Early Spring Walkabout Riverbend MN. 3-2023, Small Pack loadout and a Critter visits

I thought that spring had finally arrived. Yep another false start to spring. But it gave me the chance to get out and about.

The joy. Come join me…

Remember any chance to get out is always a learning experience. Knowledge and experience is a survival skill

The Novice Survivalist

Artisan Cutlery – Sea Snake Fixed Blade EDC Knife, Very nice for a Neck or Pocket Carry.

Something I have never considered before. Neck Cary knife. Having looked and tried this guy out. I may just do it when out in the woods on a walkabout.

Check it out


Knowledge is a survival skill

CIVIVI Mini Praxis folding pocket knife – Very impressed with this knife.

Being a traditional knife guy, I have never really looked at the more modern options. Lately I have. It has been an Eye opener for me.

I am suitably impressed. This one especially. It is now my Work EDC. And it has already proved itself.

Check it out


Rough Ryder Code Red Black Bear Fixed Blade Knife – very cool idea

Found this while looking for more modern series of folders from Rough Ryder…..WOW. it cost less than most folding knives out there. Look good, well made and hey the price …perfect.

Not all bargains are cheap

The Novice Survivalist

Rough Ryder APTA Modern Slip Joint Red Aluminum RR2282 – Their Best knife yet…By far

I am a knife fiend…anything sharp and shiny gets my attention. I spend hours looking at them on the puter. Often…actually more than not. I see a knife that demands my attention. That is untill I see the asking price. I sigh loudly and reluctantly move on. I am on a budget. I just cannot afford these prices of some of these folders. They range from about $60 up to about $360. Just out of sight for me.

I am a budget knife owner. My favorite maker by a long mile being Rough Ryder. Very competitive in my price range. Yep about $30 is my limit. Typically they are below $20.

I get frustrated and down cast with this budget. There are so many knives I moved past that I would love to own.


This knife by far is the best made and a looker I now own. Rough Ryder came out with a series they call the modern range of the traditional knives. AWESOME. This guy is in my budget, unbelievably under the $30.00 limit I have. I would take it over many knives double the price out there.

Yep happy camper right now. And Rough Ryder has boosted my budget moral.

Remember patient and persistance pays off.

The Novice Survivalist

Rough Ryder Moose, Green G-10 Handles RR2085, It takes after it’s name for sure.

This knife is a beast. The blade combination is perfect, the G-10 scales are awesome and the size makes this knife a great working class pocket knife. Work, hunting, camping or just outdoors this will be a great pocket pal to take along.

The Novice Survivalist

Triple F Day – Fondling my Favorite Folders, Its a “knife thing”

A look at my favorite edc knives for work. Sodbusters and work folders….the joy of owning knives


Bear & Son, Large Farmhand Lockback Folding Knife. USA Made

This is probably the best well made knife I own. Very impressive

Remember knowledge is a survival skill

Novice Survivalist

Retrospec Drifter 25-30 inch Snowshoes – Perfect for the novice snow trudger.

One thing I love about a 4 season state is you get to enjoy all types of weather in the outdoors. One thing I love is a trudge for a cuppa coffee after a good snow fall.

It’s quiet, typically nobody else seen. And beautiful to trudge thru. Except the trudge can get difficult if you are like me who wanders of the beaten path.

The snow hides all. Including holes, Fallen branches rocks etc. Which can be a problem.

What to do. Well I know snow people and one of them introduced me to snow shoes. Something I had not really considered untill I tried them. The joy. So went shopping here’s what I found

Remember others can teach you a survival skill. Stay safe out there


Hutsuls Wood Whittling Kit for Beginners – All you need to start

As you probably noticed I am on a learning to whittle better frenzy. I love to carve and whittle wood. But never really looked into it seriously. So thought I would take more serious approach to a way I like to just sit with a cuppa Joe, and relax and pass the time away.

One of my ways of stress relief. A great way to relax and even sometimes be productive.

Got this starter kit to tryout and here’s what I came up with first time out

Remember knowledge is a survival skill. Even if it just means giving your mind and body a little down time to resettle yourself


DIY Ferro Rod Handle – Nice and simple.

While visiting family in California I went  a wondering on the farm. While out trudging the side of a rocky hill I came across a small piece of wood. Twisted and bent I caught my eye. Put it in my pocket and trudged on.

Apon returning to home I found it still in my pocket so pulled it out and thought it would make a great wooden handle for something. Well here you go.

Diy wooden handle for your favorite ferro rod fire starter.

Simple to do with any small piece if wood and a little imagination.


A Perfect Khukuri: My Jungle Sweet, 6 Inch Blade from Khukuri House, KHHI Nepal

Every once in a while I come across a knife that I have ….not just have but HAVE to have. But you know you have to justify it. You know have a good reason for the extra expense.

I wanted an original one. So had to get one hand made…..that was at least “kinda” close to my meager budget I have. It had to be a knife I can use…alot to justify it. What am I talking about…

Well the KUKRI OR KHUKUKRI KNIFE the one that is from Napal made famous buy the Gurku Soldiers during the first and 2nd great wars.

The problem was I could not find one I wanted. It was generally and traditionally a large knife, the blades running in the 10 to 15 inch range. Just to big for what I want it for. But hey nothing like persistence to get your way. Yep found one that meet my size wants.

So I broke the budget and ordered one direct from Napal. Made in the tradition way.

So check it out I put it through some paces and am convinced this will be My ” Go to camp knife”. CLICK ON THE VIDEO LINK BELOW.

Remember knowledge and persistence is a survival skill


Camp and Fish at the Double J

A while ago I came across an app that offered private cam sites. I used it once and thought it a bit hokey. Well 4 years later I went back and found this place

What joy. Cosy ,private and spent 3 days there. Camped and fished…alot. joy

Check it out. Good time was had.

“Marbles Black Stag Bone Safety Folder – Its an Odd one, The Joy!”

Well Campers here you go. A truly Old School odd one for sure. A tradional Hunting knife that folds….yep it folds.

Check out my review of this odd guy.

Remember knowledge is a Survival Skill, even odd stuff can help


Marbles DIY Fishing Possibles Pouch – OLD SCHOOL EDC !

As you know I am “old School”. Well….Ok I am old. But my point is I like Old School things. They bring back alot of good memories growing up.

I was lost on the internet and came across these little gems. Way old school. Simple, things from way back. So I had had some fun with them.

Made me a basic “Old School EDC” to put in my flyfishing kit. Handy to have and fun to play with and use.

All from Marbles…yep A very old knife maker. Lots of shinny things….lol.

Check out the video below.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill. Even old school ways can help

The Novice Survivalist

Watch “Old Barn Resort, MN. Quick Overnight and Fish” on YouTube

Well you know what they say…Aquicky is better than nothing….joy.

So I did a quick and great overnighter it was. Got to visit an old favorite and caught some nice fish to boot. Cannot beat that.

Check it out

The Novice Survivalist

“Imperial Schrade IMP22Y Folding Pocket Knife – Simple Beauty at its Best”

Sometimes the simple things in life are the best. I came across this guy and yep simple, plain and Nutting fancy. It will be in my pocket alot.

Check it out. A simple piece of joy.

Remember knowledge is a survival skill, even the simple things.


Gerber Wingtip Pocket knife

I found this online and thought that Gerber had finally made a folder I like the look of. So…Here I have it.

Unfortunately I had some issues…Kinda disappointed with Gerber about this.

Simple QA should have taken care of this but Gerber missed these VERY obvious flaws. A first for me with Gerber.

However I was able to fix myself. But still left a little icky feeling about Gerbers Quality control.

Click on the video below to see the whole story

Thanks for stopping by.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill.

as always

Novice Survivalist

Rough Ryder Seahorse – Whittler Black Micarta RR2217 Folding Knife

Well I have looked at a lot of folding knives lately including Rough Ryder Knives. Rough Ryder has a huge collection and I have been looking at a lot of Them. I “like” them all. Well made, sharp and pretty. What can I say.

However I finally found the one. Yep don’t like this one I fell in love with it. Finally a folding knife that does not have a clip point on a multiple bladed folding knife. I am not a fan of Clip point blades. AND JOY, this does not have one. Instead a “Wharncliffe blade”. Heard of them but never done any touchy feely on one.

Unusual looking blade but very versatile for the heavier duty jobs for a small folder.

Check out my review on Youtube

Rough Ryder Seahorse – Whittler Black Micarta RR2217

Thanks for stopping by and as always remember

Knowledge is a survival skill. And knowing your blades and uses is a handy one to know


Kershaw Select fire (#1920) – Probably one of the better “multi Knife/tool” options out there.

These Kershaw Knives were reccomended to me by a colleague at work. So took a look see. Was not dissapointed. This Kershaw select Fire was a little different. Not a multi-tool. Rather a folding knife first, with some extras. Check it out in my review below

Guide Gear 10×10 Teepee – Very nice and easy setup.

I needed to upgrade my car camping house. So looking around I thought this would be great for me. Turns out it just maybe perfect for me.

I have plans for this summer and that includes alot of fishing out of town. So planing on camping. This is bigger and more space to store my goodies inside while out and about

Check it out.


Gerber Freeman Guide Folding Knife – Kinda undecided on this one

I originally bought the Gerber Feeman fixed blade and really liked the knife. Especially the handle. With my “Stubby grubbies, all palm and short fingers” it was a handle that worked for me. I saw this folder which is the folding version so bought it. Unfortunately, the handle is slightly different and does not fit my paw well. But it’s a solid knife although it needed some work. The blade neede to be sharpened some, and the spine neede to be cleaned up to strike a ferro rod.

This is the first Gerber item I was a little dissapointed in. I can probably change the handle a bit by replacing the scales, just not sure that will fix the issue fitting my hand. But the sharpness is a first for me with Gerber.

But you decide. It could be the right fit for you. After all we all are different sizes and have differing preferences.

Remember knowledge is a survival skill. I have yet to find the perfect cutter, Folding one fixed blade, but have a couple that have come close. The search continues…..,


Click the link below to see my review.

