Don’t Be Afraid To Try something New

It amazes me how many people are not willing, are afraid, to learn or try something new. Whether it be learning a new skill, learning how to make something or just plain learning. I guess for me it just comes naturally. I’m self-motivated to learn new skills. If I want to know how to do something, I’m going to learn how to do it if it means reading books, scouring the internet and or watching tons of YouTube videos. I can’t imagine letting the fear of not knowing how to do something or the fear of failure stop me from learning a new skill that I desire to know.

In most cases failure in something is not going to hurt you or anyone else. We all have failures during our learning process. Through those failures we can learn and become better. Never let the fear of failure stop you. I contest that you never truly learn a new skill without some failures along the way.

Whether it be a new business venture, life skills, outdoor (survival, bushcraft) skills, learning how to make handmade items, wood work, music, art or anything else, don’t let the fear of failure or the fear of not knowing how to do it, stop you. Try something new today. Learn and don’t be held back by fear. Enjoy the whole process and journey as you learn new skills and gain knowledge.

What is something you’d like to learn how to do or a skill you’d like to learn? What is holding you back? My goal for 2019 is to become more proficient at leather making and crafting tools out of 1095 and O1 tool steel. Leave a comment with one thing you want to learn more about or a new skill you want to learn over the coarse of 2019.

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Fire Kit

 

Pictured are some basic fire kits I made for my older three boys, Father and brother for Christmas. I wanted to make the kit compact but encompass more than most kits do. I put everything in a metal tin (similar to an altoids tin) and included a fero rod, 6 ft of jute twine, a piece of chert and a steel striker I designed, made and heat treated.

I used 1095 steel to make the striker. I drilled an indent in each striker so that they can be used as a baring block for the bow drill, primitive friction fire starting technique. I made all the edges 90 degrees so that the edges can be used to scrape wood for fine shavings or be used to scrape a fero rod.

The tin can be used to make char cloth. They have room to add char cloth as well as add some quik tinder or other modern tinder for fire starting. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to sit down and teach them all how to start a flint and steel fire. I did teach my older son, who was excited when his first try was a success. I’m sure they’ll be addicted to starting a fire in the wilderness this way, just as I am. Flint and steel is by far my favorite way to get a fire going. What’s your favorite fire-starting method? Have you ever used flint and steel or any primitive friction methods? I added some pictures of me heat treating the steel strikers in my simple forge.

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Sometimes Cheap Is Better

During hunting season here in New York, it can be a challenge to keep your fingers warm. Especially since you don’t want thick gloves or mittens on that will infringe on being able to pull the trigger. I own many pairs of gloves, mittens and glove/mitten combos but nothing worked very well for me. As of late I was wearing a lightweight pair of gloves (pair I ware for bow season) with cheap wool liner gloves over top with the fingers cut off. This setup worked fairly well until the temps dipped down into the teens and single digits (Fahrenheit) this season. My fingers and hands were not happy. My brother and I happened to stop at Herb Philipson’s (local sporting goods store) and saw a huge display of fleece lined rag wool glove/mittens. I tried a pair on and thought to myself this might be what we need to keep our hands warm. The best part………they were only $9.99! You can’t beat that for a glove that ended up keeping our hands happy the rest of the season!

With the fleece lining it makes the gloves a little thicker and warmer but with no fingers it allowed for easy trigger pulling and with the availability of the mitten cover being pulled over the fingers made for an ideal glove in my opinion. For really cold mornings we threw hot hands (chemical hand warmers) in the mitten part and when the mitten was pulled over, the warmer would be sitting on top of our fingers keeping them warm without interfering with being able to pull the trigger.

On the last day of hunting season, we stayed out through hours of freezing rain and sleet. Even though our wool gloves were soaked, they kept our hands warm. I can attest to wool keeping you warm even when wet/soaked. Needles to say we were happy campers with our recent purchase. I found that I could pull the trigger even with the mitten part over my fingers. Another nice feature is that the wrist part of the gloves is extra-long, so they easily roll over or under the sleeve of a jacket and stay put because of the extra length. No gaps for wind and cold to get into.

