Monthly Archives: August 2013
Anyone who has been following Stick’s Blog knows that he recently was tagged by Brian’s Backpacking Blog to talk about his three favorite bushcraft items. In the maddeningly fun game of tag that is being played among us bloggers, I got “tagged it” by Stick to talk about my three favorite bushcraft Items. Well that was a month ago and I just now have gotten to writing this post! Why so long, you ask? Because you take an outdoor loving ultralight backpacker like me and tell them to talk about bushcraft and it takes a while before I stop getting distracted by the cool skills that you can learn and actually write a post. If there is one thing I love more than gear, it’s the skills that make it so I don’t have to take more gear. So I’ve finally stopped watching videos on how to make my own char cloth, traps, and shelters long enough to write this post! So without further ado, my three favorite bushcraft items.
1. Flint and Steel – I love flint and steel. It always works even if it gets wet and the only time it fails is if I don’t use it correctly. This particular one pictured is a humongous rod of Magnesium with a wooden handle and a ferro rod flint on one side. Attached with a piece of orange paracord is, of all things, a piece of hacksaw blade. The tooth side helps scrape off the magnesium and the smooth side is good for striking the flint. I have a smaller version that is in my ditty bag for backpacking as a foolproof fire starter. One of the more frustrating things about flint and steel is there is a talent to it. You have to practice to be proficient at it so one of the things I do is any time I get the chance, I practice in all different types of weather and with several types of kindling and methods. One day it may be raining and I’m using dryer lint and bark, another might be hot and I’m using char cloth and dried grasses. For those of you who don’t know, magnesium is a highly flammable substance. It is flammable when it’s in fragments but stable when in a solid form, like this rod. This makes starting a fire in all conditions much easier which is why this is one of my favorite bushcraft items ever!
2. Hatchet – The hatchet I’m using right now is an old Companion Hatchet from the 60’s-70’s era. I did a little research and they are made by Sears. This particular one is my Step Father’s and he’s been the sole owner and it’s the one I have used my whole life. I’m hoping to get one of my own soon but I’ll be sad to give up using this one. A hatchet is one of the most useful items in the woods when you’re trying to straight up survive in the woods. They are small and handy enough to carry long distances but still usable for many tasks like trap making, wood gathering, even some shelter tasks. It can also be very helpful in turning larger logs into small kindling especially in wet weather when the inside of a log may be dry even when nothing else around you isn’t. I’ve heard a lot of guys say they would take a full sized ax over a hatchet and if I were full on homesteading I’d agree, but when you are carrying everything with you, a hatchet is the way to go.
3. Kupilka Cup – And then of course there is the Kupilka cup. A list of my favorite bushcraft items just could not be complete without this amazing little cup. This was actually a prize I won a few years back from Brian’s Backpacking Blog along with the rest of the Kupilka set. All of the pieces are in my camping box but this little guy comes with me everywhere! It is exactly the right size to measure out a cup of water, have some hot chocolate, or scoop up some water out of a creek. It has the ability to warm my hands without burning my lips when filled with hot liquid which is probably my favorite thing since my hands get and stay cold in wet weather. If you don’t have the skills to make a cup like this, then nothing beats the Kupilka 21 cup!
Now that I’ve told you about my 3 favorite items, it’s time to tag someone else in our fun little game. I think I will give a shout out to two other backpacker ladies, a good friend, JERMM’s Outside Blog, and a new read I’m loving, Rambling Hemlock.
In effort to ignore the fact that I still haven’t finished my write up on my Three Favorite Bushcraft Items that Stick over at Stick’s Blog challenged me to by tagging me in his post, I’m going to talk about the newest piece of gear I have gotten. So without further ado I introduce…
My New Sewing Machine!!!!!!
Yeah I know, total surprise. The title didn’t give it away or anything 🙂 . The amount of sewing I do, especially for backpacking, I was in need of a new sewing machine. Richard was sweet enough (with many promises of making lots of gear and things to sell) let me splurge on a very nice Babylock machine called Grace. For those of you who don’t know, Babylock is the same company that makes Brother sewing machines, but Babylock is their elite line and Grace is the machine that is designed for people who do a lot of sewing with many different types of fabric and styles. It’s a far more durable machine than my previous one and, with proper maintenance and care, should last me a decade, maybe more!
Now just in case you’re thinking about a new machine, I’ll warn you, Babylocks and other top of the line machines like this one are not for the beginner and is not always needed for people who aren’t planning on making more ambitious projects. Even someone who has been sewing their whole life (like me), may have to take a class to know how to really take care of, and best use such a machine. Which is exactly what I will be doing before I get into my bigger projects (can anyone say shelter? 😀 ). In fact, I recommend anyone wanting to make gear take a beginner’s sewing class. You can usually find one at a local sewing shop and if you find a shop you like, they can usually help you find a great machine that will work for the types of projects you do. If you work with some of the UL fabrics like M50, M90, 1.1 Silnylon and even Cuben Fiber, it’s not a bad idea to take some scraps in with you to help make your decision. Most people in the sewing world haven’t heard of many of the fabrics UL backpackers use and it is so much more helpful to have a sample than trying to explain what M50 is. A good shop should even let you try a machine out with your specialty fabrics. This is the same process that I used to pick out my new sewing machine and it was extremely helpful!
It will take a few weeks before I’ll be able to show off my list of gear projects I have waiting for this machine, but I’m hoping over the rest of the year to get to show many new gear items that will be one of a kinds made by yours truly! As you can see, Mom and I had a lot of fun reading the manual and learning all the fun things my sewing machine can do. We spent all afternoon trying things out and I still don’t know everything it can do. If you love sewing projects, farm life, and DIY projects, you can check out my mom’s blog at Imagine It’s Finished. If you read it and end up wondering, I’m Daughter #2.