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?

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?

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?

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.

survival-bandana

Inexpensive Quality Knives

You don’t have to spend a ton of money for a decent bushcraft or survival knife. Now I do agree in most cases that you get what you pay for but there are some exceptions to the rule. I own some expensive knives but this year I have mostly just carried my Mora companion, with attached fire kit, and an Esee Avispa folder. Both of which are fairly inexpensive, not overly heavy but are very well made knives. I also usually take a small hatchet for cutting up firewood so I’m not using my knife to baton wood (I just prefer to save my knives from this abuse if I can).

Mora makes great quality products that can take abuse but at an expense that you wont mind if you loose or damage it. I have added a fire kit to the outside of mine. The fire kit consists of a ferocerium rod, 1 piece of quik tinder (burns for 2 minutes) and is attacked with a 1 1/2″ ranger band. The Mora knife I carry is made of high carbon steel. This is a great quality for bushcraft or survival but also means the knife blade needs more care and cleaning. It is highly worth it in my mind.

The Esee Avispa is a great addition to the Mora. I carry a pocket knife on me daily because I find I use it and need it a lot. So it’s only natural for me to be carrying a folder. The blade on the Avispa is made of Aus-8 stainless steel. I like to have a stainless steel folding knife as a companion to any high carbon steel fixed blade I would be carrying because it saves me from pulling out my fixed blade knife every time I need to cut something and the stainless blade needs less care and upkeep than the high carbon steel blade needs. Also I like the fact that if I loose one knife I’ll still have one available to me instead of loosing my only knife and having nothing else to use.

These two knives together weigh less than one more expensive bushcraft or survival knife by themselves. For about $50-$70 you could have a great set up for your wilderness adventures. Before anyone complains, what about this knife or that knife, I know there are many great and expensive bushcraft and survival knives out there as well as better folders but these just happen to be what I’m carrying a lot these days and I think this is a great setup for those that can’t afford much or don’t want to spend a lot on one or two knives. These are fairly inexpensive knives but are better quality than their price portrays.

I hope this was helpful to some and an encouragement that you don’t need to spend a ton of money on gear to go out and enjoy the wilderness. Feel free to let me know what your favorite knife or knives are to carry on your wilderness adventures. As always get out there and enjoy the wilderness and maybe even relax and unwind a bit.

G. Fred Asbell Wool Pullover Review

I’ll be honest I was looking at buying the wool boreal pullover that many of you may have seen reviewed on many YouTube videos, but I just didn’t have the money available to spend on it. The boreal pullover looks really nice and looks well made with options that are not on the pullover I purchased but it costs a whole lot more as well. The boreal pullover was well outside my budget.

As I was searching the internet for wool clothing I came across this website, http://www.gfredasbell.com I looked at the site and all that is available and narrowed down my choice to a wool pullover in the Timber Ghost color. I really wanted a pullover in the blanket weight but I also liked the Timber Ghost color for everyday use so the color choice won. Note each color comes in different weight wool. The Timber Ghost color comes in extra heavy weight wool (25-28oz).

The Weight Guide:
Light Weight——————9 – 10oz.
Light/Medium Weight—–13 – 16oz.
Medium Weight————-17 – 20oz.
Heavy Weight—————-21 – 24oz.
Extra Heavy Weight——– 25 – 28oz.
Blanket Weight—————29 – 32oz.

Manufacturers Info:

Wool Pullovers

“There’s nothing like wool in the woods, it’s whisper quiet and interacts with daylight and shadows like a natural camo. Our pullover shirts are the base layer of our unique wool layering system. They’re generously cut to hang loose and help break up your silhouette. Hand warming pockets are standard. There’s a hood option for those who like the idea of a little extra protection and comfort. Our hoods are oversized to accommodate hats of all sizes. Try one of our Asbell wool pullover shirts today, they’re the natural choice.
Our Wool Pullovers are available in:
Medium, Large, XLarge, and XXLarge please select your size below. Also available with or without hood.”

zipper_timber_ghost    IMG_0336

I decided to get a pullover without a zipper because in my mind that’s a stress point on the wool, the zipper will inevitably have problems, and I didn’t want anything that could reflect light or make noise well hunting. I wanted a simple pullover with little chance of failure. After deciding what I wanted I purchased one in December as well as an Olive Drab bandana. I ordered the bandana so that I could use it around my neck since the pullover hood does not cinch closed. Everything on their website is handmade by them so expect to have a little wait time. I received my order as expected with the expected amount of wait time. No complaints.

