sunnuntai 23. kesäkuuta 2013

Midsummer hike, BcFin knife sheath, woodgas stove, new mattress, sinful light kettle.

At first,

heres a pic of the official BcFin knife that i designed. I think theres another post about the knife in another blog, using the "we" speech, but i really like to say, that i was the one rambling about how the knife should be, the measures and such and asking others how do they feel. There were few competiting ideas, not even drawings though.....but i am glad to see that a design this traditional won it, instead of any weird knife with finger grooves etc.

Ok, anyways, here u go. I did a deep, very very simple sheath for my own knife after receiving it, the only gimmicky thing is the belt loop that can be opened and removed as its a rivet-looking screw holding it. This way its easy to attach the knife even in to few backpack hip belts that are usually harder to open to allow attachment of an knife. I dyed the sheath with tar piss and coffee grounds finally. Looks pretty worn and such, and i happen to like how it turned out.






So far ive really like dthe knife, from the appearance to the capabilities. Its served me for short time, yes, but hey, still everyday and i do use knife 7 days a week, in my work and in my free time.

As i write this, i am recovering from midsummer party, as do many Finns right at this very moment.

My midsummer, was pretty nice. first i was actually thinking of some festival but luckily i changed my mind.



during last two weeks, me and my buddy have trained a bit, together. He´s heading to his first true lapland hike ever, and wanted me to walk with him, so that what weve been doing. Ive carried several packs, big and small ones and he´s been breaking in his new hiking boots an getting used to his new backpack. Weve had 20 kilos load in back, and walked 10 to 20 kilometers walks, so when we decided to have midsummer party in the hunting cabin, we agreed to walk there as well Its not an long walk, barely 10 kilometers, though woods with no trails, and long an old track of horse hikers. It was sweatty walk though thanks to all nigh long rain at night before we started the walk, but as the day went the moisture went away with it. I think we saw nice scenes as the route went up the few bick rocky high places as well as along swampy ponds.







I do like to see animals and their tracks, at this walk we saw grouse feathers, black grouse scared me while i was taking photo of an old rotten and eaten tree stump, by flying 2 meters above me, from tree to another. I know where ill be hanging out as the bird season starts :).

Well, we had just one pause along the walk as the distance was so short, and we took sip of water and a can of beer each, before heading to the cabins direction. At this walk i found some good pieces of chaga and marked few nice old stone rings of old fires, as well as birch burls.



"Finally "we found our way to the cabin that we had been repairing a bit and cleaning few days earlier.



Its parts are 150 to 200 year old and it has been serving as forest village school in past and the saunas log frame is actually an old seed container from huge log made warehouse of, sort of.

 You migh have usually seen me rambling on behalf of more traditional gear and packs etc, yes ?


Well, thats one side and here another. For few years, ive been following ALSO blogs and posts about lighter hiking equipment. I do separate usually, bushcraft and hiking to keep em more clear topics but in the hike, i do use more modern stuff too. You know, if id go to ski hike in lapland i´d probably pack a multifuel stove, may it be traditional or bushcraft. And i use headlamp, not an old miners oil lamp. Well, enough of the excuses.

Even if i do really love and hae an passion for all the things in past and old style gear, i been a fan of Hendriks old Hiking In Finland blog and visited a good few other similar sites. I dont know, why though . I cant even write it in clear way, sorry. Ive always loved how the old tribesmen, laplanders, our international bushcraft idols, managed to life in various ways, in the wild with just essentials. I have liked the way that i call as minimal, or spartan, but i havent thought So much about the weight of gear, but i have written about carrying less and carrying stuff that is Compact. Have you seen a load of raging about me favoring those so sexy axes ? One of the reasons is that they are gear that i dont simply need to be big nor heavy, as i get along just Fine with no axe at all, or with an tiny hatchet. Excess weight for the situatiions that dont happen, except in my dreams. If some area of equipment that i have cut down, a long time ago, is the spare clothes. They are not heavy, but they do take space and therefore require big pack. Its not a sin, to stink a bit in the trail, especially if your chances to get Some, are running low, i mean that there arent females to conquer with your freshness. I tend to carry , at summer, just mittens, a Buff, wool socks OR spare socks, and thats it. No spare this and spare that. One another thing that i have done like always, is that ive kept my kitchen simple, simpe food and simple tools. Even if i hike with my gf, i sure dont carry 3 liter pot made for a 4 person family use, nor 3 different skillets and 7 plastic spice shakers. If i could , i would eat most likely , just dried meal and coffee, salt and pepper, and everything else id take from land, the birds, the hare and the fish, berries and mushrooms. My kitchen usually is made out of One SMALL pot, one adequate coffee pot (sometimes i dont carry any coffee pot at all) in size between 0.6 liters to 1.0 liters. Thats enough for me and my companion and everyone takes care of their own soul and stomach, group gear is something i am more against than for it.