“Gerber Gear – VERSAFIX Pro, Machete Hybrid knife. Different for sure”

Looking for sharp and shiny things again. This time, I look for bigger and heavier ones. Well, I’m taking little steps here. Came across this from Gerber Gear. Interesting and certainly a little different.

So got one and took a close look at it. Gerber has some out of the box ideas. Does it work. Check out my review and outdoor dirt time with it.

Remeber Knowledge is a survival skill


Watch “Rough Rider (Ryder) Blackwood Work Knife – RR1708, A Pen or Pocket Knife?”

This sharp and shiny brought back alot of boyhood memories. You know, having my first “pen knife”

This guy is a good one from Rough Rider Knives.

Another Sentimental buy

As you know I am a sharp and shiny addict. I cannot pass up a chance of touchy Feely when it comes to a good looking knife. Well actually any knife that catches my fancy….so there I was…
And I saw a knife named KUDU. Nuff said. A name from my youth….here you go…
The KUDU LITE from Cold Steel. A knife with a very strong Southern African heritage


As always thankyou for the support

Novice Survivalist

Remember knowledge is a survival skill

Something to do…

I was going through my “stuff” today. It’s change of seasons time. So that means checking my packs and goodies I take outdoors with me.

Winter is here and in Minnesota that’s the long word for cold. So I update my packs every season to make sure I am set for the season.

While doing this I was rummaging around I my stash of fire starters and noticed I had a Small ferro rod in there. Thought nothing of it and continued on.

Later on I was outside doing other winter chores…picking up dead fall from the trees in the South 40. I picked up a small piece and was about to add it the the continually growing pile when I had a vision of that small ferro rod. So ……

I took the wood and made me a handle for the ferro rod. Why…well because I could and it was a quick little project that turned handy when I figured out the rod will go into my OLD BEAR folding knife sheath along with the knife…..nice!!!!

So here’s the visual story


Check it out. A good reason to whittle away the time

Stay safe as always


Updates to Website

I am currently updating and adding information to my Website.

You will now see a link on the main menu to a page called the 10 C,s list. this is a page linking all my videos (Dirt time) I have done on the 10 C’s. Stop by and check it out.

I am trying to make the site a little more organized. Any comments or ideas gratefully accepted

Hopefully more to come…

Stay safe out there.

The Novice Survivalist

Watch “A Trudge and Tacos – Winter walkabout” on YouTube

Hey campers winter is finally starting to head out. So went Walkabout and had a quick bush meal….yep Tacos…..

Check it out.

Remember knowledge is a Survival Skill.

Even making Tacos helps, just saying


Its a personal thing ! – What do you take outdoors

I have been watching many videos and articles written by a wide range of people. Some experts some not. Personally, I think most miss the point of the Advice they are giving. They seem to have forgotten that most of us, if not all of us , even the ones of us that do not go outdoors and enjoy the experience, Are ALL different. Each of us is unique in ourselves. We may have the overall common joy of the outdoors. Whether camping, hiking fishing, hunting etc. We wander aimlessly about just enjoying the outdoors. Bird watches will watch birds, Campers will camp, Hikers will hike. That’s why they are outdoors. Its what THEY enjoy about the outdoors. They each have their own reason for being outdoors. They maybe a hiker, along with many others who like to hike. However, HOW THEY choose to hike or enjoy THEIR PERSONAL passion in the outdoors will differ from others within that particular outdoor activity.

The saying “Each to their own” comes to mind. I can almost guarantee, if you gathered 100 outdoor solo campers who enjoy the same solitude of the outdoors alone. Asked them to join you in the outdoors and show you whats in their packs, not one will be the same. Every single one will have something none of the others have. What is it, who knows !.

THEY chose to bring it with them for THEIR OWN personal reason. It could be a simple comfort item, a specific cooking utensil or a favorite candy, what ever they brought along it is a PERSONAL Choice.

And that’s my point. When giving advice, they (experts or who ever is giving the advice, including me!) should be considering this one VERY IMPORTANT factor. We are all unique.

Yes I know, People doing reviews of items will recommend it as the go to item for what ever task it performs. Some do it for the money, (a percentage of they sales they generate ), or because they feel its PERSONALLY the best thing since sliced bread they have, and just want to share that with you. No problem I understand. Some will say its a MUST HAVE, no I don’t think so. Sure, it may be perfect for someone. But there are typically 10 others that perform the same task, that may be better suited for others.

Here I am getting myself into a tight spot. So I will say this. Its a necessary evil. Most of us will suddenly find that we need a specific item for us to perform a specific task that we want to do. That’s when you go looking, the reviews are a great way to fine that some thing. If we are lucky we fine the perfect item for us. Sometimes not. But WE make the CHOICE.

I wish that the experts, And there are many out there, Would be less specific in what WE need, and be a little more general.

Let me give an example.

For most serious campers and outdoor types we have all heard of the “10 C’s list” by Dave Canterbury. Personally I think this comes pretty close to being the perfect “advice list” for the outdoors. Here’s why.

Its a list period!, A list of what you should have with you, in order to be able to survive in the outdoors for 72 hours. It is very general in its way. Nothing is specific as far as the perfect item on the list. The list consists of (in order of importance) the TASKS you need to perform in order to survive in the outdoors for a certain period of time should you find yourself in an unplanned happenstance. For example, Having a cutter is on the list, If not the first item. Along with the advice of having a cutter, the list explains the tasks it will need to perform for you in order to survive. That’s it.

It does not say you need this particular cutter. It basically says, YOU need a CUTTER to PREFORM certain TASKS for YOU. And then lists the tasks you need to perform. The beauty of this list is it leaves YOU to decide what cutter you need to perform the tasks. It assumes you know your strengths and weaknesses in performing the task. And knowing that, YOU will get the cutter you feel is best suited for you to perform those tasks.

And that folks, is what makes this this one of the best GENERAL ADVICE LISTS out there.

I feel pretty strongly about this. To the point of not reading or watching a video that says this specific item is the best choice for me. I do still watch and read advice on lists. For example a column that lists 10 Knives you can use in the outdoors in a survival situation. NOT the 10 BEST knives, just a list of 10 knives that will perform the tasks.

ITS PERSONAL for me, I know my strengths and weaknesses in the needed tasks, and what I will need in a knife, to be able to perform those tasks. That to me is far better advice, rather than this is the best knife for you.

OK! just MY PERSONAL feeling on the subject. You may or may not agree, But that’s you your PERSONAL choice.

So with that in mind, Here my latest look at MY PERSONAL choice of camping backpack. And whats in it. Interested to see “whats in the bag”. And why, Check it out, Its just got all the things I feel “I NEED” when camping. Hopefully it will give you some food for thought.

My PERSONAL choice for a Camping back pack and what goes into it. Whats in yours

Be safe out there.

Remember Knowledge is a survival Skill, how YOU CHOOSE TO USE IT it is your PERSONAL choice

The Novice Survivalist

Learning about Axes and things

Over the last month or so I have been looking into axes. Mainly the Cold steel Trail Boss and the CRKT Woods Chogan T Hawk. The main reason was I owned both. The Woods Chogan for About 5 years and the Trail Boss I recently purchased. In the past I have had issues processing wood at state and federal camp sites . Using my camp knife is fine for the less than 4 inch diameter wood, unfortunately the camp sites typically offer bigger than that and it becomes a chore processing it with the knife.

Trail boss from COLD STEEL

When I purchased the T-hawk, It came “Kind of sharp” and the results were not good . I lost interest in it. Until looking into axes again and doing some research. I discovered the that most manufactures don’t really put a good edge on the axe. So with more reading etc. I figured out how to sharpen my T Hawk. The results were 10 fold better. So I looked at a slightly bigger axe and decided on the Trail Boss from COLD STEEL.

There are many sides to a good camp axe or tomahawk I soon foyund out. So I researched more thaen did some Dirt time on them.

What a joy it is to process wood again.

Click ion the videos below to see the dirt time and information I have since learnt, Axes the joy of having one to camp with.

https://youtu.be/6TbpWvbPkLA link to Trail Boss

So there you are . A little knowledge can lead to wonderous things.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill. Axe use is a survival skill all campers should have.

The Novice survivalist

CRTK Woods Chogan T-Hawk.

I have owned this T hawk for almost 4 years. Initially bought it for camping in California. The first time I used it was disappointing. But now having done some research in the past week or 2 I finally sharpened it.

What a difference. Most manufactures do a basic grind and sharpen. The rest is up to you. So excited I was and went outback to the chopping block and put it to the test. Joy!!!. I was a completely different experience. Now I understand the popularity of these T hawks.

Compact, reasonably light and can all they say it can. Check out my dirt time out back in the south 40 at the cottage.

(Click the link below Image)


Axes, Are they necessary for the Novice Outdoor person….The Knowledge search continues

Well here we go again, Lately I have been selecting certain words or names I see in the survival,Bushcraft outdoors world. Just random words and doing a search in Google and Bing, Youtube, pinterest to name a few places. It has been fascinating to see the myriad of information out there. To be honest I learn alot this way. Although at times it’s frustrating sorting out the information thrown at me. Often contrary, often very negative but always informative. I have a process, I find the written word information first then often go to youtube for the visual information. Both have a lot of differing views and ideas. I think I have discovered the secret to all this information. There is no way you can honestly know the good from bad.

Personally I will try to read all and glem from that who the experts are. By going with how often they are referred to. This for me has been fairly successful in the past. I am sticking with it until it fails me ……

Most, if not all the experts referred to, will have some sort of Blog, website or Youtube channel. Perfect for my personal type of learning. From this I then put into play a very basic plan on how to use the information. Of course my end game is to actually put this knowledge into practice. Sometimes making a video to share with my subscribers on my Youtube channel, and as I am doing now with you on my blog/website. Unfortunately not as often as I should.

So forthwith here is my knowledge I have gained ( Remember I am a Novice as it comes to Axes. Having never used one, although I do own a “Tomahawk” and have used it very sparingly.) on the word AXE.

When you first search 99% of the time the results will be shopping related, rather than general information. Below is a clip of the first result posted……NOTE THE ABOUT xxxxx RESULTS . In this case over 400 million…the horror.

