:12 MST Print View

Seriously, though, this is a tough one...

As a Forster for the Forest Service, I am familiar with the CFR. It exists to protect resources from damage. I understand what a damaged forest looks like, and consider as best I can the implications of my actions out-of-doors as they relate to the resource in regards to LNT, MBPs, and what I consider "common sense" juxtaposed against my own desires to to practice the sport--and it really is a sport--of bushcraft.

Yes, it is not practical to practice bushcraft in many situations; to me, however, it is a fun, educational activity that helps me connect with my surroundings through a deeper awareness and appreciation of the ecology surrounding me. It helps me connect with my Native American heritage, and when I know the forest is overgrown, decadent, and just itching for a disturbance, I often feel fortunate to know how to "responsibly" (I know, I know...) provide that disturbance. When things come together right and I feel an opportunity to make a pair of snowshoes comes along, it is truly a gift that I appreciate presenting itself to me, whether or not I choose to take action...

(Note: I'm talking about forest here, not juniper scrub over cryptobiotic soil crusts, alpine meadows, wetlands, and the like. I 'm not sure what would need to happen for me to practice bushcraft in these environments...)

samuel smillie
(sam_smillie) - F

Locale: central canada
forest for the trees on 02/03/2013 21:17:29 MST Print View

While I can see the obvious philosophy conflict between bushcraft and bpl, as well as the 'my way is better than yours', vis a vis destructive manufacturing/distribution process of light gear vs destructive impact on immediate surrounds by cutting trees etc;

don't you think that UL backpackers and bushcrafters have much more in common (both in interests and in passion towards and advocacy around conservation) than the average joe who doesn't step off asphalt except for a dip off a beach down south come holidays?

I mean, both parties have vested interests in the conservation and preservation of nature in all our countries and around the world. I totally understand people sharing their opinions on why they feel they way they do about their relationship with nature and our environment and it's nice to hear them. That being said, we should be looking to be inclusive towards all people who can get behind the idea of protecting our earth. We're fighting an uphill battle here folks in case you didn't notice. Bushcrafters are not the problem. Our civilization's ambivalence towards earth is.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/03/2013 21:31:22 MST Print View

With enough time, bushcraft can produce a decent shelter.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
More stuff you can probably skip... on 02/03/2013 21:42:58 MST Print View

Jake! I have a couple of questions for you which, were you to answer, would give me a much better picture of your views regarding the matters at hand. (Anyone else, of course, can also answer..)

I'm makin' lemonade here if it's the last thing I do...

1.) What is "worse" from a sustainability/save-the-resource kinda viewpoint?

A.) A weekend warrior who dedicates a closet full of all-season backpacking gear to 12 weekends and a week during summer, or...

B.) That same person who does the same things, but goes out in their normal woods/work clothes, with a few "bushcraft" tools, and constructs temporary shelters that are not reused.

2.) What is worse...

A.) A weekend warrior who dedicates...


3.) What is worse...

A.) A weekend warrior who dedicates...TO 36 WEEKENDS AND A MONTH IN SUMMER, or..

B.) That same person who does the same things, but goes out in their normal woods/work clothes, with a few "bushcraft" tools, and constructs temporary shelters that are not reused.

If there is a point to all of this, I suppose it's that it's kinda hard for me to draw a distinct line here; everything falls some where on a spectrum, as I see it.

Now this is all pretty much moot in the eyes of the word-as-written law, but it matters much to an individuals trying to maintain a certain moral and ethical compass, and to society as a whole. We can do nothing if not abide by our own personal set of ethics, which makes it only up to the individual to decide what is a "correct" or "incorrect" decision.

(edited for grammatical reasons only)

Edited by pillowthread on 02/03/2013 21:52:17 MST.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
The Cabin... on 02/03/2013 21:49:08 MST Print View

@ Cameron: That's Dick Proenneke's final cabin, right?

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: More stuff you can probably skip... on 02/03/2013 22:28:24 MST Print View

your choices don't make a lot of sense so i'll give you a general answer from my POV.

Backpacking gear in general can be used for quite a long time if treated properly and cared for. Even if someone buys a newer/better piece, the old can be passed on to others who can continue to use it. Small backcountry campsites can be almost invisible when left with a bit of leaf fluffing to remove trace of a tent.

