Becker Patrol Pack and Ruger GS Scout

Becker Patrol Pack and Ruger GS Scout

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Level 1 Survival Class

Had a really great time last weekend teaching a survival class for 88 Tactical. Got a lot of shelter and firecraft practice in. Had about 20 people in camp. This means I was very, very busy. I did not take a lot of gear pictures but I did get some.

I got my Don Rehmke drop point some good field time. While I was walking the creek at camp I found some Red Mulberry root that was exposed. It is a great cordage resource.

The shelter of choice was a free standing A frame. This is a great pic of one of the guys after he got it completed.

We also built a real nice natural shelter. Came out great.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Glock model 42 .380

I got a chance to shoot this new offering from Glock. I am no expert on pistols but it is very cool. I was up at 88 Tactical to set up for my class and Shea said shoot away. Pretty neat little gun.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gearing Up For A Survival Class This Weekend

I have been busy packing for a class this weekend at 88 Tactical. Teaching these type of classes is where a lot of my real world testing comes into play. If I have wet cold students, I am using this gear to make fires,drying racks, and fast shelters. If it is time to feed them there is food to prep, wood to gather, and utensils to make. I think you can see where I am coming from. I have taken a few pics of just a small amount of the gear I am taking.

I am going old school for my pack this weekend. This Kelty has been around a long time. I saved it from a dumpster, sawed the frame down, and did a bunch of repairs and small mods. It has seen a bunch of miles.

Sleeping gear is pretty simple. MSS and a therma rest.

Lots of cutting and sharpening tools.

I will be taking out the Hill People Gear Serape this trip. I will be using it and a Bushcraft Outfitters MEST to show some emergency shelters.

Gonna be a great weekend. It was supposed to be a Winter Survival class, but temps will be to nice for that. So, we will make due with what Ma Nature gives us. Hope to do a video. See ya next week!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Heavy Cover Winner!!!!!!!!

Congrats to Barbarossa4U, former US Army. is the winner. Send me your mailing addy and I will get the kit out to you in a few days. FYI I am teaching a class this weekend and I have a lot on my plate right now. so be patient.

Send info to  .

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dave Beck Hide Scraper Winner

Well folks I am sending a brand new piece of steel to DCM over at Bushcraft USA tomorrow. Sorry I have not been postin for the last couple of days. Gonna get out for a while tomorrow. Also I will be posting up the winner of the Ti Heavy Cover Canteen set up on Tuesday. Stay cool fools!!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Standards For Testing Knives

Since I have several knife reviews coming up, I thought I would share some of the tests that I feel are important. Some may not agree with how I treat knives. But I feel that most knives are tools not objects to hang on a wall or look at in a drawer. There are a few exceptions that I make though. Maybe a knife has sentimental value, is an art knife, or is very collectable and to use it would significantly reduce its value. For me those are valid reasons not to use a knife as it was made to be used. Other than that it is a no go.

One of the big standards for me it that a knife should be able to make a split wood fire. All the way from battoning to making scrapings. It should also be able to strike a firesteel with the spine of the knife.

Improvising is another big one for me. Is the knife able to make fine cuts, notches, and splits.

Toughness, is this knife going to stay together when I really need it. If I have wet and cold students, am I going to be able to beat this knife into wrist size trees to improvise a shelter or get to dry wood?

Ease of sharpening. Once I am done for the day can I use simple sharpening tools to touch up my edge.

This is not the total thought process that goes through my head. There are several other standards that I use, but that is for another time.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Heavy Cover Ti Giveaway and Review

After 4 months of hard use I am ready to tell you folks what I think of the Heavy Cover Titanium canteen and mess kit. It is freaking awesome!!! This piece of gear is light weight and very tough. It is .5 mil thick. That is a full .1 thicker that most of the other Ti cookware out there. Chris, the owner of Heavy Cover, told me the prototype was .4 mil. He said it felt flimsy. So instead of calling it good enough he had them made thicker.
 The standard kit comes with the canteen, cup, and lid. The standard cap for the canteen is the same pattern as the Klean Kanteen lids. For a few more bucks you can upgrade to a Ti lid. The base price is about $143.00. I know it is expensive, but life is short.

This is what you will be getting if you win the giveaway.

 Mine does not look like this anymore. I have baked, boiled, and used the crap out of this thing. The lid held up great even with a fire built on top of it.

I used the cup and lid to bake and heated water in the canteen many times.

it worked equally as well for heating water on my homemade wood burning tent stove.

The cup worked great on the fire. The Titanium seems to transfer heat a lot faster than other metals.

This is a little peach cobbler that I made, came out great.

I have posted this a few times but baking in this set is works great.

The kit also saw some use on my new MSR stove.

I carried this set with me in my kit bag. It worked great.

  I would like to thanks Chris for sending me this an trusting me to do an honest review. It is a must have for people who love outdoor gear.

To enter the giveaway just post a comment on this blog. If you are a veteran say so and I will assign you 2 entries. If you are active duty, say so, and I will assign you 3 entries.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Final Field Testing for Sargent Model 1

Well, I am finishing up the last of the field testing I am going to be doing for the Sargent Model 1. If you saw the recent post I did on harvesting willow, you night have wondered what i am doing with them. One of the projects was to make a pair of Roycroft Snowshoes. I won't get into the how and why of these, that is not what this post is about. When I am running a knife through its paces, I like to see how it will function doing small tasks. These tasks include notching, cross battoning, striping, and shaping wood. Not only is this a good test for the knife, it gives me a chance to improve my skills.

