Sunday, June 30, 2019

PSK part 1: The Tin

OK, part one coming right up. First things first, what kind of container to use for your kit? Lots of options out there. Sizes vary from "altoid tin" sized kits, pill bottle kits, kits that fit in big pouches. Endless variety.  I wanted to do a mess tin kit. I really want to design this kit to perform as many roles in a survival situation as possible.  With a good sized mess tin as the container for my kit, I can use the tin to boil water when needed. Now, this does make the kit pretty big. All told I still hope to be able to fit the tin into a BDU cargo pocket for another Bush Class elective I'll be working on later.  More info on that to come, but it's going to be fun.

So the tin I chose for this is the Esee Mess Tin:

It measures 6.25" x 4" x 2.5" and weighs 6 oz. empty. It can hold 32 oz. of water, which was an important consideration for me, as  stated earlier. The main container has a folding wire handle that hinges over to hold the lid on. It does NOT latch it tightly, the lid is a little loose on the container.  I purchased this online for $15.99 shipped from 5col, a good, reliable retailer of survival and bushcraft kits and components.

When receiving the tin I did throw in a few components just for fun. I'm not set on what will stay in there yet so I'm not going to get into the contents just yet. But, we have the start of the PSK tin project.  My goal for the blog now is to gather several types of components that fall in to a few categories and test them to see what will definitely go in the kit. Categories like: Shelter, Water, Fire, signalling, navigation, food, etc...

That's it for now,

See you outside!


Sunday, June 23, 2019

PSK thoughts

PSK (Personal Survival Kits) are a huge topic in the outdoors community. 

There are, literally, as many variants as there are people who have one. Thus the "Personal" right there in the name. Your needs are different than mine. Each individual's skill set, training, and experiences are going to be huge factors in their PSK contents.

For me, I look at a PSK as a last ditch situation. I've lost my pack and gear, I'm not near my vehicle and all I have to work with is what I have in that kit. It's not a kit I will live out of long term (hopefully) just long enough to self rescue, or be found by others. I'm building a new PSK as I write this article, I'll take you along with me on my thought process and we'll see where this goes.

But you don't have to build your own.  You can pick up reasonably priced kits that are chock full of great items that will be really useful to you in a survival situation.  I have a link in my side bar to a company called Best Glide that sells kits and components. An internet search will turn up many other reputable retailers as well.

If you do pick up one of these kits, consider getting two of them. One to keep for an actual survival situation. Yep, just put it aside until you're going on your adventure and you want to have it with you. The other one? Tear that thing open and play with all the parts!  You can have all the cool tools in the world but if you don't know how to use them, they don't mean anything. Use your components, learn how they work, what they do AND what they can't do. This simple exercise will help you build your own skill set and confidence. Remember that a BIG part of survival or getting out of any tough spot is mental.

That's all for now but there will be more to come in this series.

Monday, June 11, 2018

More Bushclass!

Yesterday lit a fire under me. I completed one more requirement for the Basic course of Bushclass. This one was honestly pretty easy for me. I had all the materials close at hand in various kits and nooks around the lodge. This lesson was to light 5 man made tinders using a ferro rod. Here are the photos.


Not sure why that photo is rotated... Anyway, the tinders shown are Jute twine, a Wetfire cube, soem dryer lint, a piece of Tinderquick, and the big white blob is a Petroleum Jelly Cottonball (PJC).

I managed to get them all lit with the ferro rod. Some were way harder than I thought they would be. I found that I needed to scrape shaving from the Wetfire cube to get it to light, some of the other tinders were already out when I got it going. It did, however burn the biggest and longest, all that flame on the upper right of the phot is from the cube. The jute twine and dryer lint took the spark well but burned quickly. The Tinderquick burned so fast it may already be out in the photo. The PJC did as well as it always does, a good burn with plenty of time to get what you needed lit.

For me, I'll keep packing Wetfire cubes in all my packs and kits because they really are good at fire starting. They take a flame from a lighter or a match super easy but if you are using a ferro rod you WILL need too scrape it up a bit. Also the PJCs will also stay in all my kits. They last forever, pack very small and have uses other than as a tinder.

Thanks again!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bushcraft USA Bushclass!

Evening folks,

The weather here Up North is great right now. Perfect time to get out and enjoy all MN has to offer this time of year.  To have a little purpose in my adventures I am finally going to settle down and COMPLETE my Bushclass Basic course from the Bushcraft USA forums. I've been a memeber there since 2012 and have attempted to start the basic class several times but found excuses to not complete it. This year I aim to knock it out, and as a way of accountability, I'm going to post my progress here in the blog.

For those who may not know, Bushcraft USA is a great forum (link in my sidebar) for anyone interested in Bushcraft, survival, homesteading, preparedness, camping..and anything else of this sort.

Some of my favorite parts of the forum are the pictures, the sharing of skills, and just hearing what it's like to be outdoors in other parts of the country. By that I mean how each geographic area is different, and how they are the same.

Bushclass is an online, at your own pace, course on, well, bushcraft! Skills and techniques to take with you to the field to help make your stay easier.  The course is the brain child of Terry Barney. Terry is a former Air Force Survival Instructor and all around font of knowledge in all things outdoors. I'd say he's probably the best skills instructor that the mainstream hasn't heard of.

Anyway, Terry put together a course of skills that anyone can take FOR FREE. There are three levels of the course: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each course has a set of requirements, some electives to choose from and, the best part, outings you have to perform in order to complete each level.  You photograph or take video of your progress and post it to the appropriate page in the forum to receive your credit for completion.