Annotation 2019-12-29 163552
This shows the first results shown on a google search AXE

Fortunately the first Axe shown says ( Gransfors Bruks) Outdoor Axe, Hmmm. A good start. The reason soon became apparent. It is probably the most well known outdoor ,woodsman, Bushcraft Axe out there. They are mentioned in the majority of written and visual results. Although in the past I have been sorely tempted to the search the name, I persisted and stayed with the Axes results. I wanted more general, Novice type information. Not the most popular Axe out there. I need the basics.

What is an Axe (Outdoor hand Axe)?

What are the parts of an axe? ( the anatomy of an Axe)?

What types of Outdoor axes are there?

Uses for the outdoors person Axe?

The best type of Axe for me ( Type, Style, weight, Cost)

If I am convinced  ( Should not take much) I will then start searching for the best Axe for me. We will see!


This search produced some interesting results, After filtering through the selling portions, The only description I got was.

The axe is an ancient and ubiquitous tool that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood, harvest timber, as a weapon and a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialized uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.

Axe – McGill CS

cs.www.mcgill.ca › ~rwest › wikispeedia › wpcd “
This was the only general description I got . Basically what is used for !
The Parts of an Axe Head
  • The Axe Bit: The cutting portion of the ax head; also known as the blade or the edge. …
  • The Axe Toe: The upper corner of the bit is known as the Toe. …
  • The Axe Heel: The bottom corner of bit is called the Heel. …
  • The Axe Beard: …
  • The Axe Cheek: …
  • The Axe Butt or Poll:

A great picture from Pinterest (AXES)
There seem to be many names for the different parts but in general this picture gives the best descriptions.


This search gave differing answers from “there are 4 types to up to 16  types.”

These are the common types mostly mentioned in the results

  1. Felling axe  (Also known as the Camp Axe)
  2. Hatchets (Small “hand Axe”)
  3. Tomahawks (Often referred to as Trade axes)
  4. Splitting Axes
  5. Double Bit Axe (2 sided head)
  6. Tactical Axe (Battle Axe)
  7. Carpenters Axe

There are alot of options offered. However for me I am looking for an all round Bush/ Camp axe. From the descriptions given I believe this Axe to be a Felling Axe. The uses given in a description I found was,

“The felling axe is also often referred to as a camp axe and it is most commonly used to chop down trees and branches.This type of axe has two distinguishing features:

  1. The blade is flat, thin and sharp.
  2. The head weighs about two pounds, while the handle is about two feet long.”

This came from the website CLUTCH AXES

Sounds about right. Size and the weight would be about what I would expect.


( Gransfors Bruks)

Forest Axes are made to be used in the forest for everything from felling large trees to limbing small logs.The distinguishing feature of Forest Axes is a long, rounded edge, with a flat elongated axe head.Forest Axes are specially designed to cut across the grain of the wood fibres, for example when felling and limbing, in contrast to log splitting, where the axe goes along the grain of the wood fibres.


Probably the most popular “Camp Axe” used in the USA certainly, Is the GRÄNSFORS OUTDOOR AXE. Searching on Amazon the price ranges from about $175 to $200. Unfortunately That puts it way out of my Budget. 


Certainly for me I would personally like to won the Gransfors Outdoor Axe. Unfortunately as explained above I just cannot afford it. If this is within your budget it would be my advise to get it. All the research indicates its the best camp axe out there.

So for me this meant shopping for the closest, best Axe I an find within my budget based on my research results about Axes. Before I continue though, There is something you should do before purchasing an Axe.

RESEARCH on the How to,

Correct use of an Axe, Maintaining the Axe, and MOST IMPORTANT SAFETYKeep in mind that any tool you use that is designed to cut is a safety hazard. You MUST be aware of the dangers involved in the use of the tool. With Axes this becomes doubly dangerous when considering the types of accidents you could have. It is not a hand knife that is designed to cut. Although considered a “Hand Tool” it is a LARGE hand tool. It not only has the danger of cutting you. ( Most good , well designed Axes will allow for an extremely sharp cutting edge, Some as good as any knife. Just bigger !!) There is the weight behind it to make matters worse. Remember you are “swinging” an Axe. The weight and force behind it is extremely dangerous to those who do not Take care in understanding safety practices when wielding an Axe. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Be prepared and understand the dangers involved with improper use.

Oh, This goes for any cutting tool you own.

OK! we continue. Where was I , Yes my search for the Axe that I can afford and do the best possible job of the tasks I want it to perform. As usual I landed on Amazon. During my research on Axes I made notes regarding the most mentioned Axes for Camping. From that list I searched looking for the right one, The big issue being cost. To be honest If I could not find a Axe with in the budget I gave myself, I would not have purchased one. It’s that simple for me. It’s a Money thing, My budget is just that, a budget because of my income limitations.

Fortunately I believe I have found the Axe thats suits me, Will perform the tasks I need and its within my budget. Before I purchased it, I did some digging on reviews. Surprisingly they were very promising. We will see.

My Axe!

What started all this research and learning was I wanted to know if a camp Axe can make fire in the woods . That is start to finnish. When I go on my camping excursions I make a point of practicing survival Skills and basic Bushcraft I have learned. As they say “Practice makes perfect”. And having the tools is no use in a survival situation, if you cannot use them. I have always used my KNIVES OF ALASKA CAMP KNIFE to make fire. Yes I have the trusty Bic Lighter with me, but I need to practice the skill of using just a knife and Ferro rod to make fire. A basic survival skill everyone who wanders aimlessly in the woods should be comfortable with. And that brought me to Axes as a survival tool. Can I use it to start a fire, as well as gather wood to burn, make a shelter etc. We will see.

The Axe I purchased is the Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe, 27 Inch. The reviews were all positive and most commented the best Axe for the Price Range. Works for me. Well hopefully. Here is the specifications on the Trail Boss from cold steel.

  • Hawk Length: 6 1/2 – Inch
  • Handle: American Hickory
  • Overall Length: 26 – Inch
  • Steel: Drop Forged 1055 Carbon
  • Primary Edge: 4 1/2 – Inch
  • Weight: 2.70 lbs.
  • Drop Forged 1055 Carbon Steel

The cost $37.28 and free shipping from Cold Steel on Amazon. my Budget was $40.00. Thankful for the free shipping.

Here are some pictures out the box.


I will be researching more on it. Such as how to sharpen, maintain and recommended upgrades etc. Then its off to the woods for some dirt time. Making fire! Start to finnish using the Trail boss and a Ferro rod.

Stay tuned.

Remember, Knowledge is a survival skill. Research and Dirt time is part of that knowledge.

Have a Safe and Wondrous 2020.

The Novice survivalist




KNIVES. Just what is the right choice for Me?

Over the last few months I have been considering purchasing a knife. Not just any knife, I am determined to get the perfect one. Or as close as perfect it can be. Sounded like a simple task. I want a solid “all rounder camp knife”. I am no “bushcrafter” by any means.

I admit I do like to sit at the fireside in camp and whittle a stick or two. Even dabble with walking sticks.

Click to see the video



I just started on another trudge companion that I came across while on a walkabout. A really nice piece of wood that as soon as I saw it I knew would make a great hiking pole. I started cleaning it up using my trusty Browning belt knife. (The first real belt knife I got to take camping with me.) I love the handle on this knife and have found that it really saves my hand when whittling away.

My Browning drop point blade. Great handle and small enough for whittling and sturdy enough for heavier camp work, more so than a regular bush Craft Knife

Unfortunately I noticed it was a little dull. So I sharpened it. Well not quite. I totally botched that and made a mess of the blade. I was horrified. I have over the years skimmed through a lot of articles and videos etc. On how to sharpen a knife. My fault for not paying attention. Skimming is no way to learn or so I found out the hard way.


I started my research in earnest. No more skimming, I know better now. Well the horror.

I started my search the easy way. If in doubt GOOGLE IT. I then realized I need to search for what I want. So I typed in “Camp knives”……..WRONG, Then Bush knife……WRONG. Hmmm I soon realised I have a small dilemma here. Do I know what constitutes a good knife, One that I really want. To cut to the chase I eventually ended up typing “WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CAMP KNIFE AND A BUSHCRAFT KNIFE” And that’s when things got VERY interesting.

The amount of information that came at me was almost overwhelming. I spent time reading what people, including some well known names in the real knife circles, consider a bushcraft knife and a Camp knife.. I could not find 5 people as a group who agreed as what constitutes a good Camp vs Bushcraft knife, besides the fact the bush craft knife is typically smaller than a Camp knife. Ha!. Even I knew that. (From my previous skimming.)

The best advice I found, came from a website I came across in my apparently very general search question.

I quote “ The perfect knife for any person considering a knife purchase, will be determined by many factors, the biggest (factor) being what tasks you personally want the knife to do for you.”

And that is soooooo true. There is no perfect Bushcraft Knife, no Camp Knife or even Survival Knife. The closest anybody will come, is the one that performs all the tasks you need it to do.

Gut Hook Knife, typically used by hunters and fisherman


My Knives of Alaska Bush camp knife. The best knife I own for any camping situation

Camp Knife, A generally larger, heavy knife and sturdy blade. Used for more robust tasks around the camp. ( This is my current camp knife , Knives of Alaska Bush Camp knife)

As most of you who have followed my sometimes wondering scribbling, know I am a list guy. So as not to disappoint, I made a list of what I need the knife for. Then expanded to find out more regarding knives in general and blades more specific.

Annotation 2019-09-06 2
Modern Tanto Blade

I found out there are different blades, made up of the grinds used to get the right edge for the right task.

GCS Custom Tanto Blade Knife

Then there is material used in the making of the blade, whether D2 steel, stainless etc. etc.. And joy how to maintain your knife, including…YES. Sharpening a blade. And don’t forget the handle, The Sheath and so it goes.


Below is my list of wants and what I thought was relevant research information I found for the list.

