Thursday, January 30, 2014

SHOT Show 2014: Lansky Sharpener's new 1095 High Carbon Wilderness Machetes, Double Sided Diamond Folding Sharpeners and "Apocalypse Kit"

Lansky Sharpenersfamed makers of the Lansky "Puck" Axe and Machete sharpener, had some cool new products on display at SHOT Show this year.

Wilderness Machete and Kukri Machete

New for 2014 are Lansky's Wilderness Machete and Kukri Machete:


Made of 1095 high carbon steel, both sport genuine full tang construction and contoured, slip-resistant polymer handles. The Wilderness Machete has a 14" long blade with an aggressive wood saw on the back side. The Kukri Machete has a 13" long blade and does not come with a saw. Both come standard with reinforced nylon sheaths.

Lansky advised me that they took special care to temper the blades to ensure that they were hard enough to take a fine edge, yet also flexible and strong. My first impression of the machetes while handling them at the show was that they were comfortable in the hand and well balanced.

MSRP will be in the $40 range, and a release date is planned for April 1st.


Next up is Lansky's new "Diamond Sharpening Paddle," a double-sided, folding diamond sharpener. The Paddle comes in both Medium/Fine and Fine/Course grits. Lightweight and easily folded, it would be great for packing into the backcountry to keep your axe and knife edges in tip top condition.


For RMB's prepper-minded readers, Lansky has an "Apocalypse Survival Kit" bug-out bag. According to Lansky, the Kit "serves as the core of your emergency bag. The tools were selected to handle a number of situations including, escape from dangerous circumstances and basic survival during a variety of natural disaster or apocalypse scenarios."


One of the really cool items I noticed in the Apocalypse Kit is Lansky's "Firefighter's Battle Axe." Designed by Lansky with the close advisement of numerous professional firefighters, the axe has several really handy "worst case scenario" features such as a non-slip handle that's insulated to 10,000 volts, and can be used as an impact tool, pry bar, hose wrench or gas valve wrench. The Battle Axe can also bear a load up to 600lbs. Having survived a couple of major disasters here in Colorado, this is definitely something I'm considering throwing into my vehicle and home emergency kits!

(click to enlarge)

For more information visit www.lansky.com

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tracking a rabbit in the snow


Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 Winter Outdoor Retailer Show: REVIEW- UCO Strike Anywhere Matches (UPDATED)


For 2014, popular stormproof match maker UCO is releasing new Strike Anywhere MatchesHere is the description from UCO's product page:

  • Kitchen-sized strike anywhere matches.
  • Sturdy carbonized match stick for safe and reliable fire starting.
  • Ideal for campfires, fireplaces, stoves, BBQs, lanterns, candles, etc.
  • Contains 250 matches per box.

Survival-Pax recently posted a video review on the new Strike Anywhere Matches. These look promising for bushcrafters who've been waiting for an effective replacement for the long defunct Ohio Blue Tip Strike Anywhere Matches. If you've had a chance to try these matches, please leave a comment below!

UPDATE!- Monica and I just tested the Strike Anywhere Matches. We tested them on a variety of surfaces including a smooth piece of kitchen tile, the side of a metal bucket, a metal pants zipper, the side of a split piece of firewood, and the metal surface of a woodstove. All of these surfaces easily lit the matches. Monica, who had used Ohio Blue Tip Matches for years on her backpacking trips, was skeptical that the UCO matches would perform as well. After the test, she exclaimed "Wow, these seem to be as good as the Ohio Blue Tips!" Needless to say we were both very impressed.

For more info visit www.industrialrev.com/strike-anywhere-matches.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)

SHOT Show 2014: Federal Ammunition's Nitrogen-Sealed, Waterproof "Fresh Fire Pack" Can of .22 Long Rifle- Great for Wilderness Survival/Off-the-Grid/Preparedness


When I was covering Range Day at SHOT Show 2014, I spotted an interesting product at the Federal/CCI booth called the "Fresh Fire Pack." The Fresh Fire Pack is a Nitrogen-sealed, waterproof and weatherproof can containing 325 rounds of Federal's 36 grain copper plated .22 Long Rifle ammo. According to Federal, the Fresh Fire Pack touts the following benefits:

  • Nitrogen-sealed can prevents corrosion and keeps powder and primer mix dry for consistent, reliable ignition
  • Stacks and stores easily
  • Resealable plastic lid
  • The perfect solution to long-term ammunition storage

If you're able to find them (might be difficult with the current .22 ammo shortage), they would be great for wilderness survival, storing in an off-the-grid cabin, or in an emergency preparedness kit in a hurricane or flood-prone area. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Winter camping on the way to the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show

On the way to the Winter Outdoor Retailer Show last Thursday, I stopped and camped in the mountains of the FishLake National Forest in Utah. To stay warm, I burned some dead sage brush in a folding Firebox. Though it got down to below zero that night, the skies were star-laden and quite beautiful, with relatively calm winds.

