Wednesday, October 11, 2017

GIVEAWAY!-- Rocky Mountain Bushcraft-themed Liberty Bottleworks 32oz Water Bottles- Made in the USA!

Hey friends!

Jason here.

I wanted to let you know that I am GIVING AWAY two brand NEW Made in the USA Liberty Bottleworks ROCKY MOUNTAIN BUSHCRAFT THEMED 32oz ALUMINUM WATER BOTTLES, retail value $24.95, to two lucky RMB followers.

Liberty Bottles are 100% Made in the USA from Deep-Drawn recycled Aluminum. They feature an easy to use 1/4 turn on/off BPA-Free cap, an easy to drink from wide opening, and an FDA-approved flexible food grade coating inside the bottle.

I have been using these bottles for years, and I love them. The opening is the perfect size to drink from- not too small, not too large.

For more information about Liberty Bottles, check out my June, 2012 review- Gear Review: Liberty Bottleworks 32 ounce Aluminum Water Bottles


Each bottle features one of three popular survival/bushcraft tips from RMB:

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NOTE!: You must have a regular Disqus comment profile so I can contact you after the winners are selected. 

The two selected winners will each receive (1) RMB themed Liberty bottle of their choice (White, Aluminum, Tan, or Army Green). 

The giveaway will run for approximately 2 weeks, and end on Wednesday October 25th, 2017 at 6pm MST. Winners will be announced 24 hours after the end of the drawing. 


1) To enter the giveaway, you must do the following-- a) Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite RMB post/article is, and which Rocky Mountain Bushcraft Liberty Bottle color you like best. You must post it using a regular Disqus commenter profile so that you can be contacted after the drawing ends. Sorry, anonymous profiles will not be counted.

3) Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

4) Two winners will be selected from the comments section using a Random Number Generator, and will be announced here on Thursday October 26th, 2017.

5) RMB reserves the right to announce the winning screen names in the prize winner announcement post.

6) Winners will be contacted through their Disqus registered email address. You will have 5 days to respond to the winner notification. You must provide a valid mailing address so that we can mail you your prize. If a response is not received within 5 days, Rocky Mountain Bushcraft reserves the right to rescind the offer and offer the prize to another giveaway participant, which will be determined by running a second Random Number Generator sequence.

Me with the crew from Liberty Bottleworks at the 2013 Outdoor Retailer Show:

Good luck!


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Survival Gear Review: The S.O.L. Escape Bivvy at 14 Degrees F

Photo credits: © 2012 Rocky Mountain Bushcraft/Jason Schwartz

Photo courtesy of S.O.L.

Here's the scenario.....Your vehicle breaks down on a lonely, remote stretch of road in the middle of winter at 10pm at night. There's no cell phone signal, and due to its remoteness, you will probably be the last vehicle to travel this road that night. Temps are expected to drop down to the low to mid teens.

To make it even worse, all you have on is a shirt, light jacket, pants and stylish shoes, because you were on your way back from a party at a friend's house, so you dressed more for style than for warmth for this occasion.

Now, you are faced with a serious dilemma -- walk 20 miles to civilization, which could take a full 6-7 hours, or, you brave the night out inside your vehicle, all without adequate winter clothing to stave off hypothermia. Things are beginning to look VERY grim.....

But wait! You just remembered you have an SOL Escape Bivvy in your trunk that you bought along for just such an emergency.

Your excitement quickly deflates, however, after you fish it out of your trunk and see just how awfully small and light it is. This Escape Bivvy weighs a measly eight ounces--really? With no insulation? In low to mid teens? Are you kidding me? "I am SERIOUSLY screwed!"

Now, back to reality.

The above scenario plays out all too often in real life. Many unprepared motorists have died from hypothermia because they didn't bring enough warm clothes or a sleeping bag to survive a night in extreme conditions.

So what if all you had was an SOL Escape Bivvy, like in the above scenario, would it keep you alive?

I decided to find out by testing it in similar conditions to the fictional scenario above.


  • Weather the Elements- Highly water-resistant fabric keeps you dry even in wet, soggy conditions.
  • Stay Warm- Reflects 70% of radiated body heat.
  • All-season Durability- Hard-wearing fabric resists punctures and tears through heavy use.
  • High-visibility orange exterior- Makes it easy for rescuers to spot you even in areas with high tree cover.
  • Size: 84" x 31"
  • Weight: 8.5 oz
  • Street Price: $40


On a cold winter evening with temperatures hovering between 13 and 15 degrees F, I dressed in very light clothing, laid the Escape Bivvy down outside, grabbed my trusty Kestrel Portable Weather Meter, and jumped inside for as long as I could stand it!

For test consistency, I laid the bivvy on a winter-rated sleeping pad to simulate being insulated from the ground like I would be if I were laying inside a vehicle, or was using pine boughs or leaves underneath me for insulation if I were out in the woods. 

