1. We are sorrowed to report that one of the Founding Members has passed on. Dee (Righthand) is well remembered as contributing much to the operation of SurvivalMonkey, and is already greatly missed. Little lady, big person.

I Give Us (SM) an "F" as in "Fail"... told you some will not like it

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Bear, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Aloha Monkeys,

    I suppose this thread will catch some folks attention and others maybe not.

    I really gave this a lot of thought before posting my humble opinion... and almost decided to just let this go… “do nothing”….

    However, I believe there are some folks who come here and are sincere about learning from "Us" (Me included, in what follows, as well as what I think is a well deserved "F" or big fat "FAIL) and they deserve an open, honest opinion, reflection and self evaluation. Maybe even some constructive discussion….

    So here goes... it was not pretty when it hit me... but I'm the kind of guy that takes sharing with, teaching and helping folks accomplish what “they” want to accomplish... very very very seriously...

    And I believe that's what SM (Survival Monkey) is partly if not mostly about. JMHO...

    Here's where it all began...

    A member contacted me about acquiring one of my "tools" and inquired about the range of compensation for my work.

    Before committing to the work and agreeing upon a final price, I asked a few questions.

    While I love making/refurbishing tools for y'all and your loved ones, I also want to make sure I understand what it will be used for, where it will be carried, how often and in this case the member's knowledge of the use of this particular tool… etc….

    Well to make a long story short this member wanted the wrong tool for the right job and the right tool they wanted for the right job had much more affordable options available that would serve them as much if not more than they wanted to accomplish.

    With a budget of $100-150 of their hard earned dollars… some time well spent on asking questions, listening, assessing and then answering frankly and honestly… brought their expenditure down to around $50 for two tools (not from me) that would accomplish multiple times what they originally wanted a single $100-$150 tool to do.

    And again I emphasize… the tool they thought they needed was in my humble opinion, the absolute wrong tool for them to accomplish the job.

    Why is this a “F” or “Fail” ? This is not a new member that just joined us. They are intelligent, thoughtful, sincere, an active participant in many of the threads, ask good questions and knew what they wanted and why. It was just all wrong. Sorry… all wrong...

    And I, We, SM take a good portion of that misguided impression by the member of what they needed…. they got that from here, me, us … SM…..

    I suppose at this point some of you may be flipping me off and asking “what’s the big deal?” A Member made a wrong assumption and you helped them make the right choices… That’s a “A+” or “Outstanding” !!!! Sheesh… lighten up…

    Nope… this tool was specifically to serve several purposes but also to potentially protect loved ones… That’s pretty serious to me… so I am taking the time to write this and I won’t lighten up …

    What if they didn't come to me or someone who would have taken the time with them... rather than just take their money .... not good....

    We, You, Me, Us Monkeys… need to do a much better job of making sure the Monkeys out there understand and don’t get the impression that they need the latest, greatest, highest end, complicated, advanced equipment and training available… and absolutely that we ask “what’s your specific application and skill level... and a comfortable budget"

    ok… that’s too extreme… but I’ve read a lot of threads here and it dawns on me that many of you, me included, are very good and expert at what you do… you, me included, take lots of pride in your advanced knowledge and vast array of experiences, training and gear acquired over time… I applaud that and understand that….

    But… remember there are folks out there that look at that, read your posts, look at your pictures

    And then draw the conclusions that if you own it or do it or have done it… they must need to own it, do it or get it done…

    And that it will work with their skill level, competencies, applications and locations….

    I’m sorry… in my humble opinion… that is just not always true…

    I’ve learned, done and acquired lots over my many years… and frankly… there were lots of lessons there… many things that weren’t necessary, could have been done better or simpler…

    things I wouldn’t want my Daughter to go through and certainly not any of our Members here who may be reading, watching and relying on what I post….

    I believe have a responsibility to think about those things when I post a thread or response... yeah I'm killing your fun... but too bad....

