Gear

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

by Todd Walker

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss ProgramDoing the Stuff with your gear is the most overlooked skill in the world of prepping and survivalism. In general, we tend to think un-tested gear will get us through any crisis. Just whoop out that new shiny object from your kit… you know, you’ve seen the YouTube videos.

Imagine this…

You and your family are forced, for whatever reason – really doesn’t matter why, to grab your bug out bags and get out of dodge… on foot. You’ve got 5 minutes to get out. Immediately you realize the weight of your bag alone will make your journey impossible.

Time to go on a weight-loss program – for your gear!

As some of our regular readers know, I’ve built a semi-permanent shelter in the woods. It’s my personal space where I go to get centered, re-humanized, and enjoy nature. From a survival point of view, my personal space gives me a convenient location to build skills.

More importantly, it’s a weight-loss center for gear. It does a pretty good job of keeping extra pounds off the body too.

On to the gear weight-loss program.

My first overnight outing in my shelter helped me lose extra gear weight. Granted, it was only a one-night-stand. But that one night with a new ALICE pack (All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment) was needed to compare with my old 3-day assault bag.

You see, with larger packs, I tend to over pack. The smaller ALICE forced me to downsize and prioritize my gear. Anytime I head out for some dirt time I pack, at a minimum, the first five of Dave Canterbury’s 10 C’s of Survival. This trip was no different with one exception…. I overpacked ALICE to test her fit, finish, carrying capacity, and comfort.

Below you’ll see what I packed, what I actually needed, and what I’ll leave behind next time. I packed way too much stuff for an overnight trip. But remember, I needed to get ALICE in the woods for the first time.

Stuff I Packed

Dave’s 5 C’s

1.) Cutting tools. These items are the hardest to trim for me. My only excuse is that I love sharp stuff!

  • BK2 – A pure tank of a knife with a 1/4″ full tang 1095 steel blade.
  • Mora Companion – I find it more useful around camp for finer knife work. It rides around my neck via a lanyard.
  • Opinel #8 folder
  • Leatherman multi-tool
  • Swiss Army Knife – Stays in my right pant pocket whenever I leave the house.
  • Bacho Laplander –  This folding saw was used for a lot of cuts on my shelter.
  • Ax – Wetterlings 16″ Hunter’s Ax. Small enough to fit into my rolled up bedroll, yet large enough to handle most tasks around base camp.
  • Almost Free Ax – I know, overkill for one night. Told you sharp stuff was my kryptonite.

2.) Combustion. Fire is life out there.

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

Fire kit fits inside the tin at the top

  • Lighter
  • Ferro rod
  • Flint and steel
  • Char tin and charred material
  • Fat lighter’d (fat wood)
  • Water proof jute twine and other dry tinder material
  • Mini Inferno (water proof fire starter)

3.) Cover. My trapper’s shelter was my cover for the night. However, redundancy give you options…

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

Morning coffee!!

  • USGI poncho
  • Contractor trash bag x2

4.) Container. For cooking, water, etc.

5.) Cordage. Hard to make in the wilderness – easy to just pack some in your kit.

  • 50 ft. of paracord
  • 25 ft. of #36 tarred bank line
  • 50 ft. of climbing rope
  • Two short bungee cords for my bedroll

The rest of Dave’s 10 C’s of Survival

6.) Candle (lighting)

  • Headlamp for hands free illumination
  • Pak-lite LED Flashlight – Great for lighting your shelter is the weight of a 9v battery
  • StreamLight ProTac 2L – 3 modes: bright, dim, and strobe and will light up the woods – doubles a my EDC pocket light
  • LightSpecs – almost forgot these LED reading glasses that ride on my head

7.) Cotton. 100% cotton rag or bandana can be used for bandaging wounds, char cloth, and many other survival uses.

  •  Large bandana
  • Small squares of bath towel (future char cloth)

8.) Compass for navigation

9.) Cargo tape. This may be the most versatile item in your kit.

  • Gorilla tape
  • Electrical tape from my Cigar Fishing Kit – orange in color for marking trail or signaling rescuers to your path

10.) Canvas needle. From repairing gear in the field to removing splinters.

  • Sail needle
  • Dental floss

That’s the 10 C’s. Now for the other stuff.

Bedroll

Wool blanket with ax tucked into the roll

Wool blanket with ax tucked into the roll

  • 100% queen-size wool army blanket
  • USGI poncho liner
  • Section of the billboard for a ground cloth (already at the shelter)

Food

  • Poached my bug out bag food bag – overkill again
  • Coffee and tea

Water

  • MSR Miniworks Micro filter

Sidearm

  • Springfield XD 9mm
  • 2 magazines
  • No long gun this trip

Clothing

  • Extra long sleeve shirt and the clothes on my back
  • Homemade wool hunting shirt
  • Boonie hat

Book

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

Woodcraft and Camping

  • Woodcraft and Camping by “Nessmuk”
  • Journal and pencil

Stuff I Needed

The first 5 C’s

1.) Cutting tools

By far the most used knife was my Mora Companion neck knife. There wasn’t a lot of heavy-duty campcrafting needed so my BK2 stayed in its sheath. I did cut a sapling with the BK2 to mount a frog gig on the end. Also used the packaging tool on my SAK to tighten bank line lashing on the cooking tripod I made.

The Wetterlings ax saw minor action harvesting saplings for the cooking tripod. The Almost Free Ax was never unmasked.

The pliers on my multi-tool was used to remove a container of boiling water from the toggle on the tripod.

The Bacho folding saw was use to harvest dead-fall poplar wood for a bow drill set. To shape my spindle, the Mora was all I needed.

Cutting Tools I’d Leave Behind

  1. Opinel folding knife
  2. Almost Free Ax

2.) Combustion

Used a Bic lighter and feathered fat lighter’d stick to light the camp fire. I was lazy and didn’t feel like practicing primitive fire skills. That’s why I carry a lighter.

Combustion Items I’d Leave Behind

NONE! Fire is life.

3.) Cover (Shelter)

My shelter was already built. I still carried my poncho which came in handy as an extra layer of insulation over my wool blanket.

