Photo credit: Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft
everyone, it's Leah, the editor of RMB. I don't post very often, since I
usually work more behind the scenes editing Jason's articles and
reviews, but thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite pieces
of gear- Coghlan's folding 7" Sierra Saw.
I don't have Jason's experience when it comes to testing gear, I do
enjoy trying out many of the cool products that we review here at RMB in
order to get a better perspective when editing.
One of the products I've grown to love is Coghlan's Sierra Saw, which I first got about a year ago.
yard ends in woods, and years ago someone planted English Ivy that was
left to overrun the place. The ivy vines running up the tree trunks were
inches thick. I had tried using other tools to combat the evil invader,
but to no avail.
Sierra Saw was light and small enough to maneuver under and around the
vines, and strong enough to cut through stems the size of a tennis ball
without getting stuck. I don't have a ton of arm strength, so when I
use a saw I have trouble with the blade getting stuck, it's usually followed
by more than a few choice words! The Sierra Saw doesn't ever seem to
the holiday season upon us, I had a reason to put my Sierra Saw to good
use again for preparing the Christmas tree, so I thought I'd take a few
photos with theAT&T Samsung Galaxy S5 Active Phonethat I'm testing.
is still weeks away, so I wanted to put the tree in some water to help
keep it fresh. I thought I'd pull out the Sierra Saw to trim a slice off
the bottom. This used to be a struggle. Saws would get stuck, the tree
would move, the cut would be uneven. Not with the Sierra Saw! It
probably didn't even take a full minute to cut a slice off the bottom
and put the trunk in a bucket of water!
Even if you never go hiking, get yourself a Coghlan's Sierra
Saw. It's as useful in the suburbs as it is in the woods. In fact, I
liked it so much that I even gave one to a friend as a Christmas present
Who says you need a big honkin' survival knife to baton logs?! In bushcrafting, it's all about making the most of what you have. If you have a shorter knife, but need to split logs in an emergency to get to the dry wood, just whittle down your log by batoning the outside edges first. The log will gradually reduce in circumference and become more manageable.
The thin pieces you baton off can then be used for kindling, fireboards,
crude digging trowels, utensils, trap-making, or anything else you can
Last month, I attended the 2014 Winter Camping Symposiumin
Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota. After the Symposium, I made my way northward
to Gunflint Lake, Minnesota, an area on the US-Canadian border renowned
for its beauty and pristine wilderness.
friend, who accompanied me on the trip, had some family property on
Gunflint. She was well-versed in the area's cool attractions. One of the
places she wanted me to visit was theTrail Center Lodge,
a historic locale which she said had an "amazing breakfast." Boy was
she right! The breakfast there truly WAS amazing. Their pork sausage
gravy was literally the best sausage gravy I had ever eaten.
After breakfast in Trail Center's restaurant, my friend tugged at my sleeve to check out their "Camp Chow"
brand camp food, which was on display at the gift shop. She said Camp
Chow had a great reputation with the locals, and that we should consider
grabbing some to take back to Colorado.
Impressed by the breakfast I had at the restaurant, I took
her advice and grabbed a couple of the Camp Chow meals to take home with
me. 'Shrimp Chowder' and 'Wild Rice Casserole with Pork' looked
interesting, so I settled on those.
Back home in Colorado, I fired up my stove and tried them both. Wow, were they delicious!
Definitely a nice change of pace fromMountain House Backpacking Food.
Although I like Mountain House, the Camp Chow is on a whole other
level. Camp Chow tastes like high quality restaurant food and takes
only a little more effort to make than an instant Mountain House meal.Foodiesthat like to camp and backpack, take note!
by the taste of Camp Chow, I decided to get in touch with Sarah
Hamilton, the owner of Trail Center and the genius behind Camp Chow.
decided to start the Camp Chow brand after listening to thousands of
comments from her restaurant patrons. Fresh from hiking the Gunflint
Trail or canoeing the Boundary Waters, these wayward travelers often
complained of dehydrated backpacking food that was bland, too salty, or
So she used her
expertise, from years of serving delicious foods at her restaurant, to
create an alternative to the less than stellar backpacking pabulum her
patrons had been eating.
quickly became a favorite with local outfitters. In fact, her Camp Chow
'Pork Gravy' recipe became so popular that Sarah now uses it in her
After speaking with Sarah, she very graciously offered to send Leah and
I some of her Camp Chow food to sample. Yes folks, she really had to
twist our arms on this one!
Camp Chow's food is easy to make (i.e. just add to boiling water), and
quick, taking just 5-7 minutes for most of the breakfast meals and 8-15
minutes for a dinner entree. In keeping with Sarah's philosophy, Camp
Chow meals tend to be slightly less salty than average, allowing users
to tweak them to perfection with a touch of salt if desired.
now sampled several new Camp Chow meals that Sarah sent. These have
included her Chicken Alfredo, Beef Stroganoff, Broccoli and Cheese and
James' Rice Pudding. They were all outstanding-- fresh, flavorful,
delightfully complex, you name it.
then there are Sarah's pork gravy breakfast meals. I tried her
'Sausage Gravy with Scambled Eggs' and 'Grits with Pork Sausage.' Both
of these meals were every bit as good as I remember from Sarah's
restaurant-- in other words-- fantastic!
