Shipping Delays Up to 3 Days - Free Shipping on USA Orders $150 or More

Keep Your Hands Off My…

by Kevin Estela March 26, 2019

Keep Your Hands Off My…

How possessive are you? No, not in your relationships with another person, I’m referring to your gear. We all have certain pieces of gear we covet and we protect. You’ve likely heard the expression “safe queen” used to describe knives or firearms that never get used and live mostly in the dark and secure confines of a locked container in your closet, basement, or den. For all the other gear that actually gets used, you might have discovered an inseparable relationship with it or perhaps a jealous relationship should one of your buddies use your gear. When someone else uses a piece of gear you’ve used so frequently you can close your eyes and recall every detail of its construction, a little piece of you dies inside. Ok, maybe it’s just me but when someone starts creeping in on my most personal gear, the only proper response is, “keep your hands off my…”

Woobie-When you were a little kid, you might have had a binky. Perhaps you called it a woobie. In either case, you know what I’m referring to. It’s that emotional and physical comfort blanket you never wanted to part with. You dragged it through the dirt, spread it out on the living room floor, and draped it over yourself when you took that epic daily nap. Your woobie from childhood has perhaps morphed into an adult-sized version. My friends at Kifaru didn’t hide the fact their poncho-liner sized blanket (wildly popular with military guys) is a modern version of the woobie and they named it such. I’ve traveled all over with my Kifaru Woobie and have almost lost it to a few ladies over the years. Thankfully, I didn’t and I still use it all the time lounging in camp, on long flights, or when I need an extra layer of warmth in my shelter.

Spoon- A good spoon is a creature comfort that is often underrated. I rarely venture into the woods without a good spoon packed away in my canteen kit. Sure, with a set of skills, some time, and patience, you can carve a replacement spoon from off the land but if you don’t care to whittle, a titanium spoon can’t be beat. Of all the items on this list, this is the only one you are going to put in your mouth. Nothing is going to get more personal than that and the thought of someone using your spoon should be repulsive. Sure, you can clean it like silverware in a restaurant but at least there is a mystery to who used your spoon last. If one of your nasty camping buddies uses your spoon, you can’t get the image out of your head of them tongue punching it. Sorry, keep your hands off my spoon!

Ax- If you believe in tradition, the tradition of never lending out your ax is one you should follow. The justification is simple, sharpening an ax takes a significant amount of effort. We’re not talking about ⅛ inch thick knife with a wire edge, a damaged ax edge will probably require more than a simple strop to work out any chips or rolls. Simply stated, there is more steel on an ax head to remove if a keen edge is desired. A good friend would never ask you to borrow your ax in case they accidentally damage it. Rather than borrowing your ax, they will ask you to do the work for them instead. Imagine the guilt they would feel (assuming your friend has a conscience) if they damaged your ax. Imagine your frustration if you had to fix someone else’s mistake. I have a few axes I am extremely reluctant to hand over and a couple I have never let anyone use. Even my closest friends who I know are competent woodsmen know to bring their own tools or they are absolutely willing to replace/fix what they damage.  Call me traditional but 9 times out of 10, I’m going to cut what you need me to instead of letting you get your hands on my ax and potentially damage it.

Seat- Have you ever heard the expression, “move your feet, lose your seat?” If you haven’t, you’ve never met people unafraid of stealing your spot around the campfire or even at home in the most comfortable reclining chair. No exaggeration, straight up wrestling matches have happened over claiming someone’s seat. From ultralight backpacking chairs to simple padded seat cushions like the one from Lester River Bushcraft my buddy Lt. Mike bought me, comfortable seats in camp are a luxury and borrowing one for an extended time may not be outside the realm of possibility. Think about it, you have the option of continuing to sit on that cold rock or log or slide right over and use the comfortable seat your buddy just abandoned. You aren’t the first person to think about this and you won’t be the last.  I know if I have a seat I’ve used for a while, it starts to mold to my body’s contours. Seats take a memory and get more and more comfortable. I don’t need someone else’s rump carving out the seat my derriere has worked on time and time again. Like the kids on Forest Gumps’ bus, “this seat is taken.”

