Sunday, September 21, 2014

Revised Mora Pathfinder Knife has arrived

 

As some of you may recall in our Mora Pathfinder Knife review last May, the Pathfinder we tested chipped and rolled its edge while chopping dead pine branches. Mora then sent a second sample for us to test, in case the first sample had a factory defect. The second sample also chipped/rolled it's edge.

Mora was understandably concerned about this, and set about revising the grind angle and Rockwell hardness of the edge on the Pathfinder knife. They promised to send us a revised version as soon as it became available. This new and revised Pathfinder has finally arrived (shown in the main photo). Be on the lookout for an update, after I subject it to a series of rugged chopping tasks to see if Mora finally resolved the chipping/rolling issues.

Fall colors in the Rockies

Here are some photos of the Aspens changing colors near where I live- enjoy!

(click to enlarge)






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Great quote about wilderness living......

The man who goes afoot, prepared to camp anywhere and in any weather, is the most independent fellow on earth. - HORACE KEPHART

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer Report: Dave Canterbury/Self Reliance Outfitters- Pathfinder Guides, Jeff White Trail Boss Knife, Bushcraft 101 Book


While I was at Summer OR, I got a chance to stop by and talk with Dave Canterbury about his latest Self Reliance Outfitters' products. During the course of our conversation, talk inevitably turned to some of my writings about him in our news section.

Things were a bit tense at first as Dave explained his perspective, not only on his departure from Dual Survival, but also on my related news reports. He was aware of my RMB report on the subject since, at one point, it was the #1 news item on Google when that whole debacle was happening. I in turn explained my views. The air was cleared and we shook hands with a new understanding of each other.

Our conversation quickly changed to talk about bushcraft (big surprise!).

I enjoyed discussing the differences between bushcrafting in the Eastern US vs the Western US with Dave, and his breadth of knowledge really impressed me. Dave then showed me some of his cool new products......

Pathfinder Survival Guides

As some of you may recall, I reviewed Dave's Pathfinder Waterproof Pocket Guides last October and really liked them. You can check my review of the Pathfinder Guides here. For those in the Eastern US, Dave has a new set of Pathfinder Guides called Edible Plants of the Eastern Woodlands and Medicinal Plants of the Eastern Woodlands 

Pathfinder "Edible Plants of the Eastern Woodlands" Pocket Guide:
Edible Plants of the Eastern Woodlands

Jeff White Trail Boss Knife

Dave recently partnered with Jeff White Knives to produce a new series of forged bushcraft knives, complete with polished convexed edges, tiger-striped maple handles, and sharpened spines for striking firesteels and flint/quartz/chert, as well as scraping tinder. All Jeff White knives come with a quality leather dangler sheath which includes a firesteel loop and firesteel.



Let me tell you, this is one sexy knife, and I loved the way it felt in my hand. The design appears to be functional for a wide variety of tasks, including fine carving, batoning, chopping, and skinning. The fact that it is forged is a major plus, and as I outlined in my Puma Bowie review back in 2012, forged blades are generally superior in toughness to knives that are milled via the stock removal process. Axes, as well as critical parts in guns, engines and many other applications are still forged for high strength-- need I say more? 

Dave promised to send me a Trail Boss knife for review when they become available in the next couple of months, so be sure to check back as Christmas approaches for a full review.

Dave Canterbury's new "Bushcraft 101" Book

In 2014, Dave released a new book called "Bushcraft 101." This book is intended to be an introduction to bushcraft from Dave's perspective. I haven't gotten a chance to read it the entire way through yet, but my first impression is good. 

Dave takes classic bushcrafting knowledge and updates it with his perspective and experience. The only downside to the book is that it doesn't have much in the way of photo illustrations. I plan to read Bushcraft 101 from cover to cover, and once I do I will post an updated review, so check back soon!


Friday, September 12, 2014

2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer Edged Tools Report: Spyderco's new "Clipit" Multi-tool




Combining Spyderco's legendary one-hand opening ability with the utility of a Swiss Army knife, Spyderco's new "ClipIt" folding knives are the best of both worlds. "ClipIt" knives have an easy-open Spyderco blade along with a "ClipiTool" Bottle Opener and Screwdriver, Scissors, or Serrated blade.

The Clipit Tools are constructed from 8Cr13MoV Stainless, a Chinese Stainless similar in composition and performance to Japanese AUS8 Stainless. 

