Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Made in the USA" Gear Review: Brunton Compasses


Kudos to longtime compass maker Brunton for bringing manufacturing back to the US. Back in May of 2012, Brunton's executives made a bold decision to cease their Chinese baseplate compass manufacturing operations and restart production in Brunton's Riverton, Wyoming plant. This means that ALL new Brunton baseplant compasses are now 100% USA made.


Though I've long favored Suunto's Finnish-made compasses, the O.S.S. 70M sent to me by Brunton proved very similar in overall quality and accuracy when used during a few wilderness jaunts. The O.S.S. 50M was not quite up to Suunto quality, but was still a decent, budget-priced compass.

Brunton's O.S.S. 70M helping to navigate the winter backcountry

Brunton's affordable O.S.S. 50M US made baseplate compass:



O.S.S. 50M SPECS:




  • BRUNTON O.S.S. alignment system
  • Tool free declination adjustment
  • On the map Meridian lines
  • 2° resolution
  • Mid-hinged sighting mirror
  • Protective cover
  • Clinometer
  • Inch/mm scales
  • Lanyard
  • Weight: 2.2 oz.
  • Dimensions: 2.9''x3.9''x0.8''
  • Made in the USA

  • Brunton's higher end professional compass, the O.S.S. 70M, which includes a handy guide on how to use a compass, as well as wilderness survival tips, etc:




     

    Brunton O.S.S 70M SPECS:

    • BRUNTON O.S.S. alignment system
    • Tool free declination adjustment
    • On the map Meridian lines
    • Magnified read-out for 1° accuracy
    • Protective cover with sighting mirror
    • Field reference cards for mapping and emergency use
    • 3 clinometer systems
    • Map magnifier
    • Lanyard
    • Dimensions: 4.1''x2.5''x1''
    • Weight: 3.6 oz
    • 1° resolution
    • Scales: Feet, mile and meter scales
    • Map Scale: 1:24k, UTM
    • Made in the USA

    Not only are Brunton's compasses being made in the USA again, they are also no more expensive than their competitors. So if a US made compass is in your sights, Brunton should definitely top your list.

    For more information visit www.brunton.com/pages/navigation


    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)

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    Trail Food Review: Sweetwood Cattle Company Beef Jerky


    Wanna try some beef jerky that's insanely delicious? Check out Sweetwood Cattle Company's all natural beef jerky. 

    Last January, while I was attending the Winter OR Show, I happened by Sweetwood Cattle Company's booth and was offered a sample of their peppered beef jerky. Having eaten a lot of jerky in my time, I really wasn't expecting much. To my surprise however, I was instantly wowed.

    Smoky and sweet, with a rich, delicate flavor that made it practically melt in my mouth, I became instantly addicted.

    One of the reasons Sweetwood jerky is so good is because it is made from choice strips of beef that come from organically fed cattle, raised right on Sweetwood's own Steamboat Springs, Colorado ranch. Their jerky is also softer than most, since it is baked instead of being dried like most other jerky.

    Sweetwood sent me home with a few samples of their different flavored jerky (Regular, Peppered, Hot, and Teriyaki), which I happily munched on during my long drive back to Colorado after the show. I was equally impressed with all four flavors, though my ultimate favorites were the Peppered and Teriyaki.

    A word of warning though, the "Hot" flavor is no joke! I eat a fair amount of spicy foods, and this flavor left a five-alarm fire burning in my mouth for some time after! It is delicious, and hot food lovers will certainly enjoy it, but people with less "fire-proof" mouths may want to try one of the other flavors instead.

    Sweetwood Jerky is definitely one of the products I've been excited to share. In fact, Backpacker Magazine even picked up on this amazing jerky, giving it a 2013 Editor's Choice Award.

    Editor's note: Leah here, I also had the pleasure of sampling Sweetwood Jerky. I love jerky, but all too often end up with brands that are dry, tasteless, and tough. When I opened the Sweetwood Teriyaki jerky, I think I finished the whole pouch immediately! Like Jason I was instantly addicted. It was very flavorful and the slightly softer texture was perfect.  

    I also tried the Peppered which has a little too much after-bite for me, but the flavor is so sweet and smoky that I continued to eat it in spite of running for a glass of water afterward. Uh...Jason? Wanna throw some more of that Sweetwood Teriyaki this way? 

    5 out 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

    For more information visit www.sweetwoodjerky.com


    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)

    Video: Polar Bear vs Grizzly (National Geographic)

    One of the best documentaries I've seen in a while, with a very surprising ending!

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Tips & Tricks: Ripped your Gore-Tex Jacket? Fix it with a Gore-Tex Repair Kit


    If you've accidentally ripped a hole in your Gore-Tex Jacket, Pants or Sleeping Bag, don't freak out, just repair it with a Gore-Tex Repair Kit.

    Gear Aid sells an inexpensive repair kit that is easy to utilize in the field. Just pull out a patch, cut to size, remove the adhesive backing and apply it over the rip. You will have an instant repair that will keep both wind and rain out.


    Though not required, I recommend running an iron over the patch and then tech-washing your Gore-Tex gear after application of the strip to ensure maximum water-repellency.


    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)

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    Moving logs the old fashioned way!

    Last Fall, a local horse wrangler was helping to move some logs near where my base camp was located, so I grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos. I had meant to post these last year but had misplaced the folder which contained them.

    Just today, I ran across the folder again and figured I'd post'em up for you. The wrangler's name is George, and I'd like to thank him for allowing me to take these photographs of him while he worked.

    This is definitely the old fashioned way of moving logs around!

    (click to enlarge)




    Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    Benchmade releases new "Bushcrafter" knife- UPDATED


    More evidence of bushcraft's growing popularity!

    Popular knife maker Benchmade is releasing a new fixed blade knife called the "Bushcrafter", which features a 4.43" long blade, S30V Stainless Steel, G10 handles, titanium handle spacer tubes, and a brushed buckskin leather dangler sheath with a firesteel loop.

    Retail price is listed at $200, but I'm guessing the street price will be in the $120 to $150 range. According to Benchmade's press release, the Bushcrafter will be available for shipping at the end of this month. It looks like an attractive knife with an interesting design, but is it really worth almost four times the price of Mora's superb Black Carbon Bushcraft Knife? Check back here in the coming weeks to see how the two fare in a head to head match!

    AUGUST 24th- FULL REVIEW POSTED!

    APRIL 14th, 2013 UPDATE- I have been testing the Bushcrafter since late Feburary, and will have the full review posted within the next 1-2 weeks. Make sure to sign up on our email list at the right side of the page to get notified when it's posted, or if you have a Twitter account, make sure to follow us there!

    July 2nd 2013 UPDATE- I'm happy to report that all testing for the Bushcrafter is complete. The review is being finalized and it should be posted soon. With a last minute change by Benchmade, this knife has proved to be very interesting. Thanks for your patience and happy bushcrafting!
    The SPECS:

    Model Name: 162 Bushcrafter
    Overall Length: 9.2"
    Blade Length: 4.43"
    Blade Thickness: 0.164"
    Blade Material: S30V Stainless Steel
    Blade Hardness: 58-60HRC
    Blade Style: Drop-Point 
    Handle Thickness: 0.92"
    Weight: 7.72 oz. (without sheath)
    Country of origin: Made in the USA