16 July 2015

BOV Show & Shine 2015

It is time to motor your BOV to a show & shine.
If you happened to miss last year's Bring Out Your BOV Show & Shine in Langdon, AB; now is your chance to get together with other like-minded folks and talk shop!!
Fire an e-mail RSVP to the folks at Briden Solutions, so they know how much food to have on hand for lunch.
Hope to see you there,


12 May 2015

Outdoor Survival Items - Part Two

Metal Match Pouch - Closed
Part Two of our Outdoor Survival Items will only include this one project based on the Metal Match Fire Starting Kit. I have recently received my Metal Match Fire Starting Kits from Amazon.ca and I wanted to make a pouch to carry this very handy item with me when I head to the bush.

First things, first.....This is the item from Amazon:

These Metal Matches shipped for free, but give yourself a bit of time if you need them for an upcoming trip, shipping from Malaysia takes 5 to 6 weeks. Remember, shipping is free. The costs were reasonable, less than $30 for 20 Metal Match units. 

The Metal Match Fire Starter Kit is very compact (about 1"x2"x3/8") and weighs next-to-nothing. It will light many 1000's of times. The unit consists of a striker with wick that stores on the inside of the case. The outside of the case has a ferro rod type surface to generate sparks when struck by the striker. The striker has a wick that is kept moist with a few drops of kerosene. The wick catches the sparks and the kero keeps the "match" lit until you transfer the flame to your fire.
Metal Match Pouch - Open
 Now, to build this pouch you need only a very few supplies: 2" webbing (1 piece 8" long), 1" webbing (1 piece 8" long), 1" snap hook x1, Hook & Loop tape (1"x2" x2 of each side).

When using webbing, remember to use a candle to burn the cut ends, so the webbing does not unravel.

This pouch will attach to a "D" ring on a pack or harness with the snap hook or it can attach via the hook & loop 1" webbing strap on the backside.

I have included my pattern at the bottom of the page in case you are working on a similar project and need a few ideas.

Construction time is less than an hour, including layout and cutting pieces. This is a good starter project and an easy "whip-it-up" project for experienced crafters.

I hope the pictures and the pattern assist you enough.

Remember, if you cannot afford someone else to build your gear.....build it yourself!!

Metal Match & Pouch

Metal Match & Pouch 2
Note: Kerosene is not included with this item, you must add that once you receive your Metal Match Fire Starter Kit.
Metal Match Pouch Pattern

29 April 2015

Tarp Survival Shelter Weekend

Tarp Survival Shelter - Wind from the West
 More recent training & adventure. This time, I was out practicing building and living in a Tarp Survival Shelter for a weekend. The season is Spring in Alberta (wait five minutes and everything changes!), location South & West of Calgary, AB, weather included sun, cloud, wind, snow, sleet, blowing snow and sun.

My personal health was not at its best for this adventure, I had a minor? chest cold developing, however, I had given my word that I would be attending. I was not to be delayed nor deterred by a cold.
View from the Foot of the Shelter

After the Snow from the East Visited - Second Tarp Added
 The camp location was quite good, as there were ample blowdown trees to use for shelter building. For the first night I used 4 poles to add structure to my tarp shelter. The forecast was for snow overnight, & I did not want my shelter to cave-in with the added weight. No snow arrived that night. The winds were from the West. My shelter provided very good protection from the elements. (My health was not improving, LOL.)

The next day proved to be a typical Alberta Spring day - 4 seasons in a day!! Started nice and sunny. But, them dark clouds were rising in the East. Winds from the East are not too common in Alberta and in the mountains, that can mean prolonged bad weather. By Lunch, the winds had picked up and the flurries began. The weather continued to worsen to snow, sleet and wind driven snow. As these conditions did not totally surprise, time was taken to harvest more poles for my shelter to protect the East face with a second tarp - in this case it was my poncho. This second tarp protected me from the worse of the weather. A few daring snowflakes found their way inside, but did no harm.

With the poor weather and my less than wonderful health, I called it a night early.....just after supper. The fourteen hour snooze did me no harm. I escaped getting wet and cold. In fact, compared to those tenting, I fared very well. With more ventilation I did not have to contend with excessive condensation issues. And for some reason or another, those in tents all reported being cold the next day. I was warm all night.

