Sunday, May 17, 2015

Beautiful high desert sunset in the Southern Rockies

(photo credit: ©Rocky Mountain Bushcraft 2015)

Hey friends, hope you are well! Just thought I'd share this photo I took of a beautiful high desert sunset in the southern Rockies in Colorado. I took it with our new Nikon D5300 test camera, which has been a great addition to our gear inventory because it makes taking great photos so easy. 

Cheers! Jason

Friday, May 15, 2015

SHOT Show 2015: Kel Tec's new weather resistant Nickel-Boron finish

(photo credit: Rocky Mountain Bushcraft)

If you like to carry ultra-light semi-autos for trail pistols, listen up. New for 2015, Kel Tec is offering a weather resistant Nickel-Boron finish as an option on its semi-automatic pistols, such as the PF9 (shown above), P11, P3AT and P32. This finish replaces their older Hard Chrome finish.

Kel Tec's Ultra-light PF9 9mm, weighing in at a svelte 12.7 ounces

I got my first look at this finish back in January at SHOT Show and was impressed. Here I am with Derek Kellgren of Kel Tec checking out a new Nickel-Boron finished PF9:

(photo credit: Leah Klocko/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft)

Kel Tec's featherweight P3AT .380 (only 10 ounces loaded) with Nickel-Boron finish and Optional Neck Lanyard

(photo credit: Rocky Mountain Bushcraft)

Kel Tec's pistols are the lightest semi-automatic pistols on the market. This makes them popular with backpackers and hikers who have to count every ounce. The new rust-resistant finish should be a welcome addition for hikers who never know when they'll get caught in a summer monsoon!

Cheers, Jason

For more information, visit:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Benchmade's "Explosive" new Bushcrafter- The EOD

For 2015, Benchmade Knife Company has added a new version of the 162 Bushcrafter knife to its line called the "EOD." The EOD, which stands for "Explosive Ordnance Disposal," was developed after Benchmade got word that members of the US Navy's EOD team in California were using original 162 Bushcrafter knives to cut C4 Plastic Explosives. I don't know about you, but I think that's a pretty wild way to use the Bushcrafter! Apparently, EOD team members appreciated the Bushcrafter's combination of cutting performance, rugged build quality, size, S30V stainless blade, and G10 handles.

A member of the US Navy's EOD Team trains for bomb removal:
(photo credit: US Navy)

After Benchmade sat down with some of these Navy Bushcrafter aficionados, they decided to create a new version of the Bushcrafter with a couple of minor changes suggested by the EOD guys. 

One of these changes was to ditch the original leather sheath for a new kydex sheath. A better choice since the guys spent all of their time in and around saltwater:

Because the EOD guys were using the knife for decidedly "less bushcrafty" tasks, no firesteel loop was required on the sheath. This also serves to lighten the knife's carry weight, important when they have to wear heavy, gargantuan super suits designed to withstand a close perimeter bomb blast!

Another minor change was the handle color. The red liners were removed and the color switched from the original Bushcrafter's green to coyote brown.

Everything else about the new EOD Bushcrafter knife remains the same as the standard 162. You can check out our full review of the original Bushcrafter knife here. Bombs away!

Cheers, Jason

For more information, visit

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If you're in the market for a new Bushcrafter EOD Knife, please consider buying one from Rocky Mountain Bushcraft sponsor Lifeview Outdoors. Lifeview is an outstanding company with excellent customer service, and their support helps to make reviews like this possible. 

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Jason and Leah

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Survival Lessons Learned from 6 Animal Attacks (Outdoor Life)

(photo credit: Outdoor Life)

Article courtesy of Outdoor Life Magazine

If last year’s headlines are any indication, incidents of strange and aggressive animal behavior are on the rise in North America. Experts attribute increasing human-animal encounters to a combination of factors—from human encroachment into once--remote wildlife habitat to an ever-increasing number of carnivores migrating into America’s cities and suburbs in search of an easy meal.

