Discussion in 'BushClass USA' started by IA Woodsman, Sep 25, 2013.
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Parts 1 & 2
I'm going to head out tomorrow and try this. She cut me loose for three days and while the weather isn't ideal, it's a not strings attached weekend. I'm not at all sure how it will go however, I think I've covered the bases. So to it then...
The plan for the outing is simple. I'm going to spend this time on a chunk of woods in southern Ohio. If everything is still as I remember it I should have access to water, a fair amount of hardwood nuts, and plenty of stuff to build a shelter. I'm hoping to frame up something simple and elevated but we'll see. I should arrive by 10 to 11 AM on 10/4 and will wrap up and hopefully be back home by 2 PM on 10/5. Experience and summary post to follow.
Rather than post 20 pictures, I've rolled parts 1 and 2 of this lesson up into a video the best I can. It includes my plan B, notification of a responsible party, com plan, etc. I've altered my PSK quite a bit since my post in the PSK elective lesson so I've included it in this vid as well. If I don't do a good enough job of detailing it, please let me know if there are any questions. This is my best guess at what we're after here...
More after I make it back...
Parts 3 & 4
This was a different sort of outing but to be fair, this would probably be quite a bit more involved if it had been colder... Keeping the fire running all night would have been an excellent distraction. I was hoping for the mid 40's nights we were having not that long ago but this was the night I had and it was never below 65 degrees.
With so little kit to mess with and only a cell phone for shooting vids and keeping in contact with people (no hours and hours of Angry Birds if I wanted to battery to last...), the night dragged on and on. The video covers it pretty well I think. No issues really. Some bugs, some sweat, some joint kinks, some (mostly) hungry... Covered a pretty broad swath of the things done in the basic an intermed class and all were useful.
A few big takeaways for me from this:
1. I need to get a handle on making cordage. When I ran out, there wasn't much else to do... I seriously never considered that I might have to tie up a shelter with fishing line.
2. I need to get a whole lot better at foraging and plant ID. When what's in my kit needs to fit in my pockets, it's much handier to know what can be found onsite to eat. The scavenging nuts plan made sense until it failed.
3. Get better at making insulation beds. Ground sleeping sucks enough. Without some padding, it sucks worse. I guess I could just figure how to get a hammock in my PSK...
4. Get a TP option into the PSK. Nuff said....
Anyhow, great fun and all done. Thanks,
Hay buddy, your videos are getting good! Hope you come home alive. Either way, have fun.
Good luck Bro
Well done Joel!! Thats a go!
Having had the OK on my PSK ( http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php/29472-(E)-Student-Practice-for-PSK/page54 post 532) I have gone ahead and chosen my exercise area.
The plan is to get to this area of woodland around mid-day and start building an insulation bed from bracken and perhaps some ivy (not ideal but all that there is on site that I can use) with the foil blanket as a tarp and the emergency poncho as a groundsheet. I intend having a long-fire with reflector in front of the shelter and use bracken as my insulation over me.
I will be wearing just the clothing I would use for a day walk in the prevailing weather conditions - final selection to be made on the day.
The site has fair phone coverage and my wife will only be a phone-call away and will set up a rescue mission if I am not in contact after 20 hours of starting the exercise.
Plan B for if things really go pear-shaped
The plan is to have a pack with my normal backpacking kit stashed not too far away and my van full of gear within a short walk. Hopefully I will not have to go to plan B!
In a kind of masochistic way I am looking forward to this ... it is taking me back to my younger days when I used to set myself "survival challenges" for fun
The plan is to attempt this lesson over the 13th and 14th of November.
Looking at the weather forcast my gear selection is
Long sleeved T shirt
Home made wool shirt
5.11 combat trousers
Under Armour "Speed Freek" boots
Home made Gilet
Single skin Ventile SAS smock
Gelert rain pants
Basically the gear I would choose to go into the woods for a few hours in this blustery, showery, chill weather.
Well - I survived it!
I got to my exercise area at 10am on Wednesday and set about building my shelter and gathering firewood as I anticipated a cold night.
Things went very much to plan and although I did get a tad cold when the fire burned down at stages through the night, the wind blew rain under the foil blanket tarp and much of the heat from the fire also blew away as the wind was gusting force 10 at times.
The temp fell to around 0 degrees C if you take into account the wind chill factor but my clothing and PSK dealt with it all well enough.
I left the exercise area at 10 am Thursday warm and dry - and very hungry!
Collecting rainwater for my brews worked well and lots of hot drinks during the night kept me well hydrated and warm from the inside.
