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Winterized EDC

Winterized EDC

by Brian Griffin November 13, 2019

We are almost two-thirds of the way through autumn now here in the northern hemisphere, so it's that time of year once again. It's time to put a some thought into dealing with frigid temperatures at inopportune moments, and being able to avoid cold weather injuries in the process if something goes wrong.

When the temperature outside our front door has dropped to the point the most common liquid on this planet has become a solid, if you haven't already done so, it's time to take a few minutes to winterize your daily set up. There is a very simple reason for this. Exposure to such low temperatures for extended periods of time – such as any unexpected long delays during an evening commute without a way to warm up – can easily turn another of the more common liquids on this planet to a solid, the very blood that flows through our veins. Having experienced severe frostbite personally, and having seen and felt some of my own flesh frozen solid, I can assure you it is a very unpleasant experience.

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Autumn Bewareness

Autumn Bewareness

by Brian Griffin November 06, 2019

It was just a walk in the park, and that is exactly where the following illustration images came from. On one hand the herbalist in me was acutely aware of some of the dangerous plants growing around me, and on the other hand the father in me was acutely aware of the children playing near and among them. It only took a few seconds to realize the parents there were just as oblivious to the nature of those plants as their children. So I explained to the parents of the little ones, the toddlers so well known for putting all sorts of random objects in their mouths, just how dangerous some of the plants growing in that area were. That conversation became the inspiration for this article, and later that evening, after the kids were gone, I took some of these illustration images I needed to support it.

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Water Water Everywhere... Just Be Careful What You Drink...

Water Water Everywhere... Just Be Careful What You Drink...

by Brian Griffin October 30, 2019 3 Comments

With water being quite firmly entrenched at number-3 in the human hierarchy of basic needs, most of us are aware of just how dependent on it we are. Yet as such a basic requirement for life, it is typically so well tended to by our municipalities that we often lose sight of just how badly we need it until it's not there. The consecutive breaking of two of our local water company's 36-inch water mains in two weeks in September, and it leaving many without access to water for a few days, was a poignant reminder of just how fragile the infrastructure of our waterworks really is. And thus so too is our access to potable water.

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Fall Tarp Camping

Fall Tarp Camping

by Kevin Estela October 16, 2019

It’s that time of year again. That time when I tell people I’m going to the woods and plan on sleeping underneath a tarp. “A tarp? That’s it?!” is the usual reply. Camping with a tarp in the fall and winter is a different endeavor than camping with one in warmer weather. Come fall, those buzzing and biting pests are long gone and the outdoorsman can reap the benefits of packing less and lighter gear.Personally, I don’t think many experiences can rival waking up on a fall morning with the wind on your face, the fall foliage all around you and the sunlight unimpeded from making its way into your shelter. Without a floor, a tarp is an excellent shelter if you’re concerned about tracking dirt into your sleeping area. Tarps also cut down on unnecessary mosquito netting weight.  With these considerations in mind, the idea of sleeping under “just a tarp” isn’t so crazy afterall. Tarp camping really means more visibility and a more “intimate” experience with the outdoors with fewer walls separating you from the elements. Before you start thinking this blog entry is going down that spiritual “hug-a-tree” route, let’s refine the focus to cover the basics of what you should know before you pitch a tarp in the great outdoors. Sleeping under a tarp, more specifically how you set up your tarp camp, can say a lot about your outdoor skills. Here’s some information to make you look like a pro.

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Goldenrod

Goldenrod

by Brian Griffin October 16, 2019

As we move into the cooler time of the year, the subject of fire starting becomes more of an important consideration on woodland outings. Campfires are not only more enjoyable during the autumn and winter seasons, they can actually become a necessity to avoid hypothermia. With that in mind, I am doing this blog post on one of the easiest to use tinder materials I know of.

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Backpacking Wood Stove Tips

Backpacking Wood Stove Tips

by Kevin Estela October 09, 2019

My good friend Patrick Smith of Kifaru and Mountainsmith fame is one of my favorite sources of wilderness knowledge. Having shared a few campfires with him, he has provided me some fantastic insight into the world of long-term and long-range backcountry travel. One topic that comes up frequently is the concept of a stove. Like all stoves, fuel is a serious consideration but with this consideration comes another, resupply. White gas and canister stoves burn efficiency and boil water quickly but where do you find extra fuel when you are miles from home among the mountains and trees? Patrick’s company is known for titanium wood-burning stoves but his heated shelter solutions are top of the line but not for everyone. Still, the idea of using a small stove fueled by wood is compelling and worth examining. I’ve been a fan of the compact Bush Buddy stove for some time now and believe the same logic and rationale for a larger wood-burning stove can be applied to this smaller backpacking model. Here are a handful of tips to help you on your next trip into the backcountry.