Cover Items I’d Leave Behind

NONE!

4.) Container

The cook set served me well alone. With more than one person, a larger cooking pot/pan would be needed.

Container Items I’d Leave Behind

NONE! Add a larger bush pot.

5.) Cordage

The 25 ft of tarred bank line was used to lash the cooking tripod. Since my shelter was already built, no other cordage was needed.

Cordage Items I’d Leave Behind

NONE! Pack 50 ft of tarred bank line next trip.

6.) Candle (lighting)

My LightSpecs, headlamp, and Pak-lite saw the most action on this trip. A couple of times I almost reached for my StreamLight as the coyotes got closer in the middle of the night.

Skills: A Gear Weight-Loss Program

Red light saves night vision

Candle Items I’d Leave Behind

Pak-lite LED flashlight. Although, for the small amount of added weight, I’d probably keep it in my kit.

#7-10 – Cotton, compass, cargo tape, and canvas needle (repair kit) would stay the same.

Other Stuff

It’s really not surprising, at least to me, that I didn’t drop much weight on the 10 C’s. Those items are essential to survivability. With these tools and the knowledge and skill to use them, you increased your odds of comfortably surviving a wilderness or bug out journey.

Lessons Learned

A.) The importance of thermoregulation can’t be overstated – even in 45º temperatures. By 2 AM, I woke up to cold feet. I had let the fire die down and had not collected enough fuel to see me through the entire night. I draped my poncho over the wool blanket to add an extra layer of insulation. This did the trick.

Another point worth discussing is the lack of insulation between me and the ground. Though the ground wasn’t frozen like our neighbors to the north, the ground cloth and poncho liner was too minimalist. My remedy will be to add a foot of dried leaves and straw with the billboard on top of that layer as a moisture barrier.

B.) On firewood: Collect two or three times the amount you think you’ll need for the night. The shelter was designed to capture radiant heat via the reflecting wall and the overhang on the front of the shelter. The cool weather wouldn’t have been a problem if I had harvested enough fuel.

C.) For practice runs of one or two nights out, lose as much gear weight as you comfortably can. Make a note (an actual list) of what you needed and what turned out to be extra weight. Pack accordingly on your next outing.

For instance, I primarily used one knife. That knife should be a full tang, 5 inch high carbon steel blade or longer, 90º angled spine, and non-coated. For me it’s my BK2. Although I use my Mora as a backup.

D.) My water filter wasn’t working properly. I boiled water for cooking and drinking via the bottle cook set.

To loose gear weight, you have to test your stuff. Your bug out bag or bushcraft kit should be in constant state of evolution not a shiny object storage compartment. There’s no such thing as a perfect kit. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to create one.

As skills increase, gear will decrease.

What skill would help you lose gear weight?

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, equipment, Gear, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance

by Todd Walker

Those who are paying attention are actively retooling to escape the noose of modern consumerism and become self-reliant producers.

23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance

You can find these independent thinkers on different fronts of the preparedness movement:

  • Back-to-basics
  • Homesteading
  • Preppers
  • Off-grid living
  • Survivalists
  • Simple living
  • Bushcrafting
  • Self-reliance
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Resilience
  • Sustainability
  • DiY’ers
  • Farmsteading

Whether you’re in this movement as a hobby or a passionate pursuit, the common thread tying us together is self-reliance and breaking our dependence on our fragile system. One of the reasons we started the Doing the Stuff Network was to encourage people to learn and practice new skills. The journey we’re on will require us to retool for an uncertain future.

Hurt me with the truth but never comfort me with a lie. Here’s the truth – our fragile system of consumerism is not sustainable. Of course, you can take comfort in the lie that we can print and spend our way out of the hole we’re in – or – you can embrace the painful truth and get busy Doing the Stuff to build self-reliance.

Retool or Be a Tool

A person is a tool (blunt object) when he/she is being used without even realizing it.

You ever been used as a tool? Yes? Me too. It’s a nasty, degrading feeling when you realize a ‘friend’, coworker, or family member has you wrapped tightly in their grip. Those situations are often easily recognized.

But here’s the thing…

The vast majority of people rarely wake up to the fact that they’re a tool in the system’s matrix. That’s the ‘beauty’ of our system. We get used to being used for the good of the collective. We accept dependence and conform.

For those of you wishing to escape the system’s unsustainable human farm paradigm, if only in small ways, it’s time to retool!

Retool is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

1. to make changes to (something) in order to improve it

2. to reequip with tools

As #1 states, you have to make changes to something to see improvement. That “something” is you. There’s no better way to improve you than to learn new skills and enhance existing ones. New skills require new tools.

Sherpa Tip: Strive for progress, not perfection in your retooling. Buy/acquire the best tools you can afford. Cheap shiny objects from China are tempting but you’ll end up replacing them several times costing you more in the long run. Cheap tools aren’t good and good tools aren’t cheap. You can find quality, inexpensive tools at yard/estate sales and used online sites.

Get ‘em, you’ll need them someday when the power fails to help rebuild. Until then, make smart use of modern power tools while building your non-powered toolbox. Like any new undertaking, there’s always a learning curve, especially with forgotten pioneer tools.

Here’s my top 23+ human-powered tools that your grandparents or great grandparents used to forge a self-reliant lifestyle. Don’t be shy about jumping in and adding to the list in the comments.

Tools for Self-Reliance

  1. Scythe – This tool was used to cut grass at a camp I ran in Siberia in 1993. An American friend with good intentions wanted to help speed up the landscaping chores and bought a combustion engine lawn mower. It threw a rod in 15 minutes. The scythe never lost power.
  2. Hoe and shovel- There will be long rows to hoe and holes to dig.
  3. Posthole diggers – Job specific tool that is indispensable for setting fence posts and digging round, vertical holes.

