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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The Travel Trunk and Foot Locker

The Travel Trunk and Foot Locker

by Kevin Estela August 22, 2017

Using a hard case for travel and storage isn’t a new concept. Plenty of pack horses carried wooden crates along trails in the wild West and wanigans were carried by outdoorsmen in the 19th century in canoes to house all the camp kitchen gear here in New England. There’s a reason we pack important equipment and parcels in hard-shelled cases instead of soft. Eggs aren’t sold in bags (ok, Eggbeaters are sold in cartons), football helmets aren’t leather anymore (but they should be and more emphasis should be placed on tackling with shoulders!) and high-security jails are made from brick not canvas or nylon. I’m partial to using a good hard case for carrying my gear and storing it in my traveling base camp. I used a long-gun Pelican case to carry my rifles and sidearm to Alaska last summer and I’ve carried everything from medical gear to cell phones to my pocket-carried items in smaller boxes while on the river canoeing and kayaking for years. My largest volume Pelican Case is something I get asked about regularly. Students and associates want to know A: What I tend to carry with me and B. why haul something like that? I can’t stress how useful a hard-shelled travel trunk is in transit and in places where bags aren’t always treated with finesse.

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Ultralight Backpack Fishing

Ultralight Backpack Fishing

by Kevin Estela August 09, 2017 1 Comment

I know there are many readers of this blog who are just as crazy about fishing as they are about collecting knives. I know I’m in good company as a knife nut and angler. Hopefully enough readers of this blog will eventually hit up Andy to make us a Fiddleback Forge filet knife. What do you say Andy? With so many of the Fiddleback Family interested in fishing, writing a blog post about fishing was inevitable. That said, I don’t want to write about your average fishing set of skills but rather one I hope more of you will pick up. If standing shoulder to shoulder with fist fights breaking out over crossed lines is your idea of fun, this isn’t going to be your favorite blog. If hooking a fish that has never seen an artificial lure and fights for its life like no other is more like it, please keep reading. What I’m about to offer up as one of the most incredible fishing experiences combines getting away from the rest of the populace with your backpack and fishing some mountain ponds and creeks rarely visited by others.

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Bamboo, A Gift From Nature

Bamboo, A Gift From Nature

by Brian Griffin June 13, 2017

Most people know what bamboo is, but not everyone these days understands just what a resource it can be. It just so happens, that for a number of reasons, bamboo is most wonderful gifts that nature has to offer. In the world of plants, few if any bring as much  to the table as bamboo does.

Anyone who has eaten at their local Asian restaurants very often has learned to use the fee chopsticks by now,. It does take a little more effort to make a set in the wilds than just opening the package and snapping the connection, but really not all that much effort. With a sharp knife a functional set of chopsticks can be whittled in a couple of minutes.

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Surviving the Little Things

Surviving the Little Things

by Kevin Estela April 30, 2017

How many people do you know who claim to be “survivalists” or “bushcrafters?” Maybe they don’t go by these titles but prefer to say they are “woodsmen” or “outdoorsmen.” If these titles don’t suffice, perhaps they don’t want to be labeled at all but will tell you they “live” survival or “live” bushcraft each day. What always never ceases to amaze me are those outdoor enthusiasts (I’ll use this as my catch-all term for all of the above listed) who may have a rock-solid wilderness survival strategy and set of skills but a neglected sense of self-preservation once they leave the woodline. Of these people I asked you to consider, how many engage in risky behavior that could threaten their existence? Bushcraft knowledge and experiences are most appreciated outdoors and not from a hospital bed or prison cell. Sometimes, what threatens our survival the most is not the inability to make a fire or build a shelter but the little things we don’t consider on a daily basis.

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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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Ring-And-Break

Ring-And-Break

by Brian Griffin August 13, 2016

We humans are problem solvers and tool makers, and we have been making tools and solving problems for thousands of years. So naturally we have a tendency to make specialized tools which make specific tasks easier. Today we even have the skill and technology to make smaller versions and combine them into multi-tools to make more of these tools easier to carry at once. Yet just because something is available, does not necessarily mean we will have them on us in a time of need. Luckily we are also known for our ability to adapt and overcome challenges. The ring-and-break stick cutting technique is one of the methods that can be used to do larger work with a smaller knife, such as one may carry on a day hike.

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Backcountry Bread

Backcountry Bread

by Kevin Estela June 02, 2016 2 Comments

Imagine this scenario. You’ve just paddled your canoe into the backcountry. The air is sweltering and the water is just warm enough for a refreshing dip. You swim until your fingers and toes prune and as you tiptoe over the rocks at the shore avoiding exposed roots and scramble to the fire others in your party have been tending to during your aquatic antics. Awaiting you, space to sit on a log, an oversized towel to drape over your back and shoulders and fresh bread just as the sun is setting. Wait, what?! How can this be? Bread in the backcountry? Not just any bread either; warm bread that hits the spot after a cooling swim.

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Creating a Bow Saw with your Fiddleback Blade

Creating a Bow Saw with your Fiddleback Blade

by Kevin Estela May 17, 2016

One of the most rewarding camp crafts you can make with very few materials and some basic knife skill is a wooden bow saw frame. There are many variations of this basic design and as long as you find a version that works for you, you’ll never have an argument with me. For this tutorial, I’ll present the very basic version made by my students in my Budget Bushcraft Course. With this saw, you’ll be able to process rounds of wood neatly for other camp crafts or for firewood preparation.

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Traveling with Knives

Traveling with Knives

by Kevin Estela May 09, 2016 1 Comment

It’s that time of year again. School's almost out, the summer is just about here, around the country there are going to be countless kids begging to be let out of the way way back of the Griswold mobile, inconsiderate passengers pacing the aisles of airlines and crowded lines at seasonal tourist traps. That’s right, it’s going to be travel season very soon.At the beginning of next month, all sorts of knife enthusiasts will descend upon Atlanta, GA for BLADE Show too. If you’re like me, you don’t travel without a knife. It’s bad enough traveling to places where I can’t carry a handgun, I really don’t want to be without one of my blades. What amazes me is speaking to people, in my travels and around many campfires, who are under the impression you cannot fly with knives or the idea flying with knives is a major inconvenience. For them, I present the following guide to traveling bladed. It’s easier than you think.

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