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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:18 pm 
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That's enough derail. :lol: Back on topic before Stephen Colbert shows up.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:04 pm 
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There is definitely something to old-style camping in that the durability was paramount. Nowadays, lightweight gear is king because, unfortunately, of the throw-away attitude our culture has acquired. Most folks will have more time than money, so if something rips, you buy a new one. That was not the attitude in the days of youre.

Just as an example, I used a North-face tent for two seasons doing archaeological field work in Utah. It was a great backpacking tent (the old Bullfrog, if you remember them), but the UV rays ate it up. Now, in the field in East Africa, we leave our tents out in the sun for months at a stretch and they have lasted almost 10 years. Why? Because they are canvas and have steel poles. They weigh probably 50 pounds each, but they are roomy and tough. We bring them on top of the Landcruisers, so weight is less of an issue. But, mainly, we are WAY away from anywhere we can get a new tent, so if something breaks, we are screwed (or, more likely, I am breaking out my Speedy Stitcher). Nowadays, in the US especially, you are really never more than a day or two tops from a road, so these things are less of an issue.

My personal tastes lie far more with the old style gear, which is why I wear a heavy Filson waxed canvas coat and a leather flap holster, and feel like a cool old-timer when I do. But, when I need to make miles, the nylon comes out.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:32 pm 
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roscoe, you are in one of the great places of the golden age of camping. Hemingway, Blixen, Markham, and Roosevelt camped with these technologies while out in the East African bush, hunting big game and enjoying the fruits of empire. It's good to know that canvas tents are still in use in that area.

Are you a shovel bum or an academic?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:39 pm 
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This is an excelent post. It is rare that I learn that much reading one article. The Tin foil post you have is also great.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:21 pm 
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DannySkillZ wrote:
This is an excelent post. It is rare that I learn that much reading one article. The Tin foil post you have is also great.

Thanks, Danny. The credit really goes to my teachers, but I try to do a good job of communicating what they teach. Also: I love my digital camera! (As long as I remember to take pictures of all of the important stuff. I'm still kicking myself for not getting a pic of the cooked hamburger onion.)

I still need to get around to the camp journal part. :oops:

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 7:20 pm 
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roscoe wrote:
My personal tastes lie far more with the old style gear, which is why I wear a heavy Filson waxed canvas coat and a leather flap holster, and feel like a cool old-timer when I do. But, when I need to make miles, the nylon comes out.


+1 I have been a fan of Filson and other old school kit for years.

When I was in SF we used to talk about the old timers as being "BG" or "before Gore-tex". As a young buck I thought I was the heat in my then new issue ECWS Gore-tex, polypropelene, and fleece. Now with wool long johns and sweater and my Filson gear I stay just as warm.

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 11:48 pm 
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This is one of the best threads I've read on here in a while, I can't wait to make a slutlamp (hehe). I've been trying to use old old equipment and milsurp stuff instead of buying new, there's definitely something to be said for the simplicity and ruggedness of old gear. My Swedish mess kit and alcohol stove is pretty much indestructible, I'd take that over those tiny little gas stoves that look like they need to be packed in bubble wrap when not in use.

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 12:47 am 
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Thanks OR. On the subject of lanterns, biff has a great post on them here.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 11:52 am 
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Great subject.
(BTW that article was also published in Wilderness Way -- about 6 months before Backwoodsman published it. Only saying that because if you haven't read WW, you need to).

I prefer older gear mostly, mainly for durability. For about 20 years, this was my "big pack":

Duluth Pack Hudson Bay Pack
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It's 18 oz canvas, and weighs about 12 pounds (it's ~6500 CI), but is absolutely bombproof.
I did switch to nylon gear (Cordura) in my Kifaru pack. Reason being, I have some old shoulder injuries coming back to bite me in the ass in my advancing years. Military packs have wide-set shoulder straps that have quick-adjust and quick-release features that make them easy to get into. With my old packs, especially when I was wearing a jacket, it felt like I was ripping my shoulder out of joint to put them on and take them off. So, the new design won out. Sometimes circumstance dictates that your needs deviate from your wants.

As much as I whole heartedly agree with Mr. Watts' article, and have preached much the same throughout my life, I figure that using more modern gear isn't too bad if you buy top of the line stuff that you won't have to keep replacing. Like Arc-Teryx and Kifaru packs.

