This article was written 5 yrs ago… most of it still holds true to my thinking. This was more of a tester post for my blog. I will make a permanent evolving page concerning my thoughts and methods in the months to follow.
Let me share with you the contents of what I consider a basic Bush Kit.
Hand forged from 5160 spring steel, the Bushknife “Original” was designed to be an indestructible “back-up knife” that never leaves your side. The cord wrap is not for everybody… I wouldn’t have it any other way for its intended purpose…. A cracked handle that has been epoxied and pinned would be a nightmare to repair in the field, let alone a survival situation. Though it may not last as long, the wrap is easily replaced or removed. The knife is intended to be compact with a slim ride on the hip. You can wear a pack with a waist belt and it doesn’t interfere too much. It’s not a specialized tool for whittling, skinning, food prep, etc… but the blade shape lends itself well to most tasks. It excels at battoning, prying and crushing plants for cordage fibres. The pommel is hardened for traditional flint and steel use…. and the cord can be pried off with a sharp stick to be used for bow strings, snares, fishing line… whatever. Underneath, the cord, the tang is sanded smooth so the knife will still be manageable in a bare hand without the wrap. The cord channels really help out when lashed to the end of a lance. The heat treat is a little on the soft side so it will bend, not break or chip out. Simple, tough and practical.
Your Firepouch is a traditional fire starting kit that is worn low on the belt and easily accessible. It contains a Hudson’s Bay Tobacco Tin with burning lens in lid. Inside the tin is a piece of Illinois chert, a hand forged Strife (striker/knife), char cloth and jute cord. Here are a few helpful hints to make using your fire kit a little easier and safer…
- Separate one of the pieces of jute completely. Pull the fibres apart until they are fluffy like a ball of hair. Practice finding natural tinder to supplement your kit.
- Never cast sparks directly over the tin. You could unknowingly burnout your entire char supply.
- When casting sparks with the Strife, pinch it between your thumb and first two fingers while keeping the blade pointing up with the edge toward you.
- Hold a bit of char cloth between your thumb and the piece of chert. Strike a fast glancing blow perpendicular to the sharp edge of the chert. What you are doing is shaving a small piece of steel from the striker that super heats and lands on the char.
- Place your glowing char into the bundle of jute fibres and blow to flame. Make sure you have made the appropriate fire preparations ahead of time… ie. tinder, kindling and fuel wood.
- Avoid making char cloth in your Hudson Bay Tobacco Box. It can ruin the lens in the lid. In a survival situation, remove the lens from the lid prior to cooking in it.
This handy little item is your backwoods toolbox. The Utilipouch holds a sewing kit, jute twine, leather lace, paracord, sharpening kit, char making tin, beeswax and an 8hr tea candle. The leather closure strap is extra long for tying items to the outside of the pouch. There is still some space available to add other essential items such as a first aid kit, fishing tackle or butane lighter. The idea is to personalize this pouch to best serve your needs.
Canoe tipped over? Pack lost?
Made from a single piece of leather and worn around the neck, this kit provides a reliable and waterproof means of fire starting. This is your “last resort” tool. The kit includes a magnesium/ferro rod, striker and a stick of resinous pine (Fatwood). Simply scrape a dime sized pile of dust from the magnesium bar and ignite using the ferro rod glued to the back. Add some shavings from the fatwood to sustain the flame for even longer periods. Don’t forget to lay out your fire making materials ahead of time to maximize the results.
For centuries the tomahawk has found a place in the modern woodsman’s kit. This versatile tool is lightweight, fast and efficient. The slip fit handle means it is more easily replaced then that of an axe. When sharpened properly a good hawk can be your main camp tool, performing tasks from chopping wood to food preparation. The simple snap closure sheath effectively protects you from the cutting edge whether it’s tucked in your belt or strapped to a pack. I have found Cold Steel brand hawks to be of highest quality.