In each of these stories, the victim managed to survive through a combination of quick thinking and good luck. Our panel of animal-attack experts examines the likely causes of the vicious encounters, what can be learned from them, and how each might have been avoided.

Read the rest of the story HERE

Sunday, April 26, 2015

High-tech backcountry gear -- with wilderness smarts- can save your life

(photo credit: Monica Tymcio/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft)

Article courtesy of the San Jose Mercury News

"The influx of technology in the backcountry has been both a godsend to hikers and a headache for rescue crews. As tech for the wilderness becomes more sophisticated and lighter to carry, more backpackers and long-distance hikers have access to lifesaving devices, but the security these high-tech gadgets provide are convincing more novices to tackle rugged outdoor adventures for which they are ill-prepared, wilderness leaders say."

Check out the rest of the story HERE

More information about the death of hiker/mountain climber Kate Matrosova:

The Conway Daily Sun- Expert: Woman's climbing death offers lessons

American Rifleman Magazine: Building An Affordable Survival Rifle

Building An Affordable Survival Rifle'

Emergency preparedness kits come in all shapes and sizes these days. From the pocketable homemade kits tucked into empty Altoids tins to professionally packed 72-hour supply sets, there's something for everyone. There is one idea that’s been floating around the Internet discussion forums for a while now that piqued my interest. It involves repurposing a youth single-shot .22 rimfire bolt-action for wilderness survival.

Read the rest of the story over at American Rifleman Magazine HERE 

(RMB note: I got a chance to hold one of these little Savage Rascal rifles at SHOT Show 2015 and was impressed. For such a tiny gun, you can get a good sight picture, which is usually tough for guns this small due to the shorter length of pull. I plan to test and review one these in the Fall. On a side note, I am working on finalizing the initial reviews of the Chiappa Survival guns and Marlin Papoose .22 Survival Rifle. I think you will find the results rather interesting. Cheers, Jason)

Council Tool discontinues popular 22.5" handled Velvicut Hudson Bay Axe, leaves 17.5" as only option

In a move that is bound to cause head-scratching across the bushcraft world, North Carolina-based Council Tool has discontinued selling their Velvicut Hudson Bay Axe with its highly popular 22.5" handle size. This leaves the diminutive 17.5" handle, shown above, as the only option.

Council Tool Velvicut Hudson Bay Axe with the original 22.5" handle
(photo credit: Rocky Mountain Bushcraft)

From left to right: 19.5 inch Wetterlings Large Hunting Axe, Original 22.5" Council Tool Velvicut Hudson Bay Axe, and  26.5 inch Council Tool Standard Hudson Bay Axe (far right)

(photo credit: Rocky Mountain Bushcraft)

For many, the 22.5" handle was the perfect size for the Council Tool Hudson Bay. According to one online axe reseller we spoke with, Council told them that they were having an issue with getting enough high grade hickory wood to make the 22.5" handles. Council said that this led them to the decision to discontinue the popular 22.5" Velvicut model.

If it's true that Council is having a hard time getting enough high grade hickory to build these axes, could this be the start of a shortage for Grade "A" axe handles, or is it just a company related issue with a specific supplier? Hopefully, it's only the latter. We plan to contact Council Tool this week and see if we can get more information. We will post an update here as soon as we hear back from them.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GEAR REVIEW: Bob's Folding Bucksaw- Best bucksaw on the market?

Okay  folks, here is another "run, don't walk!" piece of outdoor gear to grab- Bob's Folding Bucksaw sold by the Four Dog Stove Company of Minnesota. Bob's Bucksaw is bar none the best folding bucksaw I have used.

I came across this excellent bucksaw while checking out Four Dog's vendor table at the 2014 Winter Camping Symposium last October. Four Dog is a small outdoor company that specializes in portable wood burning stoves for use inside canvas tents during winter camping.

Four Dog Stove's vendor table at the 2014 Winter Camping Symposium:

Four Dog's owner Don Kevilus is an experienced and knowledgeable outdoorsman with over 50 years of field experience under his belt. He has spent time in the bush with his friend Mors Kochanski, legendary author of the seminal book "Bushcraft." I think it's safe to say that Don knows a thing or two about what makes a good woods tool!

