Feb 3, 2013 at 8:41 am #1298794
Okay, so we kinda hijacked the first aid kit thread a little, that's my bad. So I'm starting this one specifically for bushcrafting items that you currently carry, want to carry, or if you have no idea whatsoever what bushcraft is. I know BPL isn't the ideal place to discuss taking relatively heavy tools into the backcountry, and some less informed people may even start ranting about LNT principles, base weights, blah blah etc. But that's okay, because as humans we can only grow and learn from debate and experience.
I currently carry:
1. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet with sheath – 1 lb. 8.2 oz
2. Bahco Laplander Folding Saw – 6.6 oz
3. Mora Bushcraft Knife 2010 with sheath – 5.2 oz
The GB hatchet is my favorite woods tool. With proper skill, a person can wield it with extreme efficiency. De-limbing, carving, whittling, processing logs for the fire; all can be accomplished with a good hatchet. If you have ever wanted to build a permanent shelter for the night, build traps, or really do anything in the backcountry involving wood working, I believe a hatchet is the ultimate problem solver. Gransfors Bruks axes are hand forged in Sweden by master axe smiths, not drop forged like mass produced axes, and they arrive at your home quite literally razor sharp. They can even be used (again, with proper skill and knowledge) to skin and field dress game.
A folding saw is meant to work in conjunction with either a knife or hatchet. Sawing logs down to manageable lengths for splitting is much more energy efficient than hacking at them. I love the Laplander because of its light weight and top quality construction. I have used many folding saws and this one has the best value to weight ratio. Other good saws are the Sven Saw and Sawvivor but they are heavier and bulkier and meant for processing larger amounts of firewood, such as when you are car camping. But if you are car camping, why not bring a full size large wood saw?
My Mora I bring with me literally everywhere when I venture into the woods. It's perfect for small wood processing and general camp tasks. And one can usually be gotten for under $30.00. For the price, I haven't found a better blade. I have a small but eclectic collection of survival knives, some cheap and some very expensive, and the Mora is still my favorite.
I do not bring everything with me on every single trip. It all depends on conditions, and I weigh the pros and cons the same as I do any other piece of gear. The hatchet is for winter use when I want a substantial and lengthy fire. If I bring the hatchet, the saw comes to, with minor exceptions. In the summer and warmer shoulder months, one of my knives usually serves alone, unless I feel like making my primary goal about experiencing and exploring a new place and not focusing all my attention on logging as many miles as possible.
You may now talk about bushcraft gear, debate the merits of even owning bushcraft gear, or flame at me for being an idiot. I'm honestly fine with any of those. :)Feb 3, 2013 at 8:58 am #1950300
Other than outright weight issues, tools like axes are really in opposition to leave no trace principles. I appreciate the skills used in bushcraft, but they don't meld with basic UL principles or wilderness travel.
Folding saws are very effective for use on downed wood in areas where wood gathering and fires are allowed. The Bahco is strong and not freakishly heavy; the new Gerber sliding saw is a couple ounces lighter and less expensive.
Neither saws or axes have a place in designated wilderness areas, so bushcraft is really limited to state lands, national forest and private property.Feb 3, 2013 at 9:54 am #1950316
What Dale said. Other than car camping I've never had the use or desire to make a fire. My tent weighs only slightly more than your hatchet so using it for cutting limbs for a tarp is pointless.
"build a permanent shelter" does not = "for the night"
It is one thing to be creating bush shelters in an emergency situation when you have no other choice but to be doing it on a regular basis just for the heck of it is not LNT and generally frowned upon in many areas.
the areas I hike generally don't allow fires or tree damage so i'm all set with that game.
carrying 2.6lb for cutting implements is unnecessaryFeb 3, 2013 at 10:05 am #1950318
Used to have a Mora #1, recently got a #2/0. Weighs <2oz with sheathe. It's a little bit annoying to use forcefully (and potentially dangerous when wet) because the handle is so small, but the blade is long enough and strong enough to handle just about anything you can throw at it.
Might be cool to have a little folding saw but they are so heavy… I've heard mixed reviews about the wire saws?Feb 3, 2013 at 10:08 am #1950321
Actually just did a quick google search and found this… Pretty cool. Guy takes a big heavy folding saw, replaces the handle with titanium and brings it down to ~1.7oz:Feb 3, 2013 at 10:50 am #1950334
I don't normally make a habit out of building lean-to's just for fun. I do not advocate damaging living trees for any reason other than survival. But for survival training purposes, one needs practice. I don't go into designated wilderness areas with this intention, but national forest and private property are another matter. I have built several permanent shelters in national forest that I have used repeatedly. Living off the land itself is how I feel most in touch with nature.
One could argue that building a shelter with downed wood (in a remote area where any other human contact is slim to none) is even more Leave No Trace than taking an expensive synthetic tent into the backcountry. How much raw natural resources were used to develop fancy man made materials like silnylon and cuben fiber? How much energy is used manufacturing and shipping gear? How much waste and pollution is created during all this? And in 3 years when you decide to get a new tent or tarp when a lighter version that weighs a whole 1.2 ounces less comes out, will you throw your old silnylon gear into the landfill where it won't ever degrade?