Sarah has many more
meals listed on her site, including soups, creative camp breads
(bushcrafting bannock lovers, are you listening?), lunch entrees, side
dishes, and desserts, which you can check out here-http://shop.trailcenterlodge.com/Dinner_c22.htm
none of the Camp Chow meals are exactly cheap ($6 to $10 per meal),
they taste great, portions are very generous, and the ingredients are
fresh and very high quality. In fact, I bet you could really impress
your significant other on a day hike if you whipped out some Camp Chow
for an impromptu lunch on the trail.
Hey Gerber knife fans, check it out. Come January, Gerber plans to release a new US made survival knife called the "StrongArm."
a 4.8" fine edge blade made from 420HC Stainless, the StrongArm appears
to be based on Gerber's hugely popular serrated-edgeProdigy Survival Knife.
Fans of the Prodigy have been begging Gerber for years to introduce a
fine-edged version of the Prodigy. Could this be the knife they've been
the StrongArm was created with military survival in mind, it has great
potential to be a no-frills, functional survival knife for civilian use
like the Prodigy.
The StrongArm's sheath is reminiscent of the Prodigy's, but with a slimmer profile, ala' Cold Steel'sSecure-EX sheaths.
Although Gerber is listing the StrongArm's MSRP at $75.00, Knife Center is
already taking pre-orders for this knife at $39.95. At this price, it
could be the deal of the century for a quality, name brand survival
blade that's made right here in the good ol' USA.
StrongArm will be available in both fine and serrated edge versions.
The official word from Gerber is a release date of January 1st. Check
back here in January and we should have a review posted on the
StrongArm, including a direct comparison with the Prodigy.
GERBER GEAR'S OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Gerber has been making survival knives for the US Military since
1968. The StrongArm Fixed Blade knife carries on our legacy of
tough-as-hell fixed blade knives for combat and survival applications.
Featuring a fine edge, full tang 420HC blade with black
ceramic coating, the knife was designed around the fundamentals of
military survival training. Obtain a solid grip on this knife in all
conditions with its diamond texture rubberized handle.
ONE SHEATH, MULTIPLE MOUNTING OPTIONS
The StrongArm’s modular sheath system is as important as the knife
itself. With the sheath’s snap-together components, the operator can
mount the knife vertically on MOLLE, horizontally on a standard 1.75”
tactical belt, or in a traditional drop-leg belt
mount fashion. The StrongArm Fixed Blade is proudly built in Portland,
OR. MSRP: $75.
Fine edge, full-tang 420 HC steel blade
Ceramic blade coating
Rubberized diamond texture grip
Nylon webbing for drop-leg carry and secondary retention
Detachable belt hoops for horizontal belt carry
Snap-in MOLLE strap
Made in USA
Blade steel: 420 HC
Handle material: glass-filled nylon with rubber overmold
Rocky Mountain Buschcraft would like to say a big thank you to Nikon for sending us their newD5300 DSLR Camerato test and review.
longtime readers know, we love to capture great images to put into our
reviews and articles, so it will be a real treat to use the D5300 after
using an aging 10-year-old Canon PowerShot for so long to take photos
here at RMB.
D5300 has some really cool features like 24 Megapixel image quality,
'EXPEED' 4 image-processing engine, built-in 1080/60p Full HD Video
Camera, and 3.2-in. vari-angle LCD monitor, as well as built-in WI-FI
and GPS capability. The lens that came with our test unit is aNikkor 18-140mm lens:
to my research, this lens is highly recommended by Nikon camera
enthusiasts if you're looking for a lens that can handle a wide range of
activities, such as long range, close up (macro shots), wide angle, and
I'm not a camera reviewer, I don't plan to write a technical review of
the D5300. What I do want to find out is -- Does it take great photos
and video in different outdoor lighting conditions? Is it easy to use?
Is it reliable? How long does the battery last? How well does the Nikkor
18-140mm lens handle various outdoor adventure shots?
first impression of the D5300 camera is definitely favorable. The user
manual is easy to understand. When set in auto mode, I found it works
like a simple point and click camera that quickly adjusts for different
light conditions. To give you a better idea, here are some photos I took
with the D5300 right after it arrived, using the auto mode:
Recently, one of our readers emailed us and asked if we knew what kind of knife Creek Stewart uses on the show "Fat Guys in the Woods." Creek, the show's host, also presents this same knife to a participant in each episode, who shows outstanding determination or ingenuity.
I am quite familiar with this knife/sheath because I reviewed both of them here at RMB last June. Check out the review here.
On a side note, "Fat Guys in the Woods" looks to be one of the better survival shows, presenting good survival techniques while keeping outlandish scenarios and over the top drama to a minimum. I was familiar with Creek Stewart prior to the show, and like Cody Lundin, he is the real deal, with many years of teaching survival and bushcraft under his belt.