Saving Judgement: Three Guys Go to the Woods


On the heels of our Bloated Bushcraft article, some of you may find this useful. While I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Jeff face to face, I hold him in high esteem for his woodsy knowledge, love of family, and zest for life. Hope you enjoy his thoughts on saving judgement…

Saving Judgement- Three Guys Go into the Woods -

by Jeff Heigl

Three guys go out in the woods. The first one sets up a canvas tarp that he bought online, rigging it with paracord. He unfolds his wool blankets, takes his Swedish ax, and gathers firewood, He unpacks his gear and places a stainless pot of water on the fire he made with flint and steel to boil water and makes tea.

The second opens up a tarp made from a bed sheet and erects it with line made from natural plants. He takes a ‘hawk he forged and likewise gathers wood and builds a fire using a bow drill. He heats rocks and drops them into a birch container made waterproof with a mixture of pine sap and charcoal. When the water boils he dips in with a hand carved wooden cup and makes a tea from chaga and wintergreen.

The third guy rigs a plastic tarp from Walmart. He uses baling twine for stringing it. He lays out a sheet of plastic and places his sleeping bag on it. He takes his Estwing ax, and, like the others, he gathers firewood. He lays the fire but doesn’t light it. His stainless frying pan and Sierra cup are placed at the ready. Taking up his rifle, he goes hunting.

Which one got it right?

To my way of thinking all three. They came into the woods confident in their equipment and skilled at what they wanted to be skilled at. Each was where he wanted to be, doing as he chose. In the eyes of ‘plastic tarp guy’, the first two had limited themselves by lighting a fire. They had chosen to stay in camp while he was free to hunt and explore. Homemade tarp guy was confident to the extreme. He knew how to make do with what he could make or procure with his own hands. Canvas tarp man knew that his equipment was up to the task, and even though he purchased it, he had what he needed to do what he wanted.

That’s how it is here as well. Doing it all isn’t feasible for 99.9% of us. Bills to pay, college, jobs. Face it, a lot of us live in urban areas that frown on fires, much less forges. Those of us that do live in rural areas or even close to true wilderness are too busy going out to enjoy our ‘backyards’ to knap flint for each arrow just so we can hunt. We still have bills to pay, homes to maintain, families to raise. So we take our experiences in small doses when we can get away. Lol! Seems like there’s never enough time!

To those that are truly in the .01%, I say Great! To be able to afford that lifestyle as a hunter/gatherer must be wonderful. But again, for most of us… not feasible.

So, at the end of this little ramble/rant, let’s not be too hasty to judge one another’s skills. Some follow Nessmuk, some follow the Native American route, and others grab a few cans of beans, some flour, and whatever firearm they need and light out into the wilderness.

Just a few thoughts from an old man sitting on a stump in the woods waiting for shootin’ light.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,

~ Todd

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Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Bushcraft, Camping, equipment, Gear, Self-reliance | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Saving Judgement: Three Guys Go to the Woods

  1. Absolutely great post! Much appreciated for sharing Todd. I’m unfortunately one of those who can only get in the woods maybe once or twice a month. But the time spent is better than a physical massage. No matter how hot or cold it is, the solitude, listening to a creek, fish and critters jumping in a pond, birds singing and the wind blowing through the trees (especially pines and cedar) nothing is more peaceful and relaxing as that.

    In this fast paced, hectic world, day in and day out dealing with people and situations we’d rather not deal with; the woods is open for anyone that chooses to come. It doesn’t judge us for who we are or what we’ve done. It’s always welcoming. Though for optimum woodsy knowledge and experience, it doesn’t seek those who know it all, but those who will come seek and listen.


  2. Brad Cox

    Should have been a fourth guy… who brought the beer ! I wish I could get a few of my buddies together to go camping again… they’re always too busy doing other things… working or have other family plans. I certainly wouldn’t judge them for what they’d bring along… would just enjoy their company. It’s great when guys take responsibility to get a fire going ahead of time especially during bug season to chase off the mosquitos. Then again, during damp conditions, I doubt my buddies would be able to start or keep a fire going. I had to show one of them how to baton / split a log to get to the dry part last time we camped. It’s usually been me who maintains the fire while they sit around BS’ing and doing squat.


    • Those are good times with buddies, Brad! Hope you get to burn some sticks with them soon. And a fourth guy isn’t a bad idea at all! 😉


    • Gerald

      Ever thought about expanding your circle of friends and change your circumstances instead of complaining?


  3. Steve

    A truely great essay on the different styles we choose to live our lives by.We shouldn’t judge each other, we should learn from each other. Remember the important thing is to spend time in the woods!


    • The tendency we humans have is to think our way is the way. Nothing could be further from the truth. The proper mindset is one of a student in all of life’s disciplines. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Steve!


  4. I appreciate this, Todd. It’s a perspective like this that reminds me – it’s only fun if you’re still having fun doing it. Make it too much about image or posturing, and the fun disappears. My kids help remind me of that when we’re out, for sure!


    • The picture on the post is me and my two nephews in AR last year. We all had different styles and gear but that made no difference in the fun department. That’s one reason I enjoy teaching kids. They keep it real, as they say. Thanks, Corey!


  5. Roscoe

    Good post. This reasoning should be applied to all areas of life.


  6. Pingback: Self Reliance News Round Up – 2016-06-18 – Wolfe's Blog

  7. Robert

    I’ll never understand what is so difficult about spelling “judgment”.


  8. I often say that there’s no one right way to do things (including living). This post was a great reminder. Thanks for sharing Jeff’s tale with us.


  9. Pingback: Self Reliance News Round Up – 2016-06-18 – Wolfe’s Blog

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