The Spirit of Otzi Lives On

by Brian Griffin March 30, 2018

The Spirit of Otzi Lives On

When Otzi left home that fateful day, he had no idea what he might get into. He just knew he should take along his edc gear. Though he obviously had no idea his gear would be the subject of many interesting conversations a few thousand years into his future, he certainly knew what he would need to get through his day or days out in the field, and he went prepared. This is evidenced by the various tools and different types of wood he carried on his person, in order to use the right materials for the other tools and utensils he made. Today, roughly 5,300 years later, many innovations in tool making technology and metallurgy have come along, and thankfully so. Those advancements have allowed for many improvements in tool design. Yet with the vastly improved equipment, not all that much has changed in the way of real world needs or how they are accessed. We still venture out into a big uncertain world, and we still prepare for our adventures according to our knowledge of this world and our anticipated needs.

When we head out, we never know what the day may bring, we can only ever know what is likely and what is possible based on our previous experiences. Thus we take with us things those experiences have taught us will be helpful to cope with any happenings as best we can. I am a single father, a professional photographer, and an author who often works in a wilderness environement. So for me that means that (among other things) I'm almost always going to have: a way to accurately measure time, a way to take photos, a way to write, a way to eat, a way to make light, a way to make fire, a way to cut things, and a way to make any necessary purchases. There are some redundant systems of course. Some are seen in the image below, others are in the device that captured it.

In another time, not quite so long ago as Otzi's, travelers and wanderers in Europe carried dining sets. They did so to avoid having to eat with their bare hands on the road, in the woods, or at the inns and pubs. In most cases it would be just a knife and fork, as soups could could easily be drank from the vessels they were served in, so very few bothered with carrying spoons. In Asia travelers, even modern ones, carry their chopsticks with them daily. In my day to day life I've combined elements of both these worlds. I totally agree that soup can be drank if needs be, so a spoon isn't necessary. I have developed a major fondness for sushi as well as many other Asian foods, and I have become so accustomed to eating chunks of food with chopsticks that a fork isn't necessary for me either. So I don't carry the set of two-piece, multi-colored, titanium chopsticks you saw in the opening photo just because they're cool. I carry them because they are super cool, highly portable, and get used at minimum a few times a week.

I think I can safely assume that by now the people who have been reading this blog for a while, about four years now I guess, have caught on that I am in fact a knife guy. So naturally I'm going to have a knife to hand. With over forty years of experience in the areas of preparing eating and sharing foods, I came to prefer small fixed blades over folding knives quite some time back. It most likely happened somewhere along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico where I grew up. In the gulf coast area there is a lot of salt water, but not much fresh, and salt water is extremely rough on high carbon steel. Especially in the case folding knives, where moving parts are a factor. When it comes to food, and it doesn't matter whether you are preparing consuming or sharing, fixed blades are simply hands down much easier to clean and maintain. I also learned long ago that I rather enjoy the camaraderie that comes from being able to share foods with my daughters and/or a friend.

One thing that hasn't changed since Otzi's day, is the uncertainty of venturing out into the world. If anything, there are so many new factors today that the happenings of the world have only grown more, more varied, and even less certain. And today, just as it was back then, things only grow more uncertain with the coming of night. So even if you plan on being home before nightfall, having a small reliable flashlight on hand anyway can be a really good idea. Delays do happen, and occasionally we run late. It can even suddenly become very dark in the middle of a sunny afternoon, because the darkness in the interior of a  large building can be much more complete than just the outside world at night.

Life is short. In my opinion it's simply far too short to spend it struggling unnecessarily against our own environments. I highly recommend that when you venture forth you do so prepared to minimize your struggles and maximize your enjoyment of whatever time you have here. We are all just temporary and tomorrow is never guaranteed. We never know which adventure will be our last one, so we may as well enjoy as many of them as possible. Also, if  we take really cool stuff along with us, we may even be the topic of some very interesting conversations a few thousand years into our future.




Brian Griffin
Brian Griffin

Author

Brian Griffin is an author, photographer, wilderness and survival skills teacher, knife enthusiast, outdoor gear researcher and product development consultant. He has a decades-long history of using and developing outdoor related tools and gear.



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