    I most certainly wouldn’t recommend spending what I spent on all the training and to acquire the equipment and tools that I did…

    I can boil lots of that down simpler terms and recommend a more affordable and just as effective if not effective course of action in many situations… n

    No need to repeat my mistakes or have to pay twice for the gear, knowledge and skills I already paid for….

    So what’s the bottom line… from a “Knowledge and Wisdom transfer” for those who are starting out or have no or little knowledge of what to do or where to start…

    I grade myself an “F”… and the forum and the senior members as well… too harsh… maybe….

    We do so many things very well… excellent even… Outstanding too!…. but not this… in my humble opinion….

    I am committed to get better at that…

    I think we need a “Dumb it Down” forum for those not shy about revealing that they are not as smart as some folks around here about everything…

    To ask honest questions and get patient, helpful, easy to understand, plain english answers in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are “Dummies”…

    (by the way… I have at least 5 of those books… I’m a Dummy and proud of it!)… or that the immediate solution to their question is some new or old, high priced piece of gear or training….

    Some don’t have a lot of money to buy all those things or the time with their busy schedules and families to attend or commit to training… Yeah... I'm "soft" but that is the reality... and I am definitely "Real"

    I understand in some cases it will just not be possible for the Member to accomplish what they want with either the knowledge, budget or time that they have... we can be politely honest about that ... can't we?....

    So here’s where I get up on my big boulder ( bear soapbox) and offer something to think about for all you “know it all / expert / senior” members… and for the rest of the Monkey family as well…

    The More You Know…. The Less You Need…

    This is an Australian Aboriginal quote from what I have found out… (I could be wrong) and I first heard from a old time working blacksmith…

    Bottom line… The more that I have learned about how to do things or the way things work or their cause and effect , all things… the less and less I find I really need…

    Example…. My little shop has 2/3 less the tools in just the recent past… and I am at least 4-5 times more productive…

    I’ve acquired lots of gear… I mean a lot of gear… and layers of redundancy for preparations for all sorts of natural and man-made disasters up to a comet hit… yes… I was a bit concerned about Elenin or something cosmic or solar smacking us upside the head…. and I have and am whittling away at that based on new knowledge and training…

    In my humble opinion, (here comes another thing folks won’t like),
    if your plans for different scenarios rely on your gear… you fail when it fails or you don’t have it with you….

    And it will fail when you need it the most… That's the real Disaster you should be planning for and teaching others to plan for....

    The true disaster is when all your plans go to heck and you have no plan, no gear, no nothing…

    Focus on Knowing More

    With everything around you either in an Urban or a Wilderness setting… there is enough “Gear" for you to get what you need done with what’s already there…

    So here’s another thread, I would propose, to “mirror” the super popular “So what did you put away this week?”…

    "Based on what you learned or know…. What did you get rid of or decide you didn’t need this week?"

    I hope I'll never be without at least some of my gear and beloved “tools”…

    I just want to strive to the knowledge point where it won’t be the end of “my" world in a disaster if I don’t have any of it.

    And passing that knowledge/experience down in a patient, thoughtful, understandable, useful, actionable and affordable manner to our inquiring (or watchful) Monkeys…

    Well… that’s just really important to me…

    So… 1 Big Problem…. 2 Solutions… open to thoughts and comments...

    Nuff Said…

    Thanks for “Bear”ing with me if you read this far….

    To those I may have offended, enraged, irritated, bothered, bored or confused with this thread… I deeply and sincerely apologize.

    Have a great weekend all!

    Take Care and God Bless,


    fyi. @melbo
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Excellent subject. I definitely would like to participate in this, and encourage everybody to give their own insight as well!
    Perhaps we could begin a new series of threads on "slimming down" the equipment list, and one sure way to get started is to actively use your bushcraft gear and see which of it you do not use, or could do without because of a particular skill set you may acquire.
    Tully Mars, Mountainman, Bear and 2 others like this.
  3. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Good points, @Bear. In the years I have known Bear, I have found him to both know more and have more gear than most. And I have seen him divesting himself of stuff in favor of knowledge and efficiency. So those are not just words from him. And most importantly, I know he is a high character guy.