On Sunday, under beautiful blue skies and bright sunshine we enjoyed the day. Broke down the shelters and returned the poles to the forest. Took a few pictures of the Rockies in Springtime, like the one below. And then hiked back to the vehicles for the drive home.

Until next time....get out and practice your skills!!

The Rockies to the West - Yes, It Was All Worth IT!!!

12 April 2015

Magnetic Field Resonance - Interstellar Propulsion Concept

Ever have an idea lurking about inside your head??? One that sounds crazy at first but might actually be useful if you share it with others??? Well, today I will be posting one of those ideas. I hope someone out there can take this to the next level.

I have been reading a book by Annalee NEWITZ - Scatter, Adapt, and Remember .... How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. One of the ideas presented was the space elevator, to escape Earth's gravity. Outside the gravitational field space travel is easier and more affordable, in the use of resources. So, I started thinking about gravity and magnetism.........
This leads me to this post. What do we really know about magnetism?? How do we measure it?? Can we exploit the characteristics of magnetism to our benefit for Interstellar Propulsion??

I, personally, am not a scientist; however, I do remember a few things from science class. Like magnetic fields repel and opposites attract. A coil of wire can produce a magnetic field when a electric current is run through the coil, as well as, an electric current can be generated if a magnet is passed through a coil of wire. A compass can tell us which direction is North and an instrument called a dip needle can tell us a large deposit of iron ore is located below our feet. From these observations I will extrapolate my concept.

First, if we had the instrument to measure it, I predict that each planet in our Solar System has a magnetic signature unique to that planet. If that is true, I further predict that all Stellar bodies would also have a magnetic signature unique to that object.

Second, if we knew how to identify these signatures we could record, reproduce and recall them, sort of like dialing in a radio to a specific frequency. With the correct equipment, you can broadcast on a frequency in one part of the world and receive the broadcast in another. To be able to exploit magnetism for propulsion, we need to be able to identify and reproduce that exact field. 

Third, we will need the means to generate large quantities of electricity to convert into magnetic fields of our choosing. Since Matter/Anti-Matter reactors have not been invented yet, we have Nuclear reactors at our disposal. Not the perfect source, but it can be made to do the job.

Fourth, we need to be able to escape Earth's gravity first before being attracted to another Stellar Body.

Fifth, we need the means to navigate in 3 dimensions. This will mean navigational charts that map all clear routes and identify hazards. Bonus challenge, many of these objects are in constant motion.

The "Flying Saucer" has many design features that lend it to be the first shape to try. The circular hull shape would aid in the use of making a coil/magnet system to generate and project a magnetic field. The shape would also allow for change of direction without having to re-orient the vessel to the new direction of travel. The larger size at the center of the craft would help balance it and provide space for living quarters & the Nuclear reactor.

This craft would not need to have the attributes of a lighter-than-air or conventional aircraft. It does not move by lift or need to be aerodynamic. However, the craft must have a self-contained atmosphere and the ability to re-generate oxygen and water. It will be a self-sustaining artificial planet. Albeit, a very small planet.

There would be two modes of travel. MagLift and InterStellar Attraction.

MagLift mode: To travel out of or into a planet's magnetic/gravitational field. This mode of travel will be achieved by matching the planet's magnetic signature. To lift off, the magnetic field of the craft will match the location the craft is at on the planet. Since like forces repel, the more intense the field created by the craft the higher/farther the craft will be repelled by the planet. Once outside the gravitational field, thus, in space the craft would switch to InterStellar Attraction mode. Landing on the surface of a planet would be similar, but reverse. The craft would slowly create the planet's magnetic signature - only this time it would be the opposite field and the craft would be attracted to the planet. The controls for the craft would have a safety system built in, so the "like" magnetic field could be generated very quickly to control the descent if the gravity proved to be too strong.

InterStellar Attraction mode would be used to get from point in the Solar System to another and back again. Once we had a frequency chart of all the Stellar object we have in the flight path we would plot a course to our destination. It may require a couple of "attractions" to closer Stellar bodies before we can establish enough velocity to head for our final destination.

