While I've been an outdoors-person my whole life, I didn't become an "outdoorsman" until about 10 years ago. I wrote a little about this in the forward to J.D. Lenzen's Paracord Fusion Ties Volume II as it coincides with my "discovery" of paracord. It was then that I sought some serious outdoor survival skills to maximize my safety during solo hiking trips in New Hampshire's White Mountains. I was fortunate to first find Cody Lundin's 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
which in turn led me to Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival by Mors Kochanski. These are two of the most valuable and influential books that are absolutely required reading (in my opinion) for anyone who spends time hiking, camping, backpacking and the like.
In Cody's book I learned the importance of a basic, lightweight survival kit; the proper contents and their basic use. One of the "game changers" for me was learning for the first time the benefits of a fixed blade knife, specifically one with a carbon steel blade. I'd carried a pocket knife my whole life (and still do) but never understood how infinitely more useful a fixed blade can be in the woods until I read this book. While not identified by brand in the book, the two knives shown in Cody's text are the MoraKniv Clipper 840 and the MoraKniv Classic #2. Pretty much anyplace you see Cody Lundin, including the Dual Survival TV series, he is wearing the #2 as a neck knife and using it in the bush. From Cody and Mors' books, I learned how to use a fixed blade knife safely for countless tasks including: cutting/ splitting wood to obtain dry material in wet conditions AND using the carbon steel blade to make a flint/steel fire.
The arrival of these new products finally spurred me to put a video together that I'd been planning to make for some time - an informational video on the flint/steel vs. ferro rod fire. In this video, I compare and contrast the benefits of including one of the MoraKniv Carbon Steel Knives, a ferro rod, a flint and steel striker, and charred cloth in your kit. I discuss the types of tinder that work best with a fire steel, and the situations where charred cloth really shines. Additionally, I demonstrate techniques that make take the mystery out of starting a fire by striking sparks off a piece of steel with a rock!
Very soon I'll shoot a video showing you how to make perfect charred cloth of your own! This stuff is too cool to not experiment with.
Written by Kevin Gagne