    23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance

    Scary looking fencing pliers

  4. Fencing pliers – A nasty looking tool no homestead should be without.
  5. Come-Along and block and tackle – Use mechanical advantage to lift carcasses for cleaning or persuade leaning trees to fall away from your cabin. 23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance
  6. Wheeled carts – Based on a simple machine: lever. Give me a long enough lever and I can move the world.
  7. 4 pronged garden fork – Turns compost and sod.
  8. Containers – The most overlooked of all tools is the humble container. Collect metal, cast iron, plastic, glass, large barrels, stainless steel (milk pails), rubber, and clay containers. Animals have to be fed, water hauled, crops canned, food cooked, water stored, etc., etc.
  9. Carpentry - Hand saws (rip and cross cut), screw drivers, chisels, draw knives, shaving horse, brace and bits, spoke shave, froe, mallet, miter box, framing square, levels (4′, 2′, torpedo), hammer, pencils, and plenty of hardware.
  10. Handyman tools – Channel Lock pliers, socket set, adjustable wrenches, hand saws (cross and rip), hacks saw and blades, clamps, claw hammers (sledge, ball peen, claw), pry bars, pipe wrenches, measuring devices, heavy-duty vise, and files (all shapes and sizes).
  11. Cutting tools – Knives (fixed blade, folding, and everything in between paring to butcher), axes, hatchets, bush hook,two man saw,adz, broad ax, sharpening stones, and a butcher’s steel. I prefer high carbon steel over stainless steel for achieving razor-sharp edges. Plus, high carbon steel knives all you to create sparks with flint, chert, or other hard rock. Redundancy!

    DiY Sawbuck: Work Smarter in the Woodpile

    Buck sawing on the Sawbuck

  12. Blacksmithing – Forge, billow, anvil, hammers, tongs, post vice, files, and quench bucket. After acquiring these, you can make your own tools and needed items. Stock up on salvaged steel.
  13. Cordage – Natural and synthetic rope, twine, tarred bank line, and paracord of all sizes. Making your own takes time, resources, and skill. Stock up now. Don’t forget sewing thread as cordage.
  14. Food prep – Wood cook stove, cast iron cookware, utensils, pressure canner (relatively new tool), crocks, and churn.
  15. Personal care – Straight razor, strop, and sharpening stones.
  16. Weaponry –  Modern to primitive. Modern: At a minimum, a common caliber (for your area) shotgun (12 or 20 gauge), side arm (.45, .357, .38, 9mm, .22), high-powered center fire (30-06, .308,  30-30, .223) and rim fire (.22 cal) rifle. When you run out of cartridges… Traditional muzzleloaders: Black powder rifle, shotgun, and pistols. Primitive: bow and arrows, atlatl, slings.
  17. Music – Forgotten but important culturally and entertainment wise.
  18. Education – Books – lots of hard bound books from all genres. Writing utensils and reams of paper. Reading glasses.
  19. Trapping – Foothold,  bodygrip (Conibear), snares, and live traps. Check local laws and regulations.
  20. Beekeeping – Because we all love honey, right!? Bee hives, hive tool, smoker, hat and veil, gloves, and protective clothing.
  21. Leather work – Down and Dirty Basics: Cutting tool, punch, awl (ice pick works), needle, glue and clamps.
  22. Medical – Surgical kit that covers minor and major needs. Of course, if you don’t have the skill to use these tools, someone in your tribe may. Collect ‘em!

    23+ Items You Need to Retool for Self-Reliance

    Surgical tools a good friend gave us but I have no experience using – yet

  23. Animal husbandry – This list of tools can get long really quickly. Take care of your animals and your animals will take care of you. So here goes… Species specific halters, leads, and restraints; wound care, hoof care, syringes, oral dose syringe, etc., etc.

Some of these tools and the skills to use them were common in earlier generations. After a reset, you’ll be proud you retooled with a collection of human-powered pioneer tools. Think muscle over motor to rebuild a strong, self-reliant future for your family.

Even if you never learn how to use all these tools, they’d make great barter items for stuff you do need at your local SHTF swap meet.

What would you add to the retool list?

Retool and Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Gear, Homesteading, Lost Skills, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , | 16 Comments

The Size of Your Ferro Rod Matters – Go Big!

by Todd Walker

ferro rod size matters

I once held the opinion that the size of your ferro rod didn’t really matter. As long as your little rod throws enough sparks to ignite a tinder bundle or char cloth, that’s all you need, right?

For the record, I’ve started many fires with thin $5 ferrocerium rods. No survival kit is complete without this essential fire starter. I bet Tom Hanks’ character (Chuck) wished he had one in his pocket in the movie Cast Away. But then again, he would never have experienced the thrill of fire by friction.

Ain’t Hollywood great!

Seriously, life and death situations are not the time to trust primal fire-making methods. These techniques are great skills to develop, but don’t play around with combustion when fire could save your life. Always carry fire redundancy.

The Size of Your Ferro Rod Matters - Go Big!

Pocket dump… this pocket-sized ferro rod and hacksaw blade striker rides on my key ring.

If all you can afford is a $5 ferro rod, buy it and learn to use it. Keep in mind that these are a consumable item and will eventually be depleted with use.

That’s why size matters!

Making fire is a hot topic with many arm-chair warriors on the internet. Some argue for small, light-weight rods to get the job done. I carry a small ferro rod everyday for those just-in-case times. A Bic lighter too. But for long-term survivability, I’m fond of big, substantial, molten steel for spontaneous combustion.

It’s been said that the key to lasting success is… lasting. The same applies to your survival gear. In the combustion department, you want a ferro rod that will last through years of use.

Allow me to introduce you to my new “little” friend!

The Size of Your Ferro Rod Matters - Go Big!

Measuring 1/2″ x 6″, this is a pyro beast!

Last weekend I spent some dirt time testing this fire wand. The amount of 3,000º sparks raining down from this fire tool is insane!

I ordered mine from the Pathfinder Store. No fancy bone or wood handles. Just a blank ferro rod.

My down and dirty handle is made of several feet of Gorilla Tape and a loop of paracord. Here’s my reasoning for this handle:

  • Extra Gorilla Tape is never a bad thing in a crisis
  • Epoxied handles tend to come loose with heavy use over time – not so with this tape
  • The loop allows me to clip the rod on the inside of my bushcraft bag or B.O.B.
  • My pinky finger fits inside to secure the grip when pulling the rod across the spine of your knife or metal striker

The One-Strike Fire

The importance of fire for wilderness survival can’t be overstated. If you only have once chance to make fire, this ferro rod increase your odds.