The ivy and bracken bed did nothing for thermal insulation but was quite comfortable.
The wire saw was slow work but did allow me to harvest some decent timber!
My chosen site
Building the fire
Making my bed
report part 2
Lighting the fire using dry Alexander stalks as tinder/kindling - not the reflector I made from some scrap I found while getting firewood
general view of camp
collecting rainwater for hot drinks. Excess water was stored in the large poly bag from my PSK for drinks between showers.
Camp in the morning
Me in the morning
Overall I found this the toughest challenge yet - my 56 year old bones prefer a little more comfort!
My PSK lived up to expectations and I have restocked it already for future use.
I have chosen to keep it unchanged as it seems to have all I need but I am thinking of adding a pen torch (if I can squeeze it in) as feeding the fire proved awkward when the fire had burned so low as to give little light to find the best firewood by.
The poles added to the front and rear of the tarp were to stop it flapping in the wind and spilling too much heat.
Nicely done John
Way to go!
Well done guys! I am greatly looking forward to this one once I complete my Intermediate tab.
In the next day or two I'm going for it.
Part 1: I did the PSK elective a while ago, but updated it today.
Part 2: THE PLAN - I'm heading out to some nearby private land on the Iowa river in the morning. My priorities will be to secure & purify a liter of water, then spend the rest of the day on my shelter. COMMS - I will have a cell phone with decent reception where I'm going. First thing I do will be to TEST my comms by placing a call home. You know what happens when we assume things will work. THE BACKUP - I'll have my hunting daypack in the truck about 1/2 mile away if it goes bad. Dry clothes, food, blankets & first aid kit will be on hand. I have no problem bailing out if needed. I have given 2 family members my exact location & timetable for return.
The timing on this one isn't ideal, but what ever is? The forecasted overnight low will be in the 30's. I wanted to get r done before winter really sets in.
Part 3: Well, I got out there this morn and in the afternoon I ran into a problem with a poacher. Had to abort, but I will do an outing post on what happened. Here's the story.
Today I'm heading out in a few minutes for another attempt at this lesson. Same game plan as previous, but a different location about 2 miles from HQ. Weather is looking good. Family has been briefed. Will test comms as soon as I'm in the AO. Been looking forward to this all winter.
Good luck! You got this. I look forward to hearing how it goes.
Surviving in the hardwoods - PSK Overnighter
I had about 100 acres of private land to scout for a campsite and the walk around took an hour or so.
The Iowa Riviera.
I found a lot of good tinder along the way and spooked a couple deer. Tinderology: Wild Grapevine.
Cottonwood inner bark goes into my cargo pocket.
I found a couple fallen logs that looked good for a camp.
Time to inventory the PSK.
2 55 gal trash bags, a plastic rain poncho, 2 bandaids, a space blanket, 2 water purification tabs, a button compass, a PSK knife from Lisa at Wolf Creek Forge, a wire saw, a leatherman multitool, a firesteel, snare wire, some PJ cotton in a straw, an led light, a fresnel lens, 2 sewing needles, tinfoil, some duct tape, a paracord bracelet, 2 bandanas.
Most of it fits into the spam can, then the can and the rest go into a 5.11 bag I got from firefighter49. At this point I realized I left out my water bag. I said some bad words. I ended up getting creative with a trash bag as you will see later. Adaptability.
First task was to get my tools squared away. I unwrapped the paracord bracelet first. I used the inner strands to tie the fire steel & the whistle buckle to my belt loop. The gutted sheaths were used to haft the PSK knife and wrap the wire bowsaw were it cracked.
Now I had to get some river water to purify. I could see the river in the distance from where I was atop a bluff. Unfortunately, all I had to contain water was a trash bag, so I had to be careful. I got it back to camp and threw in a water tabs, should be good in 4 hours.
Since my resources were meager, I had to build an insulation bed. Here's my squaw wood base. Never skimp on this step guys, it protects you from the cold ground.
Using the other trash bag I collected leaves and compacted them a couple times.
more PSK action
Here's the finished product. On the right there is an arrow I found. The fletching was gone and one blade was missing, but the two remaining were still razor sharp, so it went into the tool pile. Adaptability.
When the leaf bed was done, I somehow fell unconcious for half an hour. Think of it as conserving hydration. heh heh
Fire preps. I don't think I took more than 10 steps to gather all of this. Deadwood everywhere. Since I don't have anything to cook, I was saving it for the 3AM warming fire.
