Thursday, October 13, 2016

Just Arrived: New EDC goodies from CountyComm

All photos ©2016 Rocky Mountain Bushcraft

Hey friends, I thought I'd share some cool new EDC gadgets that CountyComm sent me to try out. CountyComm is a government contractor that designs, manufactures and sells survival/EDC gadgets to our military as well as federal, state and local government agencies. They sell some of their excess inventory to the public through their website.

Here are some of the goodies I received....

Maratac Titanium Peanut XL Lighter & Maratac "Split Pea" Titanium Lighter:

CountyComm gadgets with a Victorinox Farmer knife:

For more information, visit

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Gear Review: Kenai Chest Holster

©2016, Rocky Mountain Bushcraft

As a gear reviewer and outdoors writer, I often spend time alone in remote areas of the Rockies. There is usually no phone reception, and even with a satellite phone, help is several hours away if I'm lucky. Survival really comes down to what I have on my person should an emergency happen.

Since there is little room for error, I always carry a variety of survival gear just in case. One thing I'm never without is a 10mm pistol. It functions both as a self defense tool and as an emergency signaling device.

I carried bear spray exclusively for a number of years, but after several high profile failures of bear spray, such as this one, and finding out that the famed "Bear Spray vs Bullets" study was based on flawed and biased data, I've reverted back to carrying a powerful pistol loaded with special bear protection ammunition.

When looking around for a holster for my pistol, I wanted one that I could use with a backpack that was both comfortable and lightweight.

The vast majority of quality chest holsters on the market, such as those made by Diamond D and Galco, are extremely well made but are crafted from leather. Leather is very comfortable, but it is heavier than synthetics and takes longer to dry out if it gets wet. Since I have to constantly hike up steep trails carrying lots of test gear, I look for every possible way to reduce pack weight.

After a bit of searching, I found an up-and-coming veteran-owned holster company out of Washington called Gunfighters Inc. Gunfighters makes a high quality synthetic chest holster designed for hikers, hunters and fisherman called the "Kenai Chest Holster," pictured in the main photo. The Kenai Chester Holster is available for a wide range of popular handguns.

Photo courtesy of Gunfighters Inc.

I have been using a Kenai Chest Holster since last summer, and it is absolutely fantastic. It is comfortable, durable, and very light weight. It holds my pistol securely during mountain adventures, and makes it very easy to draw out quickly. There are 3 adjustment points so you can adjust it for a wide range of body sizes as well as for different types of clothing  (i.e. summer shirt vs winter coat, etc). The nylon webbing straps are hand sewn and coated with a waterproof agent.

The Kenai Holster has become one of my favorite pieces of gear and I never head into the mountains without it. At $150.00, the Kenai is not exactly cheap, but it is a hand-crafted, well designed product that's 100% made in the USA. Highly Recommended.

For more information or to purchase the Kenai Chest Holster, visit:

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 written for 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 Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)

SOG Force Survival Knife with Custom Convexed Edge/Mini Review

Back in 2013, SOG Specialty Knives & Tools sent me their "Force" Survival Knife and asked me to review it. Owing to the barrage of wildfires in my area of Colorado at that time and the ensuing chaos that followed, many of my reviews from that period got shelved, including the review of the SOG Force. The Force knife ended up gathering dust in storage for over a year before I was finally able to dig it out and spend some time in the bush testing it. So how did it do? Read on below to find out more.....

The Force Knife

I love the Force's simple but useful blade shape, excellent splitting ability, roomy handle and nearly indestructible construction. However, its edge profile is a different story. It is profiled more for strength in a survival situation than for pure wood carving ability, which left it a bit wanting while performing bushcraft tasks.

Don't get me wrong, the Force's factory edge, in actuality, cuts things just fine, but I wanted to see if I could improve on it for bushcraft purposes while still having a strong edge. Enter the Work Sharp......

I decided to break out my Work Sharp Ken Onion Knife Sharpener to see if I could improve on the edge by reprofiling it into a convex.

The result? A total transformation. The Work Sharp did a fantastic job reprofiling the edge, and all of a sudden, the knife was carving wood like a champ.


After re-profiling the edge, I took the SOG Force with me on several more field trips. The combination of its sturdy, 1/4" wide blade and new convex cutting edge made the knife great for a variety of woods tasks such as prying the bark off of dead trees for making tinder, baton splitting logs, creating feathersticks, and chopping small poles to make shelters.


For more information visit:

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 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 Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mountain Bushcraft: "Fork-Hole" Bow Drill Method using the Mora Garberg Knife

(©Rocky Mountain Bushcraft 2016, All Rights Reserved)

Hey friends!

Hope you are well. I thought I'd share these photos with you illustrating the "Fork Hole" Bow Drill Method which was popularized in Mors Kochanski's 1987 book "Bushcraft."

I use this method occasionally when I'm out trekking in the mountains, and have always had great success with it. The trick is finding a forked branch that is close enough together to function as a notch for the burning powder to fall into while drilling. 