Specs:

Length overall: 4.59/4.57" (117/116 mm)
Length closed: 2.57" (65 mm)
Cutting edge: 1.75" (44 mm)
Blade length: 2.02/2.00" (51/51 mm)
Blade steel: 8Cr13MoV
Weight: 1.9 oz (54 g)
Blade thickness: 0.079/0.079" (2.0/2.0 mm)
Handle material: Stainless Steel
Street Price: $25-$30 USD

Here are a couple of photos of the ClipIt taken at the Spyderco booth at Summer OR:



Initial impression-- Just like other Spyderco's I've owned in the past, opening the ClipIt's tools one-handed is a breeze. Fans of Spyderco knives who are looking for a small, handy one handed-folder with the ability to do more than just cutting tasks will probably like this tool. One drawback is that these knives are not made in the USA or Japan like many of Spyderco's other blades, they're made in China. 

2014 Summer Outdoor Retailer Edged Tools Report: Buck's fire-engine red Compadre Hatchet, Camp Knife and Chopping Froe


Has Buck been called in to put out a 5-alarm fire? No! It just looks like it with their new "Compadre" line of edged tools in racy fire-engine red powder coat.

New for 2015, Buck's Compadre Hatchet, Chopping Froe, and Camp Knife feature break and chip resistant 5160 steel, fire-engine red powder coating, super tough Walnut Dymondwood handles, full tang construction, and black real leather sheaths. The Compadre tools appear to be engineered for rugged backcountry use, and potentially for bushcraft as well.


Here are the individual specs.....

Compadre Camp Knife Model 104
Overall Length: 9 1/2" (24.1cm)
Weight: 7.1 oz (201.3 grams)
Blade length: 4.5" (11.4cm)
Blade Steel: 5160
Blade Style: Drop Point

Compadre Camp Hatchet Model 106
Overall Length: 12.75" (32.4 cm)
Weight: 1 lb 8 oz (24 oz/671.9 grams)
Blade/Cutting Edge Size: 3" (7.6 cm)
Blade Steel: 5160

Compadre Chopping Froe Model 108
Overall Length: 16.75" (42.5 cm)
Weight: 1 lb 8 oz (24 oz/669.1 grams)
Blade length: 9.5" (24.1 cm)
Blade Steel: 5160

Initial Impressions

Compadre Camp Knife- Could this be Buck's first "bushcraft" blade? With a 4.5" drop point blade, full tang construction, and a Dymonwood handle, Buck's new Camp Knife emphasizes simplicity with a capital "S." It felt comfortable and balanced in the hand, and the edge on the show sample I examined was shaving sharp. It's definitely a very promising all-purpose woods blade for those who like Buck knives.

Compadre Hatchet- With its all-steel construction and synthetic-wood handle, the Compadre Hatchet is clearly reminiscent of Estwing's classic all-steel hatchets. Where it departs from Estwing's forged design is its milled steel appearance and Kukri-like curved blade.

The curve in Kukri knives gives them more chopping power than traditional straight blades. My guess is that this curve in the Compadre Hatchet should give it a similar increase in chopping efficiency. The Compadre felt surprisingly comfortable in the hand, and with the curved design, it could turn out to be a real chopping machine. On an upnote, this is Buck's first US-made Hatchet after years of selling their Chinese-made 757 Camp Axe.

Compadre Chopping Froe- Buck's Compadre "Chopping Froe" won't win any beauty contests, but its design is actually quite handy for a multitude of wilderness tasks. Its 1/4" thick, 9.5" blade can function as a short machete, heavy survival knife, or parang. Buck says the Chopping Froe is "perfect for clearing brush, heavy chopping, splitting, and batoning." 

This is not the type of blade I would normally rely on while out in the bush, but after handling the Froe, its design actually makes a lot of sense. Its thick blade would be great for batoning wood and chopping up kindling, the same as a large survival knife. It also has just enough reach to be useable as a small machete. I can also see the Chopping Froe being used as an effective draw knife for skinning logs, making camp furniture, etc. Its uses are probably only limited by your imagination.

The Froe might also be a great option over a big survival blade for bushcrafters and preppers in more politically correct areas of the world, where its blunt edge and inoffensive appearance might actually pass muster with the edge-phobic PC-crowd.

All three tools sport nicely done, heavy black leather sheaths. 

For more information visit www.buckknives.com/press/compadre%20series/

Friday, September 5, 2014

Quick Review: SOG Backcountry Axe


The fine folks at SOG Specialty Knives and Tools sent me one of their Backcountry Axes to try out recently. My impression? The edge is thick and a bit dull by my standards, but surprisingly, I was still able to buck this dead Fir tree cleanly in half with it:


Its wedge-shaped head makes it a great splitter, and the saw that's included in the handle does a solid job cutting through dead branches and pole-sized saplings. I found the handle to be exceptionally comfortable, and the included plastic sheath is handy and well designed.