Bushcraft shelters leave quite a visible scar of destruction when done improperly and still quite a bit of work to cover up when done well. Large fire pits in backcountry are unnecessary and lead to scarred rocks, ground and when left unattended while sleeping pose a forest fire danger.

Luckily it seems to be a fairly small subset of campers that don't tend to go far from the road. Unfortunately, if damaged is caused on public property and it is deemed an issue then most don't have a distinction between them and normal backpackers.

Yes, burning stuff and building wood shelters can be fun. I believe that should be done on your own private property where others experiences are not effected.

that cabin is far more extravagant than Dick's cabin.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
OK! on 02/03/2013 22:43:44 MST Print View

Thanks for extrapolating a bit...your views are clearer to me. I'd still like you to pick "A" or "B" three times.

It's hard to pick, I know. Choices are hard. It's hard to shore up all those tangents...hard to discern accurately the repercussions...easier to criticize and not chose a position...

Can't defend a position you don't assume. Pick.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
Hyperbole! on 02/03/2013 23:35:22 MST Print View

BTW...Isn't BPL a mindset? Not the website (though that slogan...), but the actual practice, you know?

I think we are all talking about "lightweight" or "UL" bushcraft here. Trad bushcraft is waxed-cotton Fjallraven-style jackets, Dachstein sweaters, hudson-bay axes strapped to your external frame, machetes/khukris, and the like...the OP mentions a belt hatchet, a sub-six ounce folding saw, and a Mora, and he gets lambasted‽

(Interrobang FTW!)

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
fire on 02/04/2013 00:20:17 MST Print View

how many here can start a fire and maintain a good fire in the pouring rain without a decent knife ;)

as the sad recent fatalities last month indicates ... this is an absolutely essential skill

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: fire on 02/04/2013 00:39:59 MST Print View

It can be difficult to be with just a knife. A folding saw REALLY helps.

I guess if you can find a bunch of birch bark, resin, or fatwood you could force a fire out of wet wood.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: fire on 02/04/2013 00:42:55 MST Print View

"how many here can start a fire and maintain a good fire in the pouring rain without a decent knife"

By breaking off and splitting dead branches and feeding larger logs into a fire as they burn down. Any small knife will get down to dry stuff for tinder, but you should be carrying a bit of tinder anyway. A 3 ounce knife will make fuzz sticks all day and is more useful for precise tasks than some monster Rambo Special.

It is the axes and big knives that cross the line and aren't as useful for the weight as a simple folding saw. The older Gerber Sportsman's sliding/folding saws were only 3.4 ounces and I took down a 6" diameter cherry tree with one in a few minutes last summer. The current model has a more robust handle and is 4.8oz. These saws are far more efficient and safer than swinging a small axe around. The Gransfors Bruks axes are wonderful tools, but you can really injure yourself when one slides off a tree trunk and hits your thigh or shin-- not what you want miles from a trailhead and especially in a crisis.

Even with the saws, I would only carry one when solo in extreme conditions and really remote areas. A road flare would be more useful for emergency fire starting and doubles as a signal device.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: fire on 02/04/2013 00:57:28 MST Print View

a decent knife can weight 3 oz ... a mora weights 4 or so ...

but without a decent knife good luck starting and maintaining a fire under the coastal BC rain forest conditions in the winter where there has been freezing rain for weeks on end non stop ...

all the wood will be absolutely soaked, youll need to split it to reach anything dry

the point simply is that many here are going apeshiet over some bushcraft ... when in reality many here could learn and master some of those basic skills rather than pour over virtual gear list and looking for the latest shiny gear, which isnt what is going to save your life when the chips are down

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: fire on 02/04/2013 01:04:51 MST Print View

Under heavy tree cover, it's usually easy to find some dry stuff. In more open hardwood forests, it requires working a little more.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Re: Re: fire on 02/04/2013 01:12:43 MST Print View

well you gotta remember that when its winter here there is often wet snow and slush on the ground as well ... and in rainy season EVERYTHING is soaked here ...

the other nasty point is that when you need the fire, you may well be borderline hypothermic ...

there have been enough rescues out here that the knowledge and skills on how to survive would go have reduced deaths, and the risk to rescuers

i am often reminded of people i see climbing who carry the latest and greatest gear (which i happen to use to) ... i ask them what they would do if they dropped it or they ended up in that situation, i often get a blank look ... you should be able to make do with minimal gear if needed, and practice these basic skills over and over again

the thing which impresses me about the crazy, wild, militia, hick town, government hating survivalist ... is that they emphasize skill ...