For this particular set, I used a dead branch from a Sandbar Willow tree that was growing near a mountain stream. However, you can use just about any good bow drill wood for this technique as long as the fork is close enough together.  

My bow was fashioned from an Aspen sapling, and the socket was carved from a piece of River Birch. 

The spindle is Willow and was cut from the same branch as the hearth board. Contrary to popular myth, you are better off using a spindle and hearth board cut from the same piece of wood for best success. An exception to this rule is if you find a good piece of wood for your board, but the only decent wood you can find for your spindle is from another type of tree (Willow spindle and a Cottonwood board, for instance). Another exception is if you are in a part of the country where Yucca grows. Yucca spindles are truly exceptional and will produce a coal faster than just about any other wood out there.  

©Rocky Mountain Bushcraft 2016, All Rights Reserved

The knife I used is Mora's new full-tang Garberg knife, which has proven to be a very competent blade during several trips into the bush. 

I've used the exposed tang (AKA pommel) on the back of the Garberg's handle to pound on bark to make tinder bundles and cordage. 

The Garberg's handle has proven quite comfortable even after carving several bow drill sets using River Birch, Box Elder Maple, Mountain Alder, Aspen, Willow, Cottonwood and Big Sage. The blade, though not a true Scandi-grind like Mora's classic bush knives, carves and notches well.

Mora also did a great job sharpening the back of the blade. It throws mondo firesteel sparks and has been excellent for scraping tinder. 

Stay tuned for more!



About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College. Jason has also written for 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 Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains Pocket Guides now available!

Hey friends!

Hope you are well. 

As some of you may already know, I was lucky enough to be signed to Waterford Press last year to do a set of survival plant guides for the Rocky Mountains. 

At the time of the announcement, the guides generated lots of interest, but were not yet available. Now, that has all changed. The guides are now in stock and ready to ship!

What's in them?

Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains is a set of easy to understand pocket survival guides. These handy guides can help hikers and backpackers lost in the Rocky Mountains forage for food or treat aliments and injuries using wild plants and trees.

Laminated, water-resistant, ultralight and made in the USA, they were written for practical, real world survival use.

The plants and trees in these guides were selected because they are widespread, easy to identify, and cover a wide range of seasons, environments, and life zones (i.e., winter/summer; Plains to Alpine Zones, etc).

The guides also contain helpful tips on how to use Rocky Mountain plants and trees for bushcraft and survival use, as well as many other cool "factoids" about the historical and Native American uses of each individual species.

In June of 2016, the Saguache County Colorado Sheriff's Department evaluated and adopted Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants.


"Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky a simple, useful guide to stay healthy on your next trek through the wilds." -

"These guides can be used in a pinch and serve as a worthwhile reference in the field." 

"My friend JASON SCHWARTZ of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft a good guy with good knowledge and good words, check out the link (to GearJunkie's review) and his other works." -Mykel Hawke, Survival Expert & TV Celebrity

"Thank you for the Edible and Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains Pocket Guides that are currently in use by the Saguache County Sheriff's Department. They should prove to be a great resource for the Search and Rescue Team as well as for the Saguache County Sheriff's Deputies." -Dan Warwick, Sheriff, Saguache County, Colorado Sheriff's Office

Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains pocket guides are $7.95 per guide plus $3.95 shipping. Order your copy below:


No matter where you hike in the Rockies, these pocket guides will make a great addition to your survival kit.

For more information visit Waterford Press at:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New for 2016: Emberlit 'Sprongs' Convertible Eating Utensil


New for 2016, Emberlit Campstoves is releasing a new bush utensil that combines a spoon, fork and a pair of tongs all into one. "Sprongs," as Emberlit calls them, are the latest brainchild of Emberlit Campstoves founder Mikhail Merkurieff.

Looking to get more functionality out of the classic combo utensil designs that are on the market today, Mikhail went back to the drawing board and came up with a simple but highly useful solution.

A functional pivoting attachment on each fork and spoon handle allows the utensils to combine to instantly convert into a useful set of tongs. The result is a surprisingly handy and easy to use backpacking tool.


  • Sprongs\' spoon and fork lock together to form useful tongs. Three utensils for the space and weight of two!
  • The spoon and fork nest together for convenient storage.
  • Sprongs\' dimensions are based on home silverware for familiarity and comfort.
  • The spoon is 1 tablespoon in volume, a common and useful unit of measure.
  • Sprongs\' extra long handles reach the bottom of MREs and dehydrated meals to avoid getting hands covered in food. 
  • The fork doubles as a bail hook for lifting hot lids and pots. 
  • Sprongs have a strategically placed lanyard hole for added convenience when storing.
  • Made in the USA from food safe, BPA free, hi temp (400° F), ultra strong, and flexible nylon.
  • Weight: 0.7 ounces (as weighed on a digital postal scale)
  • Price: $12.99, available directly from Emberlit's website

All Sprongs are 100% made in the USA from BPA-free/food safe, high temperature (400° F) flexible nylon.

Check back in a few weeks and I should have a field test update on the Sprongs. I have a couple of backpacking trips planned and will be using them as my main eating utensil.