All in all, we are very happy with our inexpensive purchase that replaced many more expensive pairs of gloves that just didn’t cut it in cold weather. I can’t believe I’ve never come across a pair of these gloves until now. What gloves or mittens have you found that work great for cold weather well hunting? What cold weather clothing is a must for you? Thanks for reading and I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

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Testing Winter Gear

Over Thanksgiving the nighttime temps were supposed to be in the single digits here in NY, so even though I was visiting family I still wanted to test some of my winter gear. I didn’t get my 0-degree rated over quilt from Hammock Gear until spring, so I was never really able to give it a good test. I figured this would be the perfect time. All Temps listed in this article are in Fahrenheit.

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Everyone else thought I was nuts wanting to sleep outside in those temps but all I could think about was testing some of my gear and honestly, I love how quiet and peaceful it is outside during the colder months.

So, I setup my DD Hammocks Superlight tarp. I placed my UST heavy duty reusable emergency blanket on the ground as my ground cloth.  I placed a foam pad down and then placed my Klymit insulated static V on top of that. I knew with that combination I shouldn’t feel any cold from the ground down to at least -10 or so.  I laid my 0 degree over quilt out and ran the sleeping pad shock cords around the sleeping pads so that the over quilt would stay put on top of the pads. It’s a nice handy feature for ground camping with an over quilt. I laid may Pathfinder wool blanket over everything just to keep everything safe and dry during the day. I wanted the wool blanket just in case the over quilt didn’t keep me warm.

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The first night went well. It only got down to 11 degrees overnight. I stayed warm all night. The only issue I had was that in the middle of the night the wind changed from blowing on the sides and back of the tarp to blowing right through the door opening. Since I had the wool blanket, I just threw it over top of everything to keep the wind from blowing in any holes between the sleeping pads and over quilt. The wool blanket did the trick. After waking up and remedying the wind issue I slept soundly the rest of the night. Since the temps never reached very low, I really didn’t view this night as much of a test.

The next night got down to 4 degrees overnight and I stayed toasty warm all night long. I even slept in until around 9:30 am so I’d say that was a success. Based on how warm I stayed I’m confident that this setup can get me down to at least -10 to -20. I think I can most likely get away with just the Klymit sleeping pad down to 0 degrees. I think the two pads together was overkill but who doesn’t like extra padding when ground camping?!

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I’m looking forward to doing some more testing and fine tuning of my winter gear. Eventually I’m hoping to get up into the Adirondacks for some winter camping this coming winter. One thing I didn’t like about my setup was the tarp configuration. It looks neat and all but it’s a pain getting in and out off, not roomy at all and since it’s so tight inside, condensation that builds up overnight is constantly getting on clothing and bedding because its impossible to move around without touching the tarp. I’m just not a fan of this tarp configuration. I’d go with something a little roomier so that I’m able to move around with ease without worry of touching the tarp “walls”. This is in no way a reflection on the tarp. I like this tarp a lot.

What does your winter kit look like? What pieces of winter gear are a must have for you? What winter gear are you testing for the first time this winter? What are the lowest temps you’ve camped in so far? Thanks for reading and please let me know what your thoughts are on winter camping or if you have any great winter camping stories to share. Be safe out there and enjoy each changing season.

Tarp Shelter

The tarp I used for this shelter was a Warbonnet Superfly Tarp with the tent pole mod. I originally bought the tarp to use with my hammock because it has “doors” which help block wind and rain out. Plus, with the tent pole mod it gives me extra head room. I’ve used it plenty of times with my hammock, and love it for that use, but this was the first time on the ground. I decided to use it on the ground instead of one of my other tarps because of the doors to block the wind out and because it would be roomier for two people with the tent pole mod. This tarp worked out great as a ground shelter. We dealt with high winds that constantly changed direction and the tarp held up great and kept the wind out with the help of the “doors”.

This tarp in conjunction with UST’s heavy-duty emergency blanket as a ground cloth are a great combination for a winning ground shelter or tarp shelter. If you are on the fence about getting one of these tarps it is well worth the money in my humble opinion. I love this tarp for hammocking and now for ground dwelling as well. I will most definitely be using this for a ground shelter again in the future. What’s your favorite tarp or tarp shelter and why? Thanks for reading and remember to get out and enjoy some wilderness time.