BPLers emphasize GEAR


Ken Strayer
(TheRambler) - F
Re: "Bushcrafting Gear!!!" on 02/04/2013 06:27:01 MST Print View

Like in any sport, there are major differences between the individual players.

Everyone that enjoys Bushcraft does not destroy the forest, or leave scars on the landscaoe everywhere they walk, nor do they all make giant fire pits.

Granted, there are some who have no regards for LNT practices, but i find this is far and few from those Bushcrafters I have met.

Personally i really like Bushcraft, and practice many different skills often. Building a fire with primitive methods doesn't destroy the landscape or scar the forest anymore than building a fire with any other method. Making a fuzz stick does not either, whitiling downed wood to make something does not either. Flint knapping small rocks into arrow heads or into cutting utilsils also has very limited impact. Making arrows out of bamboo or river cane has very little impact as well, as these "grasses" grow back VERY fast. Foraging for wild edibles in moderation is also ok in my book.

However,I think the big line with bushcraft comes with making shelters. I agree 100% there is no need to make debris huts etc that utilizes parts from living trees. I am "ok" with someone making a debris hut etc out of downed trees/dead materials, but they should be dismantled and disbursed when you leave the area. IF someone wants to make such a structure/shelter on private property for fun or practice then have at it to your hearts content, but feel they should not do so on public land. Because it is indeed an eyesore and far from LNT.

I can do all of the Bushcrafty things I want with my small Karbar becker necker 3oz knife, and a small folding saw. While I like and appreciate the quality of a good axe, i don't see a need for one in the backcountry. I mean we arn't out there to build a log cabin by hand, or chop down trees to use to make shelters, or split cords of firewood.

I love to have a fire when I am out there, but do so in established fire rings, or at a minimum completely dismantle the fire pit i made and disburse the materials so that it would be very difficult to ever tell someone had a fire there. You don't need an axe, though i don't fault anyone for carrying one if that is would you like. But with a small knife and a little folding saw i can process any wood that i need to. It doesn't matter the time of year, or the conditions be it completely soaked or dry, you can accomplish the same thing without a large heavy axe.

I think Bushcrafters and Backpackers can coexist, and many appreciate aspects of both styles.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: hatchets on 02/04/2013 08:52:10 MST Print View

I find heavy tools like a hatchet bring too much potential for damage. If people carry it they are going to want to use it. And when you start processing large pieces then you are going to leave scars that people will notice.

a small fire with a bushbuddy is one thing for cooking. It is a whole other thing when you are starting to throw on 6" diameter logs. for one the ash production goes way up and the potential to leave half burned things and a ugly fire pit goes up.

Bruce Kolkebeck
(cjcanoe) - M

Locale: Uhwarrie National Forest
bushcraft on 02/04/2013 14:31:21 MST Print View

I took 25 boy scouts on a survival/bushcraft hike. I introduced quite a few to the woods for the first time. They had a blast building fires, cooking squirrels (I shot), sleeping in shelters and practicing bow/spindle fire tecniques. After we were done we did the best we could to clean up the site. With four fire rings it was tough but we managed. We also left on wikiup for a reference for the next time. This was on private land. Would I do this on park or forest property? No.

Again I introduced them to the woods. The LNT message will be delivered from now on, and maybe later to "Stealth Camping". In a world where the kids have their heads focused on electronic media this got their attention like nothing else.

And Lord please forgive me,.....I had fun too!


Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: hatchets on 02/04/2013 16:11:34 MST Print View

Jake, that's not true. You can make a big fire and not scar everything. I have made huge fires that you could use to forge a greatsword and managed to not leave a significant trace for others. I realize that many places have issues with fuel depletion. In most of the areas that I go to, there is so much dead wood that it's cluttering the ground and preventing new growth. It's also a fuel danger. There is really no reason not to build as big of a fire as we want in these places. Any chopped/cut wood gets burned.