You can use nature to your advantage while still respecting it, as well as preserving a natural environment for other people to come and enjoy.
That said, I too have an expensive synthetic tarptent I use while backpacking. I carry Clif Bars instead of foraging for wild garlic and eating squirrel stew. These things take precedence when my goal is to complete a thru hike, or log lots of miles for training purposes. But that is not the only reason I adventure into the Wild.
We take what is necessary to complete our goals. To me that is what BPL is all about; not using what is the lightest, just what is necessary.Feb 3, 2013 at 10:51 am #1950335
@nsherry61Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
I hike a lot in areas that are not wilderness. Heck, most of the Oregon Cascades and coast range mountains are essentially timber farm lands . . . second or third growth forests.
We could probably establish an interesting ethics thread on LNT practices on public lands used for timber harvest . . . but this is a gear thread.
My bushcraft gear list:
Esbit tabs – multi use as stove fuel
Guy lines – multi use for lashing things
Schrade pocket knife w/ 2" blade, 0.7 oz
Aging, but still useful brain
Various tarps, depending on the trip
Sorry, I'd rather hike and see countryside these days than spend hours making camp. And, I'd rather carry a 4oz bivi to survive in than a 16oz axe to build a survival shelter in an emergency.Feb 3, 2013 at 11:06 am #1950337
"Bushcraft" is just a word people use to make themselves feel better about their destructive camping practices.
Building permanent shelters, even of natural materials, on public lands is genrally illegal.Feb 3, 2013 at 11:14 am #1950342
Bushcrafters in training ;)Feb 3, 2013 at 11:41 am #1950348
IMHO, the Bushcraft movement is reactionary and an expression of dissatisfaction with modern life. At best, it fosters woodworking skills and survival techniques. Promoting the idea of hauling around an axe in forums where people are working on sub 5 pound gear lists is ludicrous.
I've read a lot of forum traffic on Bushcraft and seen a lot of damage done by the practitioners. If people do it on private property, that is their business, but when they step onto public land, I have a lot of problems with it. You should leave nothing but your footprints behind. The 19th Century wilderness concepts are dead and we live on a different planet: where we used to live in islands of civilization in seas of wilderness, we are now trying to preserve the islands of wilderness surrounded by seas of development and with the pressure of ever-increasing population. We should learn from the mistakes we made in the past rather than promoting them.
We should be conscious of the impact of our gear consumption, but that does not justify going out and making permanent shelters. I can see cutting downed wood to make cook fires where it is allowed, but not enough for making shelters. The idea that it is okay to do it in the name of gaining survival skills is no excuse. The end result is no different than littering. The idea is to leave things in their natural state so others can learn and appreciate them.Feb 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm #1950360
"I hike a lot in areas that are not wilderness. Heck, most of the Oregon Cascades and coast range mountains are essentially timber farm lands . . . second or third growth forests."
Seeing a logging area gives you some perspective on LNT, doesn't it?
I think a lot depends on the area you're in. Alpine environments, high traffic areas, small pockets of wilderness surrounded by civilization, etc, be as careful as you can and do your best to follow the rules and LNT.
Dense forest in the middle of nowhere 200 feet off the trail in a random place on a trail that nobody ever hikes on? Cutting down that standing deadwood is really, REALLY not going hurt anybody…Feb 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm #1950372
The closest I've ever built a longtime shelter to an established hiking trail was more than 2 miles away. I'm quite confident that nobody will ever find it, even if I told them the general area to look. And the best part is, even if I never return, the forest will reclaim it all in a relatively short time. Bush crafting can be "destructive" if done inappropriately, but so can pretty much everything.
Now for bringing this back to being a gear thread…
Learning how to make a bow drill out of natural materials and charcloth for fire starting will make your fire starting kit weigh in at 0.00 ounces! Huzzah! Pack less, be more. :)Feb 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm #1950373
"Dense forest in the middle of nowhere 200 feet off the trail in a random place on a trail that nobody ever hikes on? Cutting down that standing deadwood is really, REALLY not going hurt anybody…"
Once you let that genie out of the bottle, you have the present situation.
I remember reading a thread where these guys when out and perfectly leveled a 12'x12' area so they could pitch their tent and reported back with photos. It was ignorance, but fueled by no thought of the impact or consideration of others— a couple city boys doing what they pleased and having NO CLUE.
ALL wilderness is in the small pocket category. When Lewis and Clark went out there were about 6 million people in the US and there are 300 million now: there quite literally isn't room for people to go around chopping things up where they see fit, regardless if it can be seen from the trail or not. I just don't trust my neighbors' power of discretion.Feb 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm #1950375
"I just don't trust my neighbors' power of discretion."
Fair enough, and you are probably right to feel that way…Feb 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm #1950382
While you are building your tree fort out of sticks and making fire like a caveman most of the people on here are hiking another 5.. 10.. 15 miles.
