American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Monday, October 23, 2006

What a Day

I got a late start yesterday due to various reasons but I did finally get into the woods and I did manage to shake out one of the many bags I've got loaded up around here. I made a few last minute additions to the kit which included fresh water in the hydration bladder (2L) and a chunk of Swiss Cheese I picked up at the store.

It was chilly and windy yesterday so the first two priorities, after finding a site, were getting the shelter up and getting a fire started.

During the winter I like to use a British Army basha as it's built more heavily than my other lightweight tarps and will, from experience, handle the weight of snow should it fall during the day or night. Yesterday I pitched it as a lean-to because it goes up faster and requires the carving of fewer pegs.

I use 4 or 5mm cord for the ridgeline and find it stretches less, is easier to see, and has less chance of breaking when compared to paracord. It is also heavier and bulkier but, in the winter, I'll take the extra weight and bulk over something that may fail under the weight of wet snow.

For food, I brought a Swedish Army Trangia which contained the brass burner, a fuel bottle, some parched corn, beef jerky, and the previously mentioned Swiss Cheese. The only water I brought was in a hydration bladder inside the pack.

The only other gear I used from the pack during the outing was a couple of pieces of fatwood for starting the fire and a muslin bag of dried grass I collected in The Sanctuary last weekend.

Once the basha was up, I put down a Space Blanket on the ground reflective side up and slid it under the lean-to. I put my gear on top of the blanket and began clearing a site for the fire. Standard distance is about one pace from the front of the shelter if you're building a reflector and aren't planning on constructing a bonfire. I like to keep my fires fairly small as it conserves the wood and doesn't light me up too much in the dark. It does, however, provide plenty of heat to warm the lean-to.

I collected wood for maybe an hour just to make sure I had enough to last the night and then began to build using tinder and kindling and a spark or two from my firesteel. Once the tinder is burning I like to add chips from a piece of fatwood to keep it going while the twigs get going and before I move to larger pieces of wood.

My late start caused me to be out far later than I would have planned and the small fire, coupled with the shelter, gave me the confidence to just bide my time and soak in the woods at night. Fantastic time.

Thanks for reading,



At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Mungo said...

Reading these posts makes me wish I lived closer to the woods. I'm in Toronto, a good 350KM from my woods of choice: Algonquin Park.
But reading these posts also helps me pretend...


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