(click to enlarge)

Woke up to a beautiful, frosty morning:

FishLake National Forest is a great place to camp, hike, fish or bushcraft in if you ever get a chance to visit there.

Cheers! Jason

Thursday, January 23, 2014

SHOT Show 2014: Hanging with the crew at Lansky Sharpeners!

I was lucky enough to run into the crew at the Lansky Sharpener exhibit at SHOT Show. As many of RMB's axe-enthusiast readers know, Lansky makes the famous Lansky "Puck" axe and machete sharpener that has been used for decades by everyone from the US Forest Service to Mors Kochanski.

From left to right in the photo below are Alex, who helps run Lansky's web and social media, me (the TALL guy, ha!) and Billy, who is involved with product design and marketing. Billy happens to be a very knowledgeable wilderness survival and bushcraft enthusiast, and the brains behind some of the cool new Lansky products I'll be posting about later this week. I'm also honored that he is an avid reader of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft- way cool!

(click to enlarge)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SHOT Show 2014: First Impression Review- Chiappa M6 and X-Caliber Folding Survival Rifles- Release date planned for April

(Photo credits: Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, ©2014)

Come April, Chiappa Firearms plans to release what could be two of the hottest survival firearms in years-- the Chiappa M6 and X-Caliber folding survival guns. Both guns feature either a 20 gauge or 12 gauge shotgun barrel over a .22 Long Rifle Barrel, and both fold in half to a very compact length of 18.5" by simply pulling down on the extended trigger guard:


Since they are able to be folded in half, these guns can be carried inside a backpack or stowed in tight spaces, such as the cockpit of a small aircraft or the utility box of an off-road vehicle, should a survival situation happen in a remote area. It also allows the guns to be easily cleaned without having to disassemble them.

Both guns are loosely based on the US Air Force's famed M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon which, during the 1950s and 1960s, was issued to air crews to help them forage for food in the event of a plane crash.

The original US Air Force M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon 
(photo credit: Wikpedia)

When the Air Force was conducting research for a new survival weapon, they found that a shotgun, paired with a .22 caliber rifle, was more effective than a typical single barreled rifle for an aircrew facing a wilderness survival situation. The shotgun gave a wider margin of marksmanship error when hunting birds or small game. This was especially important considering that crew members could be injured, hypothermic, or under severe stress. Meanwhile the rifle allowed more precise, long range shots in open territory, giving the M6 great flexibility.

Chiappa M6 (20 Gauge over .22LR)

The Chiappa M6, aptly named after the aforementioned Air Force survival weapon, features an 18.5" long, 20 Gauge shotgun barrel over a .22 Long Rifle rimfire barrel. It is constructed of blued steel, and the shotgun barrel will come chambered for up to 3" shells. The rear sight is fully adjustable, and the front sight is a high visibility fiber optic sight. The M6 also has a Picatinny rail system for easy mounting of optics or lighting systems.

(click to enlarge)

The shotgun bore will have either a fixed improved choke or open cylinder bore choke, allowing it to safely shoot shotgun slugs.

The skeletonized metal butt stock is filled with what Chiappa touts as a super tough, yet lighweight polypropylene foam. This foam is supposed to reduce recoil when shooting the shotgun barrel, and also provides a place to store extra ammunition as well as a cleaning kit, which is included with the gun.


The M6 comes with an internal hammer/double trigger system, an inherently more reliable setup than a single trigger. Should one of the triggers malfunction, the gun still has another hammer/trigger that can shoot the remaining barrel. Definitely a good feature to have in a worst case scenario.