When I am done with a fire, despite how much ash is left, I am able to clean up. What I will do first is start stomping the big coals. I will make sure that everything is smashed into a powder. Then I will start scattering everything. Just kicking ash everywhere. When I am done scattering, the ground around all around me will have scattered ash everywhere. Then once the rains come, all that ash will wash into the ground and any trace will disappear. I have been back to these places and it really works. As long as you don't leave a huge pile of coals and ash, it will wash away easily. Sometimes I will also throw a bunch of twigs and duff over the scattered ashes to conceal it.

I realize that this isn't 100% leave no trace because it takes a little time for it to clean itself, but we make these big fires in places off trail. The chances of someone walking by before the rains have washed away the ashes or before tree litter has fallen and covered it up are very unlikely.

If you have half burned things, you can just scatter the pieces. At least in California, almost every forest has wildfire damage and seeing a have burnt piece of wood isn't out of place. Or you can make sure that all your wood is fully burned, which is easy to do.

A big problem is when people camp away from camp areas and build fire rings out of rocks. There is absolutely no reason to make a fire ring, but people seem to do it compulsively. I have hiked up seemingly remote areas and found old fire rings. There were no signs of fire or coals in them. Despite how old they are, they are going to remain as a pit forever or until someone dismantles it.

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
bushcraft tools on 02/04/2013 18:02:38 MST Print View

Why the arguments guys?

Isn’t “bushcraft” sorta just basic outdoor skills, and doesn’t everyone already know this stuff, and isn’t it fun and wise to practice these skills now and then??
Well, that’s what I think anyway. But it is surprising how many backpackers I meet who couldn’t build a fire without a Bic and a bottle of gasoline, who couldn’t trap, clean and cook an animal or make a shelter if their lives depended upon it.
Oh, it’s not that such things are usually needful when backpacking these days, I just thought folks that well, hang out in the wilds, would naturally know these things.

To me, the “bushcrafting” skill set has allot to do with my lifestyle and also forms a solid “backbone”, if you will, upon which much of my backpacking skills are based.
I mean, I’ve see folks set up camp right on the shore of a large northern lake on the gravel delta of a dry river bed, when rain was expected that night!

I’ve read a horror story right here on BPL of a guy who, because of a single failed knot, inadvertently got his quilt and what minimal clothing he had wet, and was forced to simply shiver away the remaining hours of night till dawn, and was “forced” to spend the reminder of his trip courting hypothermia with wet gear because apparently the very idea of making a little fire to dry things out a bit never occurred to him, or perhaps because the skills needed are beyond him. And of course, a 2 oz. “space blanket” is just to heavy to carry -

Well, in my day kids joined the Boy Scouts, and were taught basic skill sets not because we figured we were gonna be modern day cave men but rather because such skills were considered important enough that most men should know them. Useful skills If the kids chose to continue backpacking and camping, as a sound basis that may well serve the individual in the event of disaster, or in the event of military service and so on.

Of course when I go backpacking my pack contains all the kit I’ll likely be needing for shelter, food and what-not, and I have recently been learning all about this newfangled thing that is lightweight backpacking and have even gotten my “base weight” down to about twelve or thirteen pounds now. Heh, I do usually still wear my trusty cammo BDU trousers though…

Knives? Who cares how big my knife is. I mean, that sounds sorta like a personal question, isn’t it?
But I guess I will indeed be judged here at BPL by this criteria, so here goes - When backpacking I traditionally carry a Gerber LST. ( Heh, but in grizz country I sometimes also carry a .44 magnum. Does that count? ).

So anyway, as far as bushcrafting tools go, I like my Estwing hatchet. These things can’t be beat if you ask me because of the solid steel handle. You’ll never break or work that handle loose.
Great steel, and lovely slender blade that bites deep.

You can seemy hatchet here on the last trip we took it on, a late October canoe trip.
It rained all day, rained and snowed all night, and rained all day the next day, so yeah, we appreciated the fire ( in a metal grate at an established camp ).