    So whoever he is helping out, he is really doing his utmost to do so. I have seen that side of him too. And applaud him. Much of his help is behind the scenes because he doesn't try to take credit for stuff even when it is due.

    But I like the ideas. I readily admit that I know less and have less than most. But I am ok with it. I do try to learn more though.

    "The more you know, the less you need" And then Ray Mears adds, "Because bushcraft weighs nothing."

    There is an old philosopher (I forgot his name) that says something similar regarding wealth. I cannot quote him, because I do not speak like that. But I "quote" the gist of what he says all the time. "Wealth is not determined by what you have, but by how little you need." So if you are not in need of anything, you are wealthy indeed. The example I use all the time is the bushman in Africa with a knife and bow. He is happy as a clam. Or the guy in the jungle village with a machete or parang. And he is good to go. Living free and "wealthy." Each has the right tool(s) for their environment and the knowledge of how to use it. And as importantly, knowledge of their environment.

    And I love Sun Tzu. I am paraphrasing here: If you know yourself, and you know your enemy, and you know your environment, (But I add the Hanzo corollary, which is and if you are lucky.) in 100 battles, you will win 100 times. Because random happens and there is no way to prepare for it except to have an open mind. That is why chance favors the prepared mind. I think it was Louis Pasteur that said that.

    So that is my longwinded way of saying that I mostly agree with Bear. What I believe also, is that you cannot help everyone. And not everyone wants your help. In my life experience, and I am old, I have seen people ask for advice not to get a better answer or to get help, but merely to validate their own thoughts even if they are wrong. Not saying anything remotely that it is happening here. Just that I have watched it happen. Decades ago, I watched a "professional" ask other professionals about a situation that he wanted to do for his client. I have watched every other professional, including myself tell him that it didn't seem to be in the best interest of his client, but just a way to put more money in his pocket. He must have asked about 10 different people, until one person said it sounded good. Then he said, "Yeah, that's what I thought." And that's what he did. He knew what he was doing was wrong, he just wanted someone to validate it. He is no longer in that profession.
  4. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Totally agree with Bear and the above posts. What you need and what you want are two different things. The problem is that the knowledge of what is a need and what is a want takes more wisdom than most of us have. Through long years of study and much thought, some people have been able to figure out which is which and should be listened to. I for one humbly seek their advise. In our present society all the focus is on the "wants" as that is where the money is. As an example I live in a neighborhood that is 70 road miles from Boston. Used to be 1200 sq foot ranch houses and old farm houses with a couple old huge houses and a lot of working people, now all the new houses are neo colonial 2500 sq foot houses with 2 people, who "work" in Boston, living in them and the kids are forced out of the area. The real estate people and developers are doing very well at the moment, of course we had 25 % of our properties for sale in 2009 and most of them went broke then, but they have been replaced by a new bunch of optimists who are filling the peoples perceived wants..
    Mountainman, Bear, Hanzo and 2 others like this.
  5. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Great post @Bear! I so appreciate your honesty, integrity and thought fullness. (Yes I spelled it that way deliberately.)

    I was going thru old posts last week and was watching the evolution of people's thinking. I am not as advance at preperations as many on here and there are somethings that don't interest me and I could live without. But more importantly is where you are in your level of preps.

    If I may use you as an example bear, are a master at making things. You didn't get there without over 10k hours of practice. It's why you can do more with less. Me I could grow food anywhere or tame a horse or a dog with nothing but voice and hands. But I have lots of practice and knowledge in both of those so I don't need a lot of gear. There are many on here with that level of mastery in there favorite area.

