Cross-Country Travel

Cross-Country Travel

by Kevin Estela January 27, 2021

In January of 2021, I embarked on a cross country trip from Connecticut to Utah where I would start a new career with the company Fieldcraft Survival. This marked an incredible life change where I not only left my comfortable teaching career of 14 years in a public high school, but also the townhouse I called home for 7.5 years. It’s one thing to keep your job and switch homes and another thing to keep your home and switch jobs. Switching both places where you live and work is absolutely something that takes careful planning and consideration. My move required transporting most of the contents of my house 2500 miles and some of those contents I would not trust to moving companies. It also meant not getting arrested with more than a couple firearms and plenty of ammo in tow. While it was stressful, the move didn’t break me. Like all moments with pressure and stress in life, this change would definitely make me stronger if it didn’t make me crack in the process.

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The Contingent Mind

The Contingent Mind

by Brian Griffin January 13, 2021 4 Comments

Back in November I wrote an article on a small pocket contingency kit. A little something extra to augment the usual items we carry. Our daily carry gear are actually our first line of contingency mitigation, even if we've carried them so long we've quit seeing that aspect of our edc. Because the whole point is be prepared to tackle our day to day life, and whatever comes with it. To be able to overcome any mundane obstacles we might encounter on any Tuesday morning's commute to work, Saturday trip to the zoo with the kiddos, or a Sunday outing with our congregation after church.

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BuT tHiS kNiFE iS BeTteR!

BuT tHiS kNiFE iS BeTteR!

by Kevin Estela December 16, 2020 1 Comment

A couple decades ago, discussion forums were THE place for folks in the knife community to share ideas, argue, and discuss blades. Remember those days? Remember having to use photo sharing services that required uploading photos from a digital camera, copying a link, and posting it to a thread? Remember the days of dial-up connections and large files that took forever to download and appear on your screen? Those were the days when only the professional photographers had cameras capable of producing photos that looked print-magazine worthy. The internet has changed dramatically over the years and today modern cell-phone cameras rival professional DSLR counterparts. Today, anyone can produce a quality photo with the right light, contrast, and vignette settings. Today, filters make everyone an Instagram star and everyone feels entitled to opine when an idea is presented that runs counter to theirs. This month’s Fiddleback Forge blog is all about those wonderful engagements with “experts” who have to put in their .02 cents worth. I thought it would be fun to look at common arguments made and explain the logic or lack thereof. If you’ve ever had someone start a “flame war”, “pissing match”, or “D*#k-measuring” competition, please keep reading. You may get a laugh out of this one.

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Antifreeze

Antifreeze

by Brian Griffin December 02, 2020 4 Comments

I'm going to preface this piece by saying some methods of preventing cold weather injuries and surviving subfreezing temperatures can be hazardous to ones health if proper precautions for the specific methods aren't taken. However cold weather, and cold weather injuries, can be just as deadly. Neither should be taken lightly or approached in a cavalier manner. Having experienced both hypothermia and frostbite myself, and having seen up close people who had died of hypothermia, this is something I can attest to personally.

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An Epic Northeast “Surf and Turf” Week

An Epic Northeast “Surf and Turf” Week

by Kevin Estela November 18, 2020 1 Comment

The term “surf and turf” usually relates to a dinner entree consisting of one protein from the land and one from the sea. Most of the time, this means steak and lobster or some form of red meat and shellfish or crustacean. If you’re looking to dine out on the frugal side, this menu item is usually on the other far side of the menu. I’m going to take some liberty with the term “surf and turf” and extend “surf” to the rivers and tributaries of the great lakes for the purpose of this monthly blog. I’m writing this and I get to set the rules. Trust me, this story is going to be worth bending the terms. You see, I’ve just had an epic week of hunting and fishing so this article for Fiddleback Forge was certainly going to include the amazing bow hunting experience in Kent, Connecticut and catching monster fish in Albion, New York. Granted, the cost of the gear and travel to get these menu items is far from frugal but the taste is priceless.  

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A Pocket Contingency Kit

A Pocket Contingency Kit

by Brian Griffin November 11, 2020 4 Comments

I've received requests for more information on the small pocket emergency kit that appears in my articles now and then. Some want to know more about it; how it developed and what it contains, so I thought I'd dedicate this article to it. 

My work takes me to some interesting areas, especially lately. Some  are more questionable than others, and it's usually late night or early morning prior to sunrise. To avoid disruptions and distractions I try to not draw attention. I try to just blend in with the environment, go gray so to speak and be uninteresting, but be prepared for mishaps knowing some could be life or death depending on environment and/or season. So these little kits have developed to contain a variety of contingency items, chosen based on their likelihood of use at the time and place, and still discretely disappear into a pouch or cargo pocket until needed.