Wet Night

Yeah yeah I know, The Timberline tent and poly tarp ain't "ultralightweighthighspeedlowdrag" but we were traveling by canoe and we did have a nice warm and dry camp that night.

Lets see -
You can also see my hatchet here, in a real "bushcrafty" sorta setting.
Relax guys, this is on my property.

src="/backpackinglight/user_uploads/1360024982_75378.jpg" alt="Home away from home" width="550" height="413">

Anyway, I do my best to teach a good basic outdoors skill set to my nephews, and yes this includes fire making, shelters, hunting as well as lightweight backpacking.
On my last trip with my nephews brought enough implements of mass destruction to clear cut half the forest – Each had huge survival knives as well as massive folding knives weighting at least a pound, smaller pocket knives with disposable blades, and a hatchet. I told them all they needed were decent, sharp pocket knives, but I remember when I was that age, and was inseparable from my favorite bowies, daggers and machetes!
Even with the extra weight they can outhike ‘ol Bawana…And that’s depressing…

Some of my favorite bushcrafting knives are the inexpensive Cold Steel Finn Bear and Roach Belly, and the Mora.
I have a Mora Clipper and two similar knives with solid plastic handles, not listed in the current Mora lineup.

These are all on the order of three ounces and about four inches long, and all are under twenty bucks. To me, these are “survival” knives!
I even have one on my belt as I type this. The Mora blades have that Scandinavian grind, you either like that kinda thing or not.
I think the double bevel grind of the Cold Steel blades better for much bushcraft because the edge holds up better, but boy, when it comes time to take apart game, give me a Mora!

My wife and don’t eat store-bought meat, we raise or hunt everything we eat and we do all our own butchering. I have taken apart more than a hundred animals, so you can take my word \on that…
Came a time I always seemed to have my hands inside the body cavity of something-or-other, so I figured it was time to find the best blades for the chore. The stainless Moras are them.

For saws, I have a tiny Coghalans with a 3.5 inch blade that weighs 1.4 ounces. You want a UL folding saw, this is it!
It’s a bit of a delicate toy, but it does out cut the saw on any swiss army knife I’ve ever had. Just remember to only cut on the pull stroke!
It cuts as good as or better than the saw on my Leatherman super tool, it is in no way as rugged as the leathernan saw, but it is light and I haven’t broken it yet.
This isn’t a bad tool to have stashed in a pack if you think you may need to cut dry limbs to baton the dry inner stuff out.

Now we did have one of the Gerber slide-out saws. Lasted all of a month on our homestead before we busted it. Brittle blade, can’t recommend them.

Now we use the Fiskars folding saw, and that is a champ. In heavy use over a year, and haven’t busted it yet.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: bushcraft tools on 02/04/2013 18:07:26 MST Print View

I agree. Skills any "outdoorsy" person should have. Also the knowledge and common sense when and where to practice their primitive skills goes along with that.

I may never clean another rabbit, but I appreciate that I know how.

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Ray Jardine anyone? on 02/04/2013 18:21:39 MST Print View

I’ve already posted up a storm, but I guess I still got something to say –

I first learned about lightweight backpacking by reading Ray Jardines books.
Seems to me that feller knows his bushcraft, and hey, didn’t that feller sorta invent this whole quilt-carrying-tarp-loving-mesh-pockets-on-the-backpack-sneaker-wearing-walk-30-miles-a-day thing in the first place anyway?
Yet he sure does know his way around a fire drill! And he also sells Mora knives right there along with his tarp and quilt kits ‘n stuff.
And he likes to cook over little camp fires, and writes in his book on how carrying a little sheath knife is important for fire making when everything is wet.

Seems to me this guy invented “stealth camping” and that it took a mighty fine bush-craft-person to do that, taking advantage of naturally sheltered terrain, staying out of low lying catablatic air, looking for softer, warmer ground to sleep on instead of carrying that inflatable pad. Yep, that guy knows his way around the forest, and buchcraft skills go hand in hand with UL backpacking.

Edit - Or maybe "bushcraft" means different things to me -
To some it seems to imply the automatic destruction of the forest!