Use a knife with a 90º spine or other sharp object to remove the black coating from the rod. The coating is there to prevent oxidation. Note to self: Do not test this bad boy inside your house or over your feet. Trust me on this one. These globs of molten metal burn for a couple of seconds once they hit the ground.

DSCN0473

No amount of sparks will start a fire without properly processed tinder. Here I’m working natural tinder (cedar bark) into a fine fiber. Just to the left of my hands is a hat full of Beech leaves. Foliage from Beech trees is hanging around (late March) just asking to help make fire.

DSCN0474

Get the angle right with your scraper on the ferro rod and pull the rod back across the spin. My closed Opinel #8 worked fine. You want a high carbon steel blade for this task. The high carbon part isn’t as important with ferro rods but comes into play when using flint and steel to make sparks.

[High carbon steel is pyrophoric. Pyrophoric materials are substances that ignite instantly upon exposure to oxygen. We'll discuss the science behind flint and steel in an upcoming post.]

DSCN0475

The increased surface area of my new pyro wand produced fire in my tinder bundle with only one strike. What if you only get one strike to make fire? Bring a big bat to the plate!

DSCN0476

DSCN0477

In an emergency scenario where fire determines your survivability, rescue, life or death… SIZE MATTERS! Once you go big, you’ll never go back.

Update: For those interested, below is a progress photo of my semi-permanent bushcraft shelter. We all need a place to practice our Doing the Stuff skills… a place to trade theory for action!

DSCN0480

 

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

by Todd Walker

I love my Pathfinder 32 oz. Bottle Cooking Kit… except for one thing… the bag.

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

The bag is such a useful piece of kit and I hated its one glitch.

The nesting cup caught on the interior of the nylon bag when storing or removing the set. I filed the bat-wing handle attachment but the cup still snagged the bag liner. Oh well, I thought I’d have to live with it. 

Christian C rescued my bag by making a simple, yet brilliant, modification on his YouTube channel which saved me the gnawing frustration each time I used my cup in the field. You can check his video out at the bottom of this post. 

As many of you know, I’m a container freak! And this mod not only fixes the bag snag but also adds yet another metal container to my cook kit. I’m a redundancy freak too. 

All you need is a #3 Tall can from the grocery store. I stopped by our mom and pop grocery store on my way back from some quality dirt time yesterday and bought the cheapest can of tomato juice on the shelf. I walked in with my tape measure to make sure the can would fit my PF bag. 

The can’s dimensions are 4 1/4 inches in diameter by 7 inches tall and holds about 45 oz. I paid $1.55. 

Remove the lid with a can opener and discard the juice… or drink it if you’re into cheap, watered down fruit juice. Check the rim for any sharp edges. File them smooth if you have any. Mine had none. 

Wash and dry the can. Drill two holes on opposite sides of the top rim of the can. File the holes smooth. Make the holes large enough to accept the fish mouth spreader (bottle hanger) that comes with your PF Complete Bottle Cooking Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

Bottle hanger attached to my new container

Insert the can into the bag. It’s a tight fit but will slide in creating a nesting sleeve for the cup, 32 oz. bottle, and pack stove ring. 

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

27 oz cup nesting inside the 45 oz can

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

A Bomb Proof Mod for the Pathfinder Bottle Cook Kit

Perfect fit!

Disclaimer: As you know, I don’t advertise on our site. I receive no compensation for any of the stuff I promote on our blog unless it passes the Doing the Stuff test. If you’re interested in ordering this kit, you can do so by clicking here: PF Complete Bottle Cooking Kit. The newer model comes with a strainer lid for the cup, an item I’m ordering soon. 

You never want to be caught without a way to stay hydrated or make fire to regulate your core temperature. That’s why I carry this bomb proof kit with me on all my adventures in the wild – day hikes, camping, dirt time, hunting, and fishing.

I can’t thank Christian C enough for his brilliant idea! Watch his video below…

<iframe width=”640″ height=”390″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/rC0zJcKWpbg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd 

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook pageReady to trade theory for action? Join us in the Doing the Stuff Network on these social media sites: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Use the hashtag #DoingTheStuff when sharing your stuff on Twitter.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper sites while you’re there…

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Blowing The Lid Off Char Containers

by Todd Walker

If you don’t like something, change it. This isn’t easy to do in some area of life. Especially when applied to stuff beyond our control.

I’ll spare you the philosophical mumble floating in my head. You’re welcome!

You want practical, field tested, physical stuff that works. Today I want to show you a simple modification you can make to your char container.

In controlled settings, charring cloth on my fish cooker in my outdoor kitchen, my Altoids char tin worked like a gem. In the field, not so much. Something caused the lid to blow at a most inopportune time… while in the fire.

No longer starved of oxygen, the fire triangle was complete and a natural chain reaction occurred: char cloth ignites and I blow my lid!

Taking a gamble on theory is a sucker’s game. Time to…

Purge Your Preps

Doing the Stuff with your gear is the only way you’ll discover what needs to change. That’s the process of trading theory for action. Act. Analyze. Adjust.

Don’t depend on any gear in your kit, BOB, kitchen, shop, or any other place without proving your preps. Taking this action will cause you to lighten your load, devolve, and simplify.

Here’s an easy fix to keep you from blowing your lid!

Blowing My-Lid-Over-Char-Containers

Easy button fix ~ 500 count .22 cal. pellet container

“Leave lame containers behind!” was my thought. To prevent you from racking your brain to find the almost-perfect charring container, allow me to show you mine. DRG and I began the hunt. Nothing. We scoured store isles I had no business walking down – ever!

Then, in a stroke of brilliance, an “Aha Moment” occurred.

I blurted out, “I’ll use one of my pellet tins!” The lady next to me pretended not to notice my outburst.

When I got home, I emptied a 500 count .22 caliber pellet tin into another container. Don’t have a pellet container with a screw-on lid? Sporting goods stores sell these for under $10. Pellet rifles and pellets are a great addition to your preps anyway.