However, that does not mean I can't wear my oilcloth duster (and wool fleece liner in winter) with my shiny new Cordura pack.

BUT. . .I've made a habit since the new year to challenge my own assumptions. Is the more modern gear really "different" in a substantial manner? Not always.

Take knives. OK, I love my BRKT traditional style and material knives. But, is a Busse so different?
I took out my most "tacticool" blade, the Hellrazor:
Image
and ran it through some bushcraft tasks: making bow and drill set, tent pegs, firewood and tinder (including fuzz sticks). Guess what? It accomplished all with flying colors. OK, it's coated, and has micarta slabs (although micarta has been around since the early 1900s, so it can be seen as a traditional material), but it's still a knife.

Some things are a trade off for weight vs longevity. A nylon tent or tarp is sure lightweight, but will never last as long as a canvas one. But canvas weighs a ton in comparison. The way I see it, there's two ways to go light: carry lighter stuff, or carry less stuff. I prefer the latter. For instance, no stove for me.

Which brings me to the LNT idea. I think it's a crock of shit. But that doesn't mean trash the place, either.
When I camp, I make a fire. I dig a fire pit.
But, I use deadfall (plenty of it around, and nature's way of eliminating it is to burn the whole forest down, so my way is better). When done, I make sure it's put out and the charcoal buried -- which makes the ground better for the next seeds that hit right there. Same thing with taking a dump and only covering it loosely, rather than digging a 3 foot hole and packing dirt on top tightly. I dig a hole about the same depth as a GI shovel is long (just the spade part), do my duty, then toss the dirt mixed with leaves back in over it and don't pack it down. This leaves it aerated, and easily accessed by worms and carrion. If I chop more wood than I need, I leave it stacked neatly in case someone comes along.

This is along the lines of "leave the campsite better than you found it" that the Boyscout taught when I scouted. Also, we were taught not to make a new campsite if there was a suitable one already prepped and left in "smart condition" by its previous occupants.

IMO the LNT philosophy is only in case I am actively doing an E&E, where my life depends on it, not making the PETA people happy.

Finally, the problem with people trampling and hacking and slashing their way through the wilderness is mostly ignorance. Even in my generation, fathers brought their children into the woods and taught them how to get along there. Now they don't, and people have no idea what to do except what they see on TV. Don't let that happen with your kids. Teach them.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 12:00 pm 
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Great post, Roger! I really like those Duluth (and the now-defunct competitor Frost River) packs. You interested in getting rid of yours? ;o)

That's a Nessmuk pack, isn't it? Nessmuk, if I recall correctly, got by on around 20 lbs of gear.

By the way, do a google image search on "Nessmuk" and look at all the cool gear that pops up.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 4:14 pm 
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Nope, it's called the Hudson Bay.

Here's the link: http://duluthpack.com/product_detail.aspx?product=Hudson%20Bay%20Pack

it's 24x22x9.

The Frost River Nessmuk (which I also have) was 16x16 (over the pockets) x 5

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:18 pm 
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So, I finally got around to making me an alcohol stove and trying it out. I made the burner from a little black olive can (4oz?) and a screen from a pineapple can (20oz?). I punched triangular holes all around the top and bottom of the fruit can with a churchkey, and in the burner I made a series of small holes with a nail. I filled the burner up just below the holes, but then I spilled some on my hand, so I don't know how much was in the burner. I put my homemade camp pot made from a pineapple juice can and a hanger wire, about 2/3 full of water, over the burner. After around 12 minutes, the fuel had burned out and the water never boiled, but it did get too hot to touch and would have been fine for dehydrated soup or something like that.

In short, not a failure and not a success. I plan to raise the burner closer to the pot next time, and to be sure the fuel is topped off so it doesn't extinguish before the water boils.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:58 am 
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Bubba Enfield wrote:
TravisM.1 wrote:
The Backwoodsman is one of my favorite magazines.


Only magazine I subscribe to any more. Each issue becomes part of the library, there's no throwaway issues.


Reasons I like ZS:

Awesome stuff I read about.
Awesome references I read about.

Just got a subscription, and never knew it existed before now.

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:11 am 
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For you guys that enjoy The Backwoodsman, check out "Fur~Fish~Game", if you can find it. It's another back-to-basics outdoors magazine. Big focus on trapping, hunting, and fishing. Occasionally an article on camping.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:08 pm 
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Bubba Enfield wrote:
TravisM.1 wrote:
The Backwoodsman is one of my favorite magazines.


