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Quick Tip #18

Take whatever knife you regularly carry in the wilderness and check the spine on it. If it is rounded over or doesn’t have a good 90 degree edge on it, modify it. Of course this is only if you are willing to make adjustments to your knife. Well wearing proper eye and hand protection you can either use a file, belt sander or grinder to put I nice 90 degree angle on the spine of your knife. With the adjustment to your knife done, you’ll now be able to use a ferocerium rod more efficiently and you can now use the spine of your knife to make fuss by running the spine of your modified knife down certain types of wood. The fuss will just make it that much easier to start a fire. Hope this was informational and someone finds this helpful. Thanks for reading! What modifications have you made to your knife and why?

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The Science and Art of Tracking by Tom Brown Jr.

I’m reading through Tom Brown Jr.’s book “The Science and Art of Tracking” again. If you are not familiar with this book or with Tom I highly recommend this book as well as many of his other books. This book is about so much more than just tracking. This book is great for anybody that spends time in the wilderness. It will even help you become more aware of your surroundings in everyday life. It is more about being aware of your surroundings and the impact or signs left behind by humans, animals or even the elements. It’s a change in mindset. You become more aware of the story of what happened prior to you entering the current place you find yourself standing in. You learn that there is so much more to the story of that animal track you found. Was that fox running frantically to get away from something? Was it wounded? Was it hunting? Was it strolling through the woods without a care? Was it female or male? You get the point. There’s more that can be gleaned from a track than most people will ever see if they even notice the track at all.

 
Why is that limb on the tree broken? Why are there no limbs on one side of this tree? How was this hill formed? Is this path man maid (cut in) or worn in? How did that trash end up there? There are clues to the answers if you look close enough and learn to observe all that goes on around you. Watch the people around you as they go about life. Be aware of how a man might affect the environment differently than how a woman does. Children will have a different affect as well. Now notice how someone stronger affects things differently than someone weaker. It all tells a story. By noticing these things in everyday life you’ll begin to notice things in the wilderness you never noticed before. You’ll notice where that fox bedded down last night, that deer that was chased through the woods by a pack of coyotes, the squirrel that was sitting on the tree branch through the rain and how that tin can ended up on the side of the trail.

 
There is so much more to see in the wilderness than to just “suffer” the trail to get to some gorgeous view. Take the time to really enjoy the time you spend in the wild whether it is to hunt, backpack, hike, camp or for whatever other reason you may find yourself in the wilderness. There is so much more to see and there’s a story there waiting to be reed. Do you or have you ever taken the time to really read your environment? Have you taken the time to learn how to track? If you’ve read this book, what are your thoughts about it?

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Quick Tip #17

Here are some simple stocking stuffer ideas for the camper, bushcrafter or outdoor enthusiast in your life.

 

Ferocerium Rod (fire starter)
Magnesium block (fire starter)
UCO stormproof matches or any matches you can find
Bandana or Survival Bandana (Survival Tips printed on it)
Cordage (550 or 850 paracord, 1000# Paramax, bank line or even Jute twine which can also be used as tinder for starting fires.
Small lengths of fat wood
Compass
Pocket knife or Hobo Pocket Knife
Emergency Fishing Kit
Pocket Chainsaw
Emergency Whistle
Carabiners
Emergency Blanket
Emergency Candles
Books (Survival, Tracking, Weather Patterns, Edible Plants, Shelter Building etc…)
Trail Maps
Pre-packaged Camp food or snacks (Jerky, Mountain House, Backpacker Pantry ect…)
Mora Knife
Flashlight or headlamp
Duct Tape
Small Pocket or small camp stove
Emergency Rain Poncho
Emergency light sticks
Hand and feet warmers
Water Filter

 

These are just a few ideas for those that are not sure what to throw in their outdoor enthusiasts Christmas stocking. There are plenty of other small useful things that will fit in a Christmas stocking but if you are not sure what to fill that stocking with feel free to use this list to help you out. What outdoor themed things are you putting in a Christmas stocking this year that may not be on this list?

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Quick Tip #16

For us outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen colder weather brings more gear to be carried and extra challenges that we gladly face. One thing that is made easier with the colder weather is food preservation. With colder temperatures you can now carry raw meat (properly packaged), cooked meat as well as other foods you would not normally carry during the warmer months. So have fun with the colder weather and carry a nice steak out into the middle of nowhere, with a beautiful view, and cook that steak and fully enjoy some of the benefits of the colder temperatures this time of year. What foods do you take out during the colder months that you wouldn’t normally carry when it’s warmer?

