View Full Version : Ramble do's and don'ts

11-17-2004, 06:38 AM
Just a rundown on what I learned about the ramble I posted. I'm not pushing anything; just what I picked up for myself:

1. Patrick is right. The ground cloth sucks. I metioned that I rolled on a water bottle and soaked my bag. Should have also mentioned that I was on a ground cloth that kept the water right there to soakk in. Dirt floor would have been different.

2. Space is luxury; not efficiency. A 4man/med stove is a great rig for anything but a soloist. The more space/weight that can be shaved off the shelter, the faster and easier one can move.

3. There is nothing more important than being super skilled at fire building. As I get better at it, I appreciate the skill. There are times when speed and efficiency at fire-building make a serious difference.

4. Lamilite is unreal. If you don't like/want it that's fine. But if you do spring for it, you will not be dissapointed one bit. I have always been a bit curious/apprehensive about Jerrys insistance on his products. That concern is over. Jerry may not be the only game in town but the man in genuine, sincere, and he knows what he is talking about when it comes to insulation.

5. Every dohicky, gadget, and "ultralight" thingamajig I brought was totally or virtually unused. At the end of the trip I put everything that was unused, redundant, or replaceable by something of nature in a stuff sack. That stuff sack weighs 18lbs on a fish scale!

6. Msr dragonfly is a great backpack stove. Easy to operate, goes a long time on a small fuel bottle, and cooks fast...you see one on ebay shortly. You don't bring a dragonfly in with a medium shelter stove anymore than you bring a ham sandwich to a banquet! At best, I will carry a pocket rocket and 1 fuel cartridge because I am not patient about my morning coffee; having said that you will probably see that on ebay in some time, as well.

7. I have carried multipliers in the field as long as I have been going out. Feel naked without them. Yet, they haven't performed one task that made them worth it. You can shut a stove door with a 1/32 ounce twig.

8. Can't know enough about navigation.
9. I suspect that duct tape could fix everything up to a heart attack.
10. The essay on possibles pouch is pretty accurate. I set mine up very much identical and it seemed to have anything I needed at any time and not much more.

That's what I learned.

11-17-2004, 07:19 AM
This post should make everyone's day (Year)!
Thanks for sharing.

Dave R.
11-17-2004, 11:41 AM
Hi Copper,

Great Post!!! What method or methods have you settled on for fire building in the TIPI with your stove?? When I was a kid, I became absorbed with mastering fire building, I was kind of proud of it. Being in Boy scouts gave me opportunities to use my skills and show off a little too!

I'd like to hear what you are using in your tipi....do you ever have to kick start a smoldering fire in your stove?? If so what do you use then???


11-17-2004, 06:21 PM
Hey dave!

Actually, I chose to start with the most difficult source available and then go higher tech as things looked bleak.

I have studied the bow and drill but did not even attempt such a thing this time around. The bow/drill would work but even the choice of hardwoods makes a difference-hell, I could barely tell you the difference between a willow and a maple, to be honest.

But I did spend a lot of time collecting everything from tinder to good sized branches and had a whole cornucopia of wood to work with. Then, I would start with the most difficult device that I had, in my case was a magnesium fire starter. Basically, I have found that I biuld a tipi of wood within the stove itself and bed it reeal well in tinder. Outside the stove, I proceed to scrape magnesium all over the tinder ball, and once ignited, I put it at the basse of the wood-tipi. I have gotten very good at this from practice all summer long. There were times I was either tired or presssed for time, or dealing with too much wet stuff and I would cheat with one of those fire-starter pieces. They make life reeal simple, but they run out. So I didn't want to use them at will because it took away the discipline. I had strike-anywhere matches and a bic lighter. I didn't use the matches because I was afraid I would use them all up so I often deferred to the lighter if I had to. I found myself, over the summer biulding a fire starter kit which all fit into a small pullout. Thing was when the mag bar became tedious I would just say "screw it" and go for the lighter. I buried that lighter so far deep into my pack this time that it was easier to just keep on keeping on. The magnesium worked well. When I become better I will most likely resort to the fastest, quickest way to make a fire; because I know I have the skill to do it another way if I need to. I am going to learn the friggin bow and drill if it kills me. And, then I will start buying a lot of "wet tinder".