......... Each issue becomes part of the library, there's no throwaway issues.


+1 The Backwoodsman is a great mag, I've been getting it for years.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:52 pm 
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Due to all the praise for Backwoodsman, I started a thread asking about your favorite periodicals, over in the Books forum.

Everyone have a safe, prepared, and pleasant weekend.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:25 am 
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dogbane wrote:
When it comes to the old gear, think of what Amundsen, Peary, and Shackleton accomplished with that technology, not to mention Roosevelt, Colonel Whelan, and the other great outdoorsmen.


They all did great things, but they also had HUGE exploration parties to carry their camps around, and the horses and Sherpas often died in the process.

What modern gear has going for it is that it's lighter. you can remain self-sufficient for much longer without needing to pay people to carry your shit around for you.

I still love the old stuff though.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:33 am 
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crypto wrote:
dogbane wrote:
When it comes to the old gear, think of what Amundsen, Peary, and Shackleton accomplished with that technology, not to mention Roosevelt, Colonel Whelan, and the other great outdoorsmen.


They all did great things, but they also had HUGE exploration parties to carry their camps around, and the horses and Sherpas often died in the process.

What modern gear has going for it is that it's lighter. you can remain self-sufficient for much longer without needing to pay people to carry your shit around for you.

I still love the old stuff though.

That was true for some, but hardly a definitive trait.. Peary went to the North Pole with a single companion. Shackleton's was a big expedition, but despite disaster, he only lost the dogs and the ship's cat. Whelen, Nessmuk, and Kephart were often solo, carrying everything they needed. Kephart experimented with lightweight tents using balloon silk. Even for those who didn't go lightweight, mule trains and Model Ts carried the heavy stuff not unlike what we might do with a Jeep or even a Subaru. Weight is only prohibitive if you are on foot, and Nessmuk, et al showed that you can go lightweight even with the old gear.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:36 am 
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Awesome stuff! I love some of my old timey gear. Lockback knives, canvas field bag, etc. Thanks for sharing!


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:24 am 
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TravisM.1 wrote:
For you guys that enjoy The Backwoodsman, check out "Fur~Fish~Game", if you can find it. It's another back-to-basics outdoors magazine. Big focus on trapping, hunting, and fishing. Occasionally an article on camping.

+1 on F-F-G. I have been a subscriber for years and eagerly away each issue.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:44 am 
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Anyone in the Southern Appalacians area who would like to see some folks camping in the old style can do so this weekend. Here is the info:
Quote:
Camping in the Old Style
October 9 - 11, 2008 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Location: Cradle of Forestry, Brevard, NC

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Visit with a small group of outers in a reconstructed campsite of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s!

At this time in history, much of the Pisgah Ranger District belonged to George Vanderbilt. Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the US Forest Service, and Dr. Carl Alwyn Schenck, founder of the Biltmore Forest School, roamed these woods with a mind for conservation. Visit with a small group of campers in a reconstructed campsite typical of that period. Amidst wood smoke and surrounded by the outdoor gear of a bygone era, the traditional skills of camping and trail navigation will be practiced in their proper setting. See four different styles of period shelters, the use of traditional camp tools, old style campfire cookery, and fire by flint, steel and friction.

This event is presented by the Traditional Outdoor Skills program at the Schiele Museum of Natural History located in Gastonia, North Carolina.

General Admission to the site is $5.00 for adults (16 years of age and older) and free for youth (15 and under). Golden Eagle Passports and America the Beautiful passes are honored.

For more information please call the Cradle of Forestry at (828)877-3130.

http://www.cradleofforestry.com/events/ ... dstyle.asp


Cradle of Forestry Web Site

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Kamp Kephart, 2010 course application:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 11:01 pm 
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I went to this year's Kephart. I'll post pics eventually.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:56 am 
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How have I missed this thread?

I have all the nifty nylon gear because that's what was readily available when I got into outdoors stuff. I also have an old canvas-and-leather BSA pack, wool blankets, and other old kit from my grandfather's Scoutmaster days in the 50's. From my own Scout experiences, I also have a lot of respect for turn-of-the 20th century camping ideals.

Very cool stuff, dogbane. Lots of food for thought here.

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