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The Ones We Love

The Ones We Love

by Brian Griffin October 28, 2020 2 Comments

There's an old adage in the outdoor community which says the best survival knife will be the one we have on us. There is a lot of truth in this statement, I dare say the best knife for the majority of our cutting chores all through our lives will be the ones we have with us. Because they're the ones we've spent time becoming familiar with, and are the ones we know most intimately.  Access and deployment are well rehearsed from use, so it happens intuitively and smoothly. Indexing is immediate even in pitch black darkness, and we know all their little quirks and characteristics. Thus using them effectively comes with very little thought, if any. So they're not the best ones simply because they're in our possession, which obviously will be extremely helpful in any case, more importantly they're the best ones because we've had them.

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Journal of The Mind's Eye

Journal of The Mind's Eye

by Brian Griffin October 14, 2020

In early 1979 I was 13, and very fortunate to be given one of my most valuable life lessons by my Shop teacher Mr. Clark at North Dallas Junior High. He was explaining an important step when my pen ran out of ink, so I was hurriedly looking through my pack for another. The commotion caught his attention so he stopped his presentation to ask what I was doing. I explained that my pen had died, and I needed another because he was at an important point. He laughed and said yes it's very important, which is why I stopped to see what was going on. 

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Lanyards, Fobs, Pull Things, and Dangle Bobbers

Lanyards, Fobs, Pull Things, and Dangle Bobbers

by Kevin Estela October 07, 2020 3 Comments

Fiddleback Forge Knives are some of the most recognizable blades around. From the unique finish on the flats of the blades, to the perfect lines of the handles, to the distinctive “bullseye” lanyard hole, you can’t miss them. It makes sense those who prefer an attractive knife would like to carry it in an equally appealing sheath and since the coordination doesn’t end there, a proper lanyard is likely to thread that bullseye lanyard hole to finish off the knife. Lanyards, fobs, pull things, and dangle bobbers are sometimes more function than form when they should be the other way around. The form of your lanyard (I don’t need to call them “dangle bobbers” again do I?) should follow the function. Just like Fiddleback Forge knives that perform and look good, your lanyard doesn’t have to be just a simple knot anyone can tie. This month’s blog pays close attention to an overlooked accessory, the lanyard. Here are a few considerations for your reading pleasure.

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Disaster Prep

Disaster Prep

by Kevin Estela September 23, 2020 1 Comment

Unless you’ve been half asleep, you probably have noticed 2020 is a year for the books. COVID 19, double...correction, quintuplet hurricanes, murder hornets, civil unrest, can we get a break? This year, the fabric of our society has been tested. We’ve seen how the masses will react to the prospect of quarantine and when the opportunity to lash out at the system was presented. Toilet paper was hoarded, ammunition was gobbled up by panic buyers, cities fell to riots deemed “mostly-peaceful protests” by the media, and the public was thrust into the position of seriously considering the lack of safety provided by the government and the benefit of self-reliance.

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Bugout On Foot

Bugout On Foot

by Kevin Estela August 26, 2020 2 Comments

If you’re someone who participates in survival discussions, you’ve probably heard of the term “bug out”. Bugging out has been popularized by movies like “Red Dawn” and books like “The Road.” You may have entertained ideas of running to the hills or what you would do if some sort of emergency made its way to your front door. There may be a particular event you’re readying yourself for the decision to leave your most valuable investment (your home I’m assuming) and risk your safety to get away. Recently, I had the opportunity to be a guest instructor at the Fieldcraft Survival Bugout On Foot Course in Prescott, Arizona. This course was designed to teach students the reality of mobility on foot and better prepare them with approximately 70 hours of instruction and practical field exercises over 5 days. The students participated in an extensive after-action report and now have a wealth of takeaways and this month’s blog is meant to share some of the most important ones with you.

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Back to Baxter: A Story of Then and Now

Back to Baxter: A Story of Then and Now

by Kevin Estela August 05, 2020 3 Comments

The year is 1999. Britney Spears burst onto the scene with “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and Keanu introduced us to the artificial world of The Matrix. We were less than a year from the anti-climactic Y2K panic and new millennia. In August of 1999, I was enjoying a great summer off from my freshman year of college and some new-found freedom from an ex girlfriend. My good friends from high school, Nate and Frank, were interested in hanging out again and we were all looking for an adventure. After high school, we all went separate ways but what bound us as friends was the interest we had in the great outdoors and that would unite us again for an epic road trip to Baxter State Park and summiting Mt. Katahdin. That was then. That was over 20 years ago when I was just a teenager who was looking for direction. Since then, I only returned to that part of Maine once in 2003 to summit it again. Now, it has been 17 years and so much has changed in my life. Now, it was time to go back, it was time to seek out adventure again, it was time to give into the draw of the mountains.

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