The materials were 5 chin high Willow stave's, a couple of flat pieces of Cedar, and some 550.

After some time and a bunch of Canadian Jam knots, the project was finished. You can also see in this picture the knife is rigged for neck carry.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Smart Phone

I have finally upgraded to Droid Maxx!! I hope this is going to make it easier to post up info. Pretty steap learning curve. Luckily both my boys have the same phone.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Standing Room Only

Many moons ago I was very lucky to take a class from a very wise woodsman named Mors Kochanski. The things he was able to do with a knife were amazing to me. He had a smallish wooden handled knife that he worked to death. I thought for sure he was going to smash that thing into a hundred pieces the way he beat on it. That knife was the now famous Mora. I even saw him drive it into a tree and stand on it.
  Now if you can take a $10.00 knife drive it into a tree and stand on it shouldn't you be able to do that with a much more expensive custom? I think you should. Some people do not share my view on this. I really don't care. For me this is a pretty standard test for almost every knife I have tested. Enter my Sargent Model 1.

  No real need for explanation. I beat it into a tree and put all 200lbs of corn feed Iowa goodness on it. Test passed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Great Day On The Range

Today was one of those days that I will remember for a long time. I have been meaning to get to the range for a while now, so when my good friend Kurt set it up I was all in. My boy Nick was also invited. I have been shooting all of my adult life, but I never had any real instruction. That changed today. Kurt is a very squared away guy as you can see from his Bio at 88 Tactical.. He even brought targets.

My guns for the day were a Glock 26, Ruger Scout Rifle, and a Rock River AR.

Nick and I took turns shooting while Kurt helped us with proper grip, draw, trigger pull and a bunch of other fundamentals. It was really nice to have a pro be able to correct some of the poor habits I have developed over the years. He is a real hands on guy as you can see.

Kurt had not shot my Ruger Scout yet, so he threw a few rounds down range.

I really did not burn through a bunch of ammo, but I felt like I got a lot of quality practice. I also got some good drills to practice at home. While Nick and I were reloading, Kurt was working on some techniques with the Hill People Gear Kit Bag. We are going to be doing a video and post in the near future.

Not only did I get some good training, I got to use some new gear. The MSR Universal is a very cool stove. It runs several liquid fuels as well as canisters. The new Solo pot fits just fine. Lots more to come on this jem.

Had a little range lunch to end the day.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Willow and Custom Steel

Had some time today to get out and gather some materials for future projects. The temps were low 30's and it was wet foggy day. It was one of those days where you think I should not be cold it is above freezing, but the wet air just cuts through you. I decided to wear my Condor Alpha Micro Fleece. Even thought it is pretty "Tacticool" this jacket works well for me.

I had a fairly standard kit. The only exception was that I had 2 fixed blades with me today. One in the bag. and one on my belt.

The material I was looking for today was Willow. It grows nice and straight, it is plentiful, and grows very quickly. This time of year is about the easiest time to collect it. Another great attribute that willow has is that it is a great medium to use and test knives.

The Sargent Model 1 and the Rehmke Drop Point Hunter/Survival were both used to make angle cuts at the base of the Willows. For me, this is an important test. If your knife does this well, it is much easier to gather materials for shelter, bedding, and fire.

By the time I was finished I had collected about 20 pieces of differing length and diameter. Now the real work of stripping the bark and bundling them for drying.

I even caught a quick picture of a Bald Eagle on the way home.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Stainless and Ti Cooking Gear

I love getting off work and finding unopened packages waiting for me. Some real nice stuff this morning. The Heavy Cover canteen and cup set is for and up coming give away. The stainless steel billy pot came from Bushcraft Outfitters. I also got a bail kit to install on it from a friend of mine who is a hobbyist over at Bushcraft USA. So look for a post on installing the bail kit. Once that is complete, I am going to put the pot in rotation.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A day in the life...

  All winter long I cut and split firewood to augment the heat in my house. It really is a labor of love. It gives me a chance to get to the woods. Even though I am working my butt off it is very relaxing. Yesterday I got to thinking how much gear I use out there. So I thought that I would post them up in action. This is how I form my opinions on gear, using it.

  First up, my base layer is Columbia Omnidry. I have several of the long sleeve shirts in different weights. I started splitting wood with a hat and a light weight fleece jacket. The temp was in the low 20's, After the first few minutes I was sweating. So, I ended up wearing just the wicking layer the rest of the afternoon.

  Whenever I head out I always try to bring water with. I hate being dehydrated. For several months I have been carrying the Heavy Cover Ti canteen. Love it. I am pretty sure it will end up being the next review I do.

  Because I an using a chainsaw and splitting maul, I always wear eye pro. Since I have been teaching at 88 Tactical, I have been wearing ESS glasses.

  I always try to build a fire when I am in the woods. I feel that firecraft is one of the most important skills that an outdoors person can have. So I try to stay in practice. I am always trying new things to produce the results that I deem acceptable. If you saw the post of the knife I got the other day you know what is coming up next. A little knife work.

  To light these shavings was the magnesium firesteel combo.

  Once the Osage fire was rolling, I decided a little spot of tea would be great. Enter the Ti canteen cup. Gonna have to get some oven cleaner to clean this thing up.

  The fruits of my labor. Honey Locust, Hackberry, and Burr Oak. All of this wood kicks out some serious BTU's.

  Of course I had some helpers.

  This is just a taste of how I use my gear. Lots more to come in the future.