With our current level of engineering and technology on our planet, this could be tested in the near future with robotic crafts before engineering crafts large enough to host human crews. Robots are fun & safe, but Humans are explorers and we will want to get out and explore our Stellar neighbourhood. When I was a boy, I believed by the time I grew up we would have base on the Moon and a colony on Mars. Instead, the vast majority of Humans are contently satisfied that we are using all of our technology and engineering know how to build bigger TV's and smaller cellphones. Facebook has replaced visiting our friends and neighbours and chatting face-to-face. 

Til next time....Remember to dream BIG!!!


30 March 2015

Troll Ice Falls

Small Ice Feature
Been a bit busy of late. So, I figured it was time to at least post a few pics.

Recently, hiked to Troll Falls.....near Nakiska Ski Area, Kananaskis Country, Alberta. In March, the falls are still an icefall, rather than a waterfall.

The hike is easy enough, with plenty of well marked and signed trail options to make your adventure as large or small as your time allows.

We made a side trip out to Hummingbird Plume Lookout before arriving at Troll Falls. It was a good day.

Now, let's have a look at a few pictures.....
Troll Ice Falls - Sideview

Troll Ice Falls - Frontview

Upper Troll Icefalls

Under the protection of the rockwall, there is a spring (still flowing) and a few minor ice features. 

Even in March the main icefall is still well intact. 

From the front, it is challenging to get the whole icefall in a single shot. 

If you spend enough time in the area you will discover trails that lead up on top of the main falls. The mud and ice underfoot can make movement tricky.....watch your step!!

Following the creek upstream, you also discover there is more to see......

Upper Troll Icefalls, not sure if that is the actual name, but it seems to fit. Time was short but further exploring would be warranted to see how many more icefalls are along the path of this creek.

Until next.....go explore something!!!


26 February 2015

Winter Shelter Pictures

Quinzee Snow Shelter
Going Winter camping?? Ever, wonder which tent to take?? Do you have snow?? Is it cold enough??

Leave the tent in the truck. Grab a shovel or two and get to it!! Pile the snow into a big pile. Let it settle and bond. Hollow it out.....viola, a quinzee snow shelter.

I am sure there are a hundred blogs or websites that have detailed instructions for building snow shelters. 

I have posted a few pic's of a recent trip. Enjoy.
Construction Access
Sometimes, creating a second access point can speed up construction time. Of course, you will want to have a plan for how to fill that void before you have to live in your shelter.
Harvest Lots of Snow

Interior View - Looking Towards Entrance

When the snow is not too deep a large area must be cleared to create a pile of snow large enough to live in.

Lakes make great building locations, provided the ice is thick enough. 12" seemed like a good thickness.

The area around this shelter was cleared for about 20' in all directions. The toboggan in the picture is my Pelican 45.

Points to consider.....the interior wants to be hollowed out, leaving the walls and roof neither too thick nor too thin.

We discovered on this trip that some shelters that had too flat of a roof, began to sag. That shelter was found to be too unstable to sleep in over night.

Ideally, you want to have an arched interior shape to provide space and strength.

Best of all, when getting out for a Winter Camp is the incredible scenery. Wouldn't miss that for anything. 

 Until next time.....get out camping!!!

Awesome Scenery!!

18 February 2015

Scout Survival Kit Considerations

Scouts & Scouters,

Please find below some of the ideas we have had in our area regarding building Scout Survival Kits. (You may use the ideas, just please give credit due to your source. Thanks.) Remember to emphasize that the mind/brain is the most important part of any survival kit. 

Stay safe out there,


Scout Survival Kit List

Rule of 3's – You can survive, without.....for:

Oxygen – 3 minutes
Shelter – 3 hours
Water – 3 days
Food – 3 weeks
Company – 3 months

Survival Priority List:

1) Get away from imminent danger, if safe stay put
2) Treat serious injuries, ensure open airways and prevent shock
3) Construct or seek shelter and build a fire
4) Locate and collect water for drinking
5) Conserve energy, use efficient food gathering techniques, cook the food
6) Setup and maintain signaling devices to help get found/located
7) Keep busy, improve camp and shelter. Gather firewood, water, and food

The kit list will be based on the solid foundation established above. A Scout may need to build more
than one survival kit. Having a survival kit tailored to activities, locations, climates, seasons and/or
terrains; is a wise idea. As the Scout's skill and experience level grows the items needed to survive may
be reduced. The British Special Air Service (SAS) commando's have a saying, “the more knowledge,
the less kit”.

