Not knowing if I am ever going to complete the book I started writing two years ago, I decided to release this from what has already been written. Additionally, I actually did a video on it a few years ago which I will post at the end of this article. But at least with the article, one can get a much clearer description of how it all goes together.
You ever watch the scenes in the movie “The Rundown”, with Dwayne Jonson, where he gets lifted into a tree by a snare? How about “Return of the Jedi” when Chewbacca grabs that chunk of meat and triggers a net trap, sending him and the crew up into the tree? I’ve always loved traps of that style. In the bushcraft world, traps that would work on that scale simply aren’t realistic, because the Achilles hill of all spring type traps is the anchor. More often than not, an anchor is buried into the ground—a peg of sorts.
“That’s all your house is, it’s a place to keep your stuff, while you go out and get more stuff. Sometimes you gotta move and get a bigger house. Why? Too much stuff”
Those were the words George Carlin uttered as part of his famed “Stuff” routine in 1986 [Video Below]. And while on the eve of my move, I keep hearing his words in my head. I feel like I have too much stuff, albeit not nearly as much stuff as all the stuff other people have. Forget about the fact that in the last two years, save for my fishing rods, I’ve gotten rid of all my outdoor gear—dutch ovens, backpacks, outdoorsy clothing, lanterns, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, etc.— all of my stuff still takes up two boxes each about two feet by two feet by ten inches high and yet I still feel like it’s too much stuff.
While I’m no minimalist, by the extreme definition, I’ve always been spartan and get easily annoyed with stuff just sitting there not being used. I don’t collect, keep or save things for the sake of memories and emotions. Things for me must serve a useful purpose, not satiate or elicit an emotion. Things must make sense in use, not just create a use for it to make sense— “Without purpose, there is no purpose.” Sure, I like the ideology of certain things, but rarely will I act on an ideology without thinking it through logically. In the event I do act impulsively, driven by ideology, and purchase something, I soon after end up getting rid of the item, or return it.
Some people need a cup of coffee. Others go for a run. Some go straight to the kitchen for some bacon and eggs. These are some of the morning rituals many go through upon waking. For me, I can not get my day started without a shower and a shave. I won’t even venture into the kitchen, den, or any other part of the house without first taking a shower and shaving. It doesn’t matter if I have no where to go and all I wish to do is watch television. It doesn’t matter if I showered before bed. Shower, shaving and getting dressed is first in the morning. It is a ritual which sets the tone of my mood for the day. If I can’t have a shower, at the least I need to have a wet wipe bath. Come hell or high water though I have to shave. That scruffy feeling about my neck, from a day old growth, is a no go. So fanatic I am with that, I often shave twice a day. It doesn’t matter if I am growing a beard. The neck, however, will be shaved religiously, as well as my head. To that end, my grooming ritual can be challenged when I am camping. None the less, It must be done, or I am in a foul mood until it can happen. It is paramount in establishing my PMA (Positive Mental Attitude). After a good smooth and clean shave, I feel unstoppable and anything is possible… That is not hyperbole. As a result, I tend to spare no expense in my pursuit for shaving nirvana. Weird, right? At the same time, however, the expense has to make sense.
By now, some of you may have noticed my overall absence from the community, not that it matters in the grand scheme of things. I’m just another voice frequently lost in the sea of rhetoric and bull shit. However, I’m probably considered one of the OGs of my time. I entered the fray at a time when survival was experiencing a renaissance, nearly 25 years ago. I’ve seen and been a part of much of the hype, all these years, often to my chagrin. I’ve been around during the inception of what is reality survival television. I’ve also been around to witness the twisted thinking it has created.
So tired I grew of all the bull shit spawned within the community, a few years ago I made a decision to distance myself from it.
