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Bushcraft techniques, kit reviews, fire-lighting, motorcycle camping, knife making

Monday, 11 January 2010

Winter Camping Trip in the Tipi at Comrie Croft

A couple of mates and myself had planned a January camping trip at Comrie Croft for a while and we weren't going to let the snow put us off. We had the Nordic Tentipi, firebox and a good few other bits of kit to keep us warm. Firelighting was a bit trickier in the colder temps as was finding tinder but birch bark helped out a great deal as well as cotton wool for a back up with the firesteels.

Waterproof trousers were a must for snow clearing at first, but an improvised elastic band round the bottom of the combats saves your trousers getting wet in the snow. Thermals are a must underneath.

I got a chance to try out the new Mick Spain bushcraft knife I handled last week and enjoyed trying to identify all the wildlife tracks in the snow!

 Food was of the army ration and sausages type, the more carbs the better. Lot's of water was drunk (partly as the beer was just too cold) as dehydration this the blood in colder weather but a little Macallan 10 year fine oak whisky took the edge off the chill.

The trip was originally planned to be a biking adventure but temperatures in the minus degrees and lack of grit on the roads meant we had to go by 4 wheels. So much for Bushcraft Biker but I'm always one to agree with people who use the best tool for the job and the excellent Land Rover Discovery 3 was just the ticket. It certainly is practical but doesn't have any of the character of a motorcycle for a camping trip and essentially that fun part of the journey was lost but needs must.

I highly recommend camping in this weather but make sure as I'm sure you would to take the right gear and almost too many clothes. I ended up sleeping in two pairs of thermals, socks and two micro-fleeces.

I've another trip planned for late January and can't wait.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

I've fallen in love with Anjan - Bushcraft Knife Project 3

Although this is my third bushcraft knife project, it was the first blade I acquired and I just couldn't decide what to handle it in. After a suggestion from Jean at Knife Scales I decided to go with the hardwood Anjan (Indian I believe) and have to say it's a beautiful, if tough wood to work with!

The blade is 3mm thick o1 steel from Mick Spain, 220mm long approximately. It's razor sharp to say the least and my left arm was stubbly for a number of weeks after I decided to see how sharp it was!  I decided to use corby bolts again on this one and an 8mm brass lanyard tube supplied kindly by a fellow member.

The wood as I mentioned is Anjan and I used black liners on this one so as not to detract from the wood. Jean tells me the silver spots will turn to black with age so I'm looking forward to that. I finished the blade in 200 grit to remove a few scratches but I'm sure there will be many more as this is destined to be a well used tool and I can't wait to try it out next week while camping.

I made the handle slightly coke-bottle shaped once again and as I did it by hand (need to get a bench sander) took quite a few hours.

Overall a very positive experience with this particular knife.