I did manage to scrounge some pine needles for tea. I crafted a container from the tinfoil. I'm saving this for morning.
I had some time to kill and did some more recon. Here's the view from my hill.
Here's the leaf bed the next morn. It worked really well, I was never cold underneath. I slept on top of one trashbag with the space blanket over me. I definitely got cold, but I was having fun, so no big deal.
As it turned out, there was a reward waiting for me when I got home. The mailman dropped off a BCUSA 10x10 tarp (in the stuff sack) while I was gone. Life is good.
Part 4 - After Action Report
- Double up on the critical items. I ended up wearing both bandanas, using both trashbags, both water tabs and both knives (psk & multi-tool).
- Have a plan B. No trip ever goes according to the script.
- The weatherman lies. Know your forecast and plan for worse.
- Conserve your calories & hydration.
I'm gonna add an energy gel, cocoa, and more tinfoil to my PSK.
I had a pair of leather gloves with me and they were very useful, highly recommended.
Job well done Buddy
post 24hr psk outting
plan to drive to location and move some distance from the car .
find grid reference and text through to the girl friend and parents .
I have a haver sack with safety items :medication,mobile ,wallet ,id ,maps compass,note book .
I will text sit-reps every 4 hrs ,also make sure im in a mobile coverage area .
Nice old school USMC jacket Buddy. I remember wearin those alot
thanks sgt Mac , got it for my 21st birthday ,im 50yrs now ,and it was second hand then ,still good ,but faded ,made to last.use to ware it bush a lot.
personal survival kit outting
well I learned a lot, but I managed to stay hydrated, interesting I only used my knife a hand full of times
well, I am planning on heading out tomorrow(9th of June) to a location I am familiar with but will bushcraft it instead of staying in the camp I like and camping closer to the creek where there is a lot of wood hopefully since I have little to cut bigger stuff with. I am also hoping to catch some fish there. I have left a map with my wife and my neighbor has camped up there close to where I am going. It is up in the mountains about 15 miles south of the town of Sisters. I will camp two campsite area roads north of where I host a campout every July. My truck is the backup if I need something immediately. The camp area is about a 1/2 mile or more through timber to the creek northeast of a maintained campsite. I am expected to be at a meeting on Tuesday at 12:30 so people will know I am in trouble If i am not at the meeting. Cell phones just don't work up there so will have to drive down about 5 miles if I need to call.
Think I am ready and will report in with my video and followup here.
Well I am back safely now and will post my followup and vid as soon as I get it together.
Have a video but not sure ifit will ever load but these pics tell the story too.
things brought back:
make a pole roof for hootch and put space blanket on it to keep it f rom blowing around
Use bigger wood for the nightime sleeping hours
try to find a metal lid for my kit
go to an area that might have a food source more....no fishin creek after fire went through
don't use rottenlogs close to you that contain carpenter ants!
believe this ismy last exercise for the advanced requirement if it is approved
deer in camp
water boiling from creek
here is the vid
Great report, thanks for taking us along!
Excellent job Buddy. There are more Advanced classes to be posted
Really good job man. Pics and vid came out great, thanks for sharing.
oh, ok...always look forward to these.
Reworked my kit this morning and posted it to the PSK thread
Taking a full water bottle, bivy sack , poncho blanket, and warm hat for a backup plan.
My wife knows where I plan on going.
Walking out the back door a couple miles to state owned land. It's good weather. 80 degree days about 48 at night. If I don't make it home by 4pm Sunday she'll send Zack and Ben from the fire Department to drag me home.
Made it home about 3pm Sunday. Had a good trip and learned a lot. Will try to get pictures up and write my thoughts latter this week. Wife bought me a banana split so I gotta go.
The trip I planned started with me placing the compass and whistle around my neck, the knife and small ferro rod on a lanyard in my pocket. Being the first time for me actually living with just a PSK I wanted to try it in summer. I want to try this for each season to learn how to deal with the different challenges each season presents.
In this area food is easy to come by but water is a bit of a challenge in summer. Was able to gather hazel nuts, 3 types of black berries, wild apples, cattail shoots, salal berries and wood sorrel while I traveled. Water came from the occasional spring. The aqua pouch and iodine tablets I carry after watching Terry Barney's video. The pouch worked great. It's easy to fill and durable. The grommets made carry with para cord simple. Iodine tablets are sure great when you can't boil to make water safe.