Well, as i made a bridge to the cookery, i might as well jump in.

I have this weird thing, that ive done for maybe 4 years now. I want to downzize the number of hiking items that i own, and if i away, two items, i replace it with only one. If i get rid of 3 items, i try to replace it with two or one, never three, so the numbers get smaller every time.

I gor rid off like 4 items, like week ago or so, just as ive gotten  rid of much of my gear lately, with greater speed and volume. But, now i replaced, in a way, some.

I let go off an multifuel cooking kit, a winter sleeping bag, a snow shovel and an led lantern.

I replaced em with stuff that i really use lot more although i dont know do i REALLY NEED em.

These new thingys have to do, with my idea of " lighter & compact" .

My dearest sleeping bag, before, weighted bit over one kilo, and was pretty big roll when rolled in. Its still my favourite this far, and in wintertime i propably will use it but i decided to get a summer use sleeping pad for me now.

48liter pack, way too much, but all the midsummer food and drinks required to carry this massive pack :).
I got this old Haglöfs pack from a good friend of mine and the Only thing id change in this pack would be the blue colour, that id change in to olive drab, brown or black to tone it down.

There wasnt many to choose from  as i favour pads that are NOT inflateble not self inflating, since i trust simple tech found reliable instead, and my choise was a closed cell foam pad, made by Thermorest, and the model is " Z-Lite".

There is a new, bright yellow  "Sol" version of Z-Lite now, with a chrome-like foil on other side, reflecting more body heat back, but hey.....bright yellow?

Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite in coyote colour, a freshly made, sauna whip with willow bindings and few fatwood pieces, useful stuff all the way, for me.

So i got myself an Z-Lite in coyote tan, a brown color one. Its insulation rating, in Theraorest´s scale is 2.6.
The surface is heavily contoured, like one of those paper boxes for eggs, so the sleeping pad forms like hollow spaces between human body and the surface, so the cold wont conduct that well.

The Z-Lite is available only in Regular and Small lenghts, so the R that i chose is shorter than i am but thats ok, at summer anyway and who knows maybe ill go all crazy and cut the pad shorter so it covers me from shoulders to knees, in future...to keep it even lighter. Yeah rite !

But in any case, in this gear trade, from sleeping mattress to another, i won 500gr off from packs weight instantly.

Then, gents, lets go to kitchen.

The woodstove i used before, weighted bit over 900grams. It sure folded in to 2cm thin and some 12 by 15? cm flat shape, so it sure  was compact in size.

The Zebra kettle, with about 7 deciliters volume, weighted totally 420 grams. It was also, very compact, though, maybe 12cm diameter and some 6cm tall.

This is where i hesitated quite a lot...

I´ve had encounters with titanium utensils, stoves and pots before, yep, and they always put a burnmark on my forehead but luckily i dont care so much what others say.

 So i went and found out, that now i am owner of an MSR Titan Kettle, with 0.85 liter volume :).



Shame on me, i am a poor soul with no self asteem.

But but....but......even IF the kettle might be "expensive" in various shops where you can buy one from, the nice thing is that my new kettle is still very compact, only some stupid inc taller than my old Zebra was and about same diameter, so it has MORE volume, 1.5 deciliters or so, BUT its frigging three times lighter. Well not three if were accurate and i am not.



