Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Featherstick made with a Benchmade 154BK Jungle Clip Point Bowie Knife



Finally got a chance to try out Benchmade's 154BK Jungle Clip Point Bowie Knife the other day- not bad! It feathers and splits quite well for a large (9" blade) and lightweight (10.9oz) Bowie-style blade. Will post more information on this blade as Spring approaches.

Cheers,

Jason

Gear Review: Wavian NATO-spec Jerry Cans


A safe way to carry spare fuel in your vehicle for bushcraft adventures and backcountry emergencies

For months, I have been looking for a safe way to carry spare fuel in my vehicle for emergencies. I frequently drive deep into the mountains far away from cell phones signals and civilization, so I like to be prepared for anything.

When I looked for a solution both locally and online, my search kept coming up empty. All of the gas cans I found were not safe to use inside a vehicle except for emergency use.

Finally, my answer came one day while surfing an Off-Road 4x4 Forum. Enthusiasts there were raving about one can in particular -- The Wavian NATO-spec Jerry Can

After trying out these Wavian cans over the last couple of months, I was quite impressed and wanted to share them with RMB readers.

Wavian Jerry Cans

SPECS:

  • Made from 0.9mm pickled steel 
  • To prevent internal rust, all of cans are lined with petrol resistant alkyd-ammonia based paint – 100% safe from flaking.
  • External powder coating gives anti-corrosion protection and smooth finish.
  • Unique wide channel breather enables ‘glug’ and splash free pouring – 20 Litre Cans will empty in only 25 seconds
  • Strip welding ensures handle strength
  • Robust Triple Handle
  • Special holes drilled in the handle enables pouring spouts to be attached.
  • Bayonet closure is completely leak proof with the can in any position
  • UN number approval certifies compliance with Dangerous Goods Transportation Regualtions.
  • Date stamp on cap – shows year/month of production.
  • Internationally Patented Locking Pin gives additional security against accidental opening of the can

Wavian Jerry Cans are standard issue for NATO Forces throughout Europe. They are built in the Eastern European country of Latvia, and have to pass very high standards to be certified for use.


These standards include a high pressure test, dropping the can from various heights, and being able to withstand being engulfed in flames for a 2 minutes without failure. Here is a video from Wavian showing these torture tests:


The Cans

Wavian Jerry Cans come in three sizes-- 20L (5.28 Gallons), 10L (2.64 Gallons) and 5L (1.32 Gallons).


They are constructed of 0.9mm pickled steel. The can consists of two sides which are welded together in the middle to create a leakproof seam:


To prevent internal rust formation, each can is lined with a petrol resistant, alkyd-ammonia based paint. Wavian claims that this paint is 100% resistant to flaking.

All cans come standard with a large spout for use in gas powered equipment and older vehicles, as well as a small spout for filling modern vehicles. 



Each can has a bracket to hold the spout when not in use:


For additional safety, all Wavian Jerry Cans come with a steel locking pin over the cap:



The 20L (5.28 Gallon) Can is a great general purpose can or for use on a 4x4 to carry spare fuel (Wavian makes vehicle brackets for this purpose which you can buy separately):



The 10L (2.64 Gallon) Can is a great size for carrying emergency fuel in a vehicle:




The 5L (1.32 Gallon) Can is great for carrying emergency fuel in smaller vehicles, or for safely storing extra White Gas for refueling Coleman Camp Stoves or liquid fuel bottles for backpacking stoves.





Easy Pouring

Aside from the Wavian can's ability to safely store fuel inside a vehicle, another great feature is that they pour much easier than any of the other post-2009 EPA fuel cans I've owned.

Anyone who's purchased these monstrosities populary known as "Obama Gas Cans" knows what I'm talking about. They are horrible!

The 2009 EPA mandated cans were supposed to be safer for the environment, but the government did such a botched job on their design that they actually spill more gas than the pre-2009 cans because they are so ridiculously hard to pour.

Not so with the Wavian Cans. For an EPA-compliant can, they pour MUCH EASIER. Not quite as a fast as a pre-2009 can (about an extra 30 seconds to empty a full can), but easy enough to make them a pleasure to use. Here is a video showing the pour rate of a Wavian EPA-spec Jerry Can versus a pre-2009 Jerry Can (starts at 2:50):



Conclusion

Wavian Jerry Cans are fantastic fuel cans, BUT, they have one catch -- at $79.95 for a full size can and $69.95 for the small can, they are not cheap.

The reason they are not cheap is because of the amount of military engineering and quality control that goes into them to make them safe, as well as the fact that they are made in Europe.

