Sunday, February 13, 2011

Field Report: Sunday Daytrip

Deer superhighway!
Spent the afternoon in the woods today. The weather was great: sunny and hovering around 30 degrees. The snow was still quite deep despite the recent warming trend. I decided to cross a large field as a shortcut back to the car and my trip became a tough slog as the snow was crusty on top, mushy underneath, and knee-deep. The snowshoes in the car wouldn't likely be of much use though.

I explored two areas that I have not previously been in. The trip was quite productive: I found a great camp area near the river and I also discovered a great spot for a blind.

Cooking fire in the snow
I also took some time, as usual, to work on my fire skills. I have decided lately that fire skills are probably the most important skills to master and that is where I have been focusing. Fire provides many physical and psychological benefits: it is a means to purify water, to heat one's self and shelter, to cook food, and it even keeps away the boogie man. Additionally, many other skills are wrapped up in fire, including knife and hatchet skills. I have become more efficient at processing wood as of late and have grown to really appreciate a good hatchet. Currently I use a Gerber (Friskars) Camp Axe that is razor sharp and holds its edge well. The only weakness of the hatchet is the hollow nylon handle; I believe a good wood handle would feel and possibly perform better.Perhaps a near future purchase?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Simple Stuff Sack Pattern

I was eyeballing the stuff sack that my Etowah tarp came in and admired the brilliantly simple design so I reverse engineered it to make my own stuff sacks. I documented my latest sack to serve as a mini tutorial. Please forgive my poor sewing ability - I'm still learning.

Firstly I started with a scrap piece of canvas from a GI shelter half that I recently made a haversack from. To get the right size piece of material simply double the desired width and add about 1/2 inch and add about 1 inch to the desired height.

The real genius in this design is that it does not require any grommets or fancy sewing; the finished and reinforced edges are all achieved with two simple folds. Here I must give thanks to my wife for showing me how to do this part easily. I guess I'll keep her.

Note that the entire sack is sewn inside out so that the "raw" edges will be inside when done.

First I fold the upper corners in - the size of the triangle from top to bottom should be double the desired height of the channel that your cinch cord will run through.

Close up of one side:

Next I fold the top down to form the cord channel. For stiffer material one will probably want to place the cord in the channel before sewing it down but for lightweight stuff I have been able to easily get the cord through after sewing the channel.

Close up of one side:

 Next I fold the entire thing in half and sew the bottom and side together.

 Lastly I turn the whole sack inside out and install a cordloc (one could just as easily use a simple tie string for a more "traditional" look).

Close up of the inside of the cord channel of the finished bag:

 An ultralight stuff sack I made using this pattern with parachute material:


Welcome to my journey! This blog is intend to serve as a digital field journal, a record of my woodscraft and primitive skills education, and of my general outdoors activities. Most likely this will merely serve as a personal repository of information but perhaps it will become a resource for others to enjoy.