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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Practicing Skills

I have been working on my Bushcraft skills as you all know. I had the opportunity this weekend to get out and practice some stuff. I went camping with some friends in Vinton Iowa. It was a great 140 acres camp ground right on the river. We had a group of teenagers and a couple of good teachers helping us out. I got there late, just as the sun was going down. I got my tarp set up (with help from some of those awesome teachers) and was ready for the night. In the morning one corner of my tarp came loose and was whiping around like crazy. The wind had picked up a lot and we had gusts up to 45 mph. Lesson learned there is never assume the wind/ weather will stay the say all night. Take the extra time to secure your tent or tarp tightly.

In the morning I got the chance to practice some fire starting techniques. You should practice starting a fire at least five different ways. We also practice using 5 different man made tinders (jute twine, cotton ball, dryer lent etc) and five different natural tinders (dried grass, cat tails, dry leaves etc). On this occassion I practiced the bow drill method. I was not successful but I was starting to get the hang of it and get smoke. I also tried the fire steel method. I did get that one going.

Things to remember.......Practice- Just because you have it in your kit or bag does not mean you will be able to use it if and when the time arrives. It is important to get out there and try things out. Try out your pack. Test drive your GOOD route, and practice purifying water. The time to try and fail is before you really need it. That way you become comfortable with it. Have back ups- In Bushcraft I love the saying "One is none and two is one". Don't just have one way of starting a fire, have a few. Have a couple of different methods of purifying water available (even if it is just the knowledge in your head). Remain Calm-- No matter what you are doing it will go much more smoothly if you stay calm. This will help you think and allows you to flow with the situation more easily.

Here was my tarp set up

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