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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:23 pm 
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Went out and did my “summer vacation” this past weekend up in the Memaloose area of the Mt. Hood National Forest. First, I must say, it has been raining a lot this year. Yeah, we’re the PNW and it rains a lot here. That is mostly over exagerrated but this year we are living up to the stereotype. It will not stop raining and warm up. My camp buddy this weekend was Crystal Brandon, a former bartender at the Crystal Ballroom where I used to be a bouncer at, currently a training paramedic and hoping to get into a nursing program. We decided to practice as much bushcraft as we comfortably could while having modern gear nearby incase of emergencies.

This trip report will have many chapters as there are many points I’d like to expand upon that cover many different subforums and I thought it best to stick this whole damn thing in Bushcraft and let y’all sort it out. To whet your appetite here is a list of things I will post about:

1. Chopsticks in the bush
2. Making a lean-to as a wind block and reflector of heat (but not sleeping in it)
3. Cooking meat and stuff over your fire
4. Mushrooms and my lack of education
5. A FRIKKIN BEAR! (and what is better – sleeping with your AK in your little tent on a cold wet and rainy night or sleeping with your S.O. in a bed back in town?)
6. Some of our gear and how it did
7. My Dad and his M6 Scout rifle and other guns

Here’s some “promo” pics of my adventure:
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When it wasn’t raining

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Mora action

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Other than with my girlfriend in a cool bistro, my favortite way to have breakfast – back of truck, Jetboil and in the mountains

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My Dad and yet another new .22lr pistol, he can't stop buying them

Stay tuned, more to come and it might even get exciting.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:33 pm 
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Looking forward to it!

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:45 pm 
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1. Chopsticks

I get up there, after packing the night before and having dinner at my girlfriend's house, Friday morning at around 0900. The weather was not bad then, warm and humid (50 degrees warm) and light cloud cover and the bugs were out. I searched around a few sites and found that they were either trashed from Memorial Day party campers or soggy as it has been raining up there non-stop. The one site I really wanted was soaked and my boot would sink into the dirt/mud a good inch; not a great place to sleep for the night. I ended up parking at the main parking/camping spot for the Memaloose trailhead as most ZSers and relations know that area and Crystal Brandon would know to look there if he did not see me. I parked, cleaned up around the campsites (mostly plastic truck parts, steel wire, soda and beer cans and a ton of Monster Energy Drink cans).

I was not sure when Brandon would show up so I hunkered down and checked out my map. I then got hungry and, since I only had a venti caramel machiatto and a few pints of water for breakfast, I decided brunch was in order.

I set up my mess kit (Jet Boil and such) on my tailgate and whooped out the beef stroganoff to find that I had forgot my Ti spork. Damn. How the Hell does one eat without a spork? Then my 2 seconds of panic end and I realize: "Zombie Squad forums need a tutorial on making chopsticks from logs!!"

How to make chopsticks in the woods:
I took a rather squared log from my woodpile in the back of the truck and split out a plank with my axe.
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I switched off to the knife and split out a blank with batoning:
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I rounded off some and then measure it off using my hand span of 8 ¾ inches:
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Baton straight through to length:
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Soon, ending up with a blank on the left and sized up needing finishing on the right:
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A tad of wittling…
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…and 10 minutes later I ended up with:
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They even work on many medias:
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I used them all weekend – luckily I grew up eating with chopsticks so am pretty proficient with them. I ate everything from the pictured stroganoff to cereal and milk with them.

Speaking of food, from memory my menu this weekend was:

Friday:
MH Beef stroganoff (2/3 of pack)
Water
Chai tea
Cheddar brawts with stick over fire
Chai tea

Saturday:
Granola and milk, hot
water
Coffee
Mashed taters, corn and more of them brawts
Tea
Water and Emergen’C
“bush dinner” of pork over fire, sweet tater over fire and onion over fire
Tea
Water

Sunday
MH eggs and ham with peppers (yeeeeeaaach! Never again)
Coffee
Water
Granola bar

All food was pretty packable if not 100% packable. The cheddar brawts can last about a day+ without refridgeration but I wouldn’t trust them much beyond that. I would actually not pack them and probably replace the brawts with something else like some dehydrated meat or even some smoked meat or jerky.