Dirt Time at Walker Woods

I made some char pads to prime my new tin. Scraped off the brittle, chipped logo from the lid at home, grabbed my bushcraft kit, and headed to the woods.

Here’s a pictorial guide to my journey:

Blowing My-Lid-Over-Char-Containers

Punk pine!

With only a few pieces of charred cotton pad in my new tin, I pulled up my mental map of resources near my Dirt Time Camp. There was an old dead fall 70 yards away as I recalled.

If you haven’t formed the habit of making mental maps, or you’re just plain forgetful, keep a journal in your kit to jot down what, where, when, how, and why to help you find resources near your Dirt Time Camp.

Punk wood makes great natural char material. Find wood that is partially rotted but not deteriorated to dust.

Blowing My-Lid-Over-Char-Containers

Punk wood in the tin

Place small pieces of punk wood in your char tin with any existing charred material. In this case, the punk is on top of a bit of char cloth and char pad I’d made previously.

Blowing-My-Lid-Over-Char-Containers

Smoke coming from the pin hole in the top

Screw on the lid and place in the fire or coals. Watch for smoke (wood gas) coming from the small hole in your lid.

The wood gas will combust if making contact with flames from you fire. Not a problem. The material will char anyway.

Once the smoke (or flaming wood gas) stops coming from the hole, your material is charred. Remove the tin from the heat source and allow to cool.

I took advantage of rare Georgia snow to cool my char container.

Blowing-My-Lid-Over-Char-Containers

Chillin’ char tin

Test your charred material. Throw hot sparks from your ferro rod into your tin. You should get a several glowing embers.

Blowing-My-Lid-Over-Char-Containers

Embers on charred punk wood

Satisfied with the glow, screw the lid back on to extinguish the embers. This tin rides in my bushcraft kit. No worries about the lid popping open when you screw it!

Blowing-My-Lid-Over-Char-Containers

 

Your gear and kits should evolve and change as you add skills and knowledge. You may half the stuff in your pack just adds extra weight. But you’ll never know what needs to change until trade theory for action.

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

P.S. – You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. The Doing the Stuff Network community can be found here: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Join us!

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your vote on the “Top Prepper Sites“! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

The Woodsman’s Secret to a Well-Hung Ax

by Todd Walker

There may come a day when axes top the list of must-have tools for harvesting wood. I can see a couple of pending scenarios where owning a well-hung ax is preferred. And no, the Zombie Apocalypse ain’t one of them!

The-Woodsman's-Secret-to-a-Well-Hung-Ax

My top reason appeals to manliness – and self-reliance. My “prepping” paradigm continues to shift from consumerism to self-reliance at a startling pace. With the river of shiny survival stuff flooding the banks of the preparedness community, I began to realize my need to go balls to the wall on traditional skills. Forgotten skills. Like how to properly re-handling an ax.

A point of pride for ax aficionados is how well a cutting tool is hung. The way in which an ax is mounted on a wooden handle (haft or helve) is called the hang…. and getting the hang of it takes practice.

Question: Do you want to be known as the woodsman with a well-hung cutting tool?

If so, here’s how to…

Get the Hang of it

I own a fiberglass handled sledge-hammer and splitting maul. Those tools are mere blunt objects that serve a purpose. Box store axes fall into this same “blunt object” category. But a real ax is a work of art, a thing of beauty, and a joy forever. And art work deserves to be hung well.

I refuse to buy or ever consider owning an ax without a wooden handle. Call me old-fashioned, but I like the feel of a hickory handled striking tool. Tradition matters! So does performance.

Before the turn of last century, a good ax head often came without a handle. Woodsmen, lumberjacks, pioneers, and homesteaders had their favorite handle pattern they created from wood staves. The tried and true designs became family heirlooms.

Why?

Because a well-hung ax feels right in your hands. Balance, angle, flexibility, length, weight, and diameter combine for the perfect hang.

Choose Good Wood

The traditional wood used for an ax, adze, and hammer is hickory. When selecting a handle, pay close attention to the run of the wood grain and color. You’re big box hardware store may have a decent handle. I lucked up and found one at a local “Ace is the place” store. This handle will be hung on an old ax I bought at a yard sale a few year back. Nothing special – but almost free – and works for my application.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

Some stuff needed to hang an ax… the adze and froe were added for no apparent reason.

No matter where you get your new haft, check the run of the wood grain from the side view. Grain running perpendicular to the handle won’t last long. Look for grain running parallel the whole length. A few stray grains won’t hurt.

Now check the butt end of the handle. Grain running vertically on the end is what you’re after. Horizontal grain in striking tools won’t absorb constant shocks.

The Definitive Guide to a Well-Hung Ax

Vertical grain on the left. Image source

Avoid painted or varnished handles. Paint covers a multitude of sins. A clear varnish can be sanded off if it meets good wood standards and an eye-ball test.

Color Counts

Hickory heart wood is reddish in color. You’re likely to find this in low-grade handles. Look for white sap wood handles. My handle has hints of heartwood but is mostly made of the outer white wood.

Size Matters

The size of your handle depends on the weight of your ax. For our purposes here, we aren’t dealing with specialty S-shaped hafts for broad axes. Today we’re talking about axes used for chopping, splitting, and self-reliance tasks.

Haft length depends on the job and personal preference. Longer handles (36″) for felling and chopping large timber, shorter for lighter work. How short? Pictured below is my Wetterlings Ax. Sadly, I didn’t find this one at a yard sale.

The-Woodsman's-Secret-to-a-Well-Hung-Ax

Wetterlings Backwoods Ax measures 16″ long

Hanging Procedures

Gather your supplies. You’ll need a handle, wooden wedge, wood glue, hammer or wooden mallet, rasp, sand paper, gloves, saw (hacksaw or reciprocating metal blade), punch, boiled linseed oil, and a vise helps. Don’t have a vise? Improvise with two sections of 4×4 to support the ax-head.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

Some stuff need to hang an ax

First, remove the old handle. Saw it off near the bottom of the ax-head. Use a large diameter punch and hammer to drive the remaining wood out of the eye of the ax. I used a section of 5/8 all-thread. If epoxy was used on the head on the last handle, you may have to remove the wood with a drill.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

Don’t clamp the ax-head in the vise unless you don’t mind it being scared. Rest it over a gap in the vise to remove the wood.

