Waxing Gear

A simple more traditional way to waterproof your clothing or gear is to use Greenland wax. I own a couple pairs of Fjallraven Vidda pro trousers and one of their granite wool flannel shirts. When I ordered my first pair of Fjallraven pants I also ordered some of their Greenland wax.

It was time to wax/waterproof my pants and the shoulders on my granite shirt so I grabbed the wax and my heat gun. Putting the wax on is simple. All you have to do is rub the wax on whatever you’re treating like you’re coloring in a coloring book.

Once each garment was completely covered in wax, I grabbed my heat gun. I set the heat gun on the lowest setting and took care to constantly keep the heat gun moving so not to burn the garment.

There’s something very satisfying about watching the wax melt into each garment and disappear. It didn’t take me much time at all to treat my two pairs of pants and flannel. Since I had the wax out, I decided to wax my Hidden Woodsmen Deepwoods Ruck. It turned out pretty good. We’ll see how well it worked this weekend well I’m out.

Do you wax any of your gear? What type of wax do you use? Let me know what you think in the comments section down below. Have a wonderful day and get out into the wild places and use that gear you’ve bought.

Natural Tinder (Mushroom)

Well out for a walk with my family, I came across a standing dead tree that had mushrooms all over it. Whenever I’m walking around, I’m constantly on the look out for great natural tinder sources to test with my flint and steel kit or with a fero rod.

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I noticed that all the mushrooms were dead and dried up, so I grabbed a couple to see if I could get an ember going using my flint and steel.

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Sure, enough after a few strikes, the broken piece of mushroom took a spark and I was able to blow it into a nice ember that would burn for a long time. Since the mushrooms worked so well, I went back and filled a brown paper bag full of them so that I could test them some more as well as have my kids try them out as well.

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Mushrooms are not something I know much about, so I’m still trying to find out what kind they are. I’m thinking they’re some kind of polypore. I’ve shown them to others online that know way more about mushrooms than I do but they’re unsure as well. Since they’re dead and dried up, it makes it harder to ID them. As soon as I have the ID, I’ll post a comment on this post stating what they are.

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What natural tinder sources do you use with your fire kit? Have you ever tried flint and steel or a fero rod? I love challenging myself and furthering my skills and I hope you all do as well. If you’ve never tried starting a fire with flint and steel or a fero rod I urge you to give it a try. You won’t regret it. Learning can be fun and empowering. My challenge to you is, learn a new way to start a fire this week, month or year. Thanks for reading and leave a comment sharing what new fire starting skill you’re going to challenge yourself to learn.

Quick Tip #21

So, you made it to where you want to camp for the night, and you’re all setup, then you realize it’s going to be dark soon and you start scrambling around to gather natural tinder and wood to get a fire going. Does this sound like your normal routine? It used to be mine years ago until I started carrying a tinder pouch on my belt. Now as I hike along, I gather natural tinder, birch bark, small twigs and anything else I might be able to use to make a “birds nest” and get a fire going. I also grab a few pieces of wood (sticks) that are slightly thicker than my thumb and break them short enough to fit in the pouch. I use these for making feather sticks.

Carrying a tinder pouch and filling it as you hike makes for a less stressful time later trying to get a fire going and it means you’ll most likely have better quality material to work with. Some advantages to carrying a tinder pouch are that everything you put in the pouch gets mixed together and ground together as you hike and if anything is damp it will help dry it out by the time you get to camp. Also, if it starts raining along the way or by the time you get to camp or before you get a fire going, you’ll have a bag full of quality dry tinder to work with instead of trying to scrounge around in the rain.

I highly recommend training yourself to grab natural tinder as you hike, whether you put it in your pocket, pack or designated tinder pouch, you’ll thank me later when you have a much easier and relaxed time starting a nice warm cozy fire. Do you already carry a designated tinder pouch? If so, what natural things do you grab to fill your pouch? Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment with your answers to the previous questions.

Homemade Pulk Sled

I’ve wanted to make a pulk sled for winter camping for a while now, so I decided making a pulk sled was next on my list of D.I.Y. projects. I was excited to find that my local Runnings store was running a sale on Jet Sled Jr’s so I grabbed two of them. I figured I’d make two sleds so that either, one of my sons could use one or my brother. I crafted brackets out of some steel stock I grabbed from the hardware store. After shaping the brackets and painting them, I mounted them on the front of the sled with stainless steel bolts and fasteners.

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I added a fin, made from aluminum angle stock, on the rear bottom of the sled. I used galvanized fasteners to attach the fin. This helps with tracking in the snow especially when in hilly areas.

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I used plastic electrical conduit for the poles that connect to the sled and a leather belt for pulling. I used two pieces of conduit because I wanted six foot poles. If I were to make the poles five feet instead of six feet I would have only needed one conduit. On one end of each pole I epoxied a tie rod end and the other end epoxied an eye bolt. Prior to adding epoxy, I heated up the conduit so that I could push the nut for the eye bolt and the nut for the tie rod end in, to make a more secure attachment. The tie rod end connects to the bracket on the sled using a locking pin.

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The eye bolt on the other end of the poles connects to clevis pins which I mounted on either side of a leather belt I made. I put a washer on both sides of the belt before installing the clevis pin and then added a heavy bushing which fit perfectly inside the eye bolt and over the clevis pin. Lastly, I added a hitch pin to keep the eye bolt in place but to also make it easily removable once at camp.

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All in all, I think this project went well and the pulk sleds turned out great. I can’t wait to get out and test my new pulk sled. This should make snowshoeing a bit easier without the extra weight from the pack on my back pushing down on the snowshoes. Do you winter camp or snowshoe? Have you ever used or thought about using a pulk sled for winter camping? Let me know in the comments section if you liked this D.I.Y. project and if you’d like to see more.

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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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