I did realize that the granola (pecan, raison and honey) is a great breakfast in that you can eat it hot, cold - with or without milk. I usually pack Quaker oatmeal but that just needs to be cooked while the granola does not. The oatmeal is probably better for you but to have an item that can be prepared or absolutely does not need preperation and is delicious regardless is a plus in my opinion.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:26 pm 
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great stuff... looks like a good time... :) i usually use chopsticks while camping/backpacking..

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:50 pm 
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2. Lean-to reflector

I’m always trying to build some sort of improvised shelter. The goal this trip was to make a full on lean-to and sleeping platform. I got about 20% of that actually done. There were a few problems and this time time was not one of them.

After my brunch Brandon had showed up, about 1000, on Friday morning. We discussed my scout of the area and the soggyness of all other camp sites and decided that staying in the current area was best as we know it and any otherss coming to look for us could easily find us. We had a few “probables” coming to camp on Saturday as well as a quasi ZS member coming up on Saturday afternoon to film a part of herr grad school documentary project on survivalists. Brandon also brought his new hammock system to try out for the first time so, in case of hammock failures, he wanted to be near his own car.

My plan was to build a lean-to with a sleeping platform amd stay in that with my sleeping bag and Exped9 airmatress. The problem I had was a lack of building materials. I needed a lot of pole material to do what I wanted to do. There were planty of living trees to cut down for said pole material and I went ahead and selectively cut a few down with both my Wetterlings axe and my Gerber folding saw but after cuttiing down 2 trees that were “near death” I had nothing left but free standing live trees and was just not up tp cutting them down considering all the damage I saw from others while scouting the area out earlier.

Call me a hippy tree-hugger if you want but I wasn’t up for cutting down live healthy trees to practice surviving. If my life was actually in danger than I would and I found plenty of pole material to work with but I paired down the project a bit. I went with just a solid frame, one end secured to a large tree and the other secured via a tripod. I then laid about 5 more poles and a few branches on the header pole and tied my reflective blanket I carry in my “woods” EDC pack – a Mountain Hardware butt pack.

Image

Not the best pic and I did not get any pics of the construction as I was pretty busy actually constructing it. The sucker sure was handy though. It blocked much of the wind and that reflector actually worked real well. I could feel the heat of the fire behind me as well as in front. This next pic is from Saturday night during the downpour, Brandon and I huddled under the thing after dinner smoking cigarettes and drinking tea. Our backs stayed dry while our fronts got some of the rain coming in but the fire kept us quasi dry and really warm. The temps got under 40 degrees Saturday night.

The whole thing is held together with pieces of paracord, small zip ties and some natural cordage I made from bark.

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As for me sleeping under it? No go. I started raining hard and I did not bring my bivy bag so I did not want to risk getting my bag soaked. I set up my tent next to my truck and slept there instead all weekend.

The one thing I’ll do different next time is to tie off the lower edge closer to the ground as wind went through that space occasionally sending a chill on your butt and up your back some times. The mistake was made in tieing off the top of the reflective blaket first. Next time I tie off the bottom first to close off that opening as wind going over the top is not a concern.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:45 pm 
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3. Cooking dinner over the fire in camp

There’s lots of different ways to cook food in the bush – from jillion dollar camp kitchens to fire and sticks. We wanted to practice the most basic methods of applying heat to food, roasting. Neither Brandon or I are hunters. We want to leanr to hunt just not currently doing it. I bought some rock game hens to cook but forgot them in the freezer st home so when I went into town Saturday for some supplies I picked up some pork rib cuts, a huge sweet potato and a sweet onion.