Turn the ax-head upside down and drive the old wood out through the top of the eye. The eye on axes are tapered from the bottom to the top – small to large. The old rotted handle on this one was easily removed.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

First fit with the new handle

Insert the new haft into the eye from the bottom opening. The ax-head will leave marks on the wood showing you how much wood to remove for proper seating. It needs to sit on the shoulder of the new handle. Mine needed to go another two inches to make that point.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

Taking off wood with a rasp

Remove the new handle again and grab your rasp. You can use power tools to remove the excess wood. Be careful not to take too much off though. You can’t glue saw dust back on.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

Final fit… after removing extra wood three times.

Once you have a good fit on the haft, apply wood glue to both sides of your wooden wedge. Don’t coat the entire wedge. Spread the glue on the bottom half of the wedge to prevent squeezing glue out of the slotted kerf end of the handle.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

I leave about a 1/4″ of the handle above the ax-head.

Use a block of wood or a wooden mallet to drive the wedge into the slotted end. This creates even pressure on the wedge to keep it from splitting. Cut the remaining wedge and excess handle off. I leave about 1/8″ to 1/4″ above the head.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

Metal wedge across the wooden wedge

Drive a metal wedge small enough to expand the wood without splitting the handle. Hardware stores sell metal wedges in various sizes for your application. Don’t use nails or screws. Ever seen an ax-head with nails bent over the top edge in an attempt to keep it mounted? NOT pretty… or safe!

Counter sink the metal wedge with a punch. Some folks skip the metal wedge for worries of splitting the handle at the top of the eye. A proper sized metal wedge shouldn’t split the kerf portion. I like the added security.

The-Definitive-Guide-to-a-Well-Hung-Woodsman's-Ax

If your haft came from a box store, it’s likely varnished. Sand the varnish off with 180 grit sand paper. Apply 2 or 3 coats of linseed oil to the wood. Generous amounts should be used at the top eye area.

The-Woodsman's-Secret-to-a-Well-Hung-Ax

Applied to latex gloves and spread on the haft

Latex gloves come in handy for this task.

The-Woodsman's-Secret-to-a-Well-Hung-Ax

Nothing like a woodsman’s well-hung ax!

The-Woodsman's-Secret-to-a-Well-Hung-Ax

Not bad for an “almost free” yard sale find!

Keep Doing the Stuff!

Todd

P.S. – You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, and our Facebook page. The Doing the Stuff Network community can be found here: PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook. Lots of good stuff going on here… check it out!

P.P.S ~ If you find value in our blog, DRG and I would appreciate your  vote on the “Top Prepper Sites“! You can vote daily by clicking here or the image below. Check out all the other value-adding Prepper Sites while you’re there.

Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcrafting, Camping, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Homesteading, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

Deconstructing My Survival Slingshot

by Todd Walker

Ben left a comment requesting details on how to make the Survival Sling Shot I shared in August.

Thanks for your interest, Ben. Here ya go!

Step 1: You need a basic wrist rocket sling shot to start.

You can find them at box stores for cheap or yard sales even cheaper. They usually come with a yellowish colored surgical tube band. Purchase a black band and replace the one that came with your sling shot. The black ones are stronger and offer more power on your draw.

Step 2: Fabricate a piece of lightweight metal (aluminum) about an inch wide. I used a scavenged bracket from a bleacher. Bend the strip at a 90 degree angle at the 3 inch mark on one end.

Deconstructing My Survival Sling Shot

Aluminum bracket for mounting the line spool

Create a notch on the short end of the bend that will fit between the bar and plastic handle of your sling shot.

Deconstructing My Survival Sling Shot

Tweak the notch until it fits snuggly

Pre-drill two holes in the bracket and plastic handle and mount it with screws to the weapon.

Step 3: Build your line spool from a 5 to 6 inch long piece of PVC pipe (1 inch diameter). Glue a cap to one end. Drill a 1/8 inch hole in the center of the other cap that will accept a 1 inch long bolt.

Deconstructing My Survival Sling Shot

Mounting bolt attached to cap

Insert the bolt from the inside of this cap and secure it to the cap with a lock washer and nut.

Drill a matching hole in the top of your aluminum bar to accept the bolt. Attach the line spool cap to the bar with a wing nut and lock washer – thumb tight.

You can fill the line spool tube with small items you might need, like fire starter and repair glue to change arrow tips. Don’t forget to include a small Bic lighter.

Now dry fit the spool onto the mounted cap. Don’t glue this end. Use tape to hold the cap on the pipe so you can access the goodies inside the spool when needed.

Step 4: Wind several feet of nylon line around the spool. I notched a small groove near the unglued cap end and tied a simple loop to begin my spool. Use duct tape to secure the line on the spool.

Wrap the line around the spool until you have enough. Not too bulky, but enough. You’ll always have extra cordage with you when needed.

Deconstructing My Survival Sling Shot

Attach a fishing leader to the end of your line. Burn the loose end to prevent unraveling. I used a velcro strip to keep the line from peeling off during storage. A rubber band would work too. This is where I attach the line to my arrow when sling shot fishing. (Check game and fishing regulations in your state before using this to harvest animals or fish)

Step 5: Attach a Whisker Biscuit for your arrow rest between the arms of your sling with wire ties. If done properly, you can make the arrow rest fold down to allow you to shot ball bearings or small pebbles from your sling.

Deconstructing My Survival Sling Shot

Whisker Biscuit

Step 6: You can modify a carbon arrow with a fishing tip, field tip, or broad head. Here’s a look at my mods on my fishing tip.

Deconstructing My Survival Sling Shot

Fishing tip with line attached and glued

The line runs from end to end of the arrow and attached with hot melt archery glue. (Keep the glue stick inside the spool tube for storage).

Deconstructing My Survival Sling Shot

Golf tee inserted for a nock

I removed the standard nock and glued a golf tee in its place. This gives a better gripping surface in the leather sling pouch when you draw your sling shot. This step is not necessary, but adds to the overall project.