Two years ago, I decided to write a book. The intent was to have it released last year, but I put it on hold. Though most of it is complete, pictures included, I’m not sure I will ever complete it, primarily because I’ve lost interest in the project. That said, I am including the rough draft (non edited) intro of the book here, because while for the last year I’ve been more and more absent from the community, It is interesting to note how those undertones of ire made it into the book. The intro gives an insight into how I’ve been feeling for a few years.
Two days ago, I made a pretty bold statement—A knife is likely the least important tool for a wilderness survival kit. That statement wasn’t exactly made in haste. It’s something that had been brewing inside of me for quite some time.
For several years, I, too, carried a knife—always a folder and sometimes a fixed blade too. At the same time, however, I was fairly observant of my daily doings, along with those of others who carried knives. I began realizing many people, myself included, would hardly use a knife at all, save for the occasional need to cut up food, or a piece of cord. How odd, I thought. That person has a four hundred dollar knife and the entire time we’ve been out here, several days mind you, the only thing he’s done is
This certainly will shake the foundation by which some of you have based your ideals on, but it is worth discussing and examining with a critical eye. For some of you, it will mean nothing and you will go on with the popular norm. Others may actually put some common sense into play and rethink your survival kit. And yet others will say I am preaching to the choir and their views will be congruent to mine.
What if I said your knife is quite possibly the least important tool in your wilderness survival kit? Yes I can already feel the ire brewing within some of you. I mean here you are having possibly spent a few hundred dollars on your prized possession that is the cornerstone of your kit and I’m telling you your money was ill spent, that is unless, of course, you already have your most important base covered, at which point spend all the money you want on your survival knife.
“Holy Hell!” I thought, as my pack lay hanging by a line up in the tree about twenty-five feet off the ground. “How am I going to get it down from there?” I thought. I’m sure a handful of students were also pondering the same thing. I’m not going to lie, I thought about leaving the pack hanging and walk away having learned my lesson, but how dreadful a thought knowing a pack worth one hundred seventy five dollars, not including it’s contents, would spend the rest of it’s days hanging by limb, literally. I guess I should start at the beginning in how I ended up in this predicament.
Having come off of the knife sharpening portion of the class, we quickly moved into and through the knot tying portion of the class. During the discussion on tying out ridglines for a tarp and how to secure a tarp to the ridgeline, I shared one of my favorite knots with the students, the Klemheist. Like the Prusik, it grips around the line and slides when one grips it at the hitch, but tightens when the loop end is pulled.
There is no shortage of information on survival on the net, both good and bad. But how does one separate the chaff from the seed? To First understand how to discern fact from fiction, one has to understand how people tend to accept information.
A fallacy is a flaw in reasoning, undermining the validity of an argument or position
Though many, here are some common fallacies found in the survival community.
Appeal to authority— People tend to accept, at face value, information put out by leaders in the community, even if the information sounds illogical. So and so carries a ferro (ferrocerium) rod and he’s been studying survival forever, therefore it has to be the best. I am so and so and have done such and such. You should listen to me.
Appeal to celebrity— People tend to believe the word of popular people. This is why celebrity endorsements are so popular. Marketeers understand an endorsement from a celebrity can reap millions.
The internet is an amazing tool. It has enabled the exchange of information which may have otherwise only been known to no one but a few people. The rate, freedom, and amount at which knowledge is spread is unbelievable. This, however, is also the dark side of having this ability—Along with good information, and no filter in place, an amazing amount of bad or dated information is also passed on. And certainly the survival community is not exempt of such exchange. Unfortunately, following some of the bad information can make a bad situation worse.
Last week I wrote an article on the science of why a campfire reflector wall, as shown in the original article, doesn’t work to reflect heat the way we have been led to believe for so many years.
I explained how the Inverse Square Law affects the heat radiation, so there would be no noticeable difference in temperature rise.
I must admit, a lot of the responses I read across various discussion boards and forums was absolutely fun to read. I mean I was getting railed left and right. Lets see some of the more fun ones
Have they ever camped?
If it’s good enough for the SAS, it’s good enough for me