As pricy as Wavian Jerry Cans are, the ability to safely carry spare fuel ANYWHERE is more than worth the price in my humble opinion.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

For more information or to purchase Wavian Jerry Cans, visit: 
https://gijerrycan.com/jerry-cans

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pitchwood: Mother Nature's Magical Fire Tinder

"Farewell, Frodo Baggins. I give you the light of Eärendil, our most beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out." - The Lord of the Rings

(A Douglas Fir Pitchwood Torch burns furiously, illuminating the walls of an old mining cave high in the Rocky Mountains. ©2011 Rocky Mountain Bushcraft)

RMB NOTE: This article is an unfinished draft from 2011. It was intended to be an introduction to Fatwood/Pitchwood Tinder using 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' for its theme. I decided not to publish it and instead, went with a two part series which you can read here and hereThese photos were taken inside an old mining cave high in the Rocky Mountains. The cave reminded me of the "Mines of Moria" from Tolkien's books, so I thought you might enjoy seeing the photos I took of it. Cheers, Jason

In J.R.R. Tolkien's magnificent literary fantasy "The Lord of the Rings," the Elven queen Galadriel gives Frodo Baggins a star contained within a glass vial with the blessing that it be "a light in dark places when all other lights go out." 

To me, the real life flammable wood found in the knots and stumps of dead conifer trees known as "pitchwood" reminds me of Tolkien's Light of EärendilPitchwood burns so furious and bright when ignited, it seems almost to have a magical power. 

Pitchwood's other magical quality is that it is completely impervious to weather. Pieces of pitchwood have been found that were completely submerged in lakes and ponds for decades, yet would still ignite immediately after being pulled from the water.

In this sense, a piece of pitchwood could be like a real life "Light of Eärendil" for a hiker lost and alone deep in the wilderness.


Below: Beautifully colored pitchwood harvested from Douglas Fir Trees:

Below is a graphic illustration of how a piece of Douglas Fir pitchwood can be used to illuminate dark places. Dave and I enter an old mining cave high in the Rocky Mountains, using only a piece of burning pitchwood to light the way.

The entrance to the cave:

Inside:

Did dwarves leave this mark to point the way to the Mines of Moria?


Could these sparkly rocks the ore of the legendary Mithril?!

 Searching for more clues:

Here is what our spent pitchwood torch after it burned out. Amazingly, it burned for nearly an hour! Truly magical stuff


Cheers!

Jason and Dave

Monday, February 6, 2017

Knife Porn: Benchmade 556-1 Mini-Griptilian, CPM-S20CV Stainless with Deep Carry Pocket Clip




Benchmade's new reversible deep carry pocket clip:


The Mini-Grip is now available in CPM-20CV High Carbon Stainless "Super Steel." (20CV is the American equivalent to the famed M390 Super Steel):






For more information visit http://www.benchmade.com/556-1.html 

(Note: This particular Mini-Griptilian was ordered and customized through Benchmade's Custom Knife page)- http://customknife.benchmade.com/knives/

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: Helle 'Les Stroud' Temagami Knife- The Featherstick King


Hey friends, here at long last is my review of the Helle "Les Stroud" Temagami Knife. I have had this knife for a several years now, and after carving a boatload of wood with it, I wanted to share my experiences with you. First, a little info about the blade.....

The Helle "Les Stroud" Temagami Knife was originally conceived in 2010 as a collaboration between "Survivorman" star Les Stroud and famed Norwegian knife company Helle Knives.


The knife gets its name from a region in Canada known as the Temagami Wilderness, an area Les Stroud enjoyed hiking as a youth.

Lake Temagami in the Temagami Wilderness. Photo credit: Wikipedia

While out trekking in the Temagami one day, Les found a knife lying on the forest floor. Les started using the knife and found that it fit his hand perfectly, and that the steel was easy to sharpen.

Unknown to him at the time, the knife was a Helle blade. When he later figured out what kind of knife it was, it started Stroud on a lifelong love affair with the iconic Nordic knife manufacturer.

Les discussing the design of the Temagami knife with Anders Haglund, Marketing Director of Helle Knives:
Photo courtesy of Helle Knives

Although Les liked Helle's existing line of knives for woodcrafting, he wanted something a bit more stout for survival use. So he approached them and asked if they could create a whole new blade with a larger, stronger tang, The result- The Helle 'Les Stroud' Temagami Knife.