There is no right kit for every Scout. However, every survival kit will have items for each of these
categories: First Aid, Shelter, Water/Hydration, Fire, Food, Knife/Axe & Signals. Suggested items

First Aid – CPR Mask, T – Bandages, Bandaids, Tweezers, Forceps, Blister Dressings, Pain Medicine,
Antihistamines, Anti-diarrhea, Antacids, Antiseptic Towelettes, Splint, Stretcher, Mirror.

Shelter – Super Shelter will require: a tarp, space blanket, 2x large clear leaf & garden bags and paracord.
Tarp, Sleeping bag, Large Garbage Bags or Leaf & Garden Bags, Proper clothing, Proper
footwear, Sleeping Pad, Para-cord or rope.

Water/Hydration – Water container, Water filter, Pot for boiling water, Purification Tablets, Canteen,
Canteen Cup, Life Straw

Fire – At least 3 methods for starting a fire. Wood Matches in a plastic waterproof container, Flint and
steel, Ferro-rod and striker, magnifying lens, Steel wool & 9V battery, Petroleum Jelly & cotton balls,
Magnesium Bar, Fatwood shavings, BIC Lighters, Candle Stubs, Lint, Char-cloth, Tinder Box, Birch
Bark, Cedar sticks, Pine/Fir Pitch (hardened),

Food – Fishing Kit (Line, sinker, lure or hook), Snare Kit (brass wire cut into 2m lengths), Energy
Bars, Hard candies, Nuts, Peanut butter, jerky, Dark chocolate, OXO cubes, Trail mix, GORP, Granola
bars, Protein bars,

Knife/Axe – Each Scout will need at least one quality knife. In a perfect world, two knives or a knife
and a belt axe. For fine work a good quality lock-blade knife, with a blade at least 3” in length. The
second knife should be of a fixed blade type with at least a 4 ½” heavy blade. This knife needs to be
tough enough to survive repeated blows from a baton for splitting kindling, this type of knife does not
need to be expensive, to work well. The alternative to a fixed blade knife would be a belt axe. The belt
axe is well suited for chopping chores around camp, but it is too short and too light for serious lumberjacking.

In trained hands a belt axe (that is well balanced, with a 10” - 14” handle) can be used very
effectively for building a survival camp. If you cannot afford a quality belt axe, it is better to buy a
cheap fixed blade knife than a cheap hatchet. The poor quality steel in a cheap hatchet will not hold an
edge, nor will it be balanced. The most likely result will be an injured Scout. Ensure your fixed blade
knife &/or your belt axe have a sheath or scabbard to protect the edge when not in use. Have
sharpening stone or small file to keep these tools sharp. Dull edges are deadly.

Signals – To speed up rescue time, you need to get found ASAP. Have at least 2 signal methods.
Whistles (Fox40) that are not metal and do not use a pea are the better designs. Remember it is easier to
use your whistle than it is to yell. Signal Mirror, like the Coghlan's 2”x3” is okay but it is heavy. A
better choice is the StarFlash by UST (Ultimate Survival Technologies). The StarFlash is 2”x3” but it is
not made of glass, it will float and is unbreakable and lightweight, only 20 grams. All signal mirrors
should be protected in a case, like one made from a scrap of polar fleece. This will keep the mirror
from getting scratched and thus keeping a maximum reflective surface. For nighttime signals consider a
LED headlamp that can be set on flash mode – this will draw attention and use less battery power.
Crank-up LED flashlights could work as the batteries do not die on you, just crank to recharge. Chem
light sticks can work, just remember to rotate out units out of your kit every couple of years. Remember
that signal fires should be prepared and built in threes – a big triangle with fires at each point. A
Ground to Air (G2A) signal card will help to communicate with aircraft that fly over your camp. Make
the symbols big (at least 10M long), out in the open and contrast with the surrounding area. Remove
the signal after message has been received by an aircraft.

Most important item in your survival kit.....is your mind. Train it well and even if you have nothing,
you can improvise something. Training and experience are more important than gear. Gear in trained
hands just makes surviving more enjoyable and usually a bit quicker. Gear in untrained hands, just
makes for souvenirs for the rescuers.

