Sami Coffee / Tinder Bag

Sami style coffee bagI’ve been wanting to put one of these bags together for a while. The bags the Sami make are made from reindeer leather but as it’s not easy to get hold of in the uk so much I’ve used a 1.5mm veg tanned leather.

The actual use of the bag has many uses but I wanted 2 bags one for ground coffee and one for tinder.

I made the template out of cardboard and used the circumference of a cd and then just extended the neck, what I have done for future bags is extended the length of the neck from the original design as it was a little too short.

I cut out the back and front and measured the middle section and cut that out.

The weaved tin thread was purchased direct from Sweden it is a typical thread used in Sami craft (duodji).

First thing the thread is platted together and then using glue fixed to a piece of leather the same length as the area it will cover on the face of the bag.

Using thin nylon thread the weave is stitched to the leather then that piece of leather is glued to the front of the bag and then stitched.

Using a stitch marking wheel the stitch is marked out and the side panel is stitched onto the front (with bag inside out) using artificial sinew.

The securing leather is stitched onto the back panel then this is then stitched onto the side and front panel as before.

First attemptThe bag is then turned the correct way and there you have it your own coffee/tinder bag.

My first attempt used a black spun copper thread and black thread. I wasn’t to happy with the stitching so changed the way it was stitched. Also this bag has a carved piece of antler as a clasp for the retaining straps

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Coffee and Bacon

Bacon cooking over open fire.
Simple method do cooking bacon over an open fire..

Quick morning out along the river with the chance to hang some bacon and have a brew after clearing a load of brambles on the land.

Lovely spring morning was warm enough to see a grass snake bathing in the sun.

Cleared a good section of brambles to clear the 3rd marsh then time to use the primitive fire kit, make a fire, release the bacon and have a brew.

Primitive fire lighting kit

My fire lighting kit consists of a steel striker, flint, Birch bark, char cloth and a piece of fat wood.

Cooking like this is fairly simple just a stick above the fire and slowly allow bacon to cook over fire whilst heating water in the fire.

Whittling.  Had a chance to find a piece of green willow to have a go a whittling a coffee measuring spoon for my next project which will be a leather ground coffee bag. I’m just waiting for items to be delivered before I start this project.

The whittling knife and spoon knives are hand made from a guy I found on Facebook and I’ve been trying to find his details but I can’t find them to tag him but the are wonderful items.

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Sami Knives and Sami duodji

Sami Knives and Sami duodji

I really love the intricacy of the carvings in sami duodji.  I’ve always wanted a handmade Puukko (sami knife).  The chance of purchasing one came whilst taking part in the Fjallraven Classic in Sweden last year.

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Why did I want one?

Many reasons really, the fact that they are a true all round knife, handmade and they can be so artistically made as well.

Sami Duodji

Sami Knives and Sami duodji is so beautiful and the hours that go into their work is unbelievable.

The Sami people, also spelled Sámi or Saami, are the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

The Sámi

The Sámi are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe.

Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding.

Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding.

Currently about 10% of the Sami are connected to reindeer herding and 2,800 are actively involved in herding on a full-time basis.

For traditional, environmental, cultural and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries.

Having such a strong tie to reindeer, the basis for most of their handicraft, antlers, leather and bone are all used in many different ways.

Sami Knives and Sami duodji

Puukko or Leuku?

Sami Knives and Sami duodji
Puukko from carved antler in a antler and leather sheath.

The Puukko: The basic components of a puukko are a handle and a blade along with a sheath, which can usually be attached to a belt but sometimes to a shirt or coat button.

The blade is short, typically no longer than the handle and often less than 4″ (100 mm)

The Knike makers put great pride in carving their Sami Knives and Sami duodji Puukko’s handles and the sheath are made from reindeer antler this is normally carved as well.

The carvings are coloured with powdered bark.

The Sheath

The sheath is normally made from birch burlap and / or reindeer antler, the end of the sheath is normally curved to assist in gripping the sheath when wearing thick mittens.

Over generations, this knife has become intimately tied to Nordic culture and, in one or another version, is part of many national costumes.

A good puukko is equal parts artistic expression and tool. Making it requires a lot of different skills: not only those of a bladesmith, but also those of a carver, a jeweller, a designer, and a leatherworker to make the sheath.

