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 ).
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.
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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.