Keep your head, banish fear & panic, and avoid the 7 enemies of survival: Pain, Cold, Thirst, Hunger,
Fatigue, Boredom & Loneliness. And you will always come home.

Now for some thinking outside the box......(I will try to make a couple sample kit lists.) We will also
explore some other methods of having a survival kit, just not having it in a little box or pouch, we will
call this, everyday carry (EDC) items. These are the things you keep in your pockets or pack EVERY
time you leave home. Now, if you have a jacket or vest that has an extra pocket or two, these EDC
items can simply be left in the pockets.

EDC – Everyday Carry Items:

● Lock-blade knife. Preferably, with a pocket clip. Like the Gerber Para-frame.
● BIC lighter or mini-lighter, even a Zippo would work for EDC.
● Whistle. Like the Fox40 on a lanyard or a loop of para-cord.
● Mirror. StarFlash with a lanyard or loop of para-cord in a fleece pouch.
● Folding water bottle. Like those 500mL give away items at outdoor trade shows. Fold flat like a
piece of cardboard, but will fit a cargo pocket.
● Bandaid pack. For treating daily oops'.
● Hard candies, for energy.

If you always left home with just those items, you have increased your chance of survival 700%,
compared to not having them. (Never believe statistics in articles.)

Compact Survival Kit

Altoid or Sucrets Tin – Metal
Gerber Mini – Para-Frame lock-blade knife or similar compact knife
Matches – Strike Anywhere
Fishing Line – 4lbs test x 50'
Fish Hooks x4 barbed
Lead Sinker – split shot x2
Snare Wire – 2m
BIC mini lighter
Alcohol Wipes x2
OXO cube
Cotton balls & Petroleum jelly x2
Tinfoil – Heavy Duty folded to fit inside
Kerr's Hard Candies x3
Wrap Altoid Tin in para-cord
Put inside a medium zip-loc freezer bag

Even with just an Altoid tin filled with the bare minimum of items, survival would be more comfortable
than without those items. The Altoid tin + EDC and survival is almost guaranteed, in all but the worst

All Threats Survival Kit

Adequate clothing
Sturdy knife in sheath or belt axe & sharpening stone
Pot or Vessel for boiling water
Waterproof case for other kit items
Pouch or bag to carry all items
Canteen or water bottle or water bladder
Water filter or Life Straw
Siltarp or other lightweight, compact tarp 6'x8' but 8'x10' would be better
Mylar space blanket
Garden & Leaf clear plastic bags x2
100' para-cord
Try to select a waterproof container that will fit inside
you pot or boiling vessel.
First Aid Kit – Including a CPR mask, triangular bandages, splint, bandaids, blister dressings, etc
Fire Making Kit – Matches in waterproof container, cotton balls & petroleum jelly, BIC lighter,
Fatwood, Magnesium Bar, Ferro-rod & striker, flint & steel, char-cloth, candle stubs
Whistle & Mirror. Fox40 & StarFlash.
Chaulk – sidewalk type or lumber crayon for marking paths/trails
Flashlight or headlamp and spare batteries. Crank flashlight would also work.
Fishing Kit – Fishing Line 4lbsx100', 4x fish hooks – barbed, 4x split shot sinkers, 1x lure, 1x float
Snare Kit – brass snare wire x2 2m each
Emergency Rations – high energy foods
Duct tape.

Optional items:

Compass – Compact type – like Silva or Brunton
Laminated ground-to-air signal card
Laminated Knot Cards from UST (Ultimate Survival Technologies)
Laminated Cloud Cards from UST
Survival Cards – like those from www.seatoskyphoto.com or USALIVE LLC
Toilet paper in a ziploc bag
Wysi Wipes – multi-purpose wipes
Note pad & pencil

Scouts survival kit making is tentatively scheduled for XXXXXXX at Camp XXXXXX. You are
receiving this information to assist you to assemble the individual items you will want to put in your
survival kit. You may need to improvise some items for now and replace them when you can.
Remember to review the items in your survival kit at least once a year. Replace items that may expire, like batteries or food.

Yours in Scouting,

1st XXXXXX Scouts
Resource Scout & Group Committee

Ground to Air Signal Card

Scout Survival Card - Front

Scout Survival Card - Rear