    Having said all that. I have a couple of suggestions 1) each person could revive old threads they have posted and compare where they were then as opposed to now, or 2) have a K.I.S.S thread for each basic survival catagory e.g. food, water, security, shelter, computers, communications

    Again really great thread as I think it highlights a huge mental gap in all our preps. 'What would I do if I didn't have my stuff?'
    Tully Mars, KAS, Mountainman and 5 others like this.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    One is none, two is one, three is two, and so forth and so on. So how many layers of redundancy is needed and for what? Too much gear and the inability to use it, or won't do in all cases, is a burden. I see Bear's point but don't see abject failure, we have pointed innumerable newbs to less expensive (in terms of time and money) alternative solutions to their questions in many cases. Poking thru the site, it is fairly easy to find examples, especially in the bushcraft area. Bear's approach, asking questions to narrow down on a need, is frequently in evidence, too. One of the problems with asking questions is that the answers may violate OPSEC principles, in that there might be some revelations of private business best not in the open. That's where generic answers arise. The thoughtful and knowledgeable monkey will provide links to the threads where the subject is already discussed in preference to nodding knowingly and pointing to a pricy tool that will do, but not well, what the newb seeks. (Newb, in this case, applies to old hands looking at a new aspect of our "trade" of preparedness.)

    No, we do NOT deserve an "F". At worst, says me, and maybe me only, a "C". (N.B. - a "C" in our case is based on a much higher scale than universally used aside general schooling.)

    The lessons learned thread might be a good place to start pointing out some of the attempts at unworkable schemes.
    RangerRick, Tully Mars, KAS and 8 others like this.
  7. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    The other side of that story, but just as important, is that as you get older you may need to purchase equipment that allows you to do more with less. The less in this case would mean your body.

    I had a friend from my far distant past visit recently. We talked till late in the night and finally went to our rooms. The next morning we took a tour of the place and returned to the kitchen table for coffee. His was decaff mine was fresh ground French Roast.

    He noted that I had acquired new equipment and yet I had kept the old.

    I explained that the old equipment had proved its need in my operation while the new equipment was a newer design and required less effort from me to operate while doing more work with less fuel.

    He thought a moment, rubbed his chin and then said, "But remember the time we chopped the top of that car with only the cold chisel, big Ball Peen Hammer and that old body grinder?"

    Sure I said and replied and remember the trip to the ER when you missed the chisel and drove your hand into the sharp body work with the hammer?

    Learning what you need and how little you need comes from experience and hopefully with the funds and time to do more with less, sometimes.

    I started with not even a Pickup, but did have a 4 wheel drive, much needed on the slick roads of winter snows or the slick roads of spring rains.

    As time went on the roads were paved, the 4 wheel drive was gone and the new barn began to fill with the right equipment for the job at hand.

    Now with weather changes and my age the 4 wheel drive is back and the barn is being enlarged to contain new equipment.