Right to it – I knew the pork would need to cook for at least 2 hours. I started by sticking the ribs in some mini loaf pans that I usually pack a few of. I also had a few more in my “kitchen” bin in my truck. We also used some of that wire I scavenged from the clean up Friday. I, luckily, wrapped the wire up on a stick and threw it in my truck bed. We got it out and rigged it to be a handle on the loaf pans and another piece was used as a hook to hang it over the fire for slow roasting. We also had a big hunk of boneless pork shoulder that I would do a few things with after I stuck a stick through it.

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Initial sear

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Ribs roasting in loaf pans over fire, big hunk-o-meat on stick getting seared over fire and smoke, some sweet taters in loaf pans roasting on rocks, me in background using down time to clean and sharpen my knife and a few other things like making cordage and BSing with brandon.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:59 am 
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Nice use of loaf pans. Cheap. Light. Can fold them up compact. Don't lose drippings in the fire.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:55 am 
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Cool trip! Looking forward to more!

(But how do you forget the bivy bag?)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:18 am 
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Looking forward for moar, esp info on the bear :shock:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:20 am 
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Great job so far...

MOAR!!! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:31 am 
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A well spent weekend! 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:46 am 
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Kutter_0311 wrote:
Cool trip! Looking forward to more!

(But how do you forget the bivy bag?)


I'm getting old! :lol: Better get used to not having stuff.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:13 pm 
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4. Mushrooms and my lack of knowledge thereof

This one is easy, no pics.

I saw about 6 distinctly different species of mushrooms growing all over the place. This does not include the 2 different shelf fungi growing on trees (red band and one other). None of these were weird colored, all various shades of tan to brown. If I would've known what was edible and what was not it would have been a harvest of epic proportions. There were literally hundreds of mushrooms all over the place within a 5 minute walk from camp.

This has inspired me and Crystal Brandon to try to hit up an OMS (Oregon Mycological Society) meeting and learn more about these. Heck, I'm planning to curb some of my time geared towards shooting training and re-directing it towards foraging and wild edibles in general.

The only thing that would've topped off the above posted meal of roasted meet, onion and sweet potato would've been some wild mushrooms and maybe some whiskey.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:30 pm 
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5. A FRIKKIN BEAR!

Saturday morning, it was only misting on us. I decided it would be good to go into town (2 hours round trip) to pick up some fire wood and the aforementioned dinner fixings as neither of us can handle too much MH and dried food. I take off in my truck at around 1000 while Brandon gets to work on personal skills (wet fire building and adjusting his hammock set up).

On the way back into camp I run across Tiffany and her Husband John who were coming up to meet us to film some scenes for her documentary on survivalist types. I take a right on the last 3/4 mile of road into camp and come around a bend and see the biggest dog I ever done seen pop out of the bush on the right and stop right in the middle of the road. I skid to a stop and realize that 'aint no dog but a "teen" bear cub about 100 or so pounds and 10 yards in front of me. That little guy is looking right at me and my truck. I wave my arm out the window hoping John and Tiffany don't rear-end me and they don't. I look in my rear-view mirror to see Tiffany fumbling with her camera when I see the bear realize we're dangerous humans and it takes off up the other side of the ride into the hills straight towards Memaloose lake where I know some hikers are up there that day.

Now logically, that guy and his kin 'aint going to hurt nobody but my concern was in the fact that it was wandering around in a pretty populated area and there was even some guys shooting at a designated shooting pit 100 yards as well as some ATVers going up and down that road all morning.

Anyways, we get to camp and Brandon had a bad go at getting a fire started so we worked on that and Tiffany filmed us doing so for her doc. We then discussed all our "bear knowledge" and fear and bearanoia reigned supreme. Funny how, no matter how experienced and tough one is, you go back to fear and myth as soon as you get a test of your knowledge and experience. Our main concern was that our dinner that night was going to be roasting meat over open fire. I also pulled out my AK and had that by me at all times as well as my woods EDC of a Glock 19 with heavy hollow points.