As for kick starting a fire, I haven't done it yet. I have been ok at getting a monster of a flame going in that stove and by the time I wake up it's so dead that I have to start from scratch. Funny how that stove just puts one to sleep! If you have any ideas on how to save a fire, I am all ears, though!

Incidentally, I read posts a long time ago about using rocks in the stove as insulators. I see how this would help but my ability to identify a good rock from a bad one is even worse than figuring out trees for a bow/drill. My uderstanding is that a rock with inherent moisture is essentially a bomb. To err on the side of caution I intend to get a killer new wiggys bag and struggle with the magnesium whenever needed.

11-17-2004, 06:52 PM
Fine steel wool is an excellent tinder/spark catcher. If you want to use magnesium scrapings, make a nest of the steel wool (thumb-size piece is fine) and scrape mag into the center, then close the nest. Keeps the magnesium scraping from getting blown away (very light).

Take the few moments to make a tinder nest: shavings, birch bark strips, etc. on the outside, tinder/steel wool/trioxane scrapings in the inside, make a handful. Have larger wood handy (small thru thumb-size). Strike spark into nest, pick up in hands, blow gently, when it flames set into stove or fire-pit, add smaller then larger wood. In a firepit I usually make a tipi shape open on one side, in a stove, I just feed smaller sticks. (I don't have a Kifaru stove, so don't know any tricks specific to that one.)

This way the flint is as fast, maybe faster than a match.

Larger wood burns slower, and banking is the only way I know to keep a fire going. Mostly I use open fires, and more often find live coals in the bottom in the morning. Don't know why this wouldn't be the case with a stove. I put tinder on the coals, and pieces with charcoal on them (charcoal side toward the flame) then blow up the fire with an "inspirator." This is a brass tube about 4" long on a piece of rubber tubing about 18" long. Stick the brass end into the coals, blow through the tubing - flame almost instantly. Much better than waving hat, blowing with cheek in the mud and other methods. Almost no weight. I still have my first inspirator I made more than 40 years ago.

Rocks: in general, rocks from a stream bank are full of water and the resulting steam can blow them apart. Most river rocks are rounded. Rough rock obtained elsewhere are generally safe. Even absorbant rock like sandstone won't suck up or retain enough rainwater to be a problem.

Hope this helps.

11-18-2004, 06:44 AM
Copper- Try the trioxane that Patrick mentions in his essays. Most Army-Navy surplus stores carry it for $1.50 or so for three bars. If it fits your need and you want to buy bulk, Trioxane can be bought online really cheap...

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11-18-2004, 07:44 AM
I really admire that dedication to fire-building.

11-18-2004, 07:57 AM
Copper - As one who seems to be somewhat addicted to acquiring the latest gadget for which I have no use, I am interested in some of the particulars of those items that made it into your not-next-time bag.

11-18-2004, 08:45 AM
My Kifaru small stove has claimed four victims since I purchased it in Feb 2004. Burned the crap outta my arm, my wiggy's bag, a buddy burned a huge hole in his sleeping bag, another buddy burned a grapefruit sized hole in his brand new River's West coat the first weekend he used it..

After all these lessons, I am very aware of the damage the stove can do if one is not paying attention. At night, I pull thew warming tray off the stove and lean against stove between me and the stove. I'll then lean a bunch of sticks up against the warming tray to ensure that my bag cannot contact the stove. I haven't had any major mishaps since then.

I pitched the tipi for the first time in major snow. The SST pins worked great, it took a little while to get the hang of them. How are you guys setting up your tipi in snow when the wind is howling?? Seems like the pins would pull pretty easy unless they had a chance to set up.

I'll 2nd the ground cloth, it held water under my sleeping pad and contributed to a cold evening in my Wiggy's hunter bag.