Hat- The perfect curved hat brim and frayed edges are not purchased, they are earned. I’ve owned a few hats I can say have been with me for miles and miles and miles. Each tattered edge tells a story and it took a lot of persuasion for me to retire my “lucky” hats before switching over to a new one. Along the way from “new” to “retired”, I never let someone wear my hat and I know I’m not the only one who is somewhat superstitious about someone else placing your hat on their head. Ever since I was in grammar school and experienced the awkwardness of a lice and nits screening in the school nurse’s office with all my classmates, I always found hair cleanliness important. I wouldn’t want someone with some funky scalp stuff going on wearing my hat around. Then again, I don’t know if anyone would want to wear my hat with all the great sweat rings that formed around the cap and down on the brim. FYI: I never heard of any classmates with nits but we had some suspicions who may have been infested when they mysteriously went absent for a few days after.

This list is far from complete and the conventional wisdom should be followed in asking before you use someone else’s gear. You never know what someone will be highly possessive of and it’s better to be safe than to earn a black eye. If you have gear you want sole use of, consider marking your name or initials on it with a Sharpie or another distinguishable mark. When in doubt, never let your gear out of your sight or run the risk of seeing that nasty buddy of yours using your stuff.






Kevin Estela
Kevin Estela

Author

Kevin Estela is a Survival Instructor at Estela Wilderness Education. Kevin is a frequent contributing writer for publications such as RECOIL, Athlon Outdoors, and Beckett Media. He is a Sayoc Kali Associate Instructor Level 5, as well as a BJJ Purple Belt.



Leave a comment


Also in Articles

The Revolutionary Fixed Blade
The Revolutionary Fixed Blade

by Brian Griffin May 20, 2020

It seems the first fixed blade to be discovered and actually appreciated, presumably via an injury to the discoverer, was quite the revolutionary incident in human history. It's clearly evidenced by how much we have developed all sorts of cutting tools since then. Not only knives in many specialized applications over the last 50 thousand or so years, but cutting tools for all sorts of materials, and with far more of them being developed for utilitarian applications than combative ones. With a good quality multi-tool perhaps being the pinnacle of overall usefulness versus the various materials in an urbanized environment so far. Though obviously with the weaponization of anything it can profitably be applied to being pretty common, as some living in quarantine may currently be suspecting, blades made for war have certainly earned their way into our revolutionary history as well.

Read More

How to Construct a Pine-Bark Bowl
How to Construct a Pine-Bark Bowl

by Kevin Estela May 13, 2020

Can you imagine what it would be like to have the confidence to walk into woods with only a knife and survive? It is a goal, albeit a lofty goal, many people have. It sounds like it requires a lot of skill because it does. There are challenges and difficulties everywhere. You have a knife but what about shelter, food, fire, and water? What about everything else? The sum total of all the issues you must address can be hard to digest at once. However, when you look at each task individually with a knife and a problem-solving mind, the thought of surviving in the woods comes more clearly into focus. For this month’s Fiddleback Forge blog, I’ll focus on one way to address the basic survival need of water. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to make a water vessel is by using pine-bark. As you’ll see, this time of year, you don’t even need to make a fire or use cordage to address your hydration needs.

Read More

The Indomitable Spirit of Humanity
The Indomitable Spirit of Humanity

by Brian Griffin April 29, 2020 2 Comments

It has been 6 weeks since we were made aware that we're facing yet another global pandemic. The occurrence of pandemics is really nothing new to us, as we've experienced several since the Spanish Flu in the second decade of the 20th century, and a few in just the first two decades of our current century. However this one certainly seems to bringing about some new responses, as we are being told to go against all that we've learned about basic human immunology, since that field of study began in earnest in the mid 1800s, and quarantine the healthy in some places as well as the ill. And encouraging an avoidance of our own atmosphere and everyone other than family through the process of social distancing every where else. It's an unusual and counter-intuitive approach, which has had made for some curious visuals in our new paradigm.

Read More

Knives & News

Sign up with your favorite email.