Friday, November 30, 2012

Dual Survival announces replacement for Dave Canterbury


The Discovery Channel just announced that Joe Teti, a former Force Recon Marine, Green Beret, and former operative in a top-secret government counter-terrorist unit, is the new replacement for Dave Canterbury on "Dual Survival".

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/11/30/exclusive-dual-survival-names-joseph-teti-its-new-military-survival-pro/#ixzz2DjcrSgqj

More info from Cody's Lundin's Press Page:
Official – Joseph Teti is new partner on Dual Survival 3

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Blog Update 11-24-2012

Dear readers,

Just a quick update.....

I've had to take care of some of personal business over the last couple of weeks, which has prevented me from posting the Wetterlings Forester's Fine Axe and Hultafors Axe reviews yet. I'm working on them as we speak, so thanks for being patient. I literally spend months on just one axe, knife or product review and it's very time consuming, so it's sometimes a juggling act to figure out which product or article gets posted first!

I'm happy to report that we've seen an increase in email and Twitter sign-ups, and our internet traffic has increased noticeably over the past few months as well. If you haven't subscribed to our email list, please visit the right sidebar and sign up!

ALSO- Rocky Mountain Bushcraft will be celebrating its first anniversary on December 1st! We will be celebrating by giving away (5) UCO Survival Stormproof Matches. Details will follow in a separate post.

Lots of new material will be posted in the coming weeks/months, so thanks again for visiting!

Jason/Leah

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mora Knife ad from the 1950s

I can't remember exactly where I found this, but I think it was on Mora's Twitter page last year. Either way, it's a cool ad!

(click to enlarge)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rocky Mountain Tree Identification: Ponderosa Pine Tree


Ponderosa Pines are the most common tree found in the foothills and montane zones of the Rocky Mountains. They can be found as far north as southern British Columbia, and as far south as New Mexico. Ponderosa Pines are also found scattered throughout the West, to include the Sierra Nevadas, the Cascades, the Maritime Coast Range and the Blackhills of South Dakota.

So named because of their large size, the Ponderosa Pine holds the distinction of being the world's tallest pine tree, with the tallest recorded example coming in at an incredible 268.5 feet tall.

Named "Phalanx" by its discoverer Michael Taylor, this enormous Ponderosa was found last year in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in southern Oregon:

Phalanx, the world's tallest pine tree (photo credit: www.mdvaden.com)

Ponderosa Pine FACTS:

Bushcraft Uses: The green boughs can be used for bedding or for shelter insulation. Ponderosa Pine is a rich source of pine pitch to make glue, as well as pitchwood (fatwood) for fire-making. The needles make for a tasty, Vitamin A & C rich tea (Note: drinking too much pine tea is toxic. Pregnant women should NEVER drink this tea). The sweet, inner bark can be boiled or fried and eaten for survival food, or, it can be dried and pounded into flour. As firewood, Ponderosa Pine burns with significantly less popping and sparks than either Spruce, Aspen or Douglas Fir, making it a better choice for a survival fire that you have to lay close to at night. Young, unopened male cones can be boiled for an emergency food.

IDENTIFICATION

Of all the trees in the Rockies, I've found the Ponderosa the easiest to identify. The only time you might have difficulty is at higher elevations, where Ponderosa Pines start to mix with Lodepole Pines (I've included comparison shots of the Ponderosa and Lodgepole further down in this post to aid in positive identification).

The easiest way to identify Ponderosa is by the needles and cones. The needles are long and fan-like, and the cones usually litter the ground under the trees.

(click to enlarge)


There is usually an abundance of dead cones underneath Ponderosa Pines. They also make great kindling for your camp fire.




The third way to identify Ponderosa is by looking at the bark of adolescent and mature trees. As Ponderosa Pines mature, their bark gradually becomes more of a burnt-orange color. The bark also a very distinctive vanilla or butterscotch smell. When the summer sun heats up the bark, this odor can be so strong that a walk through the forest can smell like a walk through a candy factory!

Adolescent tree showing the beginnings of this orange color:


Adult tree showing increasing orange color:


The bark on a large, fully mature Ponderosa showing the solid burnt-orange color:


TREE PHOTOS

Young Tree


Mature tree


How to tell the difference between a Ponderosa Pine and a Lodgepole Pine

When looking at the two trees side-by-side, Ponderosa Pines will have longer, darker needles, as well as a courser, orange-brown colored bark when compared to the finer, darker bark of the Lodgepole.

(click to enlarge)



How to Find Pitchwood in Ponderosa Pines

Ponderosa Pines provide an excellent source of high quality pitchwood for fire-making. Check out our "Wilderness Survival: An easy way to find Fatwood in the Rockies and Beyond...." post for more info.

