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Bushcrafting Gear!!!
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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: All up in there
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.

Kat ....
(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.

Mat D
(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.