To use for fishing, attach the leader from your spool to the line on your arrow. Load your arrow in the arrow rest, and you’re ready to go fishing!

Deconstructing My Survival Sling Sho

I’ve got a couple of arrows in my sling shot quiver for different applications. My next project will be to make a take-down arrow to fit inside my kit.

Hope this helps, Ben. Let me know if you have questions or need more details.

Keep doing the stuff!

Todd

P.S. ~ As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please pass it on. You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterest, and our new Facebook pageThanks for sharing the stuff!

Copyright Information: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

 

Categories: Bushcraft, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Gear, Survival, Survival Skills | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Stump Shooting as a Survival Skill

by Todd Walker

Flinging arrows at archery targets in a controlled environment helps you master the fundamentals of archery. If you’re bored with a sterile target range, grab your stick and string and hit the woods for a dress rehearsal for bow season – or survival.

Stump Shooting as a Survival Skill

A little stump shooting in a target-rich environment!

Stump shooting, for those unfamiliar with the practice, is simply walking through the wilderness, with bow and arrow in hand, and shooting at decaying stumps, dirt mounds, foliage, or other natural targets. I use to go stumpin’ often in my younger days. Those were some fun adventures!

I still enjoy stump shooting. However, as archery season gets closer, stumping becomes a bit more serious.

If you are averse to killing game animals in good times, learning how to get close to animals, even if you only shoot them with your camera, is a skill worth adding to your survival set.

Sherpa Tip: In a complete break down of society and collapse scenario, hunting for meat should be used by baiting game animals. This only applies to true survival situations (WROL – Without Rule Of Law). Check your game laws before attempting to bait animals for hunting.

Stump Shooting Pros

These are a few ways stumping can benefit your hunting and survival skills.

  • You’re in the woods! That alone offers endless challenges and shooting opportunities.
  • Exercise. You can make it as challenging or relaxing as you like. Try carrying your hunting pack or bug out bag while stumping.
  • Grab a partner and make a game of stumping. Kind of like frisbee golf, only way cooler!
  • Hone your hunting/stalking skills. Practice moving through brush as quietly as possible. Try not to brush against vegetation or limbs. You’ll find yourself in crazy yoga-style positions. I hear yoga is very good for you.
  • Raises your awareness in wilderness surroundings. Practice using all five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Bow hunting requires a totally different skill set than harvesting game with a gun.
  • Estimating yardage without range finders.
  • Varied shooting angles – uphill, downhill, and level. This is useful for those who prefer hunting from trees or stands. Climb a hill to practice shooting at your stand height.
  • Practice instinctive shooting. I shoot with traditional archer equipment. No fancy pin sights. This allows me to acquire my target quickly.
Honing Survival Skills by Stump Shooting

The camera is on a tripod. No danger :)

I’m shooting a recurve bow (43 pound draw weight) in the above photo with a mix of cheap arrows. It’s not advisable to stump shoot with compound bows unless you’re sure your target is soft enough. The force generated from modern archery equipment is extreme. If your target is not sufficiently decayed, you’ve just destroyed an arrow.

stump-shooting-as-a-survival-skill

A cheap $2 arrow in a not-so dead stump. Had a time pulling that one.

Points for stump shooting can be plain field tips. Judo points and rubber blunt tips are better options. As always, be sure of your backdrop when shooting.

stump-shooting-as-a-survival-skill

Judo point from my Sling Shot Pocket Hunter.

The most obvious advantage of archery equipment in a SHTF survival situation is noise discipline. You can harvest all manner of game animal with proper shot placement without giving up your position.

On the other hand, there is usually tracking involved when shooting larger animals with an arrow. Wandering around the woods with your eyes searching for a blood trail could be a distinct disadvantage.

Archery equipment gives you options in your preparedness plan. And options make you robust and anti-fragile.

Buying a bow and arrow does not make you an archer. But it’s a start. Doing the stuff to build your archery skills may one day swing survival in your favor. Stumping is a one way to practice in real field conditions and can offer survival simulations.

Primitive bows have been used for thousands of years as weapons for war and hunting. In the hands of a skilled archer, they’re lethal. They do have their limitations, though.

What’s your thoughts on the pros and cons of using archery equipment as a survival tool? Share in the comments if you’d like.

Keep doing the stuff!

Todd

P.S.

As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please pass it on. You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterest, and our new Facebook page.

Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

Categories: Gear, Primal Skills, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

Running on Empty: Siphoning Gas without Sucking

by Todd Walker

Gasoline in your mouth is not pleasant – or safe!

Running on Empty: Siphoning Gas without Sucking

This doesn’t happen – not to you!

Growing up on a rural farm there were times when we needed gasoline for our non-essential combustion engines (dirt bike or go-cart). Daddy would never notice a gallon missing from his work truck. 

Our technique was crude. We’d stealth-fully shove a length of hose into Daddy’s plumbing truck gas tank and coax our youngest brother to suck on the other end of the hose if he wanted to ride to the bottom fields. The thing is, he wised up after his first mouthful of gas.

You have safer options today. Of course, in an extreme emergency, you could use a hose to siphon fuel orally, but it’s not advisable. 

I purposely ran the tank of my daily driver below empty this week. A very rare occurrence. I needed to rotate my gasoline storage. The fuel was just over six months old. Though I treat my stored fuel, I don’t trust the ethanol mix to last. Corn gas isn’t good for your vehicle. 

If you want real gas, here is a site to help you locate non-ethanol laced fuel near you. It’s more expensive but is so much better. 

Siphoning Gas Without Sucking

First, let me say how much I hate Government Approved gas cans! The Usurpers on the Potomac screw up everything they touch. Even a simple gas container.

As of January 10, 2009 all portable fuel containers are required to conform to two new regulations:[3]

  1. They must meet new federal Mobile Source Air Toxic regulations, based on the California Air Resources Board’s regulations.[4]
  2. They must meet the requirements of the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act.[5] - Source

 

I suppose the switches, buttons and pouring handles on approved containers are for our safety, right? Well, they suck!

Okay. I’m better now. 

To keep from sucking from Government cans, or any gas cans, you need a Shaker Siphon. 