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, and the author of Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains Pocket Guides. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques 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 magazines such as 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)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Made in the USA" Gear Review: Filson Zip Neck Fleece Top


Ok readers, here's another excellent Filson product for the cold winter ahead- Filson's Zip Neck Fleece Mid-Layer Top. As some of you may recall, I reviewed Filson's Mackinaw Cruiser Jacket, Pants and Wool Cuff Cap earlier this year, and was really impressed by the quality. This fleece mid-layer shirt is no different. Excellent fit, light yet warm, durably built, with great attention to detail, this shirt is perfect for many seasons of use, and has become my favorite year-round backpacking companion.

(click to enlarge)

I've had this shirt since February, and since then, it's been used and washed quite a bit, but still looks like new. It's warm enough that it was often the only layer I'd need under my Goretex shell to keep me warm on cool, stormy evenings in the high country. Since it's fleece, it also packs up small and weighs virtually nothing, which makes it a great choice for ultra-lite backpackers as well as bushcrafters.


At $95, this shirt is competively priced compared to its Chinese-made counterparts. Plus you get Filson's legendary quality, fit and durability along with the pride of knowing that you've bought a product made by American workers. Another great piece of gear from Filson and highly recommended.

For more info or to buy this shirt, visit www.filson.com/products/fleece-zip-neck-top.15018.html


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 techniques 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 magazines such as 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)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rocky Mountain Tree Identification: Douglas Fir Tree (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca)


Douglas Firs are one of the most common trees found in the Rocky Mountains. Beautiful, majestic and long-lived, they have been known to survive for as long as 1,300 years. Douglas Fir grows on foothills, montane and subalpine slopes from central British Columbia and Alberta all the way down to New Mexico.

Douglas Fir FACTS:

Bushcraft Uses- The green boughs make excellent bedding material. The sap can be used as an antisceptic treatment for wounds (easily accessed by piercing the resin blisters on young trees). Douglas Fir needles are high in Vitamin C and you can drink them as a tea to prevent scurvy or to boost the immune system. The wood is quite strong for an evergreen tree, and makes for a stout shelter, can be used for a bow saw stave, or for making arrows. Douglas Fir produces the most flammable resin of all the evergreen trees in North America, so it produces the most potent and wonderfully fragrant pitchwood for firemaking, though it can be difficult to find. As firewood, Douglas Fir burns as hot as Elm due to its flammable resins, but it pops and sparks a lot while it burns, so use caution if sleeping close to a fire when burning it. Douglas Firs have long been popular to use as Christmas trees.

Identification 

Douglas Fir trees look very similar to Spruce trees, but there are a couple of easy ways to tell them apart while in the field. The easiest way is look at their cones. Douglas Fir cones are small and very distinctive, and this is most easily seen by the little "streamers" that stick out of them:

(click to enlarge)

Douglas Firs usually litter the ground with their cones, so even if you don't see them on the boughs, a quick check around the base of the tree usually gives a positive identification.

The second way is to feel the needles with your hand. Fir tree needles are soft and do not hurt or poke at your skin, unlike Spruce trees, which have stiff and pointy needles that might hurt when you grab them.

A third method of identification is by the distinctive citrus odor that Douglas Firs give off when freshly cut..

PHOTOS

Saplings/Young Trees



 Bark on a young tree:

Closeup of the young bark's resin blisters, which, if pierced, are a good source for an anti-bacterial wound topping:


Young Adult Trees



Mature Trees






Finding Pitchwood in Douglas Firs

Douglas Fir produces the highest quality pitchwood for fire-starting, but it is rather difficult to find, since it only forms inside of dead logs, dead roots or sometimes at the base of dead branches. Occasionally, it can be found in stump form, similar to how pitchwood forms in dead Yellow Pine stumps, but having examined hundreds of dead Douglas Fir stumps, I've only found one that contained an appreciable amount of quality pitchwood.

Douglas Fir pitchwood is most often found while cutting open a dead log to process it for firewood:



Red variety (Thanks to Old Philosopher at Bushcraft USA for taking these two photos. This Douglas Fir pitchwood was harvested in the Montana Rockies)
(click to enlarge)


In dead roots:



About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, and the author of Edible & Medicinal Survival Plants of the Rocky Mountains Pocket Guides. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques 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 magazines such as 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)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

REVIEW: Mora "Black Carbon" Bushcraft Knife


Mora's "Black Carbon" Bushcraft Knife follows the summer release of their new line of "heavy duty" knives, including the popular "Robust Knife". The Black Carbon is essentially a Mora Bushcraft Force knife, but with a thicker 1/8" thick carbon steel blade, a squared-off spine (for striking firesteels and scraping tinder), and a black Tungsten DLC Coating for rust resistance.


When I heard that Mora was releasing the Black Carbon, I was excited to say the least, since it finally has the features I've been longing for. I'd like to say a special thanks to Ben's Backwoods for getting this knife out to us so quickly!

