Friday, November 28, 2008

Baking On the Trail

One of my favorite things to do on the trail is to try different ways to cook while on the trail. This is my second attempt at baking on the trail and my second success. The mix I used this time was a muffin mix. Just add water and stir.

This is the pan I made out of a foil roaster pan. The strips of folded foil in the bottom of the pot keep the batter from burning.

I made pan so the sides won't touch the sides of the pot. Once again so it won't burn. Then build a fire, put your batter in your pan, and put the pan in your pot.
Now you have to move some coals to the lid of the pot. This helps it cook faster, and more even.
After about 30-40 minutes you can have desert. It was good!!!
Give it a try at home, if you can, before you try it in the woods. Happy baking my little Betty Crockers!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Frame Shelter

Well I finally got out in the woods for a weekend. What a blast. We took Troop 242 out to the hills for a little R&R. We really had no big plans or objectives for the boys, which makes for a really great experience for them. The get to run wild, explore, play games, and be on their own for a while with no parents or teachers breathing down their necks. Any way, while they were harassing the environment, I decided it was time to make sure I still have a few skills. So, I made this shelter. I did not use an axe, saw, or knife to build it. Like I said skill check.

I found a nice location, cleared the ground and started to build.
As you can see it's not real complicated. Set you ridge pole, and place your support sticks.
Here in IA we are losing all of our Elm trees, so the bark comes off really easy. Use what you have.
The last thing I did was put leaves on the bark. The more the better.
And, here is the inside. I slept pretty good. It only got down to 25 degrees or so. Not to bad. The whole project took about 2 hours. I'm a little rusty.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Wire Saw

The other day I was on Bushcraft USA and a thread started about wire saws. Almost none of the people posting liked them. I was surprised. I have had the same one for many years and used it on quite a few occasions. Now don't get me wrong it is not an everyday use saw. It's for emergencies. With that said, if you are going to carry a small wire saw you should practice with it. If you put the rings on your fingers and wrap the wire 180 degrees around a log and pull back and forth, you will break a wire saw!!! I have never done that to my saw. Maybe that is why I have the same one for many years.
There are two ways to rig a wire saw. The first is the bow method. Real easy to make, but not the best option. The bigger the stick, hopefully, the more tension on the blade. This makes it easier to cut.

The best option is to make a Buck saw frame. The one in the pic took me about 10 minutes to make. The best part is that I used my new knife, I like!!!

As you can see ,it aint fancy!!! It will cut halfway decent though. The windlass at the top is what gives this design it's strength. Not as easy to make as the bow saw, but it works better. As always if you have question, ask and I will try to answer.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Emergency Candle

Well, at least in Iowa it is starting to feel like winter. That is OK with me. I like winter. But, it has some challenges that we as outdoors people need to be ready for. You know the old "Be Prepared", or "The 6 Ps" Proper, Preparation, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance. One of the things I keep with me when I am out and about is a homemade emergency candle.

Why a candle? Well you can start a fire, use it for light, and with the flame this candle puts out you can cook. The one above is made out of an Altoids tin, a piece of cotton belt, and old votive candles. A really easy project. Just be careful melting the wax. Use a double boiler, which is a large pot with water a smaller pot with the wax that will sit in the larger pot. This way the wax will not get over 212 degrees.This is how it looks lit.

That should get a fire going!!! If you do use one of these for a stove, be warned, they kick out a lot of soot. Now go eat some mints and make a candle!!!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A New Pocket Knife

Well, I pulled the trigger. I finally bought a new pocket knife. I have been carrying the same knife for about 10 years. Still a good knife but I decided to upgrade. This is my old one.

Like I said a good knife. It has a good blade, a nice awl, flat screwdriver, and a can opener. What more do you need? A saw would be nice. So here is my new knife.
We shall see how it works. If it is a piece of crap I will let you know. So far I have used it to make feather sticks to start my wood burner. It worked good. The handle is a little wider than my other pocket knife, which I like. The price was right, about 20 bucks shipped. I will run it through the gauntlet, just like all of my other gear.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Many Uses of Snare Wire

If you have followed my posts you know I carry snare wire in my kit. As with most of my gear, snare wire has a lot of potential. First off, as the name implies, you can use it for....... snares.
The snare on the top is a single strand squirrel snare. The one below is a 2 strand twisted rabbit snare. I have used these types of snares many times, and even caught a few critters.
Another piece of gear in my kit is a steel cup. It has folding handles like a canteen cup. Sometimes, instead of putting the cup on the coals to cook you want to hang it. If you don't have wire that could be a tall order. This is a easy rig, and works well.
How about that candle stub in you kit. With just a little wire you can make a harness for it. Only one thing to watch with this setup, dripping wax.A small price to pay for a little light on a cold, dark, scary night.

The uses of wire in an outdoor situation are almost endless. How about you get out and try a few!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Parachute Tepee

As promised I'm going to try to give enough info on how to construct a parachute tepee. The first part is the scanned pages out of AFM 64-15. Now keep in mind I only used 4 poles for my shelter.

This should give you some good dimensions to start with. The next pic is of the smoke hole. If you are going to have a fire you are going to need a smoke hole. I sewed flaps on my tepee so when I am not in it I can close it up. you can use poles or cord to open and close the flaps.

Once you have the size of your smoke hole, you can start to close up the seam. I sort of alternate between putting in stakes and closing the seam. It takes a pretty sharp peg to get through the chute. The key is rolling the two pieces of chute very tight, then stabbing the peg in and wrapping it so you don't lose the tension.
My tepee is not perfect. Yours won't be either. That's ok. As long as the chute is tight it will shed water quite well. It is not a totally water proof material. So eventually you might want to put a liner in it. I just bought some cheap tarps to do just that. I will post the pics later. If you have any questions please ask. If you want to see a certain skill or project, let me know. Now quit staring at the screen and go build a shelter!!!