Saturday, February 28, 2015

SHOT Show 2015 REPORT! (Edged Tools Part 1)

It was a wild and crazy SHOT Show this year. I don't know what the official attendance numbers were, but SHOT Show seemed busier than ever. The shuttle buses from the hotel usually only have to make one trip per time slot to ferry attendees to the show. This year, there were so many people waiting outside, it often took two buses to complete the task!

Product-wise, the show did not disappoint. Outdoor companies continue to innovate new gear, edged tools and survival guns to keep up with demand from the rapidly expanding bushcraft, wilderness survival and preparedness consumer markets.

So without further ado, Rocky Mountain Bushcraft presents the latest and greatest from SHOT Show 2015......



Benchmade's latest foray into the large survival knife market is their new 153BK Jungle Bolo and 154BK Jungle Clip-point knives. Sporting 9.7" long blades made of 1095 High Carbon Spring Steel and grippy Santoprene handles, these knives look ready for serious action.

The biggest caveat is, will the 1095 Carbon Steel on these new Bolo knives hold up to serious use?

As we outlined in our 2013 review of the Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife, Benchmade swallowed a bitter pill back in 2008. The edge failed on their 1095-based CSK II as popular YouTube knife reviewer "NutNFancy" was limbing a green sapling in one of his videos.

Word spread like wildfire that the knife's edge was brittle and chip-prone, and sales plummeted, ultimately leading to the CSK II's demise. Ever since, Benchmade has taken great pains to prove that all of their new survival knives are as tough as nails, even posting torture test videos of the Bushcrafter Knife when it came out. 

Benchmade is apparently very confident in the toughness of this steel, so much so that they asked us to take the knives into the Rocky Mountains and thrash on them to see if they hold up. How could we resist an offer like that?! Once we put the knives through their paces, we'll post the test results, which will be linked here.

Having a chat with Derrick Lau at the Benchmade Knives display

The MSRP on Benchmade's new Bolo Knives is listed at $125.00 per knife. Made in Oregon City, Oregon USA. For more information visit


Buck's new Selkirk Survival Knife, named after the rugged Selkirk Mountain Range in the Northern Panhandle of Idaho, is strongly reminiscent of Buck's Vanguard knife, which Bear Grylls used in his early "Man vs Wild" shows.

The Selkirk has a 4.6" Blade and is constructed of 420HC Stainless. The handle is made from Micarta and is secured with steel bolsters. Buck says the rear bolster can be used as a hammer. 

The Selkirk's sheath is constructed from injected molded nylon and comes with a firesteel that doubles as a survival whistle.

Buck says the Selkirk is made in China to keep the price more affordable.

By marketing a knife with these kinds of features, it's obvious that Buck is taking the bushcraft and survival market seriously, which I think is great. MSRP is $85.00

Buck 119 "Brahma" Knife

Is this one sexy Buck fixed blade or what? Buck's new 119 "Brahma" Knife is based on their popular 119 model, upgraded with a beautiful stacked Leather/Micarta handle, black powdercoat finish, M.O.L.L.E compatible sheath, and a heavy duty front guard and rear pommel. Made in the USA. MSRP $115.00


Matt Graham's new Primitive Bush Knife

Dual Survivor star Matt Graham has teamed up with Condor Tool and Knife to produce a new knife called the "Primitive Bush Knife." The knife is spec'd according to Matt's years of experience living primitively in the wilds of Utah. The knife features a 3mm thick, Smatchet-style blade made of 420HC Stainless, a hardwood handle, and a hand crafted welted leather sheath. No word yet on an MSRP or a release date, but as soon as we get this info, we'll post it here.

RMB Editor Leah Klocko with Condor's head designer Joe Flowers 


Nordic W12 Survival Knife

Although EKA is a newcomer to America, they have been making knives in Sweden since 1882. Their new entry in the US survival knife market is the Nordic W12, a full-tang Scandi-grind survival knife available with either a synthetic G10 or Bubinga wood handle. The blade is made from Swedish 12C27 Sandvik Stainless. The sheath is made from Kydex and comes with an attached firesteel. The firesteel has a mini carbide sharpener built in to the cap. First impressions of this knife are very good. 