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Winter Car Kit

With colder weather gripping many of us this is a good time to take a look at putting together a few things to keep in your vehicle, if you haven’t already, in case of a vehicle break down or you get stuck on impassable roads. This is especially important for areas that get bitter temps and lots of snow. These items could be lifesaving or at the very least make you more comfortable well you wait for help to arrive. What each person chooses to carry in their vehicle will depend on the location they live and travel in as well as their needs. This is just a base list to work from and please cater it to your own needs and environment. This list will assume that you already have some sort of road hazard kit.

 

Basic Vehicle Kit

Sleeping Bag or wool blanket: Because I already own a -15 degree sleeping bag, instead of taking up storage space somewhere in the house, I store it in my truck in case of a breakdown. This way if it’s really cold out and I know I’m going to be stuck for a while, or even overnight, I can just slide into my sleeping bag and stay much more comfortable and warmer than if I only had a blanket or lite sleeping bag. In warmer areas a blanket or lite sleeping bag will work fine but for the area where I live I need a heavier sleeping bag.

Flash Light with fresh batteries: Preferably you would want a headlamp so your hands would be free to do other things. Having some sort of light is too valuable not to keep a working light in your vehicle. Make sure whatever light you use, works and has fresh batteries. You may want to even pack some spare batteries as well.

Food and Water: A simple bag of jerky, trail mix, dried fruit or anything you can come up with will work. If you get stuck somewhere overnight or longer you will be thankful you have some food and a couple bottles of water available.
A Book or deck of cards: These will add in keeping you from becoming bored or mentally breaking down. Being able to have something to do well waiting for help, will help keep your spirits up and you’ll be less likely to become overwhelmed by your situation.

 

Extra Items

*These are things that you don’t necessarily need, but they will make an overnight or longer breakdown “easier” to survive.

Weather radio: You’ll be aware of the weather and what’s going on as well as not necessarily feeling alone.Emergency blanket: This will help reflect heat. This is on top of having a sleeping bag or blanket.
Hand and Feet warmers
Knife with possible added fire kit
Some sort of cordage
Emergency candle
Extra medication

 

This is just a simple list to give you some ideas of what to keep in your vehicle during the colder winter months. Again please adjust it to your own needs and environment. Just by having a basic kit (sleeping bag, light, food and water) it will drastically improve your spirits and comfort. One thing I recommend doing, and you might already do this, is to plug your cell phone into its charger every time you get into your car to head somewhere during the winter. This way, if for some reason you break down, whether you are way out in the middle of nowhere, or on a busy street somewhere, you won’t be pulling your cell phone out to call for help and find that it’s dead or low on battery power. I hope this helps in some way, or it at least gives you some ideas of what to place in your car kit during these cold winter months. I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable winter. Please feel free to share what you keep in your car kit and why. Thanks for reading!

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Quick Tip #15

Home Depot, as well as some other stores, sells bags of Fat Wood in their fireplace sections during this time of year. Grab a large bag for around $5-$6. You can add a few pieces to your fire kits or emergency bag for quick access to some good quality dry tinder. You can even add a small bundle to any outdoor enthusiasts stocking and I’m sure they will thank you. When you’re ready to use it just shave it down and add a flame or spark from a ferocerium rod. So pick some up and give it a try!

 

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UST Orange Survival Bandana

I’m not one for promoting deals I’m running on my website here on my blog but I thought the current deal was worth mentioning. Now through December, with every purchase of $25 or more, you will receive a UST orange survival bandana. These are no ordinary bandanas. Printed on them are many survival tips that can be very useful in the event of a survival situation. These would be great for kids or adults that are lacking in survival/camping knowledge. There’s the obvious many extremely useful ways to use a bandana but now you would also have many survival tips that you wouldn’t necessarily have to remember or have to call back to memory in a survival scenario. This is just a great way to take something you may already be carrying and make it even more useful. Also, all orders in the continental U.S. will receive free standard shipping through December. Just click on the store button and place an order of $25 or over to receive your free bandana and free standard shipping. Hope everyone is doing well and getting the chance to enjoy the great outdoors.

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