Don Kevilus (photo credit: Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft)


As Don explained to me, this ingenious folding bucksaw was invented by Bob Dustrude, a 92-year old WWII Fighter Pilot and veteran outdoorsman. Bob painstakingly handcrafts each saw at his Northern Minnesota home. The saw is constructed of lightweight aluminum held together by sturdy copper rivets, and is a marvel of simplicity and ruggedness.

Each bucksaw comes with its own handmade cordura sheath, and for an extra $6, Don will include a Raker Tooth saw blade, which is great for cutting green, frozen or pitchy wood (the bucksaw comes standard with a Pegtooth saw blade, which is better for cutting dry firewood). You can read a more detailed explanation of the two types of saw blades here (scroll down 3/4 of the way to see it).

The 24" model used in this review weighed in at a very reasonable 15.6 ounces (20.7 ounces with the sheath and extra blade). The bucksaw folds down  to a very compact size, making it easy to throw inside a backpack, preparedness kit, or saddlebag of a horse or motorcycle.

The lever action handle is made from Northern Minnesota Ash and hot soaked in paraffin wax to make it waterproof. An illustration printed on each handle gives instructions on how to put the saw together.

The saw comes in three sizes-- 21", 24" and 30" (a photo of the 30" model was unavailable at the time of this review)

(photo credit: Four Dog Stove Company)

When it comes time to deploy the bucksaw, it is simply a matter of unfolding it, attaching the saw blade to one of the aluminum saw arm ends, then attaching the wood lever-action handle onto the opposite end, and snapping the handle into place.

Here is a video of Don demonstrating how Bob's Bucksaw works:


To field test Bob's Bucksaw, I took it into the northern Minnesota wilderness around Gunflint Lake after attending the 2014 Winter Camping Symposium last October. There was a ton of dead Lodgepole Pines there, making it an ideal test environment to see how the saw would perform. I found a healthy-sized Lodgepole Pine and proceeded to buck it in half.

Success! The saw made short work of this job.

Colorado Pitchwood Hunt

Although I was impressed with Bob's Bucksaw after my initial test up in northern Minnesota, I wanted to give it some more backcountry use before recommending it.

After returning to Colorado, I thought it would be a great test of the saw's strength to use it during one of my pitchwood hunts. I've twisted and bent the frames of cheaper bucksaws when trying to saw pitchwood. Pitchwood is a tough, dense, waxy\pitchy wood that's great for starting survival fires, but it is hard on edged tools. I figured if Bob's Bucksaw could make it through this kind of test, it would be one tough saw.

On this particular hunt, I was looking for elusive Pinyon Pine pitchwood tinder in the Southern Rockies.

Pinyon Pines produce less pitchwood than their Ponderosa Pine cousins, so finding it can take some searching. Once you've found it though, you know you've found something special. It smells like sweet incense and burns with an intense flame.

After a bit of hiking, I found what looked to be a good candidate. 

A quick check with my Leatherman's blade on one of the hard roots revealed that I had hit pitchwood paydirt!

I then grabbed Bob's Bucksaw to harvest some of this wonderful natural tinder.  

Bob's saw buzzed through the rock-hard pitchwood roots easily.

The sweet, incense like-smell that emanated from the sawed roots was heavenly!

Bob's saw didn't flinch while I was sawing through the dead Pinyon Pine pitchwood roots. One great advantage Bob's saw has over many of its competitors (such as the Sven Sawis that it has a lot more room between the blade and the frame, allowing it to cut  larger logs.


What else can I say? Bob's Bucksaw is ingeniously simple to use, lightweight, strong, yet saws like a demon. With a street price of just $50.00, this handcrafted tool is an absolute steal. Rumor has it that Bob is looking to retire soon, so if I were you, I would grab one of his awesome bucksaws while you can.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

Bob's Bucksaw is available from Four Dog Stoves-