420 grams vs. 118 grams says a lot.

It has its price and every man has his ways to get one but i think 300 grams is something. It feels in your hands, instead of just being real and fact, in digital scale. I would not pay a dime to get 234 grams instead of 248. It has to be something that i feew in my hands.



MSR Titan kettle, or pot if you prefer, takes in some compact gas stove and a small gas cainster if you want it to, but now, i am using it with my woodgas stove.

At first it looks like any of those 3462 other hiking kettles, but if you look it bit closer, youll discover few nice small details.


It has hinged small wire handles, that you can bend to have something to grab it from and them bend em back to be able to pack it in small space.


It has also a nice small spout, pressed on the edges, so you can really pour easily, without making a mess of your coffee spilling all over.




Also, it has a nice lid that does Not fall accidentally even if you turn the pot upside down, and in the lid, theres an small hole for replacement air to flow in to make the pouring of drink, flawless.

Also, the lid handle, bends up and down but it also locks up so when youre cookinf with lid on the pot, you dont have to use any sticks or nails to get the hot handle up, so you dont burn your fingers so easily with this one. The small groove in the lid handles welded attachment thing, locks the handle up when you slide the handle wire in the groove.

I am really imoressed to the manufacturing quality of the MSR Titan kettle yes i am.
....and it works well too, i noticed during midsummer camping.





What i tested the kettle with is also brand spanking new woodgas stove, from Wild Stoves. Mine, came from Partioaitta, and as i had it a few weeks already, my friend got all excited about it and had me order one for him. The version that i have and he does now too, is the latest evolution, with pot holding parts, made out of reliable stainless steel wire. The previous version had stamp welded, hinged pot holders, very familiar to the ones used in compact, folding canister gas stoves, with the aggressive teeth. I dont know, if the previous version encountered issues with point welded pot holders loosing or what but this, wire leg-version as i call it, is real deal. The three piece wire system it has, forms a nice stable surface, to keep even the smallest pots and mugs on it.




Wild Stoves woodgas stove, comes in nylon stuff bag, and the stove has like 4 separate parts.




- The lower part, which acts as a stand and has holes for air to flow in.


-The middle part, that has all the magic that actually makes stove and wood gas stove. The middle part has double walls with closed upper end, and the air, heated by the burn in the stove, flows in this empty space between walls and then, comes out, all warm, inside the upper edge of the actual combustion chamber, and there, the hot air, mixes with unburnt woodgas and burns away, clean and super effectively.





-The inner part, is just a small grill, like an tunacan without lid and with holes punched in the other end. Acts as bottom of combuotion chamber, lets air to flow in it.





-Finally the highest, top piece, with is bit like dome shaped, and guides the hot air and the wood gas fumes together, and has the folding, wire made pot holders.




 The one thing, that this marvelous stove does not have is some type of collector of charcoal, which is, thanks to effective burn action,  mostly dust-like. You really need to pick the place even more carefully, on a sand, on a rock, on a gravel, etc, so the possibility of escaping fire would be as minimal as possible. I am making an aluminium charcoal collector at next week, hopefully with some type of legs, to keep it bit off the surface too but right now, i have this old stainless, super thin cup, from pet store. It conducts heat, yes, but it collects the embers, coal and dust too, making the forest fire less possible.



I even tried a bit of, how the stove scorches the moist moss under it, and after 15 minutes it had turned the moss in to pitch black hot stuff. Be careful, indeed.



Then, i turned the lower part of stove, upside down just because the stove seems to allow it too. But dont you guys repeat it. The stove comes unstable, and the only gain that i got, was that the stove got air better that way, as i had this deep dog food bowl around the lower part.

Then i cut inch thick willow sticks and used em to rise the stove away from the moss and after 2 hours, the sticks were just a bit scorched, and the ground was ok , so its an easy fix too.