Running on Empty: Siphoning Gas without Sucking

Just shake and it works!

You can purchase these online. I found this one at an auto parts store and bought two. They cost about 8 bucks a piece. 

For my Forerunner, I have to elevate the gas can above the vehicle’s tank. Holding a 5 or 6 gallon tank of gas while filling your vehicle tank is not practical. I sit my on the top of the Forerunner or on the ledge of my turn signal with my backdoor open. 

Running on Empty: Siphoning Gas without Sucking

That’s me suspending a 5 gallon Jerry Can. Not really. It’s resting on my turn signal.

The hose is only six feet long. Keep that in mind for your can placement. When on the roof, I have just enough hose length to reach my vehicle gas tank. 

Running on Empty: Siphoning Gas without Sucking

A slight tilt allows the valve to suck more fuel from the can.

It would much easier to place the can in the back of a pick up truck and just shake the hose. I’m truck-less at the moment. 

Warning: If you place the tank on top of your vehicle, make sure you hold the hose in your vehicle’s tank as you shake the siphoning valve in the 5 gallon can. You may not have a decent length in the opening of your car’s tank. Shaking the valve end can pull the filling end out of the tank opening. There’s no shut off valve. The gas will pour all over the side of your vehicle and your shoes until you re-insert the hose into your tank.

Don’t ask me how I know.

This Shaker Siphon will drain a 5 gallon can of gas like it’s nobody’s business. A couple of minutes and you’re ready for the next transfer can. 

This device is not limited to fuel transfer. It can be used to transfer water and other liquids. Just be sure to label clearly and keep different hoses separated to prevent cross contamination. 

You’ll want to wear gloves (do as I say, not as I did) and have some Gojo on hand to remove any gas that may have spilled on your skin. 

Running on Empty: Siphoning Gas without Sucking

Consider adding Gojo to your vehicle kit.

No water needed. Just rub a dab of Gojo on your hands and wipe off with a towel. 

My next gas siphoning project is to build a portable filling pump from a spare electric fuel pump. Just hook it up to your car battery and transfer fuel to another tank. 

What’s your best method fuel (liquid) transfer? Share in the comments if you’d like. 

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S.

As always, if anything from this site adds value to your life, please share it. You can also connect with us on TwitterPinterest, and our new Facebook page.

Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

 

Categories: Gear, Preparedness | Tags: , | 19 Comments

Whole Civilizations Were Built Around Containers

by Todd Walker

I’m a container junkie! I can’t get enough.

My most recent addition to my collection is the Ultimate Bottle Cooking Set GEN2 from The Pathfinder Store.

pathfinder bottle cooking set

Cool, huh? But is it worth the price?

I bought this set to replace my old plastic GI canteen with nesting cup for my 72 Hour Kit. Plus, I wanted a water/cooking kit I could grab and throw in my hunting kit or day hike bag. Every thing I need to make fire, collect water, and cook is packed in the water bottle bag.

Here’s what came to my door within two days of placing my order:

The stainless steel bottle adds cooking options I didn’t have with my plastic GI canteen. Now I can cook or boil water within the bottle itself if needed. Couldn’t do that with the plastic canteen. This redundancy alone sold me on the kit.

I’ve got other stainless steel water bottles. As a matter of fact, I was lucky enough to win one (Klean Kanteen) from Camping Survival on Twitter a year ago! It was a smaller bottle without the wide mouth opening. Still, it has come in handy.

The thing about the Pathfinder bottle I like is the size and wide mouth. The only way for it to be better is to include a stainless lid. The plastic screw-on lid seals just fine. It nests in the cup perfectly.

Cons

I’ve done a couple of tests with the set. Right from the start, I noticed a couple of modifications I’d need to make. When removing the cup, which fits snugly in the bag, the metal handle bracket snags on the inside of the bag. This can be remedied with a little tape – or Pathfinder might consider making the bag’s diameter a few centimeters larger.

Sharp edges on the Pack Stove and Grill Top need to be smoothed with a file. Not a biggie. Just be careful using and storing the stove in the top of the bag. I haven’t been nicked using it. But it has that potential.

I’d prefer a metal spork in the kit. But the cost would go up. So the plastic one will do.

Pros

The complete kit is priced at $58.00. If all you want is the bottle and cup, it’ll set you back $32. Buying the items separately would run over $100. The kit is worth the price for me!

The bag has ample storage space for the kit contents and more stuff I’ve added (fat wood, paracord, and jute twine). I like the fact that it can be carried with a shoulder strap (not included) or buckled to a belt or molle straps on a bag. I plan on making a paracord strap like some of my rifle slings I’ve made.

The fire striker comes with an attached hacksaw blade which works well and showers plenty of sparks onto the Micro Infernos fire starters in the kit. I laid open one fire starter with my Mora knife to add extra surface area for the sparks. After a few scraps from the ferro rod, I had fire.

IMG_1071

Another feature I really like is the Bottle Hanger. This item is designed to fit into the wide mouth opening of the bottle. It also fits other bottles like my Kleen Kanteen bottles. This allows you to lift bottles directly from a camp fire or stove. It can also be hooked into two holes in the cup for the same purpose.

The bottle hook on a cup of wild ginger tea.

The bottle hook on a cup of wild ginger tea.

The cup and bottle sit on my Emberlit stove with no problem. I prefer the Emberlit over the stove that came with the kit. But the kit stove works. It’s just not as effective.

Having knowledge and skills allows one to travel with less stuff. This kit is ideal for that purpose. With a good cutting tool and this kit, you could survive in a wilderness emergency. Remember, knowledge weighs nothing.

This cooking kit is very popular at The Pathfinder Store. As of this morning, it is currently unavailable. They sell out quickly. Check their site often if you want one.

Keep doing the stuff,

Todd

P.S. 

Be a SmartPrepper and sign up for our blog updates, follow us on Twitter, and Pinterest. We’d also appreciate a ‘like’, comments, and shares on our new Facebook page. Any information on this site may be shared freely, in part or whole, with a link back to this site crediting the author. Thanks for sharing the stuff!

 

 

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Gear, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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