The goal -- measure the temperature inside the bivvy while I was inside, while also taking note of the perceived warmth (or lack thereof).

I wanted to make it as harsh as possible, so I wore just a thin long sleeved polypro t-shirt, cotton khaki casual pants, and a pair of socks. Since I was going in shoeless, I didn't want to risk frostbite on my toes, so I wore a pair of my heavier wool socks.

Just before jumping into the bivvy, I measured the outside temperature-- a bonafide 14 degrees Fahrenheit:

The view once I was inside- this sure ain't the Hilton!

Once safely nestled inside the bivvy, I pulled the drawstring as tight as I could make it. I then waited about a half an hour before taking the first temperature reading.

At the end of the half hour mark, I took the first temperature reading- 51.6 degrees! This means it was an amazing 37 degrees warmer inside the Escape Bivvy than outside:

A half hour later, I checked the temperature again -- 54 degrees!

I managed to rough it for 4 hours with just a t-shirt, thin cotton pants, and wool socks. Temps stayed in the low to mid 50s the entire time.

That's very impressive for something this small and light that also manages to be breathable. Speaking of breathability, the Tyvek material SOL used in the Escape Bivvy works very well. I did not notice any unusual buildup of moisture or ice while inside of it.

Once again, I find this very impressive.

I am quite confident that I would have easily survived the night inside the Escape Bivvy, especially with a light jacket and wearing shoes. That's impressive.


The Escape Bivvy is an impressive piece of survival gear. It weights just a fraction of what a sleeping bag weighs, packs up incredibly small, and has the breathability of Gore-Tex.

The material used in it is also soft enough to use it as a sleeping bag liner, without feeling uncomfortable. When I've used it in this role, it seems to have added 15 to 20 degrees to my sleeping bag rating.

The final verdict? Highly recommended.

For more information, visit SOL at: 

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 has written for Backpacker Magazine and The New Pioneer, and has been featured in media outlets such as The San Jose Mercury News and The Columbus Dispatch. Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @

Monday, September 25, 2017

Knife Porn: Buck 119 75th Anniversary Edition

(click to enlarge)
All photos © 2017 Jason Schwartz/Rocky Mountain Bushcraft

Description from Buck's website:

Celebrating 75 years of the famous 119 Special! 

Hoyt Buck's first knife, made from a worn out file blade in 1902 was a fixed blade. The U.S. Government requested blade donations for the military after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is then, in the basement of a church in 1942, that Hoyt Buck began making knives by hand. It was designed that was dialed in after 40 years of making knives to customer specifications. The anniversary edition 119 Special features a custom medallion in the handle and a 75th anniversary blade stamp. The leather sheath also features an embossed anniversary logo.

Editor's Note:
I really dig the 75th Anniversary edition of this knife! Cool factoid: Les Stroud used this same knife as his survival knife in his early episodes of "Survivorman."

Budget Bushcraft Gear Review: French Army Wool Blankets- Grab'em while you can

Hey friends, I have no affiliation with Coleman's Military Surplus, but I wanted to let you know that they just got in some rare French Army Wool Blankets for just under $30 bucks a piece.

What's the big deal about the French Army Wool Blanket?

Well, I've owned a bunch of different military wool blankets, including the 100% Wool GI Blanket, Polish, Russian, Italian, Yugoslavian, you name it. A while back, I bought a French Army Wool Blanket on eBay, and it blew away everything else I've owned.

A big problem with nearly all military wool blankets is that they are too small for an adult to do the "bushcraft wool blanket wrap."

The bushcraft blanket wrap allows 2 layers of wool over your body, and 3-4 layers over your feet. It is much warmer to use a wool blanket this way than just covering up with it.

Most military blankets are only 52" to 66" wide, which means you can't use them to their full potential to keep warm when sleeping.

By contrast, the French Army Wool Blanket is a full 72" wide, which is as wide as a typical Hudson Bay 4 Point Blanket, the standard in bushcrafting for wool blankets. This makes it wide enough to actually do the bushcraft blanket wrap in.

Speaking of warmth, my French Army Blanket is probably 30-40% warmer than my 100% Wool Italian Army Blanket, to give you an idea. The Italian Army Wool Blanket, which has pretty much disappeared from the market and is highly sought after, now fetches between $100 to $175 on eBay.

It is a really cool blanket, but it simply pales in comparison to the French Army Blanket in size, thickness, loft and warmth in my opinion.

Here are some comparison shots of the two:
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My French Army Wool Blanket (left), weighs 5lbs even. My Italian Army Wool Blanket (right), weighs 5lbs 4oz.  The size difference between the two is noticeable: 

The French Army blanket is also tough like the Italian Army Blanket in case you're worried about durability in the field.