One thing I noticed, condensation was a issue at night during bow season, so I was keeping the tipi open as much as possible. However, all the night condensation froze during my last outing which was nice, my dog didn't soak us when he gets up to stretch/shake in the morning.

Dale Lindsley
11-18-2004, 10:13 AM
When building a fire in the stove, it helps to first put two large pieces of wood in, one up against each side of the stove and then sort of build your fire between them. The big pieces act to insulate and to reflect the heat back into the tinder/kindling. It helps if these big pieces are splits rather than round so they are flat and reflect better.
While on the subject of the stoves, I found yet another use for the platypus bladder + hose. It can be used as a fire extinguisher to direct a good stream of water onto the grass fire under the stove. Before ashes accumulate, the bottom of the stove gets pretty hot. I got to use my 8-man for the first time this month. What a palace. My first use of the large stove, and I will say, one more time, once some ashes collect in the bottom and seal the bottom seams from air leaks, a 4 or six ply pad of aluminum foil closed in the door, turns this stove into a very managable beast. The air leaks at the door are huge, but this can control or even eliminate them. Air that leaks through the top seams goes right up the stovepipe and doesn't contribute much to combustion. Again, I wouldn't load up the stove with fuel and then shut it down for any long periods of time because of stack fires.

11-18-2004, 12:28 PM
The manzella glove liners can NOT be used as oven mitts. I have been wearing ragg wool gloves around camp for so long I forgot what I was doing while messing with the Coleman lantern. My liners now have cutoff thumb and trigger fingers.

11-22-2004, 09:17 AM

Dragonflystove (msr) and fuel bottle. Rifle cleaning kit, victorinox pliers, gerber axe, extra nalgene bottle, lamilite pillow, sst pins will not come when there is so little snow, warming tray, princeton tech dual system headlamp; the aurora is just fine. Too many socks, cable saw was iffy at best, less ammo. That's all I can think of right now, I have a complete llist but not on me right now.

11-22-2004, 10:31 AM

Good note on the extra Nalgene bottle. I stopped taking them all together. The Platypus that came with my LH is all I use now. I think one Nalgene 32 oz. bottle weighs about as much as 3 or 4 Platypusses (or is that Platypi) /images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif Your posts have been fun to read and very informative. It's interesting to see what folks from different environs are using.

11-22-2004, 12:49 PM

On the cleaning kit, would you drop it altogether or minimalize it (like just a boresnake)?

Ed C
11-22-2004, 04:47 PM

I'm impressed you are difinitively on the right track. If you don't use it don't bring it. If I can keep shaving oz. pretty soon I might have a lb.

Keep having fun

11-23-2004, 06:29 AM

I'm ditching the whole cleaning kit. I shot, a total of three times in the field. With the exception of flintching on the first shot from pure nervousness, the other two rounds were right where I put them. I don't see the reason to any maintenance until I back to the truck.

The only thing, is something to clear the barrel tip if it got dirt in it, so I might bring just the cleaning rod to poke with.


11-23-2004, 07:01 AM
Copper- Any stay in the woods longer than a couple of days should warrant some gun cleaning supplies as it doesn't take long for rust to set in. I carry a Bore Snake and some Rem-oil, and use them everyday as my gun condenses from the heat of the stove when I first get back in from te hunt.

11-23-2004, 08:21 AM
OK, Ken, I'll have to then modify the kit to be minimal, at least.

Incidentally, did you get the leg jackets? What is the outer material. I have it my head that it is the same as the sleeping bags. I worry about ripping holes in it. Do you rig them under a shell garment of some kind?


11-23-2004, 11:15 AM
Copper- Sorry I didn't catch this before. I have the Woodland camo leg jackets. They are not the same material as my Kifaru bag. I don't worry about ripping them as I don't wear them while walking...too hot...I just put them on while sitting. I probably will wear them and the sweater while bird hunting at the end of deer season in efforts to scuff them alittle as they are a touch on the noisy side. Others here say washing them helps also.

As warm as it has been, the sweater and leg jackets are usually the last thing I put on, so no, I don't use a shell, yet. If it gets cold enough I will add my Riverswest.