My shelter for the night was the 2 person SOL blanket. Big enough to cover me and block the wind. Seams more durable than the cheaper Mylar blankets. Simple A type shelter with a para cord ridge line went up quick. Plugged one end with wood and ferns to hold in heat and keep out the wind. I intend to keep this blanket in the kit. Maybe add a clear plastic sheet for winter use to make a super shelter.
The second day I traveled along clear cuts eating fire weed pith, berries and hazel nuts. I saw 1 grouse and 1 frog during the trip. The weather was in the 90s during the day and around 50 at night. No fire this time because of very high fire hazard and I didn't require one. I did get a bit cold at night but still slept good. Strange feeling to me not having a blanket at night. If I was going to stay a second night I would try making a grass thatched blanket.
I found a small skeleton and used some bones to make an awl and needle with cedar root cord for thread. Just feels good to make tools from natural found materials. I missed not having a bandana. Wish I had ranger bands for keeping my tin closed, taking tape off was getting tiresome. I had a lot of items I didn't get to use this time but think they would be useful in other areas.
Another thing I will add is a simple mosquito head net . Not just for mosquitoes but for making a small net for gathering minnows from the shallow creeks and pre filtering water.
I did this at the easiest time of year and really enjoyed it. Learned from it and hope to try it again this fall.
Well done Buddy
Part 1- Complete the PSK Elective. done,
(reworked to still fit in the original reqirment of 6x6x2 or a BDU pants pocket. Actually it will be in a single snap track pocket, but will carry the entire vest, need a way to carry camera stuff as well.)
Part 2- Make a post in the Student Practice Thread for this lesson before you go out. done
In that post show that you have a plan, Have a "plan" Head out in am and go have fun
you have comms, ummm, no, this is rural and high country Montana, there just isn't anything, and theres no one "listening" cell phones can be a joke in this country, iridium is a maybe, but not financially avail.
have a back up plan, Headed out and going to have fun
and have left instructions with a responsible party if you do not make contact with them at a set time, Allways, we have a standing seventy two hour rule in the house, over due by that much then worry, allows flexibility in trips and planning
Part 3- Use that kit to stay in the woods for 24 hours.
Part 4- Do a after action review in you post.
will be back in a few with trip stuff
Part 3 and four:
The PSK needed to fill the needs for shelter, fire, water, sustenance, and signaling.
This one consisted of:
Mil mylar blanket, multitool, paracord bracelet, metal match, snare wire, water bag, iodine water tabs, pocket chainsaw, signal mirror, DEET, sewing needle and thread, five fish hooks and sinkers, monofilament, condom, all fit in in a single snap track pouch. Found a use for every single item.
Extra items were first aid kit, camera, tripod and batteries, chips, and flashlight second and third pouch. Plus a G17.
I think I accomplished everything for the first 24 hours, and started on longer term solutions, as many things went pretty fast. Got a nice rain about 0300 for about half hour. Anything stronger and the leantoo would have seriously started to dripping. I was expecting high winds not rain haha. Being a little damp, got cold in the early morning, nothing unbearable, a long sleeve shirt would have been nice.
I wanted to try some night time celestial nav but was to cloudy and overcast. Same that for another trip.
Awesome job Howie!
Part 1- Complete the PSK Elective. Did that some time ago
Part 2- Make a post in the Student Practice Thread for this lesson before you go out. Here's my post.
I will leaving in the morning and going to area that my wife and 556MP know about. There is cell coverage there and I have extra batteries.
I will be bringing a bag with kit should things go sideways.
Part 3- Use that kit to stay in the woods for 24 hours.
Part 4- Do a after action review in you post.
I'll also be posting pictures to Instagram.
Thanks Howie, I copied your post and just changed it...
Good luck brother
I'm back safe. I'll get to the AAR shortly. Despite it raining, it hasn't' rained in almost a month, I stayed warm and dry. Slept in my T-shirt actually. Temps were in the low 50's, High 40's. I posted the progress to Instagram, but I got some video too.
Trip report for final piece of this class requirement.
I had the day off from work so Friday morning at 8 am I hit the woods. I carried my PSK and I also had my backpack in case things went sideways. We were supposed to get thunderstorms and since we haven’t had any rain in almost a month I was going with the understanding I was getting wet.
I did my overnight at Pochuck State Forrest. A place myself and other have been before. I hiked in to the farthest corner. I wasn’t very familiar with that area so that’s why I chose it.
My priorities for the trip were water, shelter, and then food. When I left it was upper 40’s, it quickly got into the 70’s and humid. Water was defiantly first.
This was a spot that had potential, just had a lot of thorns.
The next place I found was the spot for sure.