Edited by Bawana on 02/04/2013 18:26:23 MST.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
? on 02/04/2013 18:48:22 MST Print View

I have been reading so many posts lately that have me wondering about folks that preach inclusiveness in one thread yet have no problem discriminating in another. Looks like it's ok to discriminate, as long as I really, really believe I am on the right side.
Along similar lines, it's ok to give away some personal rights and freedoms to one administration, just because we like the guy that's there right now. ( both sides doing this over and over).
This seems to get by too many smart and educated people.

Edited to add that I could have posted this in any number of threads, as so many reflect the same thing to me.

Edited by Kat_P on 02/04/2013 18:51:09 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: ? on 02/04/2013 19:11:55 MST Print View

Maybe the bushcraft people should practice at home?

If it is legal somewhere, then it is legal -- supposedly the land managers know what is best. But if someone breaks the rules, then fine them big-time and make them restore the damage they did.

But I see no need to do any of this stuff. I was trained by the military in survival, escape, resistance, and evasion so I know what to do and how to do it in an emergency. But I was also taught to avoid survival situations too. So I have not needed to practice my survival skills on any backpacking trip -- ever.

Plus, we had a lot less gear when we I went through survival school -- just a knife, map, and compass. And we had to deal with snow for several days above 11,000 feet. Not to mention a single serving of C-rations to last a week.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Ray Jardine anyone? on 02/04/2013 20:04:58 MST Print View

FWIW, Jardine came on the scene about a century after the true pioneers of lightweight backcountry travel, but they too practiced bushcraft. Of course they mostly did it when at stationary camps and that is something most of us rarely use.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Balance... on 02/05/2013 15:48:35 MST Print View

As a Boy Scout in the '50s we were taugh "Pioneering", which meant using large saplings and various lashing techniques to make "structures", like semaphore towers. (YES!!)

Well, thankfully that era is past but I'm sometimes glad I know several lashing techniques.

My point is that one CAN live comfortably with a plastic sheet as a roof for a lean-to. Been decades since I did that but a nice hardwood reflecting fire and the CLEAR plastic sheet over the lean-to and coming down, covering the front of our lean-to made us very cozy inside with the radiant heat.

The snow coming down actually melted on the front sheet. Getting up to pee was also the time to lean a few more large logs against the fire's log and rock reflector. By morning the large coal bed was still giving us plenty of heat.

Breaking camp meant taking the lean-to down and scattering the sticks and evidence of the doused fire.

So "bushcrafting" skills can have their usefuleness. Ya just have to balance their use with as much LNT as possible.

Edited by Danepacker on 02/06/2013 14:12:47 MST.

Mattias Deny
(mattiasdeny) - F - M

Locale: Europe
Starting a fire is labor intensive and extremely difficult in the cold and wet on 02/06/2013 01:48:35 MST Print View

Backpacking relies on bringing along thermal insulation. Since the only heat source is your body. There is no external heat source. So I pack merino, synthetic high-loft, pile and down to keep me warm.

However being able to build a fire in cold and wet conditions - those conditions being no sun at all in say the last 2 weeks - is a game changer. A nice small fire will keep you warm no matter what is the outside temperature. It allows you to dry out gear when things made a turn for the worse.

Starting a fire is difficult though in the rainy season. All the clichés about finding dry wood simply don't apply. It's a full time occupation as well, extremely labor intensive, and doesn't look nowhere near what you see on televison.

Starting a fire in the worst of conditions, ironically those are the exact conditions you need it the most, is extremely difficult. Considering this, it is worthwhile to practise this core skill. If you never get to use it in anger, the better, that means two things: you knew what you were doing, and you were lucky enough throughout your entire outdoor career.

I've got all the latest and greatest gear, but just like in mountaineering, it's imperative that you know your classics. You drop that ATC or Reverso and you should still know how to belay from that carabiner using a half clove hitch.

