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Category: Northern Forest Bushcraft

Bloodvein River Trip – My Personal Gear

Bloodvein River Trip – My Personal Gear

People are always interested in other people’s gear. It’s certainly an area I’m asked a lot of questions about. As I get older, I’m less and less interested in outdoor clothing and equipment for any reason other than function and reliability. That said, I understand it can be instructive to compare and contrast with the experience of others. Also, I hate having too much clobber with me on journeys. In this respect my decisions always come back to function. Simple…

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Six Men, Three Boats and The Bloodvein: Canoeing A Wilderness River

Six Men, Three Boats and The Bloodvein: Canoeing A Wilderness River

Rory, our pilot – about one third the age of the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver he was flying – took the plane into a banked turn as we descended towards Artery Lake. About 31 minutes earlier we had taken off from Red Lake. Malcolm was the other passenger. Just behind him, to the rear of the small fuselage, was our personal kit, a barrel of food and some canoe paddles. Outside, strapped to the port float struts was a 16ft…

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Arctic Lean-To Revisited

Arctic Lean-To Revisited

Lean-to shelters have become one of the touchstones of bushcraft, particularly northern forest bushcraft. They are often held up as superb survival shelter – in combination with a long log fire – ideal for surviving cold conditions with limited or no sleeping equipment. This combination is indeed very effective in keeping you warm through the night. It is entirely possible to comfortably sleep outside in ambient temperatures significantly lower than inside a domestic freezer. It’s worth bearing in mind, however,…

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Choosing And Using A Snow Shovel For Winter Camping And Travel

Choosing And Using A Snow Shovel For Winter Camping And Travel

If you ask people to draw up a list of the equipment they think important to take with them on a winter journey or on a winter camping trip, particularly in the northern forest, they might state an axe for felling dead standing wood for firewood. They might also state a saw for sawing up that firewood into manageable lengths but…

Hestra Bivak Meets Lovikka: My Quest For Perfect Winter Handwear

Hestra Bivak Meets Lovikka: My Quest For Perfect Winter Handwear

In cold environments, a very good set of mittens is essential. A truly good set of mittens is hard to find, though. There’s a lot of tat on the market. Plus mittens that are ideal for one type of environment or activity are not necessarily ideal for another. For a long time I was looking for my ideal set of mittens for winter trips in the boreal forest. Over the years I’ve tried a fair few different models of gloves…

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Rosebay Willowherb: Taking The Pith

Rosebay Willowherb: Taking The Pith

Rosebay willowherb, Chamerion angustifolium (also known as Epilobium angustifolium) is a widespread plant of the Northern Hemisphere. Known as Fireweed to many, particularly in North America, this name reflects the plant’s appearance following forest fires and other events which leave the earth scorched. With greater light on the earth again, C. angustifolium seeds then germinate and grow in the cleared areas until competition crowds them out. This tendency to appear from scorched earth also gave rise to the name Bombweed…

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Axe Choice For The Northern Forest

Axe Choice For The Northern Forest

In the Northern Forest, an axe is your most important cutting tool. There is a general trend amongst outdoors people to carry quite small axes. These small axes are very wieldy, yet you can apply to them to large jobs such as felling trees as well as quite fine jobs such as carving useful implements and splitting quite fine firewood. However, in the Northern Forest, it’s my view, that a larger axe than this has specific advantages…

Tree Felling For Winter Firewood: Axe and Saw

Tree Felling For Winter Firewood: Axe and Saw

In this video I look at felling dead, standing timber for firewood in winter. The felling technique involves the use of both the axe and the saw to create a very controlled cut and fall. Further, axe and saw techniques for sectioning the trunk are demonstrated and discussed. Whether you are hot-tenting or bivouacking with a fire, these skills should be in your winter bushcraft repertoire. I hope you enjoy the video and find it useful. Let me know what…

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Winter Magic: Return To The Northern Forest

Winter Magic: Return To The Northern Forest

Each winter I like to get away to the snow. I enjoy winter mountain walking in Scotland. Ski touring in Norway is also a favourite. But the northern forest in winter has a special allure which is hard to escape. I’ve experienced this environment many times and I’ve certainly written about my love of it before. Despite many visits, the pull of the boreal forest seems to grow stronger with greater familiarity. I’m not the only one to be drawn…

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Surviving A Winter’s Night in the Northern Forest: How To Build An Arctic Lean-To

Surviving A Winter’s Night in the Northern Forest: How To Build An Arctic Lean-To

A lean-to is a classic shelter of the northern forests. It is an open-fronted shelter that depends upon fire to keep the occupant warm. This type of shelter has the advantage of a relatively simple construction method requiring few tools. As long as you have access to plenty of firewood, a lean-to will keep you protected from the cold in otherwise lethal temperatures. There are, however, a few tricks to getting it right first time. The Value Of A Lean-To…

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