Suffice to say, that rainy and cold Saturday night, I was curled up in my tent with my AK and Surefire flashlight certain that some pissed mama bear would come ripping through us at any moment. I ended up just sleeping... bearly *ba dum tish*

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:27 pm 
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I did report my bear sighting to the Mt. Hood NAtional Forest ranger office. It got forwarded to the head biologist for the region. Here are some excerpts from his response to me:

Quote:
I am glad you took the time to report your sighting. I'm surprised it was your first bear sighting on the Mt Hood because black bears are VERY common on the Mt Hood. I have seen more bears here than elk. Now if you see an elk then you have a good sighting :-)


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We do a remote camera study with volunteers and in the summer black bears are the dominate species that shows up in the photos. I see black bears about every 4-5 times I travel on the forest and every other time I'm in the Bullrun watershed. One time there I had been on my third trip without seeing a bear and then two showed up to even it out.


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Black bear attacks are rare, but they can happen. Don't play dead with a black bear. Fight back. Because if one attacks you it means to eat you. Not like a grizzly that sometimes just wants to disable you.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:02 pm 
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6. Some thoughts on gear being used

Knives:
This is the roughest I have used my Mora to date. I was constantly using it.
Image

I even tipped it some when I absent-mindedly shoved it in the ground to stash it so I could do something 2 handed and it hit the one rock in the dirt. Some time on the Lansky puck and it looks like it has a regular tip again. As I and others have said, and it will keep being said, in every "What knife should I get" thread: Start with a Mora and go from there. I never even handled a Mora until 2 years ago, and I've been carrying kinves since 1979, and it still impresses me more than any other knife I ever used in the woods.

Also, I've been necking my Mora since last Fall and I really like that method of carry for a small bush knife. I had it going all weekend, while shooting with my chest rig on, and all the way back into town Sunday late afternoon. I can safely that this is my prefered way to carry my bush knife though pocket and belt are good options too.

I F-ed up my Wetterlings a tad while cutting down poles for my lean-to. I was cutting real low and hit a few rocks a few times. I'm still in the process of taking the knicks out but it was ugly. I'm not even going to post pics because it is down-right disrespectful what I did to that thing. Rocks + the edge of your tool = bad.

Spanky, the Spetz, did good at all his duties as usual, you can even see him in some of the pics sticking out of the ground near the camp fire. I gave him a good filing on the edges beofre the trip though and a good honing Friday night with the Lansky puck.
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find Spanky!!
Light splitting duties, fire adjusting, digging out the fire pit and cat holes, hooking my collapsible bucket handle on the spade part to get that extra reach to fetch water from the creek, shaving the poles of little branches, baton when the real baton got used as a bigger piece of kindling, spatula to get the hunk of pork off the rock we ended up roasting it on... not the perfect tool but mediocre at many jobs.

I got a Gerber Saw for under $20 about a month ago and this weekend was the first weekend I used it. Meh... it did all right but it seemed a bit wiggly and loose around where the saw blade meets handle. No real opinion or review yet, this will come in due time as I like to use my stuff before reviewing it.

On the other side, Brandon's sharps for the weekend were 2 rather simple choices: CS Bushman and Leatherman Wave. Though I never doubted it, I was thoroughly impressed with the Bushman.
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Crystal Brandon, seeing my chopsticks, decides to carve himself a large wooden spoon for his dinner using his Bushman

The main thing that impressed me was on Saturday afternoon, when we decided on building the spit over the fire and using that to do our cooking from, we found the two perfect pieces. They were already cut down to about 3 feet off the ground so were dead-dieing anyways, but we needed to cut them as flush to the rock littered ground as we could and my axe was still crying for the knicks it got from that very scenerio the day before. Brandon had carved us a dedicated baton Friday so he batoned his Bushman, at ground level, right through the 2 inch thick trees and a matter of 5-6 baton strikes.