Temagami Knife Specs

Blade length: 4.33 Inches 
Blade Width: 3mm
Handle Length: 4.72 Inches
Handle Scales: Handmade using either Curly Birch or American Walnut
Blade Material: Triple layered laminated stainless steel blade (The Temegami is also offered in laminated carbon steel. 
Sheath: Custom full grain leather sheath
Weight: 5.0 oz knife & sheath/ 3.5 oz knife only
Country of Origin: Made in Norway
Street Price: $175 to $190 depending on retailer

The Knife

The Temagami is a laminated, semi full-tang fixed blade knife. The steel consists of 3 layers of Stainless Steel. The layer in the middle is harder for better edge retention, and the outer layers are softer for greater strength and break resistance. The blade is 4.3" in length, with an overall length of 9". The handle scales are crafted from Curly Birch and are permanently attached to the tang using brass rivets. 


The Temagami's Semi-Full Tang:


The Temagami comes with a traditional Scandinavian style brown leather sheath as well as a cleaning cloth:


Field Experience with the Temagami

The Temagami, plain and simple, is a pure cutting machine. It's ability to fine carve and create feathersticks is simply the best I've experienced from any factory blade.

Feathersticks of Alder, Salt Cedar and Pine carved with the Temagami during a visit with friends at the Emberlit Camp Stove shop in Sandy, Utah:

I've had so much fun with this knife that I started making featherstick "flowers" as ornaments for some of my friend's homes. One of these friends even put one in her art studio and prominently displayed it as some type of post-modern art!

This sharp edge also makes cutting cordage and rawhide a snap.

As a survival knife, the Temegami is not as stout as its competitors, but its break-resistant laminated steel works well enough for light batoning tasks. Owing to this lighter construction, I would not recommend the Temagami for heavier use. If you're a Helle fan and want something stronger, check out their full tang Utvaier Knife

The Temagami's slightly rounded back edge also does not strike a firesteel very well. I always carry a K1 Firestarter with me which includes a tempered steel firesteel striker, so this hasn't been too much of an issue.

I've found the Temagami's sculpted Birch handle to be supremely comfortable, probably one of the best I've used.

CONCLUSION

As a pure cutting tool, the Helle Temegami is simply the finest sheath knife I have ever used. The knife carves so effortlessly, it takes feathersticking and fine carving to a whole new level.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

The Helle Temagami is available from Lifeview Outdoors- https://lifeviewoutdoors.com/products/helle-temagami-designed-by-les-stroud


About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft and the author of Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains Pocket Guides. Jason has also written for magazines such as the The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine/ELLE Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Budget Bushcraft Gear: Finnish Army Wool Jacket and Pants


Hey friends!

I wanted to share with you one of best gear deals I've seen in years-- Finnish Army Surplus Wool Jacket and Pants. 

I was surfing the net recently and saw these advertised on a military surplus store website. The jacket caught my attention because it was listed for only $14.95, and the pants for just $24.95. 

The Finnish Jacket and Pants look very similar in style to Filson's famed Mackinaw Jacket and Pants, which I reviewed back in 2012. So they really piqued my curiosity. 

Anyone familiar with Filson knows that their wool Mackinaw Jacket and Pants are NOT cheap, running in the $300-$400 range. Even buying them used on eBay will cost anywhere from $125-$200.

I looked around the net for more information about the Finnish Jacket and Pants, but there wasn't a ton of info about them. However, the small number of reviews/comments I did find were all glowing, so I called the surplus store and ordered a set to see if they were any good. 

When I received the jacket and pants, I was astounded. They both looked almost new, and quality was every bit as good as my Filson wool. 

Not only is the quality there, but these are some of the most stylish wool military clothes I have seen. The jacket looks and fits so well that it could easily be worn out for a night on the town.

(Note: the tag in the photo was still on the jacket when I took the photo. It was not permanently attached and came right off):







The Finnish wool is a little thinner than the Filson Mackinaw jacket and pants, but still thick enough to be usable in the bush for three season use. The pants could work in the winter if you wear some long johns under them or wear a pair of military surplus Goretex shell pants over them to block the wind. 

I read on one of the forums that the last time these popped up on the market was 3-4 years ago, so I expect that they will be sold out pretty fast once word spreads. To be able to buy Filson quality wool bushcraft attire at this price is the deal of the century in my opinion. 

I will put links to the store where I got mine below. 

Cheers!

Jason

Surplus Finnish Wool Army Jacket- https://vtarmynavy.com/finnish-wool-jacket.html

Surplus Finnish Wool Army Pants- https://vtarmynavy.com/finnish-wool-pants.html