  1. A Knife that will do both Camp and bush craft tasks.
  2. Must be full tang.
  3. Blade steel to suit both Camp and Bush craft needs
  4. Blade grind to suit all tasks
  5. Relatively easy to maintain
  6. Size will be a factor for Bush Craft tasks
  7. Handle type and grip
  8. Cost within my budget

There is the basics of my personal wants for a knife. The wants are not in any particular order, although there is a priority of wants for me. Mostly cost. I have a limited budget. The easy solution would be to go to a reputable knife maker and have them design the perfect knife for me. Unfortunately my research showed the cost for a custom knife would be very prohibitive. So it’s the hard way. I looked into each want and determined the best want for each item in the list. Then I searched for the closest match I could find.

So let’s see what happened and the things I learnt about knives in general.

8. Cost within my budget.


Although I constantly work on a budget , This was particularly hard to ascertain. My thoughts on this were that this was the knife of knives for me. It will be hardy and hopefully give me a lifetime of use. Does this justify the expense. Just how much is this worth to me and do I exceed my typical budget.

A tough question and that brought about just how much am I willing to sacrifice in my budget for this. The important factor in my budget and making a purchase, Is I have to have the cash. I do not use credit for this type of purchase. What that means is finding the knife , The cost of the said knife and then saving from my budgeted money until I can purchase the knife with cash.

The obvious answer is, I need to know the pricing for what I want. That means looking into the other wants first!. This is new for me. Typically I have a pretty good Idea of the cost of something I intend to purchase. This was different. The range of pricing on knives is huge. From about $15 to the very high $300.00 and above. Way out of my budget. So it’s off to the races to see what the rest of the list research decides.

1. A Knife that will do both Camp and bush craft tasks.

This was one of the more simple wants to figure out. Simply typing in “What is a camp knife” into both Google and Bing and looking through the results. Well kind of. There were many responses, as expected for all my searches, but I could not really be more specific than that. As the other wants will do that for me.

A camp Knife.

This was the most common answer I came across.

“A camp knife is simply an all-purpose knife that’s built bigger and heavier than a standard hunting knife. A proper camp knife should have a blade no shorter than 8 inches and no longer than 10 is just about ideal. ” For me It should have weight, and “heft” to perform camp duties. These include, chopping, food preparation and fire making duties. It must be sturdy enough to take some serious abuse when prepping for camp. Therein is the conundrum with regard to bush craft duties.

A Bushcraft knife

A typical description.

“A knife suitable for bushcraft must be sturdy, well made. Be designed with an emphasis on wood carving (both in handle and blade configuration). Ideally, the knife will also be of full tang construction. Scandinavian style knives with a single edge bevel and large, comfortable handles have become the standard. The single edge bevel, or Scandi-grind, is ideally suited for carving and performs beautifully for any other cutting job as well. In addition, this edge is incredibly easy to sharpen both at home and in the field. With no secondary bevel, the entire blade edge is laid flat on the stone to restore a shaving edge.”

Bushcraft knife also called a wilderness knife, is a popular style knife because it can repeatedly perform multiple tasks like dressing game, cutting tree limbs, rope, and fishing line or even some carving. Knife blades should be 3 ½ to 6 inches in length, longer blades are not recommended.

As you can see there is a huge difference between them. Namely Blade length. The handle for me is a given. I if it does not feel right in my stubby hand then it is of no use to me. I simply will not use it. A comfortable handle is one of my “No compromise options”

It seems a bush craft knife offers the most options here. Because I have a True “camp knife”  already (Bush Camp from Knives of Alaska). I think a that’s the way to go. Trying to find a perfect combination is virtually impossible.

Keeping in mind the blade requirement’s for a bush craft knife as being shorter, Scandi grind etc. I started looking. Although I had not abandoned my list, its importance had diminished.

After a few weeks of Random searches looking at ALOT of Bush craft knifes . I found one that I liked.


BushLore Survival knife and sheath

Why this knife? Well looking at the list lets see how close it comes.

8. Price range (Amazon)  $50.00 to $60.00. Close to my budget

1. Can do camp duties and Bush craft duties. (Sturdy enough for most camp duties)

2. Full tang, That it is

3. Blade length is a little long for bush craft and just short of a typical Camp knife

4. Scandi Grind, well suited for bush craft but a little delicate for heavy camp duties


5. Maintenance is fairly straight forward. Oiling and the Scandi grind is one of the easiest grids to maintain. ( He says…..)

6. Size. A little big for bush craft and a touch small for camp duties

7. Handle and grip, surprisingly comfortable in my stubby hands, grip is plain and solid.20191121_195627

So There you go. All things considered it met a lot of my criteria, Not perfect but close enough. For me it will be a tool for personal amusement, Used to pass the time on a camp, whittling and basic carving is my main intention for this cutter. Certainly in a pinch, a camp knife and survival tool. Which is the description it is given by the manufacturer.

For those who want to know more here is my review on my YouTube channel.

click to watch the review on YouTube

Is it my perfect knife, only time will tell.  probably not, I tend to change my priorities as I go. But for the near future is looks just the ticket for my needs.

Although a frustrating task to undertake, it proved to be informative for me as far as improving my knowledge of Knives in general. Learning about Blade types and uses was very informative. Now I find when looking at knives I have a better understanding of what I see and why the specific style of blade is chosen for the particular knife.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill. Knowing the type of knife needed for a particular task is a survival skill

Stay safe this winter

The Novice Survivalist




Planning your Outdoor Experience Part III- A FUN SAFE EXPERIENCE

The last in this short series, lets talk about actually enjoying a safe and fun experience. In the last 2 parts we discussed the actual planning and how to prepare for a great experience outdoors.

Whether family, group or solo camping I wanted to stress the need to plan. I love the outdoors and take every opportunity to do so. Mostly solo with a couple family and friend’s camp trips thrown in. There is nothing better than a well prepared jaunt into the great outdoors. Planning is part of that experience. Its a good practice and being prepared is always a good thing.

A basic emergency kit, part of being prepared

No matter what it is you are planning. People who enjoy the outdoors on a regular basis are very well aware of the pit falls of trudging around the wilderness without out a plan. We have all been there , Some of us learnt, some of us not so much!

Before we get into some outdoor activities, When out enjoying the open spaces, I need to stress a point. If you are familiar with my often irregular scheduled blog, I am a very big advocate of safety and survival in the outdoors. No, I am not a doomsday perp. I am just a wanderer in the woods, often alone and need to be secure in myself, So that if I was to get into a situation that calls for personal survival, I am prepared as possible to get back home to family and friends safely. In order to do this I plan ahead, that plan includes the preparing for a UNPLANNED SITUATION!

I know right about now group and family style campers are wondering about this. How does this apply to your way of camping. Not every unplanned happenstance is a survival situation.


Often a simple very basic first aid kit is all that is called for. Surprisingly many campers do not have one. For the solo or more basic bushcraft types a little more is needed if not a requirement. Just about Any solo camper has some sort of what I call a things bag. Often called a Possible’s pouch, why , truth be told, I have no idea. I always called it a things bag. A bag that has the things I may need in a unplanned situation. Basically a small compact emergency bag. Designed to help me thru about 72 hours. Typically enough time for search and rescue or for me to self rescue.

For group campers you should at least have a communal bag with necessaries, First aid, food, clothes, fire makes and cover. Its always a good Idea that each person has a small bag of goodies. Warm clothes, light, knife, fire starter, small tarp etc. That way each person can help themselves if separated from the group. Also as a group everyone has the basics. Obviously there is more to than what I have just described. My intention is to get you to a least think about this. Many campers do not.

As a avid outdoor person, I spend as much time out as I can. I even take my Girls along and we camp at least once a year together. Not your regular Family camping but keeping to basic. I always take time to share a survival skill or practice some very basic bush craft with them. Its always a fun time and we have some laughs together. basic-fire-picSomething to consider when group camping, is as a group try some basic bush craft skills. Its a fun group time. Just be sure to be safe when handling knives and saws etc.

Of course if you planned well, there will be lots to do, hikes, or local interest trips you can do.

So there you go. Take time to plan your trip. These are obviously just some things to consider. Make list. Yes I know, I’m a list guy. Try it they help your planing.

Remember knowledge is a survival Skill.

Planing right is one of them.

The Novice Survivalist

Planning your outdoor experience, Part II. Camp essentials.

Now we established where and how were are going to adventure in the outdoors, we need to start planning what we will need as far as camp, kitchen and transport of the essentials. Once again I go to a list. Yep as you know I am a list guy. Love lists, have all sorts of lists, some updated some waiting to be updated and well truth be told, some that should have been thrown out years ago. But I we need to plan and as far as I know a list is a good starting point.

So here we go…

PART II. Camp, kitchen and Carry essentials.

1 The camp.

“The camp” includes all you need to camp besides the Kitchen and then how you plan to transport ( Carry) your camp and Kitchen.

Besides these, that leaves:

1 sleeping areas, shared or single.

Sleeping areas normally will be tents, tarps and hammocks, where sleeping pads, blowup mattresses or cots are set up as sleeping areas. 20180622_112915They can be single or multiple covers.


They will typically be used as sleeping and changing/ personal storage area for clothes, packs ,bags etc.

Remember if you go tarp…privacy is very limited unless your tarp is big enough to go to ground if using as a hammock sleeping area.

Click to see my first tarp Snow camp

Tents can be convenient to a point. Typically if walk- in camping they are heavy and bulky. Hot humid conditions can be uncomfortable if ventlation is inadequate. Some things to consider when purchasing. There are many factors to consider, but these are important #1 being waterproof. First time using them, I would test them out in the backyard before committing to take with.

Something else to consider is if its a community tent.

Who is carrying it. They will have the extra weight and bulk. How easy is it to put up. Quickly if needed. Does it take 2 people …three?. Although car camping illuminates most of these concerns. Being comfortable in putting it up. Will save heart ache when you get to the site. And if you do it wrong, well lets just say the first rain or wind will let you know.

Single sleeping means each to their own.

No Matter what they choose the same things should be considered for each personal area. Typically each to themselves. But remember everybody is responsible for community areas. All should share the load and responsibility. Its just good camping etiquette.