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The cooking frame we made over the fire - all 3 pieces of wood were felled by batoning a CS Bushman right through them - also, Brandon whittling his "dagger"

Brandon's Bushman handled the big jobs and his LM Wave handled all the rest. He did use Spanky quite a bit though and thinks that will cover all his bases if he gets one.

Ooops, my lunch break is over ... more gear to come. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:24 pm 
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DrunkWookiee wrote:
Don't lose drippings in the fire.


After we ate the ribs, I poured a bit of water in the loaf pan to clean it out some before tossing it due to the bear sighting and ended up just "deglazing" them over the coals and human sumping the pork tea :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:29 pm 
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more gear thoughts:

I picked up an Exped 9 mat at REI in April and this trip was it's fourth outing since then. I've used it enough to form an opinion: The damn thing, though it packs big and is a few pounds, is worth it's weight. I sleep well on it and I even worked up a sweat in April on a 35 degree night with the Exped 9. I just need to keep using the thing as the biggest problem I have with it so far is deflating it to get it to pack into the supplied bag. I did not pay the full $199 for it as I had a 20% off coupon and $26 in REI rebate. Still pricey but after 30 decades of thin foam pad the Exped 9 is a welcome change.

Regarding my shelter: I think I want to try something new but am not sure what yet. I have been using an REI Half Dome for about 6 years now and, though a great little tent and all, I think I want something more "open". As mentioned and as most of you have heard, it rains here a lot. I have only set up my tent without the all enclosed rainfly once and that was nice. Getting in and out of it with rainfly is getting a little old as there is always at least a tinge of drama there. I also don't like the fact that I have one little window to see out of with the rainfly on and I want at least a 180 degree view if not more.

I'm thinking bivy/bag/pad/poncho-tarp combo next but am still not sure. Bugs are an issue. This will have to be pondered on and if anyone has suggestions than suggest away.

Coming up next... going shooting with Dad! 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:55 pm 
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ninja-elbow wrote:
I'm thinking bivy/bag/pad/poncho-tarp combo next but am still not sure. Bugs are an issue. This will have to be pondered on and if anyone has suggestions than suggest away.


If bugs are an issue maybe a tarp/hammock/net?

That's one of the reasons I prefer winter camping. NO EFFING BUGS!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:00 pm 
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DrunkWookiee wrote:
ninja-elbow wrote:
I'm thinking bivy/bag/pad/poncho-tarp combo next but am still not sure. Bugs are an issue. This will have to be pondered on and if anyone has suggestions than suggest away.


If bugs are an issue maybe a tarp/hammock/net?

That's one of the reasons I prefer winter camping. NO EFFING BUGS!!!


Brandon used his hammock for the first time this weekend and though he said he was incredibly comfortable, he had a ton of other issues to work out - namely he froze his ass off in 40degree weather and I was toasty as a baby in my tent with the Exped9. A hammock is on the list, though lower, and I am researching ways to keep those insulated.

Yeah, no bugs in winter. I like that too :D 'Cept spiders.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:29 pm 
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The Downmat rocks though I am on my 3rd one. The old valves are full of fail and hope the new flat valves on the updated Downmat they sent me for free (great CS) will hold up better.

I am no expert on Black bears but read some attacks on people (very rare) can be predatory and they have been known to eat their prey alive. Guessing playing dead isn’t an option in that case. I hang my food up about 10 feet and maybe 5 feet from the trunk at least 100 feet or so from my camp. I will clean up any pots etc as well. Guessing not giving them a reason to stumble into my camp will reduce the chances of any encounter but to be perfectly honest I am more concerned about destroyed gear and eaten food.

I use a bug bivy during the height of bug season for tarp/bivy combo. I have smaller ones like the Equinox mantis but will use my custom made MLD bivy or the now discontinued OR double bug bivy far more often.

I kinda screwed up the edge on my Wetterlings the same way a few years back. To be honest I am having a hell of a time getting it back to a sharp edge (by my standards). I gotta work on that some more.

