Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Beloved Mora

Many of you who read these kind of blogs probably have read a score of articles on the Mora knife. Well get ready for another one !!!! I was first introduced to these knives at age 18. (I'm surprised I didn't already know about them, since I knew everything). I was in bushcraft class taught by Mors Kochanski. I didn't know who he was or what he knew, but looking back on it I wish I had taken some pictures and better notes. That's for another time. He had this knife hanging around his neck. It had a cheap plastic sheath, and a ugly red handle. Old Mors walked up to a tree about the size of a coffee can,and beat that ugly knife all the way in to the handle. He then stood on the knife. After he talked a little more, he beat that Mora around the tree, cutting it down. Needless to say I was impressed. That is how it started for me, an addiction. Through the years I have owned many Moras, and gave most of them away. I have kept a few. The one I will always use and keep is the beauty all the way to the right in the pic. It was given to me in 92 by the lead instructor of the Swedish Survival School. It has gutted,skinned, and butchered a lot af animals. It has been used to start hundreds of fires. It has been vital in shelter building,cutting chute, cleaning fish, and digging out splinters. It is my favorite knife. The other two in the picture are ones I have put handles on. A really fun project. I won't get into the steel type, or scandi grind. That is up to you to find out. Lets just say for around 10 bucks you can't beat it. The place I buy mine now is Bens Backwoods. By the way I don't get squat for giving him a plug, and that is ok.

Now that you have seen a great knife for a great price, go get one!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Insulation Bed

Well folks here in Iowa, it got cold in a hurry!! So I thought this would be a good time to go over an insulation bed. The reason we want this? Warmth. If you can separate your self from the ground and create dead air space your good to go. To start with the bed we are making is semi permanent. That is why we are using the logs. All they really do is keep your bed from spreading out, and keep you from rolling off.

The next step is to put down a layer of small springy branches. In this case I used willow. You can use pine boughs as well. The key is to look at the natural bend in the branch and use it to keep you off the ground. I always stick the large end into the dirt if I can. This will give you more loft and the branches won't move.

The last step in this bed is to add another layer. I chose foxtail. You can use other grasses, cattails, dry moss, or anything else that will help to soften and insulate your bed.

Now that you have seen it get out and do it !!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lunch at Camp 1

Another great day in the woods (as if there is any other kind).Myself, my boys, and one of their friends spent most of the day in the woods today. We made some new benches, started a fire, and cooked lunch. We decided to use the rig you can see in the pic to cook lunch. It's a real easy setup. All you need is a stick about 6 ft, a small log and a stake. The trick to cooking on a open fire is trying to keep an even temp. With this rig, you anchor one end of the stick to the ground with the stake, hang the pot from the other end and place the log under the stick. By moving the log back and forth, you control the distance of the pot from the fire, therefore controlling your temp. I know most people who read about the outdoors and bushcraft have seen this way of cooking. But, now you need to get out on a day like today with your family or friends and do it. Get out and have some fun!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

550 Cord : A gift from above

In most peoples kits is some kind of cordage. It's almost a given. Most of the people I know carry military spec 550 cord. Another name I've heard thrown around for this type of cordage is para cord. The problem is there are a lot of different cords used in rigging chutes, but there is only 1 550. As you might have figured out 550 cord gets its name from its tensile strength, 550 lbs.. This fact is a major reason for its popularity. It is strong. Strong enough to lash shelter poles, use for string on a bow and drill, make large game snares, and I have even seen a person rappel with a doubled piece. (This last example is a real bad idea by the way. ) An even better reason to love 550 is its versatility. You can separate all of the parts and really have some fun. The outer sheath has an apx. tensile strength of 220 lbs.. This sheath can be used for any of your lashing, tying, or repair jobs. If you need to wrap a handle of a knife, it lays very flat and is less bulky a full piece. Inside the sheath are the 7 strands of the inner core. Their tensile strength is 35 lbs.. They have a bunch of uses. From sewing to making a gill net and even lashing, let you needs be your guide. The inner core pieces can be untwisted into 3 strands, which work very well for flossing, and other chores that only need a light duty thread. One more great thing about 550, it is easy to get. You can buy it online, or at a surplus place. If you don't have some, you should.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Woods Kit

A good place to start, I think, would be to talk about what I take into the woods for an afternoon hike or forage.
  1. Shelter kit- a poncho and 550 cord
  2. First aid kit- band aids, 4x4 gauze, roller gauze
  3. Water bottle
  4. Metal cup- cook with or boil water
  5. Petzl e+lite- the best headlight I've owned
  6. Snare wire
  7. Multi tool
  8. Mora #2 sheath knife
  9. Fire starting kit-a fire steel, piece of candle, and man made tinder
  10. Diamond steel and ceramic rod
  11. Gerber saw
  12. Wetterlings hatchet
  13. Bug dope (seasonal)
  14. Sunscreen
I carry all of this goodness in a Mountainsmith day pack. With this kit I can set up a waterproof shelter, boil and store water, start a fire, and possibly catch food. This may seem like a lot of stuff to carry on a short hike, but I like to have it with me in case I get the itch to practice some sheltercraft, firecraft, or any other rusty skill.