I'm working on my Basic level, I've already knocked out 2 of the requirements I will post photos of below. Here are the requirements for this level:

• Shavings and feather sticks
• 5 man-made tinders
• Twig fire
• 4 basic knots
• Basic tarp shelter
• ID 5 trees and list 2 uses for each
• Make bannock by fire
• 2 strand twist of man-made cordage
• 3 strand braid of man- made cordage
• Knife sharpening
• Make an improvised cooking implement
• Make a pot hook
• Make a simple snare
• Do 5 elective lessons

The "Final Exam" for this level is to go on 5 outings, one of which has to be an overnighter. Again, photos and/ or videos of your outings to show what you know.

I've completed 2 of the requirements for the Basic level so far.

The snare
And 4 basic knots

The figure 8 on a bight

The Sheetbend

Tautline Hitch

And finally, two half hitches

Ok, there is my kick off. If you're interested in the Bushcraft course, I just included a link to the first page in the forum.  

I hope you stay with me!

Comments are a great way to help motivate me along the way!


Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day 2018

I hope everyone had time to get out this weekend and enjoy themselves. The weather here in MN was gorgeous, but we are in the middle of a heat wave! We've had 4 days of 85-90F + here. barely 5 weeks ago we had a foot and a half of snow dumped on us!

Anyway, as I said I hope you had a great long weekend, I also hope you gave at least some thought to those men and women of our Armed Forces who gave their lives in service to our Country. Without whom we would not have this holiday.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Rule of 3 part 2

Back with part 2. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet.

In my first post I spoke of shelter, our first priority in a survival situation. Remember we are using the scenario of heading out on a day hike. Only expecting to be gone a few hours but something happens and you are out overnight.

Now, if you were lucky you started to hydrate before you left on your trip by drinking plenty of water. Good old H2O. Camlebak used the slogan “Hydrate or Die” and, as we know, this is true. So if we start the day before, event eh night before and just…drink water. You don’t have to force hydrate in most cases, just simply up your water intake a bit.  Like we talked about with your clothes being your first line of shelter, being hydrated before your trip is a good base line. You don’t want to set out and already be mildly dehydrated.

Now, your planning your outing you’ve picked out suitable clothes and been drinking water but your still going to need water ON your trip. Simple answer, bring a water bottle. My local thrift shop has stainless steel bottles for sale very cheap. Nalgene bottles are still readily available and work great. Some folks like to bring a Camelbak type product. Some of the packs are of a good enough size and have pockets that you could make a day pack out of them easily.

 Even just stopping off at a convenience store on your way to your hike you can get a bottle of water, a bag of trail mix, some beef jerky and, my favorite, a Snickers bar. Don’t forget to grab a bright colored bic lighter at the check out too J.

Bottom line, water is too important not to bring along on any hike.

I’ll be back with more!


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Survival rule of 3

This post is kind of a basic survival 101.  Knowledge is power, especially in survival situations as well as in bushcraft. Mors Kochanski has been quoted as saying something to the tune of the more you know the less you have to carry. Great advice.  Survival is just that, a situation that you may find yourself in which your very existence is on the line. Bushcraft is similar, I think. You take to the woods and use your knowledge and skills to make your self comfortable.  There is some cross over here for sure. The skills and techniques I practice in Bushcraft could very much come in to play in a survival situation.

on to the Rules of 3

1st - you can survive 3 minutes with out air. This is a no brainer to me. We breathe air and thus we need it to live. No oxygen and we die, simple as that. When you search up survival rules of 3 this one seems to come up first always so I include it here but come on....this is basic.

1. You can survive 3 hours in an extreme or harsh environment.
2. You can survive 3 days with out water.
3. You can survive 3 weeks with out food.

There they are. 3 simple rules but if you can't meet them, you die. Another survival rule of three is similar but slightly different. These three are in order of importance.

1. Shelter
2. Water
3. Fire

Slightly different but still very similar. I roll water and food in together as #2 with more importance placed on water of course.  These are 3 basics that will let you survive a situation until rescue or you find your way back if lost.

So, what does this mean from a survival stand point. well, you can help yourself before you even set out. You can have a car kit in your trunk or way back in your car. A 5 gallon bucket with a blanket, some bottle of water and a bit of food could make all the difference in a winter emergency. Your car itself can act as shelter.

Lets look at those last 3 on an even more basic scenario. Your going on a day hike. Nothing crazy, out for a few hours and then back. Something happens and now your out over night. For this I'll assume lost and not injured as that is a whole other barrel of monkeys.

Well, we can help ourselves with shelter right away with what we choose to wear. Our clothing can be our first level of shelter. Dress for the weather of course, Bring something along for just in case. I'd recommend some good cargo type pants. Something with good pockets and belt loops. I'd aslo wear a good sturdy belt and a belt knife or mulitool of some kind. If you don't want to wear a knife, a pocket knife in your pocket is a great idea. A moisture wicking top if hiking in war weather will help control body temperature during the hike.  Carrying a light weight jacket,a rain poncho/ tarp,  or even a sweatshirt can make a huge difference if your day hike suddenly turns in to an over nighter or a weekender.

 In the Winter you may need to bring along something more substantial, heavy coat, underwear, etc... location dependent. That means what I bring for a winter emergency here in Minnesota may be different than someone in Arkansas.

Alright I'll leave this here for now and we will return in the next post and take about part 2 Water.

Hey, let me know what you think, leave a comment or a suggestion.

Thanks for coming along.