The SOG Backcountry Axe is not something I'd recommend for bushcraft, but it should do a fine job around the campsite.

-Jason

3.75 out of 5 Stars

For more information visit www.sogknives.com/backcountry-axe.html

Axe and Rifle

Photo credit: Brenda Elle/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft

Friday, August 29, 2014

A word about our sponsors

As you may have noticed, Rocky Mountain Bushcraft has had ads from our sponsors for quite some time. I know what you're thinking..."Oh here we go, another blog giving in to the almighty dollar... " I understand that thought, I really do.

Here's the thing. I LIVE Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. This is what I love doing and it's important to me to keep writing honest reviews, doing field research, and learning about the latest gear at the major outdoor shows.

The reality is that vehicles need upkeep, gear needs to replaced, and trips to major shows are expensive. This doesn't count fuel, food, and other everyday expenses.

Buying products from our sponsors helps foot the bill for all the things that allow us to bring you Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. So when you see an ad on RMB remember, we only partner with select sponsors who are reputable and who I would actually buy something from myself.

I promise you, these ads will not compromise my ability to write honest reviews. We carefully choose the ads on RMB in order to be able to keep living and writing about this exciting, adventurous, bushcrafting life.

I hope you will continue the adventure with me.....

-Jason

SPONSORS:

LifeView Outdoors

Lifeview Outdoors is RMB's longest running sponsor. They sell a variety of outdoor gear including survival knivesbackpacking gear, and survival goodies such as mil-spec, US-made 550 Paracord.

Years before I started RMB, I was buying products from Lifeview, and was always impressed with their unique selection and outstanding customer service. LifeView produced Gretchen Cordy and Doug Ritter's "Prepared to Survive" video back in 2005, so they have been at this quite a while and know the difference between junk and quality stuff that works well in the backcountry.


Ben's Backwoods


Ben's Backwood's, in my opinion, is the greatest online bushcraft store in existence. I liken it to the "Toy R Us" of bushcrafting. I have bought tons of stuff from Ben's as far back as the mid-2000's, and to this day, I still enjoy digging around his site for cool new bushcraft toys.

What makes Ben's such a great place to shop is the fact that its owner, Ben Piersma, is an experienced, well respected bushcraft and edged tools expert. Ben brings years of bushcraft experience to the table, and has also studied under bushcrafting legend Mors Kochanski.

If Ben says something is good, you can count on it being exactly as he describes it. He also the only online retailer I trust when I'm buying  traditional axes, such as Gransfors Bruks, Wetterlings, Council Tool, Bahco, etc. Many of the axes you've seen reviewed here at RMB came from Ben's store. 


AT&T
Yes, you heard that right, AT&T is one of RMB's new sponsors. To make a long story short, I attended an outdoor blogging event last year in Denver that was sponsored by AT&T (check out our writeup about it here).

At that event, AT&T asked if we'd like to review their new NEC Terrain Outdoor SmartPhone. We accepted and did a writeup  last January.

AT&T then asked if we'd like to test an Iphone 5 with Otterbox's new Armor-series mil-spec outdoor case. After seeing how great the phone and case were, we asked if we could keep the phone a little longer. AT&T was nice enough to oblige our request, lending us a long term review unit.

The Iphone 5 has turned out to be a huge asset for RMB, especially considering that I'm often away in the wilderness, where I'm unable to use a laptop. The Iphone's ability to take great photos can be seen on our recent Wax Currant Edible Plant Identification article. Its ability to post to our social media from a remote location can be seen in this Facebook post last winter when I was out testing a new hunting/survival product.

To thank AT&T for their support we posted a banner on the sidebar.


CountyComm 


Our newest sponsor, CountyComm, is a company that creates "James Bond" style gadgets for the US Military and Federal Government. It sells some of its excess products (overruns) directly to the public.

This means that what you buy from CountyComm is not only made in the USA, but is built to strict government specifications, and frequently has a National Stock Number emblazoned on it.

Many of CountyComm's gadgets are ideal for personal survival kits (PSKs), bushcrafting, EDC, and preparedness kits. Check out our review of CountyComm's excellent SERE survival compasses to get a better idea of the type of products they sell.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Enormous Wolf Spider that was hanging out near my camp in Utah

This spider was so big it was almost as big as my hand. I noticed it because I saw two eyes glaring back at me when I shined a flashlight around my camp one night. I thought it was a small animal so I went to investigate. Instead of an animal, it was this big monster spider!