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 @ hotmail.com (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 Mountains...is a simple, useful guide to stay healthy on your next trek through the wilds." - GearJunkie.com

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

"My friend JASON SCHWARTZ of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft Blog...is 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: http://www.waterfordpress.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=survival+plants

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.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Reader Photo: Trekking in the Rockies from JB in Colorado

JB from Colorado was nice enough to share a photo from one of his recent Rocky Mountain adventures. An axe aficionado, JB says he has a healthy collection of American and Swedish Axes that he loves to bring along with him on his various backcountry trips. 

The axe he is carrying in the photo is a Council Tool Forest Service Edition Boy's Axe, which I reviewed back in April of 2013. He says it is currently one of his favorites. 

Thanks to JB for sharing this photo and I wish him many happy trails!



Saturday, June 18, 2016


(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, ©2012)

Is this spork the last eating utensil you'll ever need? DJ Urbanovsky, owner of American Kami and creator of the "APOCALYSPORK," thinks so. He says confidently that, "If you want flatware that will last you through the apocalypse, this is it."

The Spork

Urbanovsky touts the "APOCALYSPORK" as an indestructible, multi-function survival tool. Forged from 6AL4V Medical Grade Titianum, he says the the APOCALYSPORK is the strongest spork on the market. Here are some of things it can do:

  • Bottle Opener/Pot Lid Lifting Hook
  • Oxygen Bottle Key/Small Carabiner Hole
  • MSR Shaker Stove Takedown Key
  • .25" Emergency Hex Driver Key
  • Extra Long Handle for getting food out of extra deep cans/MRE pouches
  • Excellent for cooking and fire poking

Urbanovsky says the titanium he uses is sourced from military and aerospace scrap. In addition to its robust construction and multi-tool capability, the APOCALYSPORK has these additional features:

  • Berry compliant
  • Available variants are Spork, Fork, or Spoon, in full size or stubby.
  • 9.3" long from tip to tines and 0.071"-0.073" thick. (Stubbies are 6.85" long)
  • Won't rust or corrode.
  • Non-Magnetic.
  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Stonewash over Torch Anodization for good looks, slick mouth feel, and ease of cleaning. All corners, points, and edges are smoothed over, for comfort and TSA Compliance.
  • Fluid capacity at tines is 1/3 more than the Snowpeak Spork
  • Weight: 1.3 ounces (as weighed on a digital postal scale)
  • Price: $44.00

Size comparison with a Snow Peak Titanium Spork:
(photo credit: American Kami)


I've carried an APOCALYSPORK in my pack for the last three years. For the review, I will focus on the longer 9.3" version, because I've found its additional length to be more useful for bushcrafting and survival tasks. If you're looking for a lighter, more compact version of the APOCALYSPORK, check out DJ's "Stubby" version, which is only 6.85" long (shown in the main photos).

Here's my impression......

The APOCALYSPORK's extra long handle makes it great for eating food out of Mountain House packages or for stirring soups in camp pots:

The back of the handle, which also doubles as a bottle opener, comes in handy for lifting hot lids, prying things open, or poking the campfire. Titanium has a melting point higher than steel and is a poor conductor of heat, so it is ideal for this purpose.

Wilderness Survival Gun companion tool

The APOCALYSPORK turned out to be very useful for adjusting or maintaining my wilderness survival guns. I found that the large wrench hole fits the bolts on my Konus Quick-Release Rifle Scope Mounts perfectly:

The bottle opener also functioned very efficiently as a wrench on the bolts of a scope mount on another one of my bush rifles:

Although it's not the best tool for this job, I found that the APOCALYSPORK was strong enough to tighten the barrel nut on my Marlin Papoose .22 Survival Rifle:

Improvised Firesteel Striker and Tinder Scraper

As it comes from American Kami's shop, the APOCALYSPORK's edges are a bit too rounded to be able to use it as a tinder scraper or as a striker for a firesteel. However, with a file and a few minutes work, I was able to square off a section on the handle which made it into a usable scraper/striker:

Thanks to the wrench holes in the APOCALYSPORK, it easily attaches to a backpack. Since Titanium is impervious to the elements, there is no worry about rust or corrosion when leaving it attached to the outside of the pack.

To keep it secured, I use a Nite Ize S-Biner SlidelockOf course, you can always just use plain ol' 550 paracord if you prefer (I rec'd Lifeview Outdoor's USA made Mil-Spec Paracord). Although paracord works fine, I like the convenience of a quick-detach device like the S-Biner.


After carrying the APOCALYSPORK in the field for several years, I have, as Bob Ross used to say, "Beat the devil out of it!," yet it still looks like new. It has definitely proven to be as strong and durable as it's advertised to be.

I like that it can easily be modified to suit my individual survival needs, such as converting a part of the handle into a usable tinder scraper and firesteel striker.

One minor criticism is that I wish the spoon was a little deeper for eating soup. I notified American Kami's owner, DJ, about this not long after I got it, and he said he would take another look at the design and modify it if need be. This was several years ago, so it's possible that the newer APOCALYSPORK's have been modified.

At $44.00, the price might be a bit steep for some. It is quite a bit more expensive than titanium sporks from other manufacturers. However, when you consider the APOCALYSPORK is a high quality, forged titanium survival tool that's made in the USA, you realize the quality makes it worth the price.

Minor criticisms aside, I think the APOCALYSPORK is an excellent, well crafted survival and bushcraft tool. Plus, its torch anodized, stone washed finish makes it very attractive and unique looking. A super tool that can handle super tough situations, the APOCALYSPORK would no doubt survive any doomsday scenario and beyond. 

4.5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

For more information, visit:

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 in Leadville, Colorado. 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 @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Marlin Papoose .22 Survival Rifle @ 50 Yards on Deer Target- full review coming soon

RMB NOTE- In case someone might think I am some kind of cruel deer murderer for posting this, please note that this is the most humane and efficient way to hunt a deer with a .22 rifle in a wilderness survival situation.

A .22 rifle does not have sufficient power to kill a deer humanely or quickly by shooting it in the vitals the way most hunters would do with a high-powered rifle. A .22 does however have enough power to completely penetrate a deer's skull. This is why you would take head shots at a deer with a .22 if you are faced with a survival situation. 

Remember, "survival should never be political" as I always like to say.

Survival is never pretty. What's most important is that you come out alive. 



Monday, May 16, 2016

Re: Update, Gear Testing, Fishing, etc

Hey friends! Hope all is well. I was out scouting some new places to test gear over the weekend, and decided to stop and do a little bit of fishing. Found a high mountain lake in the Gunnison National Forest that was well stocked with Rainbow Trout, and gave it a whirl using my favorite lure. Ended up catching 5 Rainbows in less than 2 hours. Fun!

On the way in, I saw a wild turkey cross the road and was able to snap a few photos which you can see below.

On the way out, I ran into a few Pronghorn Antelopes that were grazing on the side of the road. Pronghorns are very interesting animals. They are capable of running up to 55 mph, making them the second fastest mammal on earth. Only the Cheetah can faster. 

Overall, the trip was great, and I was able to find some beautiful new locations for finishing my gear testing this year. Look for lots of new content soon, and as always, Leah and I greatly appreciate all of your support.

Take care,