SPEC SHEET:

Chiappa X-Caliber (12 Gauge over .22 Long Rifle)

The X-Caliber model is identical to the M6 except that it has a 12 gauge barrel, and most notably, a set of 8 caliber adapters that allow the gun to shoot a remarkably wide range of ammo, including 20 Gauge, 410 Gauge/45 Colt, 45ACP, 44 Magnum, .40S&W, .357 Magnum/.38 Special, 9mm and .380ACP. When you count all the types of ammo this gun can handle, it comes out to a whopping 12 different calibers.


(The production model X-Caliber will come with a total of 8 adapters instead of the 6 shown in the SHOT Show sample below)

SPEC SHEET:

To give a better perspective on how small the M6 and X-Caliber are when folded, here is the X-Caliber next to my diminutive Kelty Redtail 30 Daypack:


MSRP for the 20 Gauge M6 is expected to be around $375.00, and the 12 Gauge X-Caliber w/ Adapters is expected to retail for $749.00.

Will the Chiappa M6 and X-Caliber be the ultimate survival/camping/prepper guns? Find out! Check back here in April when we post a full field review of these cool new guns!


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. In addition, Jason has 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), the magazine equivalent to a Pulitzer Prize. Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

Review: Zippo's 4-in-1 Woodsman Axe- Not recommended


As some of you may recall, I included Zippo Outdoor's 4-in-1 Woodsman in our 2013 Summer Outdoor Retailer Edged Tools Report last year. The concept is quite interesting, in that the Woodsman easily converts from an axe into a bow saw and vice-versa. When Zippo offered to send us a test sample last month, I accepted the offer, being curious to see how well the Woodsman would work in the real world.

(photo credit: Chuck Carrig)

After receiving the Woodsman, I took it out into the bush for testing. Since the target audience for the Woodsman is mainly recreational campers, I devised a common camping task for it-- saw off a dead pine branch using the Woodsman's saw, and then chop it into kindling with the Woodsman's axe.

The first test went well enough. The Woodsman's saw blade sawed through the pine branch quite efficiently. In fact, it worked so well that it compared favorably with the Swedish Bahco Bow Saw blades that I typically use.

I then converted the Woodsman back into an axe and used it to chop the branch into kindling, using a deadfall tree as a chopping surface. That is where the trouble began.......

The Woodsman's axe bit chopped well, and seemed to easily section the branch into kindling. However, after chopping up about 80% of the branch, I heard a strange noise and looked down at the handle. Lo and behold, the plastic handle had broken all the way through:


This is the small pile of kindling that was made from the pine branch with the Woodsman, leading to its early demise:


Conclusion

Though the Woodsman is a great concept, it's quite apparent that the quality of construction and materials is not up to par, even for typical camping chores. I did nothing out of the ordinary when testing the Woodsman. In fact, I was less hard on it than any other axe I've tested here at Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, since I was testing it for light camp use rather than for survival or bushcraft use.

The type of plastic used in the Woodsman reminds me of the cheap plastic I've seen in toy guns. Had Zippo used a fiberglass-reinforced polymer, a stronger material which is used on FiskarsSOG and other quality synthetic-handled axes, hatchets and tomahawks, I think the outcome would have been different.

This is too bad, since both the axe and saw work well and come in a convenient, all in one system. I did get a chance to speak directly with Zippo at SHOT Show 2014 and informed them of the handle breakage. They assured me that they are taking this matter very seriously, and would look into it as soon as possible. 

1 out of 5 Stars (Not Recommended)



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, January 21, 2014

SHOT Show 2014: Ted Nugent interacts with fans

Ted Nugent made an appearance at the Outdoor Channel booth on day three of SHOT Show, where he signed autographs and took photos with fans:
(click to enlarge)

Monday, January 20, 2014

SHOT Show 2014: SOG Knives releases new "Elite E-Tool" ultra-light entrenching tool with saw attachment


SOG Knives is releasing a new ultra-light entrenching tool for 2014 called the "Elite E-Tool." The Elite features a carbon steel shovel blade, and a handle constructed from tough yet lightweight glass-reinforced nylon. The Elite also comes with a wood saw that hides inside the handle when not in use. The shovel blade can be locked into different positions, and the entire tool packs neatly into a nylon carrying case:



For more information visit SOG Knives at 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

SHOT Show 2014: Les Stroud at the Camillus Knives booth

"Survivorman" Les Stroud spent a couple of hours conversing with fans and sharing survival stories at the Camillus Knives' booth on the second day of SHOT Show: