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Monday, 22 April 2013

My EDC (Every Day Carry)

Do you remember back in the 1980s, when the A-Team, would get locked in a hen-coop and came out driving a caterpillar tracked, fire throwing, grenade launching beast, howd they do that then??....

What do you have on you right now? Empty your pockets and the bag you use most of all.

What do you take with you to work or when out shopping?

And most importantly, what could you do with these items? Are they helpful? Could they save you or someone else, and if TSHTF, would these items be of use.

If you are office based (as I am most the time) where do you keep your EDC and what would you like to use but cant?


I often watch and learn from youtube videos that have been uploaded by people a lot more involved in prepping and bushcraft than I am.  The people in these videos have created kits that they use everyday either in their line of work or when out hiking and spending time in the great outdoors.

There are 3 seperate videos of kits that I really like on youtube, these are worth reviewing:






Some cool kit: http://www.maxpedition.com/ I highly recommend these tough, weather resistant and practical pieces of kit.  Im in the process of updating my full kit with some maxpedition pouches etc, but I thought I would show my current EDC kit....here goes....

The photo below displays the items I have on me, pretty much all the time when I'm out of the house.


Items shown:
  1. Paracord 550 bracelet - unsure of the length but the strength is great, this can hold my body weight and is feels invisible on my wrist.
  2. Gerber Curve - mini tool - this is a 3.5cm blade and screwdriver kit, it locks into place, is extremely sharp and feels strong.  Uses are obviously governed by its size but its good to have.
  3. Boyz Toyz credit card multi tool - this emergency item has come into play in many beer bottle top scenarios...
  4. UNI-COM 3 LED mini torch.  This is a bright little torch, it feels robust enough to last me, and is mainly used for short walking trips but is a great piece of equipment.
  5. Waterproof medication or cash storage. A metal container with an 'O' ring to make waterproof.  Used for cash storage now but has had some meds in when needed it, could use water purification tabs maybe when out camping.
  6. DMM climbing carabiner - this holds my keys, the torch, gerber curve, waterproof container.  It can be used for climbing when I go as a spare but is generally used to secure my keys to my bag.
  7. Blackberry Bold - the ultimate business tool in my opinion.  Excellent battery life and useful GPS abilities.  My complete diary planner on here.  (a paper back up is also used)

I also often use my BG Gerber Scout knife, this has a very sharp blade.  As it is not legal carry in the UK, it is only used as a tool when needed or for when out in the woods or sailing.

This has a reflective paracord lanyard that may be used as a safety warning or if lost etc is easier to spot.  I quite enjoy making the lanyards actually.

I usually have my rucksack with me, either stashed in the car or on my person, it usually has my swim kit in or my clothes for when away for work....it also has a first aid kit, gerber multitool, little gem Food for Free reference book and a foil blanket. I always have some kind of fluids in there, most often a re-used 500ml water bottle or a powerade maybe, but this can easily be replaced and upgraded to a 2litre water bladder camel pak.  Theres also a gas refillable lighter kept in the bag along with a few cable ties, insulation tape and another small LED torch.

The bag itself is a berghaus 247 daysack, it is 25 ltr (I think).  I have had this for a couple of years now, its a good size and very comfortable.  I chose a red bag for being spotted if had an accident whilst hiking and also for fitting-in with society as its a normal bag isnt it.
 
The first aid kit isnt large, and is mainly for small cuts and minimal crisis or damage, I'll go into more depth on my FAKs in another post I'm sure.
 
I enjoy going for walks, across fields, along rivers or canals, over the hills and through woodland, whilst refferring to the Food For Free book, its really good to re-learn what is edible, you would be surprised.
 
So back to the original question then, what do you carry with you everday that is of use? 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

2) Combustion

FIRE.  Why do I need fire??

Warmth - to keep the spirits up and to keep away hypothermia .

Water - for 'cleaning' gathered river water to drink.

Cooking - to heat meals.

Social - to sit by and tell stories, tales and yarns.

....and to keep the hordes of nasties away too of course. 
 
What do I have to start and maintain fire??

In a waterproof pouch, kept in a small maxpedition pouch, I have the following:
  • 'Light My Fire' Ferrocerium Rod and Metal Striker.
  • Waterproof matches which I was reluctant to buy but were on offer, these have not been tested.
  • Cotton Wool balls soaked in vaseline
  • Pine Resin Chunks
  • Hazel bark strips taken from stripping sticks.
  • A small magnifying glass for using the suns heat - not tested yet due to the weather but will be used this year.

...oh and a refillable lighter.
 
 

A good video from Ashley of NBC forum, showing how to build a fire and respect the area it is used in:


 
As a kit tester, today I cooked some sausages in my garden on a cheap Tesco BBQ.

Using my firestrike to ignite cotton balls presoaked in vaseline, with some chunks of pine resin and twigs.  I took a few pictures here?





 


 

... and sausages, the perfect combination with a garden fire and BBQ.
 
I have never attempted to use a bow and drill to make an ember and start fire, this is on my to do list this year, do you have any tips/.
 
Here is Dave Canterbury, continuing his 5Cs of survival with Combustion:
 
 
Im hoping to gain more skills in fire lighting, which I think just means I need more attempts and practise.
 
I now have this for my cooking whist out and about, its small and powerful.
 
 
 The gas canister fits nicely in to the cook kit for storage when taken apart.  This has been road tested now and I like what I have a lot.  Both products from Go Outdoors.  This kit is evolving and developing nicely.
 
 
What kit do you use?  What advice do you have for a novice fire builder?

Monday, 8 April 2013

1) Cutting

So what do I NEED to cut?  And what tools shall I get for this?

I dont live in a bamboo rich environment, or have packs of hungry Wolves at my door, I dont want to break the law (which is strict on blades in the UK) and I dont actually hunt my food (yet).

So NEED...???  Hmm tricky.

I have 'light my fire' sporks to use when camping to eat food with, I've currently got the plastic ones, and havent had any issues with them, metal ones may be more beneficial for use with campfires etc, but I'm happy with these.




(http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0013L2FGW/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

Im enjoying learning some new bushcraftt skills, I think they're important, along with being really good fun.

To collect wood for either carving, creating utensils or simply to burn as fuel, I use my folding saw.  The Bahco Laplander Folding Saw.



(http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0001IX7OW/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

This is a neat piece of kit, I believe the likes of Ray Mears uses one of these (and im sure S1 and British Red do too :-)  Strong, sturdy and sharp, its trully effective at taking branches and cutting them up.


Fot bushcraft and general tools I have 2 blades, both Mora.

The Mora Companion


(http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B009ES9VM2/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

The Mora Clipper
(http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001T0E68W/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

These blades are rat tail tang I believe, although I may be wrong, immensely sharp with a great edge.  Mora blades are widely respected and trully deserve this praise in my opinion.  Brilliant blades.

I have recently purchased this blade:

Its new, hasnt been tested yet.  I have this for hunting (for when I start learning this) and as a general tool when camping.  Its full tang and nice and thick.  I'll also use this, if it stands up to it, for light duty battoning wood for fuel etc.

I have no need identified yet for a huge machete, and really dont want any of the Rambo knives out there, my knives are tools, and cherished ones.  It may seem like I have a lot of knives, but have you watched some youtube videos? crikey.  Anyway, 2 is 1, and 1 is none...right.

To sharpen I have 2 very basic tools...


A gerber ceramic sharpener, and a small stone for use in a kit.  Not too sure on either as havent needed to rely on them yet, but i'm thinking of upgrading to a quality stone.  Im new to all of this, so will be learning, developing and improving techniques where possible.  If you have any views, then share them please.  Thanks to the LSG forum for advice on sharpening techniques.

As a multi tool, I have the quite awesome Gerber Suspension Multi-tool.  It has many uses (you may have guessed) and  its well balanced, feels sharp and strong.  It has a locking feature which is very handy when in use.   This doesnt feel heavy at all and closes down neatly.  I would quite happily have half a dozen of these in various kits (EDC, car, home etc)

(http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000EDPT9K/ref=oh_details_o00_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)




Have a look at the Amazon reviews for all items.  I'm sure they'll give you a broader amount of information than I can.  In future posts, I'm hoping to test and try all pieces without bias.


What's Missing??

I have been looking at small bushcraft hand axes.

There are a couple of makes from Sweden that appeal.  But I really am not outdoors enough yet to justify having one, and to be honest, haven't checked the law either yet.   But the Huntasfors looks good.

A quality system to resharpen blades as mentioned above.

Maybe a good pocket knife...I'll have a look around, but have this for now:


Which is a nice feeling knife, sharp as hell and lovely to use.  I'm not fussed about it being a BG promoted knife, it was half price, and its really good for the little things im doing with it currently.


Here  is a Dave Canterbury video that may be of use:
 


What items do you have?  What items do you rate above and what items would you change? And for what and why?


Thursday, 4 April 2013

So Where to Start??

Dave Canterbury (random video above, find him on youtube) has his '5Cs of survival'.  His list of what you need to consider when in a survival situation.

1)  Cutting
2)  Combustion
3)  Containers
4)  Covers
5)  Cordage

I have watched him on youtube and Dual Survivor and quite like his approach to outdoors living, being an exUS- Marine helps.

But when making a basic survival kit, its all there isnt it...




In Dual Survivors, Canterburys partner is Cody Lundin (above), he says that you wont last:

"3 minutes without hope
3 hours without shelter
3 days without water
3 weeks without food"

What a great way to show the importance of things and how to address them.  Stay positive, find or create shelter, get water collected and start to find food.

Both these guys have great knowledge and skills of bushcraft and survival.

Now changing tac a little, the pyschologist and sociologist - Abraham Maslow (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Maslow), has his 'Hiearchy of Needs'.

'breathing, food, water, sleep, homeostasis' - are the bottom tier, the tier that must be satisfied and complete before a person can move further up the pyramid.  Have a look if you havent heard of him and see how it applies.

...
 


In my other life, what we call - 'the real world', I have to work on these basics to do my job.  You would be surprised how many people struggle to survive and thrive in society.

I have read on many forums, our governments suggest we have 3 days worth of food and water stored in our homes, in case of emergency.  It might also be wise to have alternative methods of cooking this and knowledge (logic, experience - whatever) on how to survive and carry on.

Having 'bug out bags' and months of stored goods may work in other countries where I can expect to head out to the wilderness of may be cut off for months on end, but do I need this in the UK?

But being able to live and have fun in the wild is somethng I want to learn.

On http://www.naturalbushcraft.co.uk/forum/forum.php is a great area to chat.  This chaps videos shows the basics and is somethiing I'm really interested in being able to achieve;


Surely if I was advocating 'prepping' and being prepared, I'd have all these too wouldnt I?  Maybe thats a point for discussion...

Right, so lets start......

From the very beginning....its a very good place to start.

EJS


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Greetings prepple, crafters, creators, planners and outdoorsfolk

Amazing....what was a childhood fascination with survival kits, has developed into a way of life to prepare and to re-learn the ways of old.

So why prepare? 

Power cuts or shortages, extreme weather, floods, ill health, financial crisis or other...which one will affect me?  We can not predict, so lets get prepared for any situation as best we can.

Am I a 'prepper'?

No, I'm not a prepper, I'm not going to extremes of having bug out vehicles, mylar bag food stores or weapon stashes.  I'm certainly not paranoid, maybe a little cheesed off at times and a healthy understanding in conspiracy theories is good for us all.  But thats about it.  I want to be prepared in the same way a scout would be expected to be.  Not a militia extremist... :-)

What do I do?

I enjoy the outdoors.  Lets get back out there and enjoy it more.  I am an escapist, I dream and fantasise of woodland and fresh air, of coastal paths and hilltop ridges. I dream of living in a log cabin in my own land, subsistence farming and using my resources resposnsibly.

The reality is I dont do this...yet

Im going to use this as a learning journal.

You might read it and learn, or share your views, but its just here, saying what I've done and liked.

Thanks

EJS