All in all, this certainly is the best woodgas stove that i have used, i give 8.5 points to it of ten. Its not the smallest but its the most powerfull, and its stabile with steel skillet that i seem to always carry, and smaller woodgas stoves are not that stabile with large diameter pots or high ones. The packing size is very smal too, compared to the actual "use" size. This stove takes just 13,7 cm diameter and some under 7cm tall cylinder shaped space. You can also, fill the stove, ready with an " ammo" of pine cones, bark,sticks and pieces of wood, maybe even with a firesteel so its always ready to be used, in your pack.



My buddy was interest to see one of my possibles pouches so i took a pic of it too while the stuff was on the ground. I´d say its pretty doable, as it has metal mug, bullion cubes, tea,instant coffee, salt and sugar,first aid stuff,repair kit, space blanket, led light, knife and a small saw, firesteel, an compass, etc. 516 grams, including the pouch.




The midsummer itself, went well, we were mostly playing with our new woodgas stoves, cooking a lot, sleeping well, bathing for hours and hours in sauna, swimming and taking some beer and rum. I liked it a lot, there was only me and my buddy, and three hours after we got there, my girlfriend arrived with my buddys wife. I slept cozy, on top of my new Z-Lite under my old weird mixture of a-frame floorless tent and loue, with my girlfriend and my dog in front of it untill rain forced the dig in our shelter.

Ill be posting more stuff, about hiking, instead of campcrafting, i hope, as well as write a bit more about making my pack more compact and if it so happens, lighter. Also, a topic about making a new shelter is on its way.


I think that stuff about shooting with various rifles and ammo are possible too, thanks to new connecgtions and areas to shoot in.

If youre in to Fjällrävens classic small pack, the Kånken, in hiking overnighter use, stay tuned too ;).



P.S.

As for the Wild Stoves MKII woodgas stove, you can get yours from Here. I was really pleased that when i ordered one for my buddy after i had received my own, and i wrote a note, in the order form, stating that i really want the updatet "wire leg" version, instead of the earlier version in their webshop picture, i got it. Good service.

As for the MSR Titan Kettle, its from Here, just as is the Thermarest Z-lite too. When i ordered the Z-lite, i had this discount code and i diodnt see any place to type it, and i still added the code in the order but didn receive the discount, and it was also my mistake. When i was ordering the woodgas stove , i saw the small, tiny line for discount codes, and it worked smoothly, and i even got a small bonus with the kettle when i emailed that i did not get the discount at first order. So, it was my bad, and they still serviced me well, thanks.
















tiistai 4. kesäkuuta 2013

Tiny firesteel job to spend time.

I got fed up to one of my LMF firesteels. Not to the firesteel itself, but the looks, the feel, apprearance of it, so like two hour ago i went pulled the plastic handle off from it and started to tinker a bit.

 I made a new, smaller reindeer antler handle to it, and after that, i thought that why would i not i replace the nylon lanyard as well so i made a leather lanyard with small carabiner thingy on the other end of it. I think it came out pretty nice, compared to original black plastic handle & black nylon lanyard combo.

Bushcraft Filnand forums official members-only knife, first run.

Heres a picture i received from the makes himself, showing the first few official BC FIN knives ever.




sunnuntai 2. kesäkuuta 2013

Still here. BC FIN meeting, knives, stoves,bone needles....

Well, last time i wrote a thing here, i was heading ice fishing, that says  a lot.....but i am back now since there has been no ice in about two months. Spring came with rush, the lakes were low on water and the sun was high, i donno, wheter i like the summer as much as winter but it offers me a chance to use canoe, pick berries and fish a lot, as well as hike with less gear.






Theres been quite a lot going in my scale, but if something, ive been mostly spending 5 days a week if not 5 or seven, with my hands on the chainsaw, where my income comes now. So i am working as a chainsaw logger, felling, limping and chopping, wood, fro firewood etc.


At spring, i received a small package from Marttiini, including their new "kiehinen" puukko knife.  For that , id like to that the factorys kindness, i think i got it before any shop had it stored at all.