    Times change and so should you but only to the limit needed to live a good life.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
    Tully Mars, KAS, Mountainman and 8 others like this.
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Well done. I too look through old threads. You see the unpolished views, as people begin, vs their views now. How they have evolved. I find it interesting.
    But you are right, it is the .mastery of certain crafts, that allow for less gear.
    I know I could carve my own duck decoys, build a blind from natural flora, build and kill with a bent stick and a bootlace. (I've already done it). But I also know how much time and energy it took to do it. Any piece of gear I don't have to build from scratch is effort and calories wasted.
    I tried rabbit hunting with spears, just to see if it could be done, and got only one rabbit all day. Plenty got away, you could starve to death that way.
    We recently had a thread where the OP asked what to practice on a weekend camping thread. I told him to practice setting snares, because they require very little carried in with you. They do, however, require knowledge and skill.
    The more you know, the less you need before hand.
    Yes, deadfalls do work, but mostly for small stuff, and things you might not like eating. But wire snares require wire at a minimum. Could I rig up a killing trap without it? Yes, but the effort would be much higher with less return. The knowledge is there, but gear makes it faster and more efficient. And efficiency is calories and time.
    When I go hunting with a group, I bring most of the gear we use, enough for about half a dozen guys, and we will never use more than half of it each trip. ....but we never know ahead of time, what half we will need.
    It may be a long sit in a heated blind with my coffee and foot stool:D or a light footed ghillie suit, and weapon and hydration pack (with drag rope and knife) only. The needs of the moment determine how I hunt. Weather, wind, direction, terrain, game, all play a role in that thought process.
    But if I had to make a bow. Carve arrows. And fletch them with nest feathers and tree sap before each meal, I'd starve to death. Premade gear solves that need.
    The American Indians did with very little, and could carry their entire world on a few horses, move their camps. But they never left their bow behind because they could make a new one later. Each was a work of love and care, built over time, and seasoned materials. The knowledge was there, but the gear was treasured.
    Do you k ow why so very few log cabins survive to this day? They are build well enough to last hundreds of years, and some still do, but the vast majority were burnt by their owners. To get the nails back. Trees were everywhere, but nails were hard to come by and expensive. Gear makes a difference in how hard you have to work.
    I'm all for an efficient kit, and the knowledge base to back it up with replacement parts if I must, but a green sapling and a bootlace, would be about my last choice to defend my family (unless it was all I had left).
    Just because I can do it with less, does not necessarily mean I should.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
    Mountainman, Dont, Bear and 7 others like this.
  9. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I believe in having skills first, stuff second. I live a fairly spartan existence by choice which puts me on the outside perimeter of "normal." A tool may make a job easier to accomplish but without knowledge, without being able to think through options and see alternatives, we are slaves to the tool itself. I see the goal of SM as proposing options from basic to the most high tech.

    If you know how to cook a fried egg with a cast iron pan over a fire without burning it, using the $500 specialty pan on the 8 burner Viking range doesn't make the egg give you more nourishment or even taste any better.

    Simplistically, would I recommend to the newcomer that they build a fire in their front yard to cook their meals? No but I think that is one of the options we should offer them.
  10. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Well what I took from @Bear s post was to 1) start looking at where we could pare back (not should or have too but where we COULD use the basics). I like gear as much as anyone but where could I do without it? Its a great questions. 2) Meet people where they are in their preps and dont automatically go to 'best gear'.

    @kellory totally get it, that is the point of gear. With your hunting skills that is perfect knowledge to share. Trapping is better than spearing. I didn't know that. That was a great example you wrote up. I'm all for making life easier and I see the value of providing advice based on bare necessities.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
    Bear, Hanzo, GOG and 1 other person like this.
  11. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    I think that Many of our views are based on individual experience... as pointed out above by numerous fellow monkeys, our experiences are varied... tools that one may recommend are not necessary for another... in many ways our forum provides a location to share our past experiences as well as our various needs... as Robert Heinlein said in tunnel in the sky "survival is an art not a science" the more we share our arts the better we become as a community... while we could do better in the way we share our information we can not answer question unless they are asked... Bear has a point we need to do more to assist our members both new and old... I don't agree that a "F" is called for ... but we need a little more understanding.... my two bits...
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
    Tully Mars, HK_User, Hanzo and 6 others like this.
  12. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    What I want and What I can afford are two different things. I for one hope that no one ever tries to replicate what we did. If we fail then they fail. My take on this thread is to do your best with what you have at your disposal. Learn as many skill sets as you can to make yourselves more self reliant. I for one am about half way to being where "" I "" think "" I "" need to be. I will feel better when I have mastered gardening and heirloom seeds. I will feel better when I have no need for Gasoline and can make my own electricity . I give this site a A + for all I have learned here. Bear, :) lighten up will ya :) smiles everyone, smiles :)
    Tully Mars, KAS, Georgia_Boy and 6 others like this.
  13. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    I also like Ray Mears' other quote, "If you're roughing it, you're doing it wrong."
    Tully Mars, Ganado, HK_User and 3 others like this.
  14. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    @Bear and i discussed this in detail yesterday and I think the biggest problem is one of perspective. My definition of 'best' can be different than another's for totally different reasons and this can be confusing for a beginner or 'dummy'. If a beginner reads my take on an item that I use, want, need, etc without context they may decide that they also should use, need, want etc the same item.