After hiking 15-20mi the last thing i want to do is have to rely on found dead sticks for a shelter and fire to cook my food. stove.. fire.. food.. bed.
relying solely on a bow drill for 0oz would put you in the "stupid light" category i think. and if you bring a back up then well.. not 0oz
The following are prohibited:
(a) Constructing, placing, or maintaining any kind of road, trail,
structure, fence, enclosure, communication equipment, or otherFeb 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm #1950388
You left out:
Sec. 261.6 Timber and other forest products.
The following are prohibited:
(a) Cutting or otherwise damaging any timber, tree, or other forest
product, except as authorized by a special-use authorization, timber
sale contract, or Federal law or regulation.
Sec. 261.9 Property.
The following are prohibited:
(a) Damaging any natural feature or other property of the United
(b) Removing any natural feature or other property of the United
States.Feb 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm #1950389
"While you are building your tree fort out of sticks and making fire like a caveman most of the people on here are hiking another 5.. 10.. 15 miles.
After hiking 15-20mi the last thing i want to do is have to rely on found dead sticks for a shelter and fire to cook my food. stove.. fire.. food.. bed."
Thank you for relying on insults to argue against something that you don't understand, it's very much appreciated.
As for the 5 or 10 or 15 miles of extra distance covered, did you only read like 2 or 3 posts in this thread? Different GOALS require different SKILL SETS. I explained if my goal is thru hiking I'm not going to bother building fires every night and making a super awesome tree fort. But my ability to enjoying the backcountry isn't entirely based upon mileage logged for the day; if yours is then that's your thing, just because someone else is different than you doesn't make their way wrong.Feb 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm #1950397
Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Jake D, your mindset is way off! You and the rest of the users on this forum are so concerned with pure efficiency. All you do is eat, sleep, and walk and anything in between must be about your bottom line.
Did it ever occur to you that someone might build a natural shelter because it's fun to do? Did it ever occur to you that people do the bowdrill because it's a rewarding challenge? Yeah, a tarp is very light and relying on building a shelter isn't practical for backpacking. No sh*t man! You are looking at this in the wrong way.Feb 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm #1950398
eric chanBPL Member
you know youre UL when ….
;)Feb 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm #1950401
"you know youre UL when …."
You keep your light heartedness out of here! We are busy flaming right now! RAWWWWRRRRRR!!!!!Feb 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm #1950402
Then perhaps it is the wrong forum to discuss hatchets, large knives and building forts in the woods?
Luckily my "home field" the White Mountains are not bushcraft friendly between wilderness protection and natural environmental deterrents.Feb 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm #1950406
Our very own David Chenault takes his Cold Steel Trail Hawk when setting up bear bait stations, which according to him weighs in at 22 oz., as per his 2013 northern rockies gear list thread he made in the gear list section. And I hardly consider a 5 oz Mora to be a 'large knife'. Different strokes for different folks.
I just figured the BPL forum was less about closed minded, weight centric, hyper materialistic debate and more of a place where information can be shared to better people's understanding and enjoyment of the outdoors. I believed the "Light" in "Back Packing Light" was more about helping people use only what they 'need' to get the job done, not about reaching an arbitrary weight threshold.Feb 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm #1950410
eric chanBPL Member
well andrew …
if it aint marginally ligher, much more expensive, shiny and new … and you cant sell your old marginally heavier, minimally used gear it replaced on gear swap every few months … it aint BPL ;)
that aside .. a bit of basic practice in whacking a few bushes would help people when the chips are down … particularly fire starting in adverse conditions
remember … BPL is GEARCENTRIC … not skill centric … witness the amount of threads in the gear section vs. thread about skills …Feb 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm #1950415
"use only what they 'need' to get the job done"
This is the modern world. you do not 'need' to damage forest areas to set up a stick shelter or cut firewood large enough to require a hatchet.
David is setting up research stations and possibly using firewood to heat a cabin. He isn't building a shelter and cutting up unnecessarily large firewood.
a 5oz Mora is large when <2oz and <3" blades are more than adequate. People have done the entire AT without a knife..Feb 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm #1950439
"a 5oz Mora is large when <2oz and <3" blades are more than adequate. People have done the entire AT without a knife.."
Agreed. Because they are thru hiking and relying on gear drops and resupply towns, as well as constant contact with other people. No matter where you are on the AT, somebody will be coming along at some point to offer assistance if need be. But I define 'stupid light' as entering the backcountry without the proper skills and equipment to survive, otherwise you could potentially become a burden on others to rescue you.
I am not advocating building a wood shelter on the AT because there is no need to do so. But if I'm backpacking off trail miles and miles from the nearest person, I have to be self reliant to survive. If this website is Gear Centric, then all I wanted this thread to be was a source of discussion on the necessary gear to accomplish these survival tasks. It's Back Packing Light, not Thru Hiking Light.
Andrew Skurka did his entire Alaska/Yukon expedition with just a Swiss Army Classic if memory serves. But he is infinitely more experienced than I am in backcountry exploration, and with my skill set I would not feel comfortable doing what he did without some major upgrades in both my skills and tools.
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