Ive liked that puukko a lot, i have to admit. Its surely not a massive fulltang, but for everyday use, lets say for a person in to whittling especially, its a damn nice affordable option. What i like the most in it, is its sheath and the shape of the handle. There hasnt been a lot of puukko´s with DEEP sheaths but this thing surely has one, just as i think it should be. It has a sideseam and a plastic liner, dangler belt loop.


Handle is as simple as it could get, yet very very comfortable for various grips, and as its tapered toward butt, it wedges itself well, in to the sheath and comes still out easily.


 Ive been using it to pred fish, to whittle fire starting shavings, as well as i did one small hatchet handle from start to finish with it, with no broblems of what so ever, from birch that i fell as spring winter.

                                           This was originally some 40 year old axe head, that weighted 600 grams but with forge, hammer, anvil and grinder i shaped to my taste. Yes yes, axe is back and all that hype, i could not care less, this is how i mostly need and axe, small and compact. Enough for any task that i encounter with  game prepping, fire making and if i have to carve wooden things. If you hike in governments forests, theres rarely need for big felling axes or double bits, if you are going to do it in a legal way, u know.



 Also ive made a longbow with it, only with it, the bow needs to be tillered still, but other than that its good to go, some 170cm long and 40 pounds, so its legal hunting tool. Pics from ready bow will follow, hopefully soon.


 With some poor photoshopping i added the tang rivet to the butt, and made the wider and longer blade.



 The only thing i would change to Kiehinen, is more about my personal preferences, as "looks" departement i think. I would like to see it with few millimeters wider and some 10 millimeters longer blade, to make it look a bit beefier BUT i know, that would surely affect its capabilities as a nicely performing accurate whittler. Also, if i could choose, id have the tang going through the handle and with riveted, peened end, BUT again, i am not complaining, as so far the knife hasnt given me single reasonr whining, even the edge is still untouched after makinf stuff like complete bow.

 I can easily suggest this to a fellow who wants a carbon steel knife, with stylish sequre sheath and somethign that is not so common yet, as this is a completely new design from Marttiini. I think its nice looking, and yet, well performing for task that a hiker has diring his trips. The brass bolster and curlybirch, match nicely to the black cheek blade too, doesnt it ?



One day, i was lurking in some ultralight forum, and came against a weir tiny cooker that was said to work well. It was a very low-tech, low budget, so it was something i could pull out too.

 All it took was a few bicycle spokes, some wire mesh, and an use 5dl sized (?) thermos mug that i bought some 4 years ago for 5 euros including the coffee in it.



After some hour of tinkering , this small twig burner was ready, and i used it to boil 5 desiliters of coffee at the home shore. Light indeed, its a keeper as my girlfriend took it.

Talk about stoves ?



Yep, i got this self-designed and made tiny stove ready finally too. I ve done a few ammo can stoves in the past and i like em. but i wanted to be able to have my own measurements tech done in my way, not limited by ammo can measurements and lids and hinges. Its bit longer than leatherman super tool 300 and about as high, has removable bolt pegs in welded studs under it, to rise it from ground and to spread the warmth better around it.







It has a real, sliding ash tray for collecting ash and to adjust the draft, as well as seconary air inlet, with ajusting, on its door, that has a lift-lock, as well as a mesh grill above ash tray for good draft and low weight, and an flame guiding plate, preventing the flames and the heat from going straight to the chimney, that is 2 inch diameter and has veeeeery nice suction with one meter tall pipe. I easured my hiking pots and skillet, and that gave me measures that iwould need to have, anything bigger would be exess weight and bulk. This is the version one, made in a crude way, wit what ever stuff was available,then, and the next one will be made of lot lighter materials, to drop the weight in half of this one. I hate to carry those army surplus massive long/tall/bulky stoves made for 10+ men tents, as all i will need is a small stove to be used in my old cotton tent or in hiking kota shelter, and i can tie this in my tubular frame pack or drag it in pulk or sled at winter, as well as just carry it from shoulder strap if i want to, without breaking my nerves and back.