First off I will say that these are very well made and are exactly what you expect you are purchasing. The bandana is much bigger than I was expecting, which is a good thing in my mind. The pullover is perfect for what it is. No frills, but functions very well. The pockets are generously sized and the hood works very well, well wearing a hat underneath it. I ordered a large but could have ordered a medium because they are oversized on purpose. The larger size grew on me because I can easily fit it over other clothing and it still hangs loosely. Also by having the larger size I can sleep comfortably in it well in the woods by pulling the sleeves down over my hands easily and the hood covers most of my face when I’m lying on my back or side without a hat on. The pullover really does function very well. I wore my pullover all winter as we had a colder than usual winter this year in New York. It made this winter much more bearable. If you know anything about wool you know that wind does blow right through it so you would need a wind breaker shell of some sort on cold windy days. I wore my wool pullover in conjunction with my light mountain hardware winter jacket. With these two coats and only a tee shirt underneath I would stand out in -15 – -30 degree temperatures with winds blowing over 30 mph and be toasty warm. It was amazing. Trying to do much physical activity and I would get to warm. Whenever it wasn’t windy I would just wear the pullover.

This wool pullover was in my budget and functions very well. The only few things I would have liked that the much more expensive boreal shirt has is the neck gusset, a cinch cord for the hood and a cinch cord for the waist. Those things would be nice but I can live without them with the difference in price. This is a great wool pullover that should last you a very long time, and if well taken care of, you could pass on to the next generation. If you’re looking for a wool pullover or jacket I recommend checking out G. Fred Asbell’s website before you make any purchases. I am really glad I found this site and purchased the pullover I did. It works very well for spring, fall, winter, hunting, camping and any other outdoor activity where you want to stay toasty warm. As a plus, wool pullovers won’t burn and melt like synthetic materials will. As always get out and enjoy nature and maybe do it well being a little warmer.

Disclaimer: I did not receive anything from G. Fred Asbell or anybody involved with his site to do this review. I paid full price for what I received. I did this review because I really like the products I received and think others would as well.

Start Them Young

I have four boys between the ages of 22months and 10. They all love the outdoors. I take the older two hunting with me during early hunting season when it’s a bit warmer. They love to hike and my 10 year old absolutely loves kayaking. They can’t get enough of hiking in the wilderness. This year I started a new tradition where I’m going to be taking each one of my older three boys on their own three day weekend adventure. I plan on doing this every year from now on. They can’t wait. This way we can get some one on one time (hopefully get them more comfortable talking to me and prepare them for their teen years) and I can also tailor each trip to each of my sons’ abilities and likes.

This month I will be taking my older son. We are going to kayak out to an island where we will camp for three days. We will do a lot of fishing. He is a natural when it comes to fishing. He had all kinds of trouble trying to fish with those cheap kids combos so one day I gave him one of my fishing poles and off he went. He could cast it farther than a lot of adults and he’s caught some nice size fish all on his own. The area where we are staying is surrounded by over 2500 acres of state forest which is full of trails and streams. So we will be spending a bit of our time hiking as well. I don’t know who’s more excited him or me.

All of my kids love being outside but my 22 month old can’t get enough. All winter he would just trudge through the snow and didn’t care how much effort it took or even how cold it was. Now that it is nice outside he doesn’t want to be anywhere but outside. He loves to help feed and water the chickens. It amazes me how much he can actually do all on his own! On Mother’s Day after we had dinner the kids and I were out walking around our property. We have a section of our property that has a steep hill in the woods that is mostly loose dirt and tree roots. He was climbing up and down the hill without any help and never fell once. None of our kids could do that so early! This kid has amazing balance. I wish I had a picture of this hill so that you could see it.

I say all this to encourage people to get their kids out hiking and enjoying outdoor activities as early as possible and to do it as a family. I had my older son sitting in my lap well kayaking before he could even walk (he had a life jacket on and I had a long daisy chain hooked from the top of my lifejacket to the bottom of his). He loved it. Children are much more capable than we think. You’ll never regret the time spent outside with your kids but you’ll always regret the time wasted on TV and video games. They will always cherish those memories as well. I still remember all the camping and fishing trips I took as a kid. Those are the memories I cherish most. Below are some pictures of us hiking on a well worn trail system on Memorial Day. What activities does your family like to do outside together? Do your kids like being outdoors? If your family is not use to hiking or being outdoors regularly, start small. A simple hike down a short trial will do wonders. Don’t try to start out with more than you or they can handle. Start small and enjoy working your way up to more difficult hikes, camping trips or backpacking trips. Enjoy the process together. You’ll also get to see some breathtaking views along the way.

Just an FYI, we have each of the older three kids carry their own hydration bag. This works out very well. They can easily carry their own water, snacks and lunch. We tried having them just carry containers with water in them but not too long down the trail they would get tired of carrying the containers so we found that this works our well for us. Also, with boys you will need snacks. Don’t venture out without some. If they are not eating they are thinking about eating! Our boys eat more than my wife and I do. Anyway, enjoy the time spent outdoors with your kids and don’t underestimate their abilities.

 

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