Mora Black Carbon SPECS:

Steel Type: Swedish High Carbon Steel
Blade Length: 4.35"
Overall Length: 9.35"
Weight with sheath: 5.7 ounces
Weight without sheath: 4.3 ounces
Blade thickness: 1/8" thick
Country of origin: Made in Östnor, Sweden by Mora Knives
Price: $38-$41 through most online knife retailers

THE KNIFE

When I first picked up the Black Carbon, I could feel the extra heft compared to any Mora I've used in the past. On a digital scale, the Black Carbon weighs a half an ounce more than the stainless Bushcraft Survival and Force knives, coming in at 4.3 ounces (without the sheath), compared to 3.7 ounces for the Bushcraft Survival. 

One surprise was that the Black Carbon has a longer blade than the aforementioned knives, coming in at 4.35" vs 4.25" for the Force and Bushcraft Survival knives.

Here is a comparison with the Mora Bushcraft Survival Knife
(click to enlarge)

Blade comparison (Black Carbon is on the right):


Comparison with Mora's 4" Companion "Heavy Duty" MG Carbon Model:

(click to enlarge)

Closeup of the black Tungsten DLC Coating:

(click to enlarge)

SHEATH

The Black Carbon comes with a standard Mora Bushcraft sheath, which has a removable belt loop that also swivels in place. Although it's not fancy, it is functional, tough yet lightweight, and does a good job of holding the knife safely and securely.
(click to enlarge)

The Black Carbon also fits directly into the Mora Bushcraft Survival Sheath:


FIELD REVIEW

Much has already been written about the Bushcraft Force knife, which the Black Carbon is based on, so I wanted to focus on the four things that I thought were most important: 1) Does the Black Carbon baton any better than the Force knife? 2) How will the DLC Coating hold up under this batoning? 3) Now that the blade is thicker, will it still perform fine carving tasks as well as the thinner blades? 4) How well does the squared-off spine work when striking a firesteel?

Batoning a small Aspen log 

For the baton test, I found a small, dead Aspen tree that was lying on the ground around my base camp and sawed off a section with my trusty Bahco Laplander saw:

(click to enlarge)

Using a baton made from a pitch-laden pine branch, the log was then batoned into smaller pieces for the feather-stick and firesteel test:

(click to enlarge)

Success! 


I felt that the Black Carbon's thicker, longer blade made batoning slightly easier than other Moras I've used in the past.

Carving a Featherstick

The Black Carbon performed excellently in the featherstick test. It doesn't carve with the absolute perfection of a thin-bladed Mora Clipper, but this slight deficiency is really only noticeable when you do a side-by side comparison of the two.
(click to enlarge)

Firesteel test

The squared off spine on the Black Carbon was a joy to use when striking a firesteel, and easily ignited the Aspen wood featherstick from the previous test with just a few strikes:

(click to enlarge)

DLC Coating- How did it hold up?

I was only able to baton one log and carve a few feathersticks before posting this review, but the DLC Coating on this knife looks very promising. Here's how the knife looked after the tests:

(click to enlarge)

and after a quick wipe down with gun oil:

(click to enlarge)

UPDATE: The Black Carbon is now available with the Mora Bushcraft Survival sheath:


UPDATE 2: Using the Black Carbon's spine to ignite Charcloth with Quartzite

Conclusion

With it's thicker, slightly longer blade, the Black Carbon just might be the ticket for those who love Mora knives, but are worried about using a thinner version for heavy duty wilderness tasks. No, it's not a 1/4 thick "sharpened prybar," but I highly doubt anyone would break one unless they were outright abusing it. 

Another advantage of the high carbon steel construction of the Black Carbon is the ability to ignite char-tinder by striking its spine against Flint or Quartz to produce sparks. Here's a great video on how to do this by IA Woodsman.

One slight negative is that there is a small degredation in cutting performance compared to thinner Moras like the Clippers, but it's barely noticeable unless you do a side by side comparison of the two. The Black Carbon is still an excellent wood carving tool compared to most knives.


I was impressed with the DLC coating. Even though I didn't have as much field time with the Black Carbon as I normally do with other knife reviews, it appeared to hold up as well or better than, the coatings on other knives I've used over the years. After I spend more time in the field with the Black Carbon, I'll post an update on how it holds up under long term field use.

This knife looks to be an excellent all-around bush knife, and just as the FireKnife was a hit for Mora, I predict the same for the Black Carbon.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)


Sept 12th, 2013 UPDATE- Mora of Sweden to release larger Black Carbon Bushcraft model in December

May 3rd, 2014 UPDATE- Check out our review of the new Mora Bushcraft Pathfinder Knife

Was this review helpful? If so, please stop by the Rocky Mountain Bushcraft Facebook page and "Like" us.

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 techniques 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 magazines such as 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)