 

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Automobile Winter Emergency Kit

With colder weather and snow rolling in, it’s time to get your vehicle setup with an emergency kit in case of a breakdown or accident. Accidents and breakdowns never happen at a convenient time. Worse yet is to be stuck during a bad winter storm when there’s accidents happening all over and it’s hard for emergency vehicles to get around and they’re overwhelmed. During those times you’ll have no choice but to take care of yourself or loved ones until help arrives. So, now’s the time to prepare an emergency kit and get it in your vehicle.

Here’s some ideas of things you may want to put in your emergency kit.

  • Wool Blanket or Winter Sleeping Bag
  • Headlamp with extra batteries
  • Emergency Candle (2 or 3)
  • Lighter
  • Folding Knife with Glass breaker
  • Protein Bars or any type of snack bar
  • Fill up a bottle of water and put it in the car every time you go somewhere. You can’t leave a bottle of water in the car all winter because it will constantly freeze and thaw eventually breaking the bottle. (At least where I live anyways)
  • 2-3 Flares
  • Jumper Cables
  • Book and or Card Game
  • Warm Clothing and Boots (For those that by virtue of their job, don’t get to dress warm)

 

Get in the habit of plugging your phone into the charger as soon as you get into your vehicle. Try to keep your phone charged up when traveling. The last thing anyone wants is a dead phone when you need to make an emergency call.

If you do find yourself in an accident (where no one is seriously hurt) or broken down, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you are prepared in case of a long wait for emergency crews. Remember, for your own safety, to stay put inside your vehicle well waiting for help. What extra things do you carry in your automobile winter emergency kit? Thanks for reading and be safe out there this winter.

Update On My G. Fred Asbell Wool Pullover

 

Three and a half years ago I did a review on my wool pullover from G. Fred Asbell and I figured it was about time to do an update on that review. Especially since the original review is my most read blog post to date. People are reading that original review daily even after three and a half years.

So, what do I think after three and a half years of hunting and camping in the original wool pullover I purchased? Well, simply put, I love it. First off, you wouldn’t even know it has been used that much. Mine has held up nicely and has become one of my favorite pieces of cold weather clothing. I liked my wool pullover so much that I bought one of their Pathfinder pullovers, got my wife one of their wool jackets (which she loves) and my oldest son ordered one of the Pathfinder pullovers because he liked mine so much.

My wife wore her wool jacket all last winter and loved how warm it kept her. It’s nice to know that I have good quality cold weather clothing that I can rely on living here in central New York during the colder months. I end up wearing my original wool pullover most of the winter when outdoors.

One of the best things about G. Fred Asbell wool clothing is the price point. You’re not spending an arm and a leg to get quality wool clothing. This is wool that the common man (or woman) can afford without breaking the bank. It’s sort of like a Mora knife. You’re getting an awesome product that’s worth way more than you paid for it and you can’t figure out how they do it for that price. Yes, there are a few extra things the higher end wool pullovers have that these don’t but to me the extra cost wasn’t worth it. Maybe if I had money to spend/waste, but a lot of us don’t have the extra to spend.

In the end, after three and a half years of use, I’m glad for every purchase I’ve made from www.AsbellWool.com  Disclaimer, I’ve bought and paid full price for everything I’ve received from G. Fred Asbell. They have never sent me anything for free and are unaware, to my knowledge, of my reviews. These are my experiences with the wool products I’ve owned from G. Fred Asbell and nobody else’s. If you own any of their wool what are your thoughts? Do you like it and why? If you don’t like it, why?

Reasons To Buy

  • Price Point
  • Quality
  • Built To Last
  • Supporting Local Mom and Pop Businesses
  • Tired of garbage outdoor clothing falling apart

If you’re on the fence about buying one of their wool pullovers, I’d recommend jumping over the fence and making the purchase. You won’t regret it, in my humble opinion. Thanks for reading and now I’m going to throw on my wool pullover and head out into the cold outdoors with snow covered ground knowing I’ll be toasty warm on my adventure.

 

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