Know your classics and take advantage of the new technologies.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Starting a fire is labor intensive and extremely difficult in the cold and wet on 02/06/2013 02:01:40 MST Print View

Yeah, building a fire in the rain can be difficult. But it can be so worth it. If you have a partner with you, it can be easier. I usually split the kindling and make a pile of curls for tinder to get it started. My hiking partner Kyle finds pieces of vertical standing wood to cut as fuel.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Starting a fire is labor intensive and extremely difficult in the cold and wet on 02/06/2013 05:32:38 MST Print View

It's definitely a learned skill, but I've seen Ryan Jordan start a fire several days into blizzard conditions with no knife, axe, or saw. He used a few tenderquick tabs and the firesteel mini BPL used to sell and had it going in less than 5 minutes.

brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
little fires can be helpful on 02/06/2013 09:42:29 MST Print View

A small backpacking woodstove can provide a surprising amount of heat for its size. You also dont need to collect a lot of wood for the job.
This past winter i cooked inside the SL5 on one of my woodstoves almost every night and it was a lot warmer inside than out. Just light it from the top so there is no smoke and after boiling add wood as long as you are awake. The coals will last a good while...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: knowing how to start a fire on 02/06/2013 09:44:14 MST Print View

Ryan Jordan grew up in the PNW and is an Eagle Scout. He should know how to start a fire!

I think everyone should know how to tie a few basic knots, build a fire, compass navigation, emergency signaling and first aid. Not only are those skills part and parcel of backcountry travel, they are useful if you car breaks down or in a natural disaster.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Balance... on 02/06/2013 10:11:56 MST Print View

"As a Boy Scout in the '50s we were taugh "Pioneering", which meant using large saplings ans various lashing techniques to make "structures", like semaphore towers. (YES!!)"

The Boy Scouts here still do that, but they use poles cut in the 60's by their fathers and grandfathers. Only the twine is new.

I happily make large fires, even for lunch when it is snowy, in a few of my hiking areas, but it is on land scheduled for prescribed burns.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
fun read on 02/06/2013 11:00:51 MST Print View

hahha. that was an interesting read. i wonder how many of the anti-bushcraft posters are typing from a condo/townhouse that bulldozed pristine woodland 5/10 years ago, displacing and killing thousands of small mammals/birds. people really need to get a grip...

here's a cool documentary:

watch how quickly the earth erases any trace of our existence...

on the other hand. i do understand the responsibility of lnt.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Bushcrafting Gear!!! on 02/06/2013 11:40:55 MST Print View

I'm getting pretty darn old. I learned survival techniques as a young person. IMO, modern "Bushcraft" is like Pokemon - a fantasy experience shared among folks who never get out and actually enjoy the outdoors. So go ahead and trade your cards.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
Yes! on 02/06/2013 12:51:13 MST Print View

Zorg, you've got it...For most of us this is recreation, and in many ways we are "re-creating" the necessary-for-life skill sets of many historical explorers...

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
Well... on 02/06/2013 13:05:13 MST Print View

@ Nick Gatel: I can see how if one went through SERE school, what with the "don't EVER get into a survival situation" mentality, one might not be a big fan bushcraft-type stuff.

Unless you want to modify/clarify your statement, I'll have to ignore anything and everything you say about survival/bushcraft techniques, as to me you appear biased beyond your control. When you speak in such absolutes, I have not much choice otherwise

(Please, though, don't do anything on my account. Really. You really ought to just allow me to die, unfettered...)

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: fun read on 02/06/2013 13:21:48 MST Print View

I wonder how many bushcrafters live in similar homes and drive giant SUVs only to go and destroy the woods set aside to be left alone. If you want to go play caveman then you should stick to private land with permission of the landowner. Hacking down trees to build a temporary shelter is absurd.

I find modern bushcraft to be an excuse for people to play dress up and carry around large knives and guns and pretend they are far more hardcore than they actually are. I liken it to Preppers and the stupid bunker people. Zomg the zombies are coming.. give me a break.

You can learn emergency skills on private land or at your house. you don't need to pretend to be in an emergency situation as a matter of course. I find learning to avoid bad situations is much more helpful than planning on being in one. If you end up in a bad survival situation by all means throw out the rulebook and do what you need.. but you don't need to do that on a weekly basis for fun.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
dress up on 02/06/2013 13:31:27 MST Print View

one could say the same about most other intrawebbers ..

excuse to spend money on cool gear you rarely use, and thinking youre some thruhiker because you have a sub 10 lb pack ... when youre really having issues with an overnighter because you arent using the gear properly

or carry around a nice shinny new double rack of cams and yack about how the latest and greatest gear will allow you to send ... when in reality you are climbing that 5.6 that those old geezers didnt bother to protect

or ride around those shiny new carbon bikes bragging about how it will make you faster when reality you are 40 lbs overweight, dont try very hard ... and some 8 year old kid on a BMX is faster than you ...

i bet tons of BPLers live in homes and drive SUVs ;)

Edited by bearbreeder on 02/06/2013 13:32:05 MST.