2 Communal areas such as dinning, firepit and general hang out or gathering area.

These areas also include the Kitchen area but I am keeping it separate. Areas where in a group/family camp, would typically be the dinning area and Kitchen. Besides the fire pit in the evenings, these are the most used communal areas.

The Kitchen requires a lot of planning. Obviously in a group camp the meals are planned with the whole group in mind. It requires the basics of planned meals for the length of the camp, then storage for the planned meals. Snacks and drinks (besides water which you cannot have enough of ) should be considered as well. The type of camp ground you have chosen should be able to let you know if basic’s such as Ice, water and wood are available. If not you will have to plan accordingly. More storage for water carries ice boxes, etc. (Pro tip) If you bring single use water (case of purchased water) You can pre-freeze many and they will double as ice for the first day or 2.

Ice that melts in your ice chest should not be drained out. Keep it clean and you can use for doing dishes and general clean up. Another water saver

When planning the meals consider non heated meals. During the day simple salads, sandwiches etc. which require no “cooking” will save on cooking gas and wood. Breakfast and Dinner for me has to be a hot meal, preferably around the fire.

Eating plates, this is a personal preference for many, I am not a fan of paper plates. It creates more trash and mostly not reusable.

Consider plastic or metal eating sets. Ones that will last you many camping trips. Same goes for eating and cooking utensils. Don’t go disposable. Everybody can bring their own or share someone who has a set that’s has extras.

Cooking and cleaning. These are chores most don’t enjoy. Be sure to make everybody aware the tasks will be shared. Even, make a roster if needed. Sharing is caring people. Clean up and cooking takes a lot of time and WATER. Keep that in mind when planning your water needs. As a solo camper I was shocked at my first time out how much water I used for these tasks. I had to carry all my water and by the second night I was already getting low and had to conserve water. Even group camping be sure to Take a water purifier with you. May just need it. More on that later.

3 Other areas.

These could be special areas. Kids play area, games area or such things. Once again a communal area so same rules apply.

These are communal areas and users should be responsible to tidy up when done. One thing about camping is everything has its place. If you keep to that and put things where planned for, it makes for a clean safe tidy camp. Nobody wats to stand on a soda can or some toy not put away when you get up for a toilet charge in the middle of the night.

Most of this assumes a family or group camp. Things are a lot simpler if you are going solo. To a point!

You just don’t get to share . Anything. That means you carry, make camp, cook and clean. One thing you will find is you will be busy. But you will be pleasantly surprised its a good, even fun busy. The set and prep of a solo camp can be daunting, especially if you have to gather and prepare wood for you fire. Its time consuming. I do find I sleep well when camping solo. Need I say more.

One word of advice if this will be your first Solo trip.

Keep it simple and stay close to home as you can. Consider it a test run. I can almost guarantee you will be making a lot of changes to everything after your first hack at it. It will get better as you go. Plan carefully and be as safe as possible. Take what you need and don’t scrimp, Better too much first time, than to little, which can turn bad very quickly. Trust me. I do 98% of my camping alone. I have no friends!!. No I do, They just prefer car/ family camping, rather then the very basic style of almost minimal I prefer. With the solitude of the outdoors and the challenge at my age is why I find myself on my lonesome. Just my choice. Even so I am careful when planning a solo camp. Its just good sense. As I said you will learn what you need and what you don’t soon enough.

4 The Carry


This is the part where planning badly can be a make or break of a camping excursion. Much depends on where and how you plan on getting to the actual camp site.

Drive-in/ Car camp.

Most car camping means being able to have all you goodies in a car and drive to with- in a very short distance of the camp site. Maybe at most 50 to 100 ft. This is the biggest plus to car camping. You are no longer limited by walking and carrying in all your camp essentials. Well to a point.

You still need to plan the carry and storage of all. You carry bags, boxes, ice boxes, coolers, stoves, kitchen table etc. etc. should be chosen carefully.

Carry bags. The bigger the tent, the heavier and bulkier it will be. Be sure the carry bag it comes in, is solid, that means its not going to tear easy and has strong reasonable handles for carrying. If possible strong ( larger) wheels at one end makes life easier. Same goes for your Ice Chests, Kitchens carry boxes and personal baggage. Games, chairs, tables and kitchen sinks included.

Going solo this is where most first timers fall short

Yep been there done that.

Before you decide on pack size and what you need, you need to beware of your limitations on just how much you can carry and how far you need to carry it.

Make a list of what you THINK you will need and then do it again reducing carefully. The most important areas are water, food and cover. Then sleep kit and of course you 10 C’s of survivability. The season obviously is the “determinenotor” on what you will need. Winter more, Summer less, spring and Fall more or less. tent or tarp, woolen blanket or sleeping bag. Water considerations, (is there a river or lake close), food, clothing and kitchen. All on your back……..

Your pack of choice can determine the success of your Solo camping trip!

There you go some considerations when planning your “camping essentials” for the camp. Obviously there is a lot more to consider, I cannot tell you all, as that after all is what camping is about, learning, outdoors and fun.

However PART III will cover some very important tips to consider, These will be personal must do’s. Plus camp Kitchen ideas and safety and survival essentials.

Stay tuned and all will be revealed, well almost all.

Read up , Make lists, Get things, Go camp. You wont regret it.

Talk soon

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill, get it from every source you can.

The Novice Survivalist




Planning your outdoor experience

Continuing where I left off of the original idea behind this website . That being, to be prepared when I wander off into the great wilderness. Most times on my own. In some of the very first posts, I covered Bugging out and things to consider when preparing a Disaster preparedness plan. I covered the survival needs and planning where and when to meet. What to have at your sites and other such things. This post and a short series of posts to follow will cover a different aspect of the outdoors.

Planning and being prepared for a short or long trip into the wilderness. Whether family or solo this series will cover many aspects. Including planning a trip, gear needed and safety ideas you should always account for.

What gear is appropriate

The series will cover family camping, solo camping and the types of camping such as Walk-in ( Hiking trips), day trips, overnight or extended trips, Car and kayak/canoe camping. They will cover certain aspects as we go, each post covering a specific topic such as Planning a trip, What you should need for that trip and examples of what I use. I will share my experiences and the equipment I personally use. Including reviews of that equipment I have done.

So with no more ado, here with the first post in the series


When you decide to go camping, hiking in the outdoors, you should be making preparations for the trip. The obvious item you need to deal with is where and what you are planning on doing.

Typically its going to be camping, If its solo then plan accordingly, if its as a group or family and friends outing then make a plan together as a group. Going ahead you need to decide where you will be going. Obvious right?

Well there should be more to it then lets go here and camp.!. Things to be done before you decide on a camp trip are :

  1. What you want to do. Car camp, tent or hammock camp.
  2. For how long. Overnighter, week end or longer.
  3. Where you want to go and why.

Once you have decided on the type of camping, Car, tent or hammock. you need to check the location you want to go. Once you have that. you need to look into that location. If its a State camp site, Federal or Private. Each has its own regulations. You need to be aware of any restrictions and regulations.

For example Fires . Are they allowed, can you bring your own wood, do you need to have the fire in a fire ring provided.

If no open fires what can you have to cook etc. These little things need to be checked as they can have a disastrous effect on a camp trip if you are not prepared.

Take time to check the location and surrounding areas. Many places have websites and general information on the site. Some will have what you can do and local attractions. Do a search of the site. Look for reviews good or bad. (Besure to take some of the bad as what they are. Expections that are unreal or did not meet the reviewer expectations.). If possible call and speak to a live person at the site. Have your concerns and questions ready.

When you are planning your trip you will have decided on


Things to remember, If you are hammock camping, do you need to have tree straps or can you use cordage, Can you hammock camp. some campsites do not allow Hammocks as they are concerned about damaging trees., Car camping, do you require hook up. Water and electricity. Showers available, Bathrooms. Just some considerations.


Ok now you have a place to go and how long you’ll be there. Now you set dates to suit all. Closer to the dates you will need to check weather conditions so you will be prepared for any unforeseen weather.



WHAT YOU WANT TO DO THERE , Do you want to just relax and spend time with friends and family, go day to day, is it to go fishing a stream, tubing a stream, boating, kayaking or Hiking.

Make sure you know what you want from the outing. This will help in deciding where you want to go and does it suit your goals for the trip.

Not sure where to look. Here are some links to sites I have used in the past. Remember my idea of camping is different to yours. But adapt to your needs. I am in Minnesota so I search accordingly. Local state websites are my first choice. Simply because the information they provide is plentiful.

Click on the picture to visit the site

Private camp sites

Minnesota DNR

US Forestry Service (National Forests)

All Trails
Hiking Trails (US)

So now you have an idea of what you want to achieve on your outdoor excusion.

Click to see my hip camp trip

You have a destination picked out, what you would like to do when out there and how long you’ll spend there.

NOW WHAT, Well now you need to prepare to pack all you will need for your planned trip.

But that’s another story

Stay tuned for the next installment. Planning what you should ( must) have for any outdoor trip

Until then

Be safe, be prepared

Remember Knowledge is a survival Skill

The Novice Survivalist


Multi tools on a budget

Would you use a budget multi tool as part of your EDC. Would you trust them to do the job when the chips are down.

I looked at three (Very quickly, mind you) that would suit any reasonable budget. Would you use them. We all know the “Name brand” ones , but will these do?

Check it out.

Watch “Kilimanjaro ASCEND Mini Multi-tool TSA COMPLIANT – Perfect for the prepared traveler” on YouTube

Having spent the last couple weeks looking into Multi tools. I searched for Mini multi- tools. Looking to enhanced my possibles or “things bag,” as I like to call it. Seemed a good way to update.While searching I came across something I never really considered. TSA compliant multi-tools for the prepared traveler. I always thought “Nope knew that was a no! no!”.

Well, To my surprise there it was a TSA compliant mini Multi-tool. IMG_20190814_113708_004 One among many…

Who would have thunk….!!.