For $29.95, this blanket is literally the steal of the century, and there's a chance you may not see them again after these are gone.



The French Army Wool Blanket is available here- 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: Aguila Ammunition 12 Gauge "MiniShell"- A Game Changing Round for Wilderness Survival Shotguns

All photos ©2017 Rocky Mountain Bushcraft/Jason Schwartz

A 12 Gauge shell that's as light as a .410 shell, yet patterns significantly better......

The 12 Gauge Shotgun is probably the most flexible and efficient bush gun ever made. With the ability to shoot birdshot, buckshot and slugs, it can be used to hunt any land animal in North America. This makes the 12 Gauge an excellent survival gun, with one huge caveat-- ammo weight.

12 Gauge Shells are HEAVY. Just one 25 round box of Low Brass Birdshot Shells weighs in at a hefty 2lbs 6oz.

This means that if you were to carry just two boxes of 12 Gauge shells in your pack, it would be like carrying the weight of a full size wool army blanket!

This is the reason why survival shotguns have traditionally come in .410 Bore. .410 shells are much lighter and easier to carry than 12 Gauge Shells.

Now, all that has changed.

Enter Aguila Ammunition's new 12 Gauge "MiniShell:"

The MiniShell is a shortened 1 3/4" Shotgun shell with a 5/8 ounce load of #7.5 Birdshot. MinShells are amazingly light, weighing the same as a .410 3/4 ounce shell. 

To illustrate this, here is a box of 20 MiniShells weighed on a USPS Digital Postal Scale:

Here is a box of 20 Winchester .410 3" #7.5 Birdshot 3/4 oz shells weighed on the same scale:

Visual comparison of the MiniShell and .410 3/4oz shell next to each other:

I also weighed twenty Winchester AA 20 Gauge 7/8 Ounce shells to see how they compare with the .410 and 12 Gauge MiniShells. At 25.1 ounces, the 20 Gauge shells were 6 ounces heavier than the .410 3/4 oz shells and Aguila 12 Gauge MiniShells:

The Aguila MiniShell in between two full sized 12 Gauge birdshot shells:


To test the Aguila MiniShell, I wanted to see how well it would perform next to Winchester's .410 3/4oz shell.

The guns I used for the test were my trusty New England Firearms Pardner 12 Gauge Single Shot Shotgun (shown above), and my Chiappa .410 Double Badger, which has a 19" Barrel and a fixed full choke:

©Rocky Mountain Bushcraft/Monica Tymcio 2013

The Pardner, produced by Harrington & Richardson (H&R), was sadly discontinued in 2013. It has a 28" Barrel, fixed Modified choke, and a crisp 4lb trigger. Pardner shotguns are dead reliable and throw great patterns. They can easily be converted into a lightweight takedown survival shotgun with the addition of a Choate Survivor Stock. In my opinion, the Pardner shotguns were the finest single shot shotguns ever made.


I decided to test both shells at 35 yards using Birchwood Casey PREGAME 12" x 18" Squirrel Targets to see how both would perform. These targets are nice because they show where each pellet hits with a bright, easy to see "splatter" effect.

The results were surprising. The target on the left is the Winchester .410 3/4 ounce shell. The target on the right is the 12 Gauge MiniShell:

As you can see, the difference is startling. At 35 Yards, the 410 has run out of steam and is at the end of its effective range:

The 12 Gauge MiniShell, which weighs exactly the same as the 410 3/4 oz shell, is still going strong at this distance and literally covered the target with pellets:


Overall, I am extremely impressed with Aguila's 12 Gauge MiniShells, and believe they are a game changer for wilderness survival shotguns. Not only is the MiniShell as light as a .410 3/4 ounce shell, it patterns significantly better. It also has the same blast and recoil of a .410, which would make it great for training new shooters on a 12 Gauge.

Criticisms? Yes, two minor ones. The first is that Aguila only offers their MiniShell in #7.5 Birdshot. #7.5 shot will get you by in a survival situation, but it is generally too light for rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, turkeys, etc. A #6 Birdshot option would greatly expand the usefulness of this shell for hunting. 

Second is the price-- at $13-$16 for each box of twenty, these shells are more expensive than most full size high brass offerings from most manufacturers.

Criticisms aside, I think these shells are fantastic for survival use or for training new shooters on a 12 Gauge.

Because of their light weight, they finally give bush pilots, canoeists, field researchers, 4x4 and ATV enthusiasts and other outdoor adventurers the ability to carry enough ammo to make the 12 Gauge a viable wilderness survival gun.

 5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

Knife Porn: Benchmade 928 Proxy CPM20CV

All photos ©2017 Rocky Mountain Bushcraft/Jason Schwartz

(click to enlarge)

For more information visit: