Saturday, December 24, 2016

Made in the USA Gear Review: Emberlit's "FireAnt" Ultra-Light Titanium Woodburning Backpacking Stove

Photo credit: Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft ©2014

Constructed of titanium and weighing in at a featherweight 3.5 ounces, Emberlit's FireAnt Woodburning Stove aptly gets its name from the tiny but ferocious Red Ant, which imparts a nasty, burning sting to any would-be predator. 

The FireAnt is basically a miniaturized version of Emberlit's popular Original UL Titanium Woodburning Stove, which weighs 6.5 ounces and is roughly twice the size of the FireAnt.

The FireAnt shown in between Emberlit's Original UL Titanium Camp Stoves:


SPECS:

Material: Titanium
Weight: 2.8 oz
Panels: 3.5 x 5 inches
Stove Height: 4 inches
Top of Stove: 3 X 3 inches
Packs Flat: 1/8th of an inch
Fuel Type: Natural fuel (sticks and debris), alcohol, gel or solid
Warranty: Lifetime
Manufacture: Merkwares
Country of Origin: Made in the USA
Street Price: $59.00-$69.95, depending on the retailer

FEATURES

The FireAnt is a miniature side-feeding, backpacking woodburning stove that easily assembles and disassembles and packs completely flat. It comes with a basic nylon pouch and instructions:

(Photo courtesy of Emberlit/Amazon.com)




The FireAnt offers the added versatility of being able to integrate with Trangia or Esbit alcohol burners, as well as solid fuels such as Esbit, Trioxane or LiveFire.




Emberlit's Approach to Making Outdoor Products

Emberlit's philosophy is simple-- create quality products that actually work in the bush. I can personally vouch for these guys because I've bushcrafted with them several times over the years, and I can tell you from personal experience that they take their craft VERY seriously.

The Emberlit Crew from left to right- Owner/Founder/Designer Mikhail Merkurieff, Product Technician Lex Rule, and Sales & Marketing Director Troy Roper:

FIELD TESTING


I've used the FireAnt several times over the last couple of years, including during a week long camping trip in the Mt. Timpanogos Wilderness area of the Utah Rockies last summer.

I used the FireAnt for everything from frying potatoes and canned meat for breakfast, boiling water for making Wild Mint tea, cooking rice for meals, and heating up water to clean camp dishes.

Like its larger sibling, the FireAnt's convenient side-feeding design makes burning twigs and small branches for cooking a snap.

Lighting it is also easy. I usually just stuff some dried grass and twigs inside it and one match will get it going. On dry warm days, I didn't even need the dried grass. I just filled it with small twigs and a single match would ignite it easily. 


The little FireAnt burns hot for such a small woodburning stove:


Being able to use small, abundant fuel such as dead twigs and branches is very convenient. It also means a lot less time and energy spent to cook something, instead of having to gather up a bunch of larger pieces of wood to build a campfire each time. 

Carrying the FireAnt also means freedom from having to deal with the expense and inconvenience of having to carry extra fuel canisters or liquid fuel to keep your stove running in the middle of the backcountry. 


Another great feature of the FireAnt is the amount of weight it can take. Even when using a stainless steel Zebra Billy Pot filled to the brim with water, the FireAnt didn't flinch.

A batch of rice cooked up with the FireAnt. The spoon shown in the photo is Emberlit's new "Sprongs" convertible backpacking utensil (check out RMB's initial review here). The Sprong's were quite handy and made eating more enjoyable.


Using an Esbit Alcohol Stove in the FireAnt

I used the FireAnt with an Esbit Alcohol Burner several times, mainly for boiling water for coffee or to cook up a pot of delicious Stinging Nettle leaves for a quick meal during day hikes. The FireAnt performed excellent in this mode and made short work of bringing water to a boil.

The only issue I had when using the Esbit, was that due to the FireAnt's small opening at the top, it could sometimes be a little tight to get my fingers into the opening to screw the lid back on the burner after I was finished using it. It wasn't particularly difficult, but I thought I would mention it. 


Conclusion

Emberlit's Original UL Titanium Woodburning Backpacking Stove is already a marvel of lightweight efficiency for a portable woodburning cooking stove, weighing in at only 6.5 ounces. Amazingly, the little FireAnt Stove manages to cut that weight in half, yet is still efficient enough to boil water or cook your favorite camp meal. 

The FireAnt can also safely hold larger pots that would make many liquid fuel and canister fuel stoves buckle or tip over under the same pressure. 


During testing, the FireAnt also performed brilliantly as an alcohol stove using an Esbit Alcohol Burner, boiling water or cooking up meals with ease.

The only issue I found when using the Esbit was trying to screw the cap back on it while it was still nested inside the FireAnt. Due to the FireAnt's smallish opening at the top, it could be a little awkward to turn the cap due to the lack of finger space between the cap and the stove walls. It wasn't particularly difficult, but I thought I would mention it. Everything is a compromise when you have something that's built this small and light, so I consider this just a minor inconvenience.