Anyhoo. Went ahead and got one, Just because it peaked my curiosity. There are a number of them around. Big and small Brands. And none to cheap. This one is from Kilimanjaro, and is called the Ascend. I am, as most people familiar with the “Big brand” names in my areas of interest. For the most part they provide excellent merchandise. Which of course accounts for their “Big Name Brand”. Honestly I can say I have never been disappointed when purchasing their products. But I find I am becoming a budget buyer of late. Why well 2 reasons ,

1.My income is not what it used to be and hence

2. My budget followed suit.

So with that in mind, I shopped price. After all,  I had the “What am I looking for ” taken care of. It needed to be TSA (Transportation Security Administration) compliant.  That’s all I wanted. First off, I looked into TSA compliance. That was interesting. 20190814_143327.jpgThings have changed already since the good old days of handing over just about anything you normally carried on your person to the security officer. Lighters, scissors, knifes, knitting needles, shoes, keys and your first born……. Ok not your first born,  but pretty much everything else..

I chose the Ascend because it was within my new ( lower) budget, Seemed like a good tool and had something a lot of the others didn’t.

Check it out.

My VERY quick review. Covering the main points and why it meets TSA Compliance. Be warned its quick and too the point, less than 4 minutes of your valuable time. And you will come away knowing what is considered “TSA Compliant’ for a Mini Multi-tool.

This one is from Kilimanjaro, and is called the Ascend.20190817_213252-e1566441881698.jpg

Remember KNOWLEDGE IS A SURVIVAL SKILL. Clicking the link below might just increase that knowledge. The good thing is it wont cost a dime to add to your current stellar knowledge base.


Stay safe and a little bit more prepared when travelling.

The Novice Survivalist.



My VERY quick review. Covering the main points and why it meets TSA Compliance.


My Daypack for all Seasons

Something I have been working on for awhile. A better way to be prepared trying to simplify the way I prep my goodies


via My Daypack for all Seasons

Watch “GERBER Freehander Line Management Tool – Perfect for all fishing people” on YouTube

Always looking to up my game to get past my next skunk maybe just maybe more time on the water and less wasted will help. I know this will.

Check it out

We live in a modern age, Who needs the old ways

As the title suggests we live in modern times . Technology has made huge bounds ahead to help us humans adapt to our surroundings and to other Non essential often useless things. This is true, as most modern day items will work, 9 out of 10 times on a good day. Yep that’s pretty good odds for most. However If you are like me, The times I will need my modern day gizmos are a little more important than when the wi-fi goes down for an hour at home, while surfing for useless entertainment. Or for more important information such as how to make fire with 2 sticks. (tongue in cheek).

These times I know will be just when I am at my most vulnerable. Yes that’s right, when I am outdoors hiking, camping, kayaking….. at most times I am on my own when I am most vulnerable to some happenstance out of my control.

Compass Skills

Local Weather conditions Turning nasty, Getting lost because I wandered off the beaten path, something I do on most walkabouts. Or bad luck stepping into an unseen hole and “god forbid” breaking something just when I am furthest away from help or safety. That 9 out of 10 times now takes on a whole new meaning.

Technology has brought with it two things that concern me. And should you, the outdoors person, prepper or survival enthusiast.

First -We (the human race) as a whole have come to trust in all things modern. I am not talking electricity, running water and the wheel. I am talking gadgets that since these initial discoveries have been developed to make life better, heathier, and much more convenient.

Modern day survival items

Medicine today is constantly finding new cures and methods to improve treatment of just about every aliment the average person suffers from. Except of course the common cold. The one thing I am forever wondering why that has not been cured …YET?  But I wander from the trail again.

Modern technology has brought to us the “bic lighter”, the smart phone, miniature gas stoves, GPS along with every app. you could come up with. Quicker and better ways ( that’s a matter of opinion)


to process’s the food needed to feed, house and comfort us all. Improvements to all coming on a daily basis. All of which we take for granted. With technology advances the world has shrunk. Meaning with the touch of a button we can contact anybody for help should we need that. Presuming everything is in working order. What if its not.

Need to meet friends at a new restaurant recently opened, no problem, plug in the name and you get, The name, Who owns the business, the website, The menu, specials, operating hours and a map to its location, and reviews all within seconds. Press take me there and the GPS in your car , or on your phone guides you along no problem. Once arrived it asks you how it did with the directions …… Perfect and we do this multiple times daily, without a seconds thought of what happens if electricity, satellites and all the wonderful gadgets suddenly become unavailable. What now?

Ok that’s the worst case scenario, or is it. I wonder about Darwin’s theory ” Survival of the fittest”. Just how many of us could survive this sort of tragedy. I would bet not many of us. I am by no means a prepper or outdoor survivalist.

How long could you stay here

I do read about these things in the interest of improving my odds of survival in a personal “unplanned situation” when outdoors on my own. But I know I am not prepared for a global dissaster, what ever it should be. I very much doubt I would be able to survive for any real length of time.

Not a comforting thought at all. And I’m sure, should most of us think about it, would feel the same way. Unfornatley as a whole we the people have be come so reliant on technology we are no longer self sufficent. Certainly in terms of handling a major dissaster.

Second, the majority of us ( the people) often scoff at the enthusiastic prepper. Including me at times. Should we. I know that if the worst should happen I’m looking for a prepper. They will hopefully have the majority of Knowledge, items and needs to survive. At the least, the ability to survive the dissaster, well a lot better chance then me in my current situation. What is their secret, besides the obvious hoarding of necessities and the knowledge to use them.

The majority of necessities will include the basics. The must have items and knowledge. Yes I am talking about the 10 items considered necessary to survive.

What’s in your B..O.B

The items needed to provide us with shelter from the elements, and items necessary to sustain us while we wait out the dissaster. The everyday prepper has these at their dissposal. And the knowledge and know how to use them.

You guessed it. The majority of these things are “old ways”. How to make a shelter, how to make fire , how hunt for food etc. etc. None of which require the use of modern day gizmos. Granted the modern error has helped improve all these items but they have them and the knowledge right now.

Personally I know the very basics of survival for a short period in the outdoors, maybe even adapt this knowledge to a urban senerio, but not well. Bush crafters and survivalists are prepared. img_20190325_165959_359.jpgThe majority for both urban and wilderness survial. They have planned with the knowledge that modern day survival items may just not be available. Who will be scoffing at them now. Certainly not me.

Having the ability to survive by making shelter, fire and providing food, the basics for any human to survive, takes on a whole new meaning. All using the “old ways”. We ( the world in general) including me, can learn a lot from the old ways. They ( the world before most modern technology) had to do this on a daily bassis. It was part of life, and they too took it for granted. Just as we do with technology today.

Don’t think the preppers have thrown out all the modern day gizmos, absolutely not. I am sure its their first go to response.

Emergency Radio

The difference between them and us mere mortals, is if that technology is not available they are in a much better situation then us. THEY HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE OLD WAYS !.

Remember that. When the next time you are surfing with your latest modern day gizmo, and you come across some one whether bragging or simply sharing their knowledge. Pictures and stories of practicing survival skills with only the old ways at hand may look to us as a hobby or even rediculous. Don’t just ‘poo poo’ them and swipe on. Take some time to look and learn.

You never know just when that knowledge could save you!

Survive another day.

As I always say.

REMEMBER, KNOWLEGDE IS A SURVIVAL SKILL. Certainly knowledge of the old ways.

The Novice Survivalist



Mother nature is testing my fishing patience

This winter was a tough one in Minnesota. Long and very cold, it still seems to be holding on forever. Just when the days clear and warm up She ( Mother nature) comes back with cold and snow, along with sleet and driving rain. Arghhh. 20161104_162208Every time I get ready to pull the Hobie out the weather turns.

I am a novice, self taught fly fishing junkie…well Kind of. I hack my way through one of my most favorite pastimes. Fly fishing, not very successfully but I persist. However this is no excuse for Mother nature to load it on to me.

I am ready, right now, lets go. I have prepped my fly rods, flies, and gadgets needed to maybe make my fly fishing adventures better and more successful. Just let me have the chance. I’m not asking a lot…am I?

Yes I am feeling sorry for myself right now. I am certainly over this winter. I am ready to move on. Like I said I have prepped until blue in the face, researched and asked everybody about new spots to fish. Places to Kayak etc. etc. Been through all my daypacks and fishing packs and gadget holders….3 times now.

Whoa is me. Thanks for reading just needed to vent a little…OK a lot. But because you took the time to read this far I thought I would reward you with a look at ..yes my latest gadget I always carry when fly fishing. A good tool for any fisherman’s arsenal.

Check it out


Remember patience is a survival skill. obviously I need to work on that more

The Novice Survivalist


7 mile Creek Park MN.

Went walkabout and a quick scout. Not the best weather but this was worth a visit. Ill definatley be back to play with the trout in the creek…LOL

Check out my scout

Weather Alerter and Comfort Companion

The reason I now own one of these is because I find myself outdoors a lot. What ever the season. Living in a 4 season state allows me to experience the outdoors under all sorts of conditions. Whether designed or not. Minnesota weather can be unpredictable at times and relying on the weather apps on my phone just does not hack it.

I had heard about weather radios and the NOAA stations but had never considered them. I went shopping, online of course and was over whelmed by the amount of equipment out there. I spent long hours shifting through piles of information. at some point I realized I need to make a basic list of what I thought the radio I purchase should have. This broke down into a very short list of basics. The main reason , which I am sure we suffer from, is Budget. My budget is tight. Here is the list I came up with

  1. Weather alerts from the NOAA system.
  2. Access to regular radio stations. Both FM and AM. (More on the reasons for this below)
  3. Multiple power options
  4. Relaible
  5. Sturdy
  6. Waterproof
  7. Compact
  8. Ease of use

That’s it. Not necessarily in order of importance

Remember that I chose this for the outdoors. As I said before I am outdoors a lot. This includes Hiking (My Regular walkabouts), Camping (I try to camp at least once a month), Fly-fishing (Summer), Ice fishing (Winter). All these activities expose me to the weather elements. Although I check the weather on a regular basis before leaving to do my activity, the weather as I said can be unpredictable. Should I find myself in bad weather the radio will alert me to what to expect and for how long. The NOAA stations also give advice for the situation.

