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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weight Conscious

I've never really been one to count ounces before.

When it came to gear selection, durability and functionality have always outweighed other factors. My thoughts never turned to the weight of an item as I could always shed more weight through diet than I could save by buying some lighter, and invariably more expensive, bit of kit.

Well, after lifting up my jacket for the umpteenth time yesterday and feeling the weight of the stuff packing my pockets I have decided that it might be time to think about lightening my load a bit.

It should be fairly easy to do.

Swap out the LMF Army Firesteel for something smaller like the bare rod, the Scout, or even the Boy Scout HotSpark. Trade in the SwissTool for one of the small Leatherman tools like the Micra or Squirt PS4. The flashlight I carry, the Streamlight MicroStream, is already pretty small but I could swap it out for the Photon MicroLight or something comparable at a pretty significant weight savings.

A big part of the problem is that I carry so much stuff every day that I must jingle when I walk. Just removing some of the gear will make a big difference.

Now taking this same approach with my pack could be fairly significant but there are just some things I don't want to change like my Fallkniven F1 or my Bahco folding saw. We have a history together and I know those bits of gear will work no matter what so I'm going to keep them around.

I could swap out my Zebra Billy Can for something in Titanium (you all know how I love Titanium) but I like how the Zebra cooks and I've learned where the hot spots are and how the pot behaves on various sources of heat.

Keep in mind, I've gone through a phase like this before and started stripping away all the stuff I wasn't using on a regular basis and then, over time, started adding back the things I wanted to carry for those "just in case" moments.

We'll see if this goes anywhere but, for now, I'm working on shaving those ounces from the stuff I EDC so my poor belt doesn't wear out prematurely.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm Afraid!

Yeah, it's new for me too...

I'm afraid, for the first time in my life, to carry a pocket knife.


I have a heavily modified knife that was in my pocket yesterday and reached into my pocket to find the tip had come out from the scales and buried itself deep into the tip of my middle finger.

I knew that was a potential problem with tip-up folders but I'd never experienced anything like it and, frankly, didn't expect it with this knife even though I knew the modifications (not done by me by the way) could have caused some functionality problems.

So, I'm going to see if the boys at JRE Industries will make me a belt sheath for this knife. It still cuts like a dream but I don't think I'm going to be able to drop it into my pocket again for a while.

Be careful out there...


Thursday, April 21, 2011

In Training

It's been a while since the last know that right? :)

The kids and I have decided to run in the local 4th of July 5K this year and we started training last night.

Instead of starting with short runs and working our way up, we've decided to start with 3.1 mile hikes that will get faster and faster in pace.

Last night was the first of those hikes.

We headed out right after dinner and walked through the woods on the way out and down the streets on the way back. It was still pretty muddy (we're under a flood warning again) and we were out in prime critter movin' time at dusk but the kids were arguing enough to keep even the boldest of coyotes away.

Spring hasn't quite convinced itself that it's time to arrive yet so we're still seeing temperatures in the 40s during the day and the 30s at night. This made for a nice cool walk without the sweatiness we'll experience later on.

A winter of being stuck inside has led us all to massively decreased fitness and the kids came home and plopped down right on the floor and lay there until it was time for bed. Being the first hike, the soreness of repeated efforts hasn't set in yet but the real test of discipline will come in a few days when they're tired and sore--same goes for me.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, April 14, 2011


I've got to get back to shooting some videos.

I have a list of products I'm going to be working up in the coming weeks and I just need to shoot, edit, and post those videos to YouTube.

Instead of the pictures you're used to seeing, you can all see my pretty face and hear the melody of my voice. LOL!

I'll continue with the skills and trip reports as they actually take me less time to do but the videos are going to become more and more prevalent here on the blog.

Stay tuned...

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Condor Kumunga

Are you looking for a big knife at a small price?

The Condor Kumunga may be just the thing for you then.

I picked up one of these the other day from Going Gear and have been using the heck out of it for the past couple of days.

It has a 10 1/4" long blade of 3/16" thick 1075 and it's 15 1/2" overall.

Think of it as a short, thick machete capable of doing big and small work but doing it a little worse than a smaller utility knife or bigger chopper. As a Jack of All Trades, it's certainly up to the tasks set in front of it.

It's priced around $40 and comes with a leather sheath.

I find the polypropylene handle comfortable to hold and it has been comfortable during use so far. I haven't used it for hours on end yet but our time together is still short so I'll let you know once we've done some more work together.

This knife is seeing a long-term career as a fire pit knife and splitting down firewood and making fuzz sticks are things it does with delight.

Give 'em a look. I'm sure glad I took a chance on this one so far and I suspect you will be too.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Morakniv 511

The Mora 510s may be gone but the 511s are still going strong and you can see the similarity between the two models. My well-worn 510 is at the top and the new 511 is beneath.

The handle is more of a maroon color on the 511 and there is a finger guard but, otherwise, the knives are nearly identical.

I do detect a bit of difference in the thickness of the two handles with the thicker handle going to the 511 and I have noticed that a 510 will drop into the 511 sheath with rattle in every direction.

The markings are different but that reflects the merger more than anything else so I would suspect the 510 would be marked the same way if it had survived.

I picked up a handful of the 511s for the scouts to use as the finger guard gives an extra degree of safety while we're still working out the kinks on basic knife usage. The longer the Whittlin' Chip and First Aid badges remain separate the better. :)

Gratitude goes out to Ragnar at Ragweed Forge for his assistance.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Got Out

Jake and I got out yesterday to enjoy the weather and get a little exercise (swim suit season is coming up you know...) :)

Hiking is, for Jake, simply an excuse to eat snacks outdoors but I'll take whatever I can to spend some time with him so we loaded up the pack with box after box of chicken and tuna salad, some Nerds, and a few bottles of water and headed out.

I had a few additional items in my pack. LOL!

We hit the trailhead and immediately noticed that it's still really flooded everywhere and the trails are all muddy messes.

Boys like mud so Jake couldn't be bothered by the conditions and he was wearing his Bogs (like Muck boots) so he was good to go.

After a bit of hiking, we left the trail behind and followed a deer path through the woods to find a place to have snack #1. It was warm in the sun and cold in the shade so we tried to stay in the sunlight until we were overheated and then we found shade.

There was a pond that looked inviting so we pulled up a seat and grabbed the snacks. I had an ulterior motive so I pounded my water and was left with an empty bottle.

After the snack, I asked Jake if he wanted to drink from the pond and he looked at me with a scrunched up face and said, "No way!" after pointing out that there was goose poo right on the bank.

Undeterred, I found a spot where the water was flowing into a culvert and loaded up the empty bottle. The water was COLD and felt like it'd just come out of the refrigerator.

Then I pulled out my Steripen, fired it up, agitated the water for 90 seconds, and then took a big drink.

Jake was both impressed and horrified. :)

The water tasted fine, was nice and cold, and the Steripen had sterilized any nasty stuff--I hope. If I'm sick as a dog in a couple of weeks I'll let you know.

I've got some pictures that I'll get posted here in a bit. There's even a short video of me stirring the Steripen in the bottle but, believe me when I tell you, it's BORING. I'll post if for you if you want though.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, April 01, 2011

Spring Break

Sorry for the lack of updates folks.

The family is on Spring Break until early next week and then updates will begin again. :)

See you real soon,