Overall, I've been very impressed with the FireAnt. I've come to like it so much that I've added it my small "grab and go" survival kit as an essential gear item. 

The fact that it packs completely flat, weighs practically nothing, burns widely available twigs and branches, yet also integrates Trangia or Esbit alcohol burners, as well as solid fuels such as Esbit, Trioxane or LiveFire, makes it an incredibly flexible tool for survival, bushcrafting, backpacking, or day hiking. Highly recommended.

4.5 out of 5 Stars

For more information, visit: 
https://emberlit.com/stoves/fireAnt%20titanium%20multifuel%20ultralight%20backpacking%20stove


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 Survival Guides. Jason has also written for magazines such as 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/ELLE Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without the spaces)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Favorite Gear: Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottles





Klean Kanteen's Wide Mouth 64oz Stainless Steel Water Bottle- https://www.campingsurvival.com/klkawi64ozlo.html

Klean Kanteen's Classic Loop Cap 40oz Stainless Steel Bottle- https://www.campingsurvival.com/klkalocap40o4.html

Cheers,

Jason

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Bushcraft Food Review: Yoder's Canned Bacon


When I first tried Yoder's Canned Bacon, I was honestly not expecting it to be very good. Canned bacon? How good could that taste?

To my surprise, it is VERY tasty. In fact, I had planned to eat a can of Yoder's Bacon over several days during a recent backcountry excursion, but after eating just a few pieces, I ended up scarfing the whole can down in one sitting! Embarrassing I know, but it was worth it!

Each Yoder's can consists of three packs of hardwood smoked, precooked bacon sealed inside a can.



The bacon slices are THIN, but having the ability to store bacon for years without it going bad definitely helps to make up for this.


Although Yoder's is a bit more expensive than buying fresh bacon, it will stay good for years, which makes it a great comfort food option for your prep kit, long term storage in a cabin, or inside your bushcraft pack. Add in the great taste and I think it is a homerun.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

Yoder's Bacon is available from: 



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. 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 the spaces)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Leatherman's Charge TTi Multi-Tool- Worthy Upgrade over the Charge AL?


Earlier this Fall, Leatherman sent me their Charge TTi Multi-Tool to try out. The TTi is basically an upgraded Leatherman Charge AL, which I reviewed back in April of 2012. It includes an upgraded S30V Stainless main blade, Titanium handle scales, a Cutting Hook, and a Crimper. The TTi's weight is nearly identical to the AL, coming in at 8.7 Ounces vs the Charge AL's 8.6 Ounces.


Features:
  • Quick-release Lanyard Ring
  • Removable Pocket Clip
  • 100% 420 HC Stainless Steel construction w/S30V Steel Main Blade, 420 HC Serrated Blade
  • Titanium Handle Scales
  • All Locking Blades and Tools
  • Leather or Nylon Sheath
  • 25-year Warranty
  • BIT KIT: Phillips #1-2 and Screwdriver 3/16", Screwdriver 1/8" and Torx #15, Hex 5/32" and 9/64", Hex 1/8" and 7/64", Hex 3/32" and 5/64", Hex 1/16" and .050", Square Drive #2 and #3, Phillips Eyeglass Screwdriver and Flat Tip
Measurements:
  • 2.9 in | 7.37 cm (blade length)
  • 4 in | 10 cm (closed)
  • 8.7 oz | 235 g
Street Price: $169.95

Although I've only used the TTi a couple of months, my impression of it is excellent so far.

The TTi's S30V main blade holds an edge longer than the Charge AL's 154CM main blade without being any harder to sharpen. The Cutting Hook adds to the TTi's cutting versatility, and also doubles as a gut hook for skinning animals. 

The Crimpers come in really handy for quick wiring jobs around the homestead or when working on a vehicle. The TTi's solid Titanium handle scales are a nice touch and give it a unique feel and appearance.

So is the Leatherman Charge TTi a worthy upgrade over the excellent Charge AL? So far, I'd have to say yes. Everything I loved about the Charge AL is there with the TTi, with the added bonus of upgraded steel, two useful new tools, and the cool factor of Titanium handle scales.

After I use the TTi some more, I will post my final verdict here. 

Cheers, 

Jason


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 @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

Photo Post: Hammock Camping in the Utah Rockies circa 2013

The hike going up:

Overnight in a Hennessey Expedition Asym Hammock:

The next morning:

The hike back out to my vehicle:




Special thanks to my friend Mikhail Merkurieff at Emberlit Campstoves for tipping me off about this beautiful location!

Cheers,

Jason

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 https://countycomm.com

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: http://gunfightersinc.com/?page_id=251


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 @ hotmail.com (without spaces)