Although I discuss the outdoor needs for these types of radios, they are perfect for home situations such as power outages during bad weather, a needed Item for a bug out bag or any other situation that may arise. Other places such as your car, work, and places you go to spend more than a day away. Maybe a cabin in the woods.

Here is a brief description of the Radio I finally chose.

FosPower’s Solar Crank Emergency Weather Radio.


The radio comes integrated with a 1W LED flashlight with zoom, an SOS alarm, 2000mAh power bank, 2 LED lights, Radio broadcasts access, and 3 power options to provide Emergency power.


Frequency Range: AM:520-1710KHz,
FM:87-108MHz, WB:162.400-162.550MHz
Dimensions: 6.2×2.9×2.1 inches (157x74x53mm)
Weight: 10.9oz (310g)
Power Consumption: 2W (MAX)
Working Voltage: 2.7-4.2V
Power Source: 2000mAh / 3.7V Li-ion
Waterproof Level: IPX-3
LED Flashlight: 1W / 20LM
Batteries: AAA 1.5V LR03 (3 off)

The  2000mAh power bank provides enough emergency power to any mobile device in emergency situations. Works with most USB powered devices.
3 Power Sources
The radio’s AAA batteries, a solar panel, and a crank lever provide full battery power.       The solar panel and crank ensure you have power whenever you need it. 20190325_164006.jpg
2 LED Lights Sources
A 4 LED reading light and a 1W LED flashlight capable of lighting any emergency situation.
Emergency Radio Access
The Emergency radio will give you dependable access to emergency NOAA weather broadcasts. The AM/FM function provides full access to all AM or FM radio broadcasts.

One item that is very seldom mentioned in the use of a Emergency radio is the importance of the FM, AM radios. They provide the user with music and talk. This is a very strong mental gift for the user. Just to hear other people in any emergency situation you and your family find yourself in will provide comfort. It lets you know you are not alone. Gives you something else to focus on besides the bad situation you are in.

When discussing survival tactics most gurus mention mental strength. These radios can certainly help boost your mental well being. A very important survival skill much overlooked.

Of course having the ability to charge a cell phone is a big plus, Something I had not considered on my list of needs. Especially if you have no power. The solar and hand cranks provide 2 charging options for the 200Mh Lithium Ion battery it has internally.

If you would like to see my video review on this particular Radio click on the picture below to go to my You Tube channel for a little more in depth hands on look at the FosPower’s Solar Crank Emergency Weather Radio.


There you go campers and survivalists. Something to consider for your Camp Kit or Bug out bag/emergency kit.

Remember Knowledge is a survival skill. (Even if you get that knowledge from a radio station).

Until next time

Be safe as always

The Novice Survivalist



This is a must have for your bug out list. Keeps you updated with weather and of course music etc. Something to boost your moral when you find yourself in a tough situation. Great for the solo camper and outdoors person. Home or outdoors.

My Daypack for all Seasons

Living in a 4 season State means being prepared at all times for the change of seasons. That means every change in season means redoing my packs I use.. Whether a camping pack, daypack or my EDCC ( Everyday car carry bag) I need to repack them to suit the season.20180428_124120 As much as I do enjoy going through my packs on a regular basis, I find it can be a chore at times. Having to unpack, go through everything in it and removing and adding items I will not be needing and adding things I will.

It is still winter here in Minnesota, but FINALLY it looks as though the weather is warming up. Its been a tough winter for sure. Extremely cold in general, and late snow storms, Ok a lot of late snow storms will certainly extend it a bit more. (see previous post).

But I have to start preparing for spring. What that means is getting rid of the winter extras and adding what I consider to be essential spring items I should have in my packs. For my camping pack  That means a lot of changes as well as my EDCC. However for my day pack I have devised a very basic way to minimize my changes I need for the new season.

Because it is the pack I use most (My L.L. Bean Maine Warden Day pack), anytime I go out doors for a walkabout and scout It is on my back. In it are the basic essentials for a 72 hr emergency situation. (see 10 CC’s of survival). Something I have in all my packs. Then the seasonal items I will need for the current season. This is what changes. To minimize the changes I need to make, I have come up with a basic setup that is all the things I need no matter what the season. That way I then only need to make small changes for the season. 20190307_092125.jpgBelow is a list of what I have in my day pack according to the season. As well as all season items. These are my preferences that I find suit me. Admittedly I am always looking to improve what I have.

As a Novice Survivalist you should always be prepared for an emergency. That’s what the 10 CC’s are for. Then add to it the basics for the season and only then any “extras’ for comfort you are willing to add to the weight and bulk of your pack. Keep in mind that adding these, can if not curtailed, turn a great daypack into a miserable bulky dead weight on your back. Choose your luxury items carefully. You may regret them later, when its too late!

Here are the lists I have …..Ok here we go, me and lists…. put together to show the all season, and each seasonal items that go into my day pack. Keep in mind that although I say I never change the all season items, you should make sure everything in it is in good working order.

All season must haves:

1 My things bag. Also known as the possible’s pouch. This is a German Army ditty bag I got at a local surplus store for a whopping 50 cents.20171125_143640

2 Leg Gaiters and Boots chains. The Leg gaiters all seasons and the boot chains most seasons.

3 Water Carriers. A military Canteen, cup and lid nesting in the cover which also holds a bush box and coffee/tea making in the small side pockets.20180704_111532 And a Kleen Kanteen 44oz stainless steel bottle and nesting gup (GSI)

4 Frogg Toggs. Lightweight poncho 2 from Frogg Toggs.

5 First Aid kit. Very basic first aid kit. I added a few of my own items.

6 Emergency Blanket/Tarp. This is not one of those flimsy, small, compact, tiny, one time use types. Its a solid thick well made reusable type. Both reflective on one side and emergency orange the other. Large enough to make a comfortable shelter and a large signal device as well.

7 Kitchen. For those of you who follow we on YouTube know I like to enhance my walkabouts and Scouts with a small meal and hot coffee or tea. For these needs  I carry the Qunlie Compact cook set for 1-2 adults.20181028_163119 This is a wood system and on occasion Ill switch it with a single gas burner and put system. I do have the bush boxes in the ditty bag as well. I also have a Egoline wind protector for the cook system.

8 Other things. These items are my “luxury items”  Knee and Butt saver pad, Hand Towel and trash bag.

9 Snack pack. This is a small Sea 2 summit Dry bag which I use to carry my planned meal or snacks.

That’s the all season Items I always have. Obviously this is in or on the Pack. I always have a pocket knife and camp knife on me. I own a Medium size Machete which transfers between packs as I need.

As the seasons change I add or remove a few items.


The most important item that I add to my Pack is the Boot chains for my waterproof boots. These are a must when out and about in Winter in Mn. Ice on paths, rocks  etc. can turn a nice day out in a very painful time after a slip.20181020_131400 These go hand in hand with my hiking staff. It is a self made staff from an idea I found online. It is a multitasking tool that can be used as a small 3 leg chair, tarp poles and has storage for basic emergency things. At my age I need all the help I can get.

Remember I am talking about what I carry. Obviously I dress according to the season. I do have an extra pair of Gloves, wool cap and socks in my pack in winter. Just incase. There is nothing worse than wet hands or feet in the cold.


These are my 2 favorite seasons. I am normally out and about on a scout or fly Fishing for the day. These seasons I reduce my pack by removing all the winter items. If scouting I still have my staff but just about all the other stuff goes into storage. I do keep my leg gaiters as after rains or dew covered grass I still need them. My wool cap is replaced by my favorite Tilly hat.


For me summer brings in a few concerns to keep in mind. Obviously the Sun, heat and humidity. I dress accordingly, depending on these factors. I always carry a rain jacket when Kayaking20161104_162208 or land fishing and I have my Frogg Toggs poncho. A sudden down pour in the middle of the day is all you need to get soaked and be miserable. A spare “Bush style” hat replaces my wool cap. Bug spray is replenished ( A lot). And sun tan lotion a must. I also increase the amount of water I carry by simply making sure I have my Katadyn water purification kit and an extra smaller Kleen Kanteen in the pack.

That’s the basics. remember this is a day pack not an overnight camp pack. It does have the necessaries for a unplanned overnighter should I need it. Its not a perfect system , yet. But every seasonal change, I work at reducing the changes with out making my day walkabout unnecessarily dangerous or just uncomfortable. I’m to old to not have some comforts …….

What’s in your pack?

Want to know a little more about some of the items in my pack, check out the “my things page” which has either a video or write up on products I typically use.

Remember Knowledge and a little preparation is a survival skill! Keep working to improve them.

The Novice survivalist





A tough Winter, Its not Over Yet!

I find myself once again, at the computer. Well so what you ask, The date is February 3, 2019. That’s so what! Its Sunday, a day off, a day to be out and about doing those things I so enjoy. The last day of a 3 day off, break from work. And  the average temperature out side right now is 7 Deg. F. Yet the sun is shinning and its 7 deg. To make matters worse the wind chill is -25 deg. Not a good temperature to be out wondering the bush.

This winter, my second full winter in Minnesota, has been tough for me. Surprising me not, alot of born and bread Minnesotans that I work with have agreed. That’s the worst part. Most people who hail from Minnesota are naturally hardy when it comes to winter. Growing up here winter is part of life. It gets cold and snows a lot. So what, lets go Ice fishing, snow shoeing and skiing.. BUT this winter well, its been tough.20180419_113116 A lot of Storms coming late in the season and dumping a lot of snow. Earlier on in the year, temperatures dropped in South Central Minnesota to a wind chill of -50Deg. Keeping even the less smart and hardier winter types indoors. The worst of it is the timing. The way to cold or blizzard conditions calendar has been set to my days off. This winter any decent day outdoors has been work days.

I enjoy the snow , especially fresh power out there and going out and walkabout in the quiet, truly beautiful scenes the snow leaves behind. Even (temperatures willing) camping over night. The joy. But this winter has seen little opportunity to get out.

Last winter walkabouts in the winter were aplenty, the snow on the ground manageable to walk in (With knee high gaiters) and access to most of my walkabout places open.20180302_115824 Yesterday I tried to take advantage a of reasonable temperatures and some sunshine to go out and complete a video review I had been chomping at the bit to get completed.