Vince Contreras
(pillowthread) - F

Locale: like, in my head???
This IS Fun! on 02/06/2013 14:03:01 MST Print View

"Hacking down trees to build a temporary shelter is absurd."

Jake, when you state this, it sounds to me like "seeing the forest for the trees," something one should not be wont to do. The fact is, much of this country's forest could use some disturbance, and could benefit from ground fuel reduction.

(I live out of the back of my 1979 Toyota Hilux.)

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
I agree - on 02/06/2013 14:03:35 MST Print View

I agree –

Learning to avoid bad situations in the first place is probably the most valuable “survival” skill of all! Ain’t no doubt about that at all.

And of course your own back yard is the place to practice wilderness skills before you need them – Learning to set up your tent, learning tarp pitches, cooking a hot an nourishing meal outside in inclement weather, fire starting techniques, sleeping under the starts to check if your sleep system is warm enough, this can all be learned in the back yard – If you have one, anyway…

I practice on my own 40 acres, and on the timberlands that surround my home. Horrifyingly, much of this area gets clear cut now and then, leaving behind a terrible mess. It’s quite heart breaking to see a fine forest that I used to hike in completely destroyed. Last year an entire south facing mountainside near my cottage was largely clear cut. Now the soils will dry out from lack of cover, erosion will take t’s toll, and it is sad to think how long this exposed area will take to recover. Not again in my life time will I see those slopes covered with a healthy forest.

But these are private timberlands, and I guess folks need wood for houses to live in. No way around it, we humans have a terrible impact upon this planet.

I do what I can to reduce my impact. We live in a small straw bale cottage that my wife and I built with our own hands. It is made of trees cut from my land and grass bailed nearby, concrete processed less than 40 miles away, and well, steel roofing, glass windows and gypsum plaster hauled in from who-knows-where.

We raise much of our own food, and I don’t care what anyone says, hunting for meat has far less impact than feed lot beef. I even cast my own bullets from salvaged wheel weights…
We don’t have running water, and we use an outhouse. For a living I work with municipal water and waste water systems, and the impact of municipal waste water systems is truly horrifying.
No way I want to be a part of that. There isn’t a river in this country that isn’t used as an open sewer. I am an avid canoeist and I have seen the impact with my own eyes.

We are off grid, relying upon a small solar array for what little electricity we use, heat only with wood, and I drive a junker 1991 Ford Festiva that gets close to 50 miles per gallon. If one includes the carbon sequestered by my healthy 40 acres of timber land, we actually have a negative carbon footprint!

But yeah, I think nothing of taking my nephews into the forests and clear cuts, and camping, and these timber lands are an ideal area for teaching the next generation the various “wilderness skills”.
I find it interesting how Nick Gatel writes how he knows “all this stuff” yet will deny the next generation the chance to learn the same skills?

And why is it that folks automatically assume that “bushcrafting” involves the destruction of live trees in public parks and the like?
Maybe I live under to big a rock, and I do not hike in national parks, but I have seen very little evidence of “bushcrafting” on public lands.
I can think of only two debris huts I’ve come across over the years. Who cares if some kids play at piling up debris from the forest floor? It will not last long, and the kids had fun playing.

Of course, I often come across a real mess at public camp grounds….Half burned trash, huge chunks of partially burned logs, scarred trees, the list goes on and on.
This is why I teach my nephews, so they will know how to build a proper cook fire and will never leave behind piles of charred logs or try and burn green wood, and I’d tan their hides if they leave trash lying about!
But maybe the only real point of contention here is the use of the term “bushcraft”. It’s a fairly new term to me, and it seems to have real negative connotations with some folk?

Edited by Bawana on 02/06/2013 14:06:47 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
:O on 02/06/2013 15:07:30 MST Print View

^^^^^^^^ setting the bar