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Fat Rope Stick

Fat Rope Stick

by Brian Griffin February 26, 2018

There haven't always been many options for tinder materials that worked well in wet conditions, available commercially. The ones that were available at outfitters during the 70s and 80s were various chemical compounds, which came with more a lot more health warnings than uses. but that is not the case these days. One of the latest ones to hit the market  is Fat Rope Stick™.  Fat Rope is cotton rope that has been impregnated with a proprietary high gasification compound. It is hydrophobic so doesn't absorb water, and it doesn't evaporate. It is also listed of the Fat Rope website as being non toxic.

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What Has Been In My Pack

What Has Been In My Pack

by Kevin Estela February 05, 2018

We’ve all seen the articles titled “What’s in my Pack”, “What I carry”, or something along the lines of “What’s Inside”. These articles and photos can be straight up “gear porn” for the Instagram crowd but they can also be great for the outdoorsman reader as they offer a glimpse into the contents of someone else’s bag. For someone just starting who throws anything and everything into their bag before a trip, order is probably lacking and reading the logic behind someone else’s careful planning is incredibly beneficial. I’ve written a “What’s in my Pack” article years ago for the now out-of-publication Self-Reliance Illustrated Magazine.

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Mischmetal

Mischmetal

by Brian Griffin February 03, 2018

All of the types of ferrocerium rods I've listed initially, the first ones to hit the global survival market (and later the bushcraft market), are of the harder type of ferrocerium rods. Any abrasion on these types of rods begets sparks. Light pressure yields lights sparks, and harder pressure yields hotter sparks, but essentially any scraping of the surface at all produces the pyrophoric result. That would change just after the turn of the century. A new and different style of ferrocerium rods, ones labeled as “mischmetal”, would come along and create havoc for some people. It would be the topic of many discussions on outdoor forums back in 2006, and it even caused more than a few arguments about which was better.

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Cold-Weather Hammock

Cold-Weather Hammock

by Kevin Estela January 31, 2018

In the past 10 years, I’ve noticed more and more campers taking to the trees. Hammock camping is on the rise and if you doubt me, just take a look at all the places selling hammocks, suspension systems, tarps and hammock hardware. Hammocks have an inherent advantage over tents, bivy sacks, and dropping to the ground with a ground pad and sleeping bag. Your sleep isn’t interrupted or prevented by sharp roots digging into your back, puddles of water marinating your feet while you sleep or uneven terrain certain to roll you into your camping buddies. With all the benefits of hammock camping, it would seem logical to use them over traditional ground shelters whenever possible but there is one condition hammock campers despise; that condition is cold. Hanging in the cold air requires specialized equipment and some “stay warm” hacks and habits.

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Firecraft From An EDC Perspective

Firecraft From An EDC Perspective

by Brian Griffin January 25, 2018

When we are out and about in the city and wandering the concrete trails along the asphalt rivers that run through our urban wildernesses, under the neon stars of the city skies, most of us tend to look at EDC tooling at least a little differently than we do when compared to a woodland environment. We do this viewing from different perspectives that are based on our own life experiences. Personally I seldom put any thought to self defense when I am out in a wilderness environment. Having grown up in wild places, fishing and trapping commercially in my youth, I am generally pretty relaxed in a secluded forest environment. Yet I definitely think about such things when I am in crowded urban environments.

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Leather Pouch Tutorial

Leather Pouch Tutorial

by Kevin Estela January 24, 2018

Working with leather has been a winter pastime of mine since 2009. I first learned this skill from my friend Marty Simon at his leather workshop at the survival school where I used to work. Leathercraft is something many bushcrafters will eventually take up but at first, it seems very daunting with all the leather choices, finishes, tools and techniques. I have been contemplating what project I could demonstrate in a tutorial here and settled on a very simple one-piece pouch for a sharpening stone, or other flat objects like the signal mirror used for mine. I didn’t want to carry a quality glass mirror around in a foam and duct-tape sleeve anymore. I’ll do my best to summarize the process step-by-step and anticipate common questions sure to arise in the course of this tutorial.

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Heat Vectoring

Heat Vectoring

by Brian Griffin January 07, 2018

If you are a hunter or fisherman, or you just like the out of doors and plan to venture into a wilderness environment this winter, it could be helpful to have more than just a basic understanding of wet weather fire starting techniques. Not because winters are known for wetness around the globe, but because if you can start a fire quickly in wet conditions, then you can start a fire quickly under less humid conditions as well. If you find yourself alone facing the bitter cold of winter, and dealing with the onset of hypothermia and the loss of motor skills, it will be the quickness with which you can produce warmth that is important to your survival.

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Frequent-Use Pouch or Pocket

Frequent-Use Pouch or Pocket

by Kevin Estela November 22, 2017

During the Advanced Wilderness Survival Course I used to teach at the Wilderness Learning Center, I would ask my students to keep track of the items they used daily. Over a week of training in the northern woods, students were exposed to many skills-based challenges and environmental issues. Prior to the end of the course, the students would sit around the fire, do an after action with my boss Marty and me, and review what they found useful and what they realized they could leave behind. What many students discovered was that some items carried in their “ten essentials” kit or emergency pouch, were never touched as they were never truly in an emergency situation. For long-term survival in the great outdoors, sometimes

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Have Life, Will Travel

Have Life, Will Travel

by Brian Griffin September 23, 2017

We, as a people, travel and we do it a lot. We travel for work, we take road trips for vacations, and on the holidays we take to the highways to go visit family and friends. Just how much we do travel is evidenced by how many hotels and motels you will find in an urban center, in any given city, in any developed country around around the globe.

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Connecticut Bushcraft Gathering

Connecticut Bushcraft Gathering

by Kevin Estela April 05, 2017

Bushcraft and survival skills are best learned in the presence of those who know them already and are willing to share their knowledge. Granted, there are many books with incredible information and countless YouTube videos featuring bushcraft tutorials but the no video or book can replace hands-on instruction. Bushcrafting is a passion and it seems as soon as someone learns a skill, they want to show it off. How many times have you seen someone post a picture of something they carved, built or tied? With this in mind, I decided to create an event for former students of mine as well as newcomers in the Spring of 2017.

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Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

by Kevin Estela March 23, 2017

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Pay It Forward

Pay It Forward

by Brian Griffin April 05, 2016

Those of us who have spent a great deal of time in the outdoors, who are older and wiser now, we are in the present and of the past. Our children however they are for the future, they are the hope of times to come. As parents and mentors I think we have an obligation to pay our wisdom forward, not only to make their outdoor adventures safer, but to also take a personal interest in preparing them to meet many of the various challenges of the that future.

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