When I make a video review I like to not just show and tell, describe the pros and cons etc. I like to get outside and try it out. (My excuse to get outdoors) yes even I need excuses sometimes.

So I packed my winter Day pack up, Got everything together and headed out to the closed favorite place to do these review videos. To My horror There was a sign, Park closed!.

I tried to drive down the road a bit with hopes of finding a place to make the video and a quiet cuppa Coffee, one of my favorite things to do. Unfortunately not 100 Yards down the road it was closed. Totally covered in snow, It had not been plowed and a sign Road closed. Shocked I had to slowly maneuverer my truck ( No 4 wheel drive)  around and head off to another favorite with the hopes of it being open.

It was. Fortunately The State Parks here can handle most weather conditions and this particular park is a local favorite snow shoeing park. I parked, got prepared (Gaiters, boot chains and pack together) and headed off to find a place to do the video. No sooner had I stepped out of the parking lot did I realize just how much snow there was on the ground. I come to this park regularly and am familiar with the trails etc. However, So much snow. First off it came up above my Knees (So much for Gaiters) and was slippery underneath to Boot. 50 Yards in I knew I was not going any further. Not without snow shoes anyway. Oh that’s right, I don’t own snow shoes. So trudged back to a bench and I assume a fire pit. The bench was almost under snow and the fire pit, well who knows where that was.

After clearing away a place to sit (set up my cameras), off the top of the bench/table ( about 2×2 feet space). I realized I needed some wood to try out my new Gizmo. Well this park has lots of small branches of wood lying about. ( In Minnesota you cannot cut20190216_161327 growing (Live) plants or trees, only use the waste from nature on the ground, dead wood only.) I looked around and realized I have another problem. The snow had covered it all. I was not about to start guessing where wood maybe and digging around in the snow. Fortunately I saw a small branch sticking up out of the snow. I raced off, Ok! trudged off to retrieved it and drag it back to my video spot. It was not easy.

I did get the video done, but truth be told it was not my best work. It was a poor presentation of the product and my ability to deal with the conditions, And the frustration level was so high I did not even make coffee when done. All in all, a bad outing. Something for me I seldom have. Any time outdoors is a good time, or so I thought. I considered coming back out and redoing the video, that is until I saw the temperatures I would be dealing with.

And so, I find myself once again, at the computer!. The weather channel on my phone is showing higher temperatures in about 2 weeks, I can always hope.

Hey But this is winter in Minnesota. Sometimes Good, sometimes bad. But always a learning experience for me.

Remember, knowledge learnt is a Survival skill.

Till next time

The Novice Survivalist


Free Give Away, Compact Gas Lantern

Hey Campers, A quick up date.

I have been adding more videos to my Video and references page. Mainly reviews of products I have been considering for my Camping adventures. Not only for camping but handy to have in your BOB bag, survival kits and so on. Check them out, there maybe some thing there that will enhance your bag Kits.

I am a touchy feely type shopper and I look at products and reviews then choose a few and purchase them, according to my budget. It is a small budget, But some times allows me to purchase a couple of the items I am considering. Because of this I find myself with surplus. I don’t have the space to store all my goodies, So as a thank you to all my followers here and on my You Tube channel I offer a give away now and again. Its free and all you need to do is go to the review video, comment and share. That’s it. obviously on You Tube you will have to subscribe to my channel in order to be part of the give away.

Interested go to my latest give away.

Bulin 300F2 compact gas stove from DoCooler.

It’s is a brand new Compact lantern. Never used and still in its box. I have included 2 extra mantles form Colman.


In the video is how to get in on the free give away to a lucky subscriber.

Don’t forget to check out the updates on the Reference page as well.

Thank you for your support.

Remember Knowledge is a Survival Skill

The Novice Survivalist


Reviews and Give-away’s (GAWS). Your chance to score free prizes.

Hello Camper’s

Its 2019 already and most of January is gone. How times flies’ when you least expect it. No problem still a lot of winter to come , along with Spring, summer and fall…repeat. Hopefully this year will be a strong one. An ominous start for me as it was a sickly start. I got the dreaded flu bug which has carried across to a lingering cough. but enough of my whining. Lets look what one new thing I have planned for all this year.

Yep , you guessed it give a-ways. For those of you that follow my unpredictable blogs and my more regular YouTube posts, will have noticed I have been playing. On-line searching for ” affordable Gizmo’s”. On my Budget I have to be frugal and smart about purchases. Something I am sure we all try to do. Although on my part I occasionally slip. I try to keep my interest below the $20 to $25 range. Most of it spent on Amazon. Occasionally I’ll find bargains on direct sites like Target, Cabela’s and of course Walmart. How did this happen . Well I am always looking at Camping, Survival or Bush crafty “things ” That I either need when out there, or read about and am curious as to what they can do and can they enhance my outdoor experience.

It started with looking for something to keep my bottom ( Below the knee) pants dry. I would ( especially winter months) be out walkabout, camping for even fishing in nature and find my pants were getting wet. Either from dew on longer grass, snow deeper than expected or rain.lhlo0ypczeq So I researched Leg gaiters. Which for me was the first time I really researched a particular product. Really researched. I started reading about each type I found, and scoured the reviews.

Reviews, wow!!, Talk about a wide range of opinion’s. I became frustrated and typically I am a hands on, touchy feely kind of shopper. I like to have it ( The product) in my hands and look at it myself. These reviews were simply just frustrating me. I felt that bad reviews were general nit picking for the most part, the good reviews gave me the feeling it was a paid review or endorsed review. So what did I do. I searched.

I went all over the internet finding leg gaiters that met a few or all my criteria I was looking for. Saved he choices and then sorted through. Although I ended up with a great set of gaiters, I felt I may not have got the best for my budget or needs.  A little frustrated I was. And that got me thinking. Stop right there. I know never a promising end for me.

Part of my research took me to You tube. Surprising me not. I had the same feeling about the video reviews as I did about the written. How ever I got to see some one doing the touchy feely thing for me. Better much better. But still had the picky, nit picking and paid, endorsed feeling for the most part.

Don’t miss understand me here. There are some great channels that do a lot of reviews. They are honest and I felt gave their true opinion. Not all they reviews were glowing, some were not so much. I really preferred this. But I still needed to see more than just one production option for what I was seeing or peaked my interest.

To make a long story a little shorter I thought that I would try do a review myself on my channel. I simply picked a product I had been using for awhile and did a review. It was the Frogg Toggs poncho I always had with me in case of rain.ziv6so3ifqk (1) I simply talked about it, its use , cost and my thoughts on it. That’s it. not your must have nothing better out there get this right now review. Simply my thoughts on it and its use and does it work for me. I then left the rest up to the viewer to decide if it is what they want. 20180119_154121To my surprise I enjoyed doing it. So I did another one of my French F1 2 man pup tent. I set it up showed it and that was that. Its now my most viewed video. Truth be told not very well done and professional like, but apparently that worked. who would have thunk!!.

So back to my reason for the title of this blog post. Give-Away. I have found that I have been shopping a little differently lately. I see or am looking for something and find a couple of options. if the pricing is right I will purchase 2 or three different models or types of the product. p-jbo6hzheqDo a review on each and give a choice to the researcher. They can choose from some options. Or not. But its fun to do and keeping it all within budget ( not as easy as it sounds) I have been doing reviews.

The problem now is I have extras, ….What to do with them. Well after thinking about it I have decided to give them away. For a small price for the winner. No, no money is involved.

I keep the one I like and offer a choice to the viewer who is lucky enough to win the random drawing from comments posted on the video.MCMMpsOk4vw.png What does it cost them, a little time, and a free subscription to my channel. That’s it. Be come a subscriber and comment and you are in the running to win a free be. This hopefully helps somebody get a free prize and helps me get more viewers. Win, Win for all I hope.

So that’s it one thing I will be doing this year. Subscribe to my channel and watch for give- aways and reviews of products I use and maybe you could too.

GIVE AWAYS. Looking for free B’s check out my reviews play list on my channel. Plus there are camping, walk about, fun and survival videos too!!!

Remember knowledge is not just a survival tool, but a helpful way to make a right choice for your outdoor, survival and camping needs.

Be safe this year


The Novice Survivalist



Name change

If you had to change your name, what would your new name be?

The old guy who won the mega millions ….just saying it would be nice……hope springs eternal

My answer…

Do you remember your favorite book from childhood?

Never really read books young. But in my teens The one that got me was ….ok it’s a comic magazine we used to get in the mail…BUSTERS. kids comic magazine. Waited patients every month for it….gone are those days….YEP I am OLD……The horror.

Just saying

Handmade Puukko Whittler Knife from an OPINEL no9 Blade.

I had spare Opibel No 9 blade so made me a whittling knife, based on a Puukko knife. The joy

Novice survivalist

Do I remember…..

I am way older then the internet. Of course I rem…..wait, wait…ummmm. forgot what I was gonna say….I think….

Do you remember life before the internet?

My Answer to prompt

Do you have any collections?

Not really but had some folding knives…I think they collected on thier owm…now about 75 of them… they must mate or something. Memories but like all collections they are fading….or is that my age showing….

A Sharp and Shiny is a Sharp and Shiny – They all deserve a good home

Came across this in a thrift store. I git it just because it was unusual and had no idea what it was. And…it was 50 cents. Brought it home and discovered …..joy. its actually a knife. Sooooo. Gave it some love and a home

Remember all sharp and shinnys deserve a good home.

The Novice Survivalist


What is your career plan?

Ummm….I am retired…I suppose that is a career goal. Otherwise I have no plan

You won’t believe what happens when these two knives combine! Opinel + Svord A Hybrid SVOPinel !!”

I had a moment. ( Happens when you old like me) and decided to make a hybrid folding knife.

This is the result. A fun project if anything

Novice survivalist

My answer to this..

Remember I am old…so the answer is…every day I do not have to get up and go to work…done that for 45 years…

What is your favorite holiday? Why is it our favorite?

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