Swedish Army LK35 Rucksack

LK35

Swedish Army LK35 Rucksack

I’d read about these rucksacks a while ago and the Swedish Army Lk35 Rucksack appealed to me. I liked the old school metal frame and thought this would be a great bag for bushcraft and more importantly I wanted something I could use for hammock camping.

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Tapping Birch Trees in the Spring.

Its that time of the year when for tapping birch trees. 

Winter is trying to release its grip on Northern Europe, with the odd slip of a frost and recently a lot of rain coming of the land and flooding the river valleys.  

It is also the time when nature starts to wake from its winters sleep and life starts to flow through the veins of animals and plants. Continue reading “Tapping Birch Trees in the Spring.”

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Medical Kit

I was reading a thread the other day on bushcraft Facebook page concerning what people carry in there medical / first aid kits. So it had me thinking do I carry to much or not enough.

The bizzare things I read people carry led me to think should you med kit depend on what you’re doing / going? Well yes I do think that the amount and contents should vary depending on what you are doing.

Someone had posted their message kit was in a large box weighing 5kg and included Israeli dressings, adrenaline, suture kit, full resus equipment and other items. Yes I’m a deep believer in ‘if you haven’t got it’ ‘you can’t use it’ but realistically look at the chance that you would need all of this. If you are camping out of a car then yes consider a larger kit.

Personally I have a small waterproof medical kit that is used in my day bag, a larger kit which is stocked for a longer duration and another pack that is used is I am a good distance from civilisation.

The other thing to think of is if the brown stuff hits the fan. How do you contact emergency service? We are lucky in the uk as mobile phone coverage is pretty good but if there is no signal how do you gain assistance?

The device I used whilst walking the Fjallraven Classic in Sweden was a SPOT tracker, this is a subscription device that locates you using gps and in emergency you can press a button and it will send a pre-determined message to emergency services in your area. The other great services it offers is you can press another button that will send an ‘OK’ message to predetermined email addresses and mobile numbers giving a link to your location to be viewed online. Also it can connect to your social media sharing your location.

But the question is what to take? So here’s a low down on what I carry in my hiking bag for a multiple day excursion.Extended duration medical kit

From left to right

  • Emergency blanket
  • Gauze
  • Impregnated gauze
  • Betadine
  • Bandage
  • Sack on

Bottom row

  • Wound glue
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread (used for treating blisters)
  • Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
  • Smecta (diarrhoea treatment)
  • Stern strips
  • Plasters

Day kit

This is in a waterproof box and is taken on trips on water, hiking and fishing. It is relatively small but has enough for basics.

As we any piece of kit it is a good idea to have items that are use for instance if you replaced the betadine with potassium permanganate you would have something to clean wounds, sterilise water to make it drinkable and if mixed with glycerol is a great emergency fire starter.

Items in box

  • Plasters
  • Betadine
  • Surgical tape
  • Bandage
  • Steristrips

Obviously each kit should be tailored to your personal medical needs ie allergic reactions and regular medication should always be carried in a waterproof container. Also emergency contacts and medical he is handy to have kept on person or in medical box.

There really is no need to carry a personal A&E with you unless you are really that accident prone, if you are that bad then you need to consider if you have suitable enough experience to be out by yourself or a distance away from emergency help.

Everything you carry is designed really for self help.

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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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Jerky

dehydrator beef jerky

I absolutely love jerky it’s so versatile and perfect for snacking when out fishing, hiking or at work.
The word jerky comes from the Quechua word ch’arki which means “dried, salted meat”.  All that is needed to produce basic “jerky” is a low-temperature drying method, and salt to inhibit bacterial growth. I use a dehydrator to slowly dry mine.
The method I use is as follows but you can vary the marinade which I do by adding more spice which stops the children from eating it all!
Find a lean cut of beef I find that silverside is the best cut, out it in the freezer for a few hours just to make it easier to slice.
Slice into thin steaks no more than 10mm, trim all the fat and gristle of it it then cut into long strips against the grain of the meat (otherwise it will be really chewy) then set aside and prepare to make the marinade.
Marinade
1 large ziplock bag
Worcester sauce
Teriyaki sauce
3 x garlic cloves
Liquid smoke
Coriander seeds
In the ziplock bag empty the hole bottle of teriyaki sauce, a good shake of Worcester sauce, smash the garlic cloves and about a teaspoon of liquid smoke and the same of coriander seeds.
Put the meat strips into the bag and make sure that the marinade is touching all of the meat by massaging the bag once all of the meat is in the bag.
Leave in the fridge for 24hrs turning the bag a few times and massaging the meat.
When you’re ready to start drying get everything laid out.
Lay out some kitchen roll, take meat from the fridge and I find wearing latex gloves saves a lot of mess.
Lay the meat on the kitchen roll, when the kitchen roll is full of meat, lay another piece on top of the meat and pat it down.
Remove the top layer of kitchen roll and get ready with your rub. I use Nando’s peri peri rub but use whatever you like. Sprinkle over meat then pat down with kitchen roll again then gently remove strips and place on the dehydrator tray making sure there is space between each piece of meat.
Once all of the trays are full turn dehydrator on full for about 4hrs then I leave over night on low then in morning it all done.
Make sure that the jerky is cool before bagging.
I vacuum pack some bags so it last longer and leave a big bag for Work and for the kids they prefer jerky to all this dreadful snacks available to them.

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