    I like nice things but what does 'nice' mean? Expensive, affordable, durable, simple, complicated?

    As bear describes, if a dummy starts asking about 'the best knife to get', I might suggest that I have chosen an XM-18 which is a $575 - $750 knife (depending on availability at the time). Since melbo uses it, it must be really good right? Not necessarily. I like things that are made by hand in the US, Germany, Japan or Canada. I like quality that will last and usually consider price last. I've also carried this knife and used it daily for 9+ years and don't feel that I'll ever replace my EDC knife with anything else. The XM-18 is the best knife by my standards but it would be foolish for a beginner on a budget to decide they needed to plop down that amount of $$$ on a first knife because an expert hs one.

    SM isn't unique as a forum in this situation. Visit any niche forum (thinking diesel performance trucks or something similar) and you'll find the seasoned experts suggesting the 'best' and poo pooing the cheap or poor things.

    By taking the time to understand where someone is coming from before suggesting 'stuff', we can better help the beginners (or non-beginners) who need it.
    bagpiper, Tully Mars, Tracy and 10 others like this.
  15. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    This post pretty much covers what went through my mind when I read the (IMO excellent) OP...
  16. Gray Wolf

    Gray Wolf Monkey+++

    The main thing I have learned about gear over the years is that quality comes first. I have a good quality large sheath knife, a quality edc folding knife, and a couple of quality multi-tools. You could have 20 of those "Rambo survival knives" that used to sell for 2 or 3 dollars each, and you would still not have a knife!

    Wherever you go, you see chinese copies of multitools. try using one, and you soon find out the difference between one of those and a Gerber, or Leatherman, or SOG or (insert your favorite here) multi-tool.

    As for knowledge, I know and can make fire 3 or 4 different ways without using matches. To me, they are all a pain in the .....neck.
    That;s why I have lots of matches!
    Tully Mars, Tracy, Hanzo and 6 others like this.
  17. TXKajun

    TXKajun Monkey+++

    I finally admitted today that my lawn needs had exceeded my capabilities. Put out an ad on Facebook local and got a guy working on it now. Sheesh, that was a tough one.

    All the posts above make lots of sense. The original idea that struck my feeble brain is "How much redundancy can you carry/haul with you?" Love the bit about "bushcraft knowledge doesn't weigh an ounce."

    Like my admission about the lawn above, I've realized there's no way we're going to bug out. So, that gives us lots more flexibility to have "stuff" since we won't be carrying it around. But it makes me laugh a bit when I read some of the PAW fiction out there about somebody carrying a 40 lb rifle, 250 rounds of ammo that weigh 100 lbs, 5 gallons of water, a hawglaig and ammo that also weighs 10 lbs or so and then is carting 350 lbs on a Cabela game cart. Whatta man! (or woman!) LOL Gotta keep an eye on reality, folks, like was said so many ways above.

    Anywho, guess I won't be able to charge $10,000 for my tactical wheelbarrow, eh, @Bear?? And I've just about got the prototype finished! Rats!