Sami Knives and Sami duodjiLeuku: The handle is generally made from birch for better grip when used in snowy conditions.

This provides better control over the blade, particularly when using draw strokes, which are preferred when handling the knife with gloves.

The tang runs through the handle. The handle has no crossguard. Traditional material for the sheath is reindeer leather.

The blade’s edge often has a Scandinavian (or “Scandi”) grind, i.e. a single flat bevel. The blade should be strong enough to split (reindeer) bones, and tempered to sustain low temperatures. Some Sami knives have fullers.

The Sami people typically use two knives.

Components used.

Sami Knives and Sami duodji
Birch Burl Kuksa

The basic components of a puukko are a handle and a blade along with a sheath.

These are to be attached to a belt but sometimes to a shirt or coat button.

The traditional material for the handle is curly (masur) birch, great sallow root, birch bark, horn (especially elk and reindeer), scrimshaw and bone are also used.

The handle is made from various materials between spacers.

Today, however, industrially made puukkos often have plastic handles like the Mora Knives.

Sami Craftsman

I came across a Sami craftsman through instagram one day and found myself looking through his photos of his fantastic Sami Knives and Sami duodji covering kuksas, puukko’s (Sami knives) and other Sami handicraft.

The craftsman name is Jørn Are Keskitalo from Kautokeino in Northern Norway.

His work is typical Duodji.  Duodji is a traditional Sami handicraft, dating back to a time when the Sami were far more isolated from the outside world than they are today.

Duodji tools, clothing and accessories are functional and useful, and may also incorporate artistic elements.

This Sami duodji artist is able to bring function and art together in a delicate way.

These functional items include knives, jewelry, bags, kuksas, certain articles of clothing, etc.

His facebook page shows his work and you can purchase from there or contact by email.  Have a look at some of his work on his instagram feed @jakesk9
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Hammock Camping: The Good and the Bad.

I don’t when and how I started hammock camping I think it came from having a cheap camping hammock in a camping box that got setup for the kids whilst camping once.

Hammock camping is so much more versatile than ground dwelling and extremely adaptable to weather conditions.

I started of researching equipment online and looking at various videos on YouTube people where posting about advice and different methods. As I said I started off with a cheap parachute hammock and a Quechua tarp I use whilst camping as an additional shelter.

Through trial, error and research I have found a method that I use regularly.

I found out the hard way that sleeping in a hammock in just a sleeping bag got really cold due to the compression of the sleeping bag underneath me.

I decided that hammock camping was for me and I researched what hammock I was going to buy.

Frontline hammock from DD Hammocks
Frontline hammock from DD Hammocks showing the mosquito net and snake skin on the right side used for storing hammock).

There’s loads out there on the market but I had chose a British made hammock from dd hammocks I really liked the look of the frontier hammock as it had a built in Mosquito net and also has the ability to slide a sleep mat into as I found out just laying a sleep mat into a hammock the mat will always move and you will become exposed to the elements.

The frontline hammock comes with tapes in each end to strap to tree trunks but after some research I wanted to adapt my hammock and install some whoopie slings into it.

Frontline Hammock showing the underblanket attached
Frontline Hammock showing the underblanket attached

The great thing about dd hammocks is the ability to attach their under blanket to the hammock. This item really does give you a warm nest to sleep in.

The underblanket hangs underneath the hammock creating a void holding warm air below you as you sleep.

Whoopie slings.
Whoopie slings make adjusting the ‘hang’ (height) of your hammock super quick and easy and no knots are required. Adjustable length is roughly from 40cm to 180cm per sling giving you plenty of room to choose suitable.
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I said it before that hammock camping is so versatile and it is, different tarp configurations for different weather, conditions and also the tarp itself  has multi-use.
Even when there are no trees to hang between there are many different ways to turn your tarp into a shelter.  Personally I find a 3m x 3m tarp the perfect size the one I use regularly is a dd hammocks 3×3 tarp but I would like to look into swapping this for a lightweight tarp.
I’ve played with different configurations for making a shelter and there’s two that I use.
Tarp
There’s many different ways to hang your tarp over your hammock and these all really depend on the conditions and weather.  If its really hot then you would want it out quite wide for airflow, if it is snowing then it would want to be in quite close so that snow slides off the tarp and perhaps if its windy the ends would be required to be closed to control the amount of wind zapping that heat out of your sleep system.
I use a 3m x 3m tarp and it is hung using a continuous ridge line.  The continuous ridge-line is made from 2mm amsteel and is about 10m long.  It runs through the centre tabs on the tarp, around a tree and is attached back to the centre edge tab using a soft shackle.  The other end goes around the tree and is attached to the centre edge tab using a soft shackle attached to a prusik knot to create tension.  Have a look at the video all iv’e done is replace the carabiners with soft shackles made from amsteel
My hammock camping kit
  • DD Frontline Hammock (with whoopie slings)
  • DD 3m x 3m Tarp
  • 8 x lightweight aluminium pegs (4 of which are rigged with 1.5m of 2mm amsteel for use with the tarp worms.
  • 1 x guy line for using if setting up a tarp tent).
  • 2 x Tree Huggers
  • Continious ridge line (made from 2mm amsteel with a soft shackle one end and a prusik knot and soft shackle on the other end.

The only other thing I would really consider is how to deal with rain running down you woopie slings.

How to stop rain egress onto hammock.

The easiest method I have found is attach a small length of line onto the whoopie slings before the hammock.

This will allow rain to follow its course and drip to the floor without getting your hammock wet.

Hammock Bling

There is so many bit you can purchase online to assist with hammock camping from clips, water breaks etc etc but to be honest by keeping it simple it has made my hanging equipment light and hassle free.  The only items of bling I have purchased is some tarp worms.  These are brilliant at keeping a bit of tension in the tarp and also allows me to have 4 x pegs with 2mm amsteel attached on them permanently so they are quick and useful when setting up the hex peek tarp shelter. Have a look at the items available at Dutchware
Tarp Tents
The great thing about hammock camping whilst hiking or even just taking a tarp is that your shelter can be built weather depending.  I don’t know what this method is called but its my favourite configuration if the weather isn’t extreme.  All that is needed is…
  1. 3m x 3m tarp
  2. 2 x trekking poles (or sticks but adjustable treking poles work the best).
  3. 7 x tent pegs
  4. 3 x guide lines (or a length of paracord)

There’s a good amount of space inside this you can fit two people and gear inside this configuration.

I could sit and write about how to errect this shelter but it would be easier for you to understand watching this youtube video on how to do it until i get time to get around to making my own ‘howto’ video.

Open Front Tarp Tent

Now the above method is ok if the weather is on your side but if it isn’t then there is a configuration to completely enclose yourself, the Tetra configuration.  Now remember a tarp shelter will not be 100% waterproof, you need to think about lay of the land, will water run underneath or down the hill.  Thinking about where you pitch this shelter is just as important as what configuration you will use.

Tetra configuration

This is perfect if the weather is against you.  You an completely enclose yourself inside, the door can be a bit fiddly to use but it will serve its purpose on protecting you from the the elements.

Problems with this configuration:

  • Can get very hot inside (only really good if major downpour)
  • Can condensate very easily if no air flow.
  • Access and egress can be a little bit of pain.

Hammock CampingHammock camping it comfortable, versatile, lightweight and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to setup.

You can camp all through the year as long as you are prepared with the correct equipment and setups.

Have a look at some of the equipment available at DD Hammocks

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‘That’s not a knife!’

So many different knives out in the market all for different jobs but what is the best all rounder?

There’s handmade, custom made and off the shelf.

I’ve had plenty of knives and still own a lot of them but what is the best?

I personally think that you can’t beat a Mora. So versatile, well priced, keeps an edge and easy to sharpen. I have mine in purpose made sheath that also holds a ferro rod.

The other knife I really rate is a handmade Sami Pukko. I purchased two in northern Sweden last year. They weren’t cheap but I love the fact it hangs on my side, razor sharp, really versatile and holds very well. The only adaption I have made to one of them is using a dremel to grind a curved striker on the spine to strike a ferro rod on.

I tend to keep these sharp all the time and just use a Lansky sharpening system to keep them in tune.

Out of all of the sharpening stones / kit this is a brilliant sharpening kit.

It keeps the stones at exactly the correct angle, you have a choice of 4 different angles to crest the correct edge for what ever you are using your knife for.

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