The official BC FIN knife, a nordic, lapland inspired puukko, is real at last, i designed one suggestion and it went through, and now, some 10 of them are been built, hand forged and then the first run knives are given to our members who ordered em, and i am sure, it wont be the last batch made. I am helping out the birth of knives by making the sheaths, it seems.
 I really do like the fact that these are handmade, all the way, and they have a traditional style, that matches the ideology of BCFIN where most of us are interested in out own national, Finnish wilderness skills, culture and outdoors lifestyle, mostly looking in to history, than towards future. These are made by our own member as well,and they cant be bought, just like that as they are sold only to active members, not to outsiders.


And finally, as i have to head out with my dog, ill put out a few pics from BCFIN´s first summer meetup of year 2013.  It wasnt long walk, but it sure was a meeting place, without marked trails, and even the closest woods roads were more like trails, not drawn in to maps, and without names, so members just had to navigate a bit more than usual and if its up to me, next meeting around my area will require more walking and more compass, marked trails just arent so nice tasks.

My pack, was made by sewing it from one swedish army poncho, a strong cotton fabric, and i used gasmask pouch webbing pieces to it, as well as i did a wooden frame with crude tied web, between the wood frame pieces, i hope i can get a picture of it here from someone else, as i saw some guy snapping a pic of the packs backside.





 My woodgas stove, cost 4 euros, and was built around two old wood oil cans and it worked better than i expected, the woodgas really burnt and i was easily doing pancakes, and such with it, and its long lasting embers might be good way to get some warmth under your tarp if you need....?

 This guy was enjoying the 2 nights but at last morning he took off and we had to look out for him, but he was....in my car waiting to get home. Thanks for the search party ;).

 Swans....drool.
 Buck & bowsaws were made as well as a super cool stone axe, but i lost the picture of it, i have to ask if i can use some other guys pic here to show it.
 Making fire with flint & steel, was common way to spend time.
 Beef on a ikea stove.
 Traditional "nokipannu" pot, on a twig stove made from titanium pot, was choise used by our members who travelled all the way from sweden´s lapland,  meaning this meeting was international.  He was a nice person to meet with indeed.
 Quite minimal tarp to sleep under , just as it should be.
 Sisnapussi....a traditional reindeer soft leather bag. Stylish. Beats all the fabrics 6-0 any day. I really am liking the fact that some of the guys are putting effort to have old style gear.
 This member had a nice bunker between rocks, covered with tarp, and in its corner he set up a cool twig stove kitchen. Behind it, its a Savotta Loue shelter, the only allowed factory-shaped shelter of the meeting, about the most traditional shelter used for ages and still a classic piece of kit, used by hikers and bird hunters.
 Small obstacles included. Rotten logs and wet pants.

 There was kota type of shelter too.

 Hanging out by the fires, at dead of the night.
 Stove-like thingy, made out of old oil can with bushprowler knife was the most talked item i think. Looks like a russian atomic energy plant if you ask me.

 Potatoes boiling and bass roasting. Loas of fish were catched without reels.




 Although its just a pile of sausages, it sure was nicer to open the package when it was made like back in the days, before vacum plastic wrappings.








I had this idea that i made as a rule for participants, to have atleast some guidelines taking folk back to the roots and (my) ideology. All the factory made cookers were denied. They had to made a new, self built backpack as well as safe, non ground burning twig stove, and also, they had to avoid any plastic, especially in cloting and food packages, but the meanest thing was that they could not bring an axe, nor more than one fixed blade knife and one multitool or folding knife, and all the sleeping bags and tents were prohibited, so they had to use just a tarp, poncho or loue for shelter and to settle for wool blanket as a bed. Nobody cried and whined, though and for that i am proud.




 As i like to use leuku knives, and ive heard that tehy simply cant be used for any small  accurate things, i used my TK full tang leuku with 15mc blade, to make a small usable and smooth, bone needle, without any other tool.






Next article will include a user-review of my new wood burning stove, Wild Woodgas Stove MKII. Already i am impressed by it, but i have a small tweak to do to it. In case you get all exicet about it, you can get one from finland, here.