Friday, 28 February 2014

DIY kit, the way forward.

It's occurred to me over the years, that we should design and make a lot more of  the kit we carry.

One of the fundamental concepts of bushcraft is "utilise what you can find, and make use of the resources available to you". Yet we all seem to throw money at things which you can make yourself. We all have resources you don't think about. In some cases though you may have to pay a small amount but save a fortune. For an example, why buy a wool bush shirt, when realistically a blanket shirt is as good if made well. It could also also be repurposing an old dog food tin as a billy can. Most things are well within your capability.

Being able to design your kit also allows you to get what you want even if it's not commercially produced. You might want a pocket in a certain place, or a certain way to hold your axe in place. It opens up the possibility of getting the very best use from the choices you make. 

We all see the stuff designed by the great and the good, but nobody ever said you didn't have a point, when wishing that you had D- rings and a mobile phone pocket inside your jacket. Or that your possibles pouch divider system was useless. 

I am going to be doing a few how to pages for you all, so you can learn to do and save at the same time. The best of it is when you get the DIY bug it's hard to stop, especially when you can tailor make the kit you want exactly and to your specifications. 

All the best

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Walk in the woods.

I went for a walk in the woods today. I was curious what devastation the recent  weather has had on the environment. I was expecting it to be wet, but lately it has been very bad. The combination of this and the 60-80mph winds had caused a very large number of windfall birch.

The fact is birch doesn't stand much of a chance in these conditions. It will snap, as any tree will, but these trees had their roots severed by the winds. I counted at least 20 wind fallers in sheltered areas.

Now I bet your thinking what's the point of me telling you this. Well to be honest it's more a case of a warning to all. If you are in the woods take care and be as safe as you can, today I seen the damage a tree can do, a close friend of mine had his leg pinned after a tree fell on him whilst felling. I would hate to hear that anyone gets killed. Some trees can upend with no notice, with soft ground this can become likely. So please when you are out, be vigilant and stay away from hung up and potential wind fall trees.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The age old topic of knives

To be honest this is the most contentious subject in bushcraft. There's no such thing as the perfect knife. If there was we'd all have one and there would be no other choice for us to use. All I'm going to do now is tell you what to look for and be honest with yourself on the reasons.

Pictured above are my main users. They both work for me. One is a TBS Boar it's 02 tool steel and hair popping sharp. The other is an Opinel NO.6 in carbon steel which is also hair popping.

I bought these because they work for their intended use. No single knife will do every job. What you have to do is decide what you want it for. You aren't going to fillet a fish with an axe or are you going to be able to do much battoning with a scalpel. Remember that.

Now you have to think where you are using it. Carbon and salinity don't mix well, a nice knife in carbon steel will rust badly if there's salt in the air. If it's coastal areas you prefer you should get stainless.

Now I know that everyone says go carbon as it's easier to sharpen, but if you don't maintain the tool it will rust. Stainless, as a trade off, is harder to sharpen,  but it will take a bit more abuse (just don't leave it soaked constantly).

But with all that said the most important bit is does it work for your hand. It's all very well buying a knife, but if it doesn't work for you it may as well be a pretty ornament. A properly balanced knife will feel effortless. You should try before you buy. 

Never be ashamed in what you choose as a knife. It's your knife and works for you. Belt candy might look pretty, but if you prefer using a run of the mill clipper, then use it with pride.

My view on bushcraft.

To define what bushcraft involves you have to define what bushcraft is. My view is that it is where you go beyond survival, to the point that you have the necessary skills to live and be comfortable in the wilderness. To a point a bushcrafter wants to be there.

Although there are many times where the lines cross between bushcraft and survivalism. It starts to very very hazy at times. I realise that in reality there are many shared skills, tools and you will often realise it becomes almost identical. However then you realise it isn't. I'm not trying to get my backside out alive I am quite happy where I am.

I could go down the route of the age old cliché statements. But I'm not, I find more often than not there is always some  pretentiousness  to them. As your going to find out, I'm going to be objective......... Possibly the worst person to take wine tasting.

About me

This is just a few words about me. I'm just a guy who loves the great outdoors and Bushcraft amongst other things. I never confess to be an expert, as far as I'm concerned I know enough to be proficient, but I've still got a lot to learn. So if you fancy joining me as I regale you with tales from the glens, ideas and my personal thoughts on bushcraft and the great outdoors , then welcome.

I grew up in a rural area of South West Scotland and have spent most of my life in the countryside.  The vast bulk of this blog will be central to that area where I still live.