Pretty much already built and about 30 yards from a stream. Water and Shelter…check!
Kit inventory shot.
I went through 5 litters of water. I had 6 aquapur tabs. I think I’ll put some extra in the kit. Aqua Pouch was everything it was supposed to be. Worth it for the kit.
Got some vine cordage and hung it out of the way so it can get to killing all the germs.
Some targets of opportunity that were found during shelter building.
Some beer cans that can and were used to boil water. It’s a shame that you can almost count on finding trash to use.
Cedar trees for some bark tinder. Used a rock to scrape it off.
Found this old leather jacket, I thought I could use it for cordage but it would just tear when you pulled on it.
About 100 Yards away there was a field. It started greening up but the dead grasses could still be had. Not as soft as some material but it’s what I had, it it’s what I used for my bed and the upper part of the shelter.
Here’s the first shot of the shelter coming together.
Water, and more water. This was the 3rd liter. It was hot and humid and working in the open fields. I realized that I had not urinated the entire day. When I did go it was dark so I drank that entire liter and took a seat for a little.
I was able to find a downed tree and pry the bark off of it to make shingles. That’s the first time I’ve ever been able to do that! It really closed up the sides and back of the shelter.
I just realized I didn’t take a picture of the completed shelter. I did take this short video
After that I tried some fishing. I didn’t catch anything and we’ll leave it at that….
When I got back I prepped those beer cans I found.
I didn’t light my fire till about 8. I gathered plenty of wood but I knew I was going to stuck in the shelter when the rain came.
I put a pole across the trees of the shelter and hung the cans of water with some wire.
Dinner was Beef Bouillon and Tea with Honey. That was the best bouillon I’ve ever had.
I slept very well. I slept in a t-shirt used my jacket as a pad against the stiff grass and my shirt as a pillow against a piece of fire wood. I had to contend with a few creatures throughout the night. First came the ninja raccoons. They worked in pairs. One got so close I could see him from the light of the fire. I racked a round into the chamber and it seems like he knew what that was. Next was the beetles. The small ones were just crawling around. No big deal. The big ones sounded like an A-10 on a strafing run. They would buzz in, land in the bedding and get stuck. They didn’t bite, just would wake you from a sound sleep. Last was a frog that made it in from the back. Again, just the sound and not having a flashlight to see makes you sit up. I only had to throw one or two pieces of wood on the fire to keep it nice and warm. I woke mostly to my arms falling asleep. The rain started at 2 am. I got up worried about how the shelter would hold up. I put extra grasses on top of it for two reasons. Warmth and mylar blankets are not water proof like plastic. If rain hits it directly a fine mist will make it through.
Well my trick worked and I am happy to report that t was bone dry the whole time. Even through the heavy thunderstorms. I got to say that it’s the best shelter I’ve build so far.
I would get a couple hours of sleep then just flip a few piece of wood on the fire then go back to sleep till my arms or hands fell asleep again.
Next morning about 7 I got up to it still raining. If this was going to be more than a day I would have figure out how to catch the rainwater.
I put on some hot water for the last food item from my kit. A pack of instant coffee.
I sat in the shelter, dry, out of the rain sipping my coffee. With those last thoughts before this ended I tried to think about what I could have done differently.
A few things came to mind. Flashlight of some kind. I EDC one but it wasn’t part of the kit so I didn’t use it. Switching the fishing line to braded instead of mono. Maybe some plastic grubs if I can fit them. If I had more time for fishing I could have found worms. I just didn’t have time. I also had a whole day to devote to this. What if I only had a few hours? What could I do differently? What would I do differently when there is stress involved?
Here is a video that covers some things a little more. I cut a lot out and it’s still 30 min long.
This isn’t my last class but I really want to thank everyone involved. I really did use everything I learned so far.
Well done brother, your shelter was not quite up to par with your hot tent at San Saba [emoji12] but it was warm and dry which always makes life better. Great site selection, I'm often guilty of not taking enough time on this one and end up working harder and not smarter. I also like both the amount and the variety of cordage in your kit. I have found that you never seem to have enough.
After watching your video, I'm going to add some more cordage to my Psk. I also carry two bullion cubes in my Psk, but I had a duh moment on the coffee. I love coffee, and if I ever actually really needed my Psk it is very likely that the "suck factor", as we like to call it, would be high, and for me a good cup of coffee goes a long way in making any situation less formidable.. Again, well done and thanks for the ideas.
For your psk flashlight they make a led attachment for a 9 volt battery that just snaps on the top .
Perfect Sunday morning viewing