The MSRP for the EKA Nordic W12 is listed at $159.00. For more info visit EKA's US Distributor ProForce Equipment at

Swedish EKA Viking Combi Saw

EKA's Viking Combi Saw covers all your sawing needs with one tool. The Combi Saw has a metal hacksaw blade, wood saw and bone saw that are all integrated in the saw handle, plus it easily folds down into a space saving size. This could be a great tool for your emergency preparedness kit. Made in Sweden.

The MSRP for the EKA Viking Combi Saw is listed at $79.00. For more info visit EKA's US Distributor ProForce Equipment at

Stay tuned for PART 2 (second half of the Edged Tools Report) and PART 3 (New Gear and Wilderness Survival Gun related products)! Cheers, Jason

Monday, February 23, 2015

"The Philosophy of a Caveman"

"It is asserted from time to time that true survival is measured by a person’s capacity to stay put and prepared with a super pack of hauled-in safe-guards; that learning edible plants and trapping and hunting skills are not necessary since most lost persons are rescued within seventy-two hours anyway. Without negating the wisdom of preparation and safeguard, I would say that the philosophy behind this modern dependency is still a dangerous one. Because of confidence and practice, when one learns to live off the land entirely, being lost is no longer life-threatening. Any manufactured item, such as a good knife or sleeping bag, then becomes a useful and appreciated luxury, but not a dire necessity!”

-Larry Dean Olsen, 1997

Saturday, February 21, 2015


Hey friends,

Hope you all are well! Please note that I will be posting all of our new updates to our Facebook page. Due to the many projects I am working on, as well as the time I spend in the field doing gear testing and research, I find it much easier to post there, especially when I am away from a regular computer.

You can check out our latest update here

To stay informed, be sure to "Like" our Facebook page to keep informed of upcoming reviews, articles, giveaways and other happenings.

Even if you don't use Facebook, our page is viewable by everyone, so be sure to bookmark it so you can check out the latest happenings.

Another option is to check out our Twitter feed found on the right lower sidebar of the main page. Our Facebook page is linked to our Twitter account, so all updates will show up there which you can click to view.

As always, thank you again for stopping by and we really appreciate all of your comments and emails.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

MADE IN THE USA GEAR: TarpTent Ultra-lite Tents

Highly respected among serious backpackers, owner Henry Shire makes his intelligently designed, lightweight, high quality TarpTents in Nevada City, California. TarpTents are so highly sought after that if you want one, they frequently have a waiting list. I think this speaks for itself.

For more information visit

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mountain Bushcraft: Primitive Bow Saw made from a Scrub Oak branch

Hey friends, here is a Primitive Bow Saw I made from a Scrub Oak branch on a recent trip to the Uinta Mountains in Utah. I've been wanting to try Scrub Oak for a while now. Like all Oak, it is strong and flexible, and the saw did a great job processing dead wood for my campfires. Cheers, Jason

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Leah's Corner: Is the Galaxy S 5 Active really “Most Everything Proof?”

By Leah Klocko
Senior Copy Editor, Rocky Mountain Bushcraft

When the nice folks at AT&T asked if I wanted to review the Galaxy S 5 Active phone I jumped at the chance, then went online to see what I could learn about this new toy. The S 5 Active is billed as “Everything proof.”

  • Designed rugged: dustproof, water-resistant up to 3 feet (1 meter) for thirty minutes, and shock-resistant when dropped from 4 feet onto a flat surface. 
  • View your activity-related features with Activity Zone. 
  • Shoot high quality photos with the 16MP camera.

With these claims, I decided to test it without a protective case to see if the S 5 Active was really as resilient as it claimed.

“Shock-resistant when dropped from 4 feet onto a flat surface.” Yes, it certainly is. One thing about using a phone without adding a protective case -- it's slippery! I dropped the poor unsuspecting Galaxy S 5 Active onto everything from the marble floor at the library (SSSSH!) to a concrete floor at a Garth Brooks concert. Not a scratch, dent, or problem.

“Water-resistant.” I was worried about this one. Dropping the S 5 Active was an accident every time. Purposely submerging it seemed crazy. Jason and I were in Las Vegas for SHOT Show and we thought that would be a good time to dunk the phone in a fountain to see what would happen. We found a likely spot in front of Caesar’s Palace and in went the phone!

Apparently what happens in Vegas DOES stay in Vegas, no one gave us a second look! We submerged the S 5 Active for over 4 minutes with absolutely NO effect. It even received texts while under water!

