Bushcraft Course with Mors Kochanski - Shelters, Theory and the Survivo-9000

In the last few posts, I have been blogging about a bushcraft course taught by Mors Kochanski at Tim Smith's Jack Mountain Bushcraft & Guide Service in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire that I attended a couple of weekends ago.

On Sunday we learned about clothing, shelters and the Survivo-9000®.

Mors described several different kinds of fires for different purposes, but in hindsight thinks that perhaps the only important one to focus on in the boreal forest is the parallel fire.

We used this to keep us warm during the evenings. I haven't really used these much in my camping, as often the camping fire areas are rounded and surrounded by stones set up by previous campers.

Now that I am going to be using a tarp, a parallel fire will reflect heat into the shelter area and keep me toasty and warm.

Another fire type is the wall-back fire. This is the layout that allows the fire to heat the wall behind the fire (whether it be made of stacked logs or of stone), such that the back re-emits stored energy as infrared radiation. This can be combined with a parallel fire of course.

This is important if you have limited fuel supplies or if the temperature differential (between you and the environment) is extreme.

Mors brought up the topic of fasting. I guess I have always thought of the classic dictum: "Fire, Shelter, Food, Water" (but not necessarily in that order) as being the main priorities in a survival situation, but he reminded us that we can go without food for a couple of weeks by entering a fasting condition, and so I shall update my dictum to "Fire, Shelter, Water".

Food can wait. Sleep cannot.

Tim Smith brought out his patented Survivo-9000®. It consisted of a large flashlight, some duct-tape, a cup and some other strange objects affixed to an axe. This was in jest of course, but it underscored Mors' serious message about not relying on a Survival Kit, unless you yourself have used, tested and carefully thought about the kit itself. Relying on a store-bought one is a dangerous mistake.

Another important point: It is better to be hungry than fatigued in cold weather - being fatigued will lead to mistakes, like a cut from a poorly positioned knife or axe, or tripping and hurting your ankle etc...

When reviewing a survival or even a minimal camping kit, the priority questions you need to ask yourself are how a kit item meets your sleeping, fire and water needs.

The image above is a moose hide soaking. I think this facilitates the removal of the hair, in preparation for tanning.

I haven't brought up any details about the clothing, and shelters that we learned about - but I will follow up in more details in the coming days. In the meantime, hope you've enjoyed the next round of pictures from the trip...



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