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Paying It Forward

Paying It Forward

by Brian Griffin October 02, 2019

A while back I was in a conversation with a friend. Being here in the south, and knowing I am from here as well, she was a little surprised to hear that I had once taken my youngest daughter out in frozen woods in central Michigan in -12F temps at the age of 8 to work on important life lessons. She asked what could possibly make us want to be out in that. I at first, half-jokingly  (but only half), said because we were tired of being stuck in the house. And then told her the rest of the reasons as in fact there were a few. 

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5 Defensive Shotgun Habits You Should Adopt

5 Defensive Shotgun Habits You Should Adopt

by Kevin Estela September 18, 2019

Foreword: Many Fiddleback Forge fans are gun guys as well as knife guys. I’ve spoken to more than a few over the years on the forums and at the Fiddleback Forge User Weekend about shooting sports and defensive use of firearms. Rumor has it, Andy himself is a bit of a gun guy. To change it up a little here, I wanted to present a handful of tips I’ve picked up over the years related to one of the most common firearms used to protect your home, the pump shotgun. Recently, I attended the SIG Sauer Advanced Defensive Shotgun Course and it reinforced some great habits everyone should adopt if they decide to rely on a scattergun to protect their life and the lives of those they love.

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Ins And Outs of Urban Down

Ins And Outs of Urban Down

by Brian Griffin September 04, 2019

The city I live near, and work in, is a lot more calm and peaceful than the larger ones I lived in as a teenager and young adult. Chattanooga Tennessee is quieter, and in my opinion a good bit less dangerous, than cities like; Miami, Dallas, St. Louis, Mobile, and Atlanta were when I was roaming them years ago. I was born in Chattanooga, and it has always been a smaller city than the others.  Yet like any other well-developed and functioning city, it still has its sketchy areas and its bad days as well. So even here, having devoted a lot of my life to the study of various levels of urban survival, I still always leave home at least attempting to be prepared to cope with a number of possible contingencies, some of which we all hope never occur.      

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Flossing Sockeyes

Flossing Sockeyes

by Kevin Estela August 14, 2019 3 Comments

“You’re going to catch fish with no bait on your hook. They’re just going to swim up river and you’ll catch them right when they open their mouth.” I’m paraphrasing what our guide, Jeremy “JAHA” Anderson told us as we set up in the early morning along the Kenai River. This instruction was given to us after cruising upriver in the dark in an aluminum-hulled boat setup for drift fishing and hunting salmon along the turquoise blue waters in Alaska. The idea seemed crazy but flossing for salmon is very common when the runs are thick. The technique really does allow you to catch fish, monster fish, with a combination of luck, technique, and timing. As we would find out, this method would prove exhaustive but rewarding and by the end of the day, we would have fresh sockeye salmon from river to grill in a matter of hours.

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Urban Foraging

Urban Foraging

by Brian Griffin August 07, 2019

I imagine the phrase “urban wild edibles” will conjure up different images in the minds of different people. These images are, as always, based on our own individual experiences in life. Admittedly, there was a time in my youth when this phrase would have brought to mind dinner at the most risque bar and grill I had been to in the local circuit so far, somewhere out along the fringe of civility.

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Lights-2, Keeping Them Lit

Lights-2, Keeping Them Lit

by Brian Griffin July 24, 2019

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on portable lights. In it I talked about some of their common uses, or at least some of my uses for them, but mostly I talked about a few characteristics and attributes that are good to have in them. In the middle of writing that one, I realized there was more to the “Lights” story than I could fit into one article. I knew then that and there would need to be a series of articles inorder to address the subject well. Having gone into a few of the important reasons for having a light handy in that piece, I thought it would be good to say a little more about the various types of lights, the times they can be extremely handy to have around, and ways of keeping them powered in this one. Because, as everyone knows, a dead light is even less useful than a dull knife.

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