Now, my absolute favorite thing about the Galaxy S 5 Active…..The camera. “Professional quality 16MP camera with fast focus.” Since I started carrying the Galaxy S 5 Active a few months ago I have literally taken THOUSANDS of photos. I can’t stop. The camera is wonderful to use, with effects like grayscale for beautiful black and white shots, an ISO that can be set for 800 to take shots in lower light without flash and zero shutter lag so you don’t miss the shot.

I have had more than one person say they were going to go get themselves a Galaxy S 5 Active phone after seeing photos I’ve taken with it. In fact Jason and I used it to take some of our best photos at SHOT Show.


I have been using the AT&T Galaxy S 5 Active in a city/suburban environment, but this phone would be perfect for your next bushcrafting adventure. It can take the rigors of the outdoors, is light weight and does not need constant charging. It’s “Activity Zone” feature includes a compass, flashlight, stopwatch, & barometer that can be accessed easily with a press of the key on the side of the device.

The still camera and video can easily capture the beauty of the wilderness, or the one that got away…..

In conclusion, if you are in the market for a do-anything, go-anywhere phone the AT&T Galaxy S 5 Active is the phone for you. The camera and battery power are top-notch, putting it leagues ahead of the Iphone in my opinion.

I am the person who always went for the cheap or free phone when signing up for phone service. Not anymore. I’ve been spoiled. Excuse me, while I go shoot some more pictures with the Galaxy S 5 Active.

Spectacular shot of high desert sky in Colorado at dusk

(click to enlarge)
Photo credit: Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, Copyright 2015
Camera- Nikon D5300

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mountain Bushcraft: Punkwood from a Scrub Oak Tree

Last week, I camped in the Uinta National Forest in the Rocky Mountains of Utah for several days. While I was roaming around the forest, I found a rotted branch on a Scrub Oak tree that turned out to be an excellent piece of punkwood. It ignited instantly with a credit card size Fresnal Magnifier Lens and burned fiercely until I put it out. I brought some of it home with me, and  plan to turn it into char-tinder to add to my fire kit. Cheers, Jason

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 @ (without spaces)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Me with Mikhail and Troy of Emberlit Stoves

Last Summer, I ran into my friends Troy and Mikhail of Emberlit Campstoves at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah. I've been lucky enough to spend some dirt time with them bushcrafting in the Utah mountains.

Mikhail, the genius behind Emberlit, is quite knowledgeable about edible and medicinal plants, primitive hunting weapons, and primitive firemaking skills. Troy is a crack shot with a .22 survival rifle. Let me tell you, these are some seriously fun dudes to hang with! If you don't believe me, just check out their promo video on Youtube!

They also make what might be the best portable ultra-light wood burning/multi-fuel stove on the market- the FireAnt (review coming soon). Check'em out. 100% made in Sandy, Utah USA.

Made in the USA Gear! (lost photo)

This is another photo that was misplaced when we had to relocate during the catastrophic Colorado wildfires of 2012. It was meant to accompany a companion piece to our Made in the USA Gear write-ups. Dave, my former field assistant and his daughter Stephanie, kindly volunteered to pose for the photograph with US made gear we've reviewed on the site.

RMB was proudly THE first site in the outdoor genre to have a "Made in the USA" gear review section. We took a lot of flack for it from some big name people and companies who said it would turn too many people away from our site. We stuck to our guns, and 2.4 million pageviews later, proved ourselves right. 40,000 Google Visitors per month can't be wrong!



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wild Hawthorne Berry Cakes

Last summer, I camped out near Provo, Utah along the Spanish Fork River. There were a number of River Hawthorne Trees full of berries there, so I grabbed some and brought them back to Colorado. I thought it would be fun to make berry cakes in the way Native Americans once did.

Hawthorne berries tend to be mildy sweet and rather mealy. When pounded into cakes and sun dried, they become much sweeter and quite tasty. In a survival situation, this is the best way to preserve them as a long term food source. They can also be pounded into jerky to make pemmican.



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 @ (without spaces)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Has NutnFancy come out of the closet with axes?

It's amazing how popular axes have become these days. I remember how people thought I was crazy back when I wrote RMB's first axe review in 2011, because I included a "featherstick test" and a "fine carving test" in it!

Glad to see more people are appreciating this awesome wilderness tool nowadays.

So what's your favorite axe? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page!

Cheers, Jason