  18. smithcp2002

    smithcp2002 Monkey+++ Site Supporter++

    Bear, I do agree with you, Just remember that each walks his/her path. Knowledge is asked for, absorbed, or pounded in. If person looking for knowledge and has an open mind, hopefully the hunger will be filled. We can only pass on the Knowledge that we have absorbed and retained.
    Bear, Hanzo and Ganado like this.
  19. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Things I have learned;
    Learn from your mistakes.
    Live beneath your means.
    One cannot prep for everything.
    Ignorance can be cured with knowledge.
    Learn from the mistakes of others as well.
    Ya can't fix stupid. [tongue]
  20. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    There's a great deal of kit which is necessary --some of it may be crucial for survival. I think this all hinges on the basics of survival, that is, what may be absolutely essential to bring with you besides your knowledge. My advice is to not abandon the tools you actually do need, while searching for a way to do without some of the less important tools. It is best to learn a skill to replace a piece of kit which isn't critically important. A knife is a critical tool, and your chance of survival will only increase with at least one good blade, as opposed to not having one at all. An example, is to first consider your primary knife. This will be the knife you plan to take with you for hunting and bushcraft purposes. You could choose for it to be the only knife you have, or just the primary skinning blade to compliment your other knives you intend to carry for bushcraft or as a backup. Let's say you carry three knives, but Tom Jones only carries two. Who is better off?

    Some will say, it's you who are better suited and prepared because you have more knives. This may be true, and it also may not be true at all. Your skill level and competency as well as your environment will dictate the truth of this point --not somebody else on a forum. Further, if Tom Jones carries only two knives and explains his reason for doing so, and it's a clear and reasonable explanation based on his skill set and capabilities, then there's no reason to argue. However, if Jimmy Smith jumps in and tells you, "Man, you gotta get this blade here and drop everything else, it's all you will ever need!" --he's probably full of it. With the new super steels penetrating the market these days, there's a lot of talk about style and presence, often described as the "cool factor" by many, but very little about practical knowledge and proper application. Many steels will do most jobs very well, with few exceptions. If you are using a knife incorrectly, for say, chopping wood in a role best suited for an axe, then perhaps you really do need an axe. Your skills and proficiency with your chosen tools will dictate what tools are best, and any redundancy you may require. Now we can choose to get into some general principles of survival and bushcraft, which easily trump the common associations with having only ONE tool to do everything. This doesn't mean having a single tool to do more than one job is a bad idea, but quite contrary. It's just that having only one blade is not the safest bet, no matter the skill level. The point I am getting at is, in some cases it is important to have some redundancy.

    Ghrit mentioned how we already have numerous threads covering many of these topics, and with common sense arguments explaining the reasoning for what may be offered. Sure, there's also a good number of threads which could use more input, but what we do have already is a valuable asset for someone looking for answers.

    What about cooking or just boiling water? Some people use the little folding stoves which require a fuel source they must bring along. If that is their preference, and they are comfortable with it, then there's no reason to be upset. But, others may appreciate the fact that nature already provides us with ample fuel, and using one tool which utilizes what nature provides would be a better solution. It all depends on the skill level and preference of the individual, and in some cases, the environment itself. I use a Kelly Kettle for all my needs -one tool which utilizes fuel from nature. But, if another member lives in an arctic region where wood may be tough to get to, a small stove which uses alcohol or some other fuel source they must pack with them may be a wiser solution. This also brings us to making fire as well. Some people may live in a region where making a fire (like a mild climate) isn't as important as one living in a colder region.

    Having a means to make fire is another critical skill and the tools for doing this are just as critical. Could somebody rub sticks together and get the job done? Ideally, and with the proper training and experience, most of the time maybe. But, when it comes to survival (that's your life versus the wild) it's going to be up to you to decide how many chances you are willing to take. Some people are better off with a solid tool for creating fire instead of relying upon skill alone. Again, the environment you are in will dictate your chances, here. So, whether it be a simple piece of flint and a steel striker, or a fire piston, a lighter, a butane torch, a magnifying glass, a ferrocium rod, or rudimentary wooden tools you hand-carved --get to know how to use your tools and do not rely upon your skill alone. Your tools really can save your life, especially in an unfamiliar scenario with uncertain weather conditions.

    We have only briefly covered basic bladed tools, boiling water, and making fire. There's lots more information in this forum, if you have the time to search it out.
    You can start here: Back to Basics | Survival Forums
    Tully Mars, Bear, Yard Dart and 3 others like this.
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