Have you ever tried cooking meat directly on the coals? If not that I like to hang food over hard wood coals with Black Birch cooking sticks. Does wonders with Brookies.

Yea I also like my Mora knives too but clearly even later to the party than you.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:41 am 
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ninja-elbow wrote:
Kutter_0311 wrote:
Cool trip! Looking forward to more!
(But how do you forget the bivy bag?)

I'm getting old! :lol: Better get used to not having stuff.

I generally keep my bags packed away together, all inside the bivy, and that inside the stuff sack. That way it's all ready to grab and go and use. I knew other grunts that would get an opportunity to rack out, and ended up spending the whole time trying to get their bags together in the dark. A couple guys even had wet bags because they hadn't packed them into the bivy. Didn't stop them from sleeping, though...
ninja-elbow wrote:
Cheddar brawts with stick over fire

Those sound like 'brats' (pronounced "brots" here on the Tundra)
ninja-elbow wrote:
I also pulled out my AK and had that by me at all times as well as my woods EDC of a Glock 19 with heavy hollow points.
Quote:
Black bear attacks are rare, but they can happen. Don't play dead with a black bear. Fight back. Because if one attacks you it means to eat you. Not like a grizzly that sometimes just wants to disable you.

Ya know, x39 may not be immediately lethal to a largish mama bear, but she may at least be dissuaded by 20 or 30 rounds. Never feel bad about up-arming. Listen to those hairs on the back of your neck. 99.9% of the time it may be nothin, but that tenth of a percent can be the end of you...

Also, this joke, 'cuz I had to...
Quote:
The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain Parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.
They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.
Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.
Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.

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JAYNE COBB wrote:
Well, what you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar.
TravisM.1 wrote:
If a rifle is an option, a rifle is usually the answer.
minengr wrote:
I've said it numerous times, a quality rig is only as good as it's weakest link. Which usually is the nut behind the butt.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:52 am 
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Doing research tonight and with Brandon being the experiment I think I just might go hammock. I even saw one guy on the netz that was using his Exped Downmat 7 in his hammock. Brandon had his problems the first night - namely not knowing where or how to store his stuff without getting wet and his ass getting cold. He got it tuned well enough via fiddlin' with his tarp and tying off some stuff sacks for gear inside and outside his tent. He also threw down some of his clothes under him for ventilation and is now working on something more permanent.

He slept pretty late Sunday, we both sort of did being we were both pretty bearanoid. Since it was raining so hard and we did not need firewood for Sunday we just piled the wood we had left on to the fire before bed and hoped that kept going for a few hours keeping creeping boogey men away and then we'd be asleep by then and not worried about it. I kept waking up every 30 minutes though thinking I heard something and unzipping my tent and looking around with my Surefire (E2D). That sucker lights it up BTW 8)

Yep, working on my organization skills. I have a pretty stnadard backpacking set-up but I think I'm in transition now with all the new gear I picked up in the last 2 years. That bivy is one of the new items and i just plum forgot to pack it.

Brats, brawts... they were on sale and had "cheddar" in them. :) You Wisconsinianers spell it funny :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:14 am 
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ninja-elbow wrote:
Yep, working on my organization skills. I have a pretty stnadard backpacking set-up but I think I'm in transition now with all the new gear I picked up in the last 2 years. That bivy is one of the new items and i just plum forgot to pack it.

Brats, brawts... they were on sale and had "cheddar" in them. :) You Wisconsinianers spell it funny :lol:

Yeah, and we have towns with funny names. IIRC, Sugarbush is south of Dykesville... :shock:

At least you didn't hafta freeze, so it all comes down to the lesson learned...

_________________
JAYNE COBB wrote:
Well, what you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar.
TravisM.1 wrote:
If a rifle is an option, a rifle is usually the answer.
minengr wrote:
I've said it numerous times, a quality rig is only as good as it's weakest link. Which usually is the nut behind the butt.


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