Mora Knives -
Cutting Tools- Knives, Above you will see two knives which look almost identical but they are very different from each other. One of the blades is a high carbon steel blade and the other is a stainless steel bald
There are different reasons for using these materials, stainless steel of course requires less maintenance, in terms of rust protection especially in the high humidity tropics and salt water coastal regions. Stainless steel blades are harder to sharpen but do retain a good edge.
High Carbon Steel, like 1095 are most commonly used for bush craft blades and these tend to rust quickly, sometimes over night, simply oiling the knife will stop this or you can allow the rust to form clean it off and allow the blade to patina over. 1095 steel blades sharpen right up and its much easier to get a hair shaving sharp edge. At this time they are my preferred type of steel for my knives.
Below are two high carbon steel knifes, both in 1095 and both with a straight spine that will throw sparks (more on this later) another big difference between the two custom knives below and the two mora knives are what is known as the tang.
Tang- the most common sensibility is that a Rat Tail Tang is weaker than a Full Tang Knife. If you are having to baton on your knife to cut through wood or something else the full tang will take the pressure better and the rat tail might snap.
The smaller knife is a rat tang blade while the bottom blade is a full tang blade.(not my picture)
These are my two main knives, the knife above I call it the Fat Bellied Troll that a Custom knife maker made for me. Below is a knife from Deer Creek Forge that they call the Kephart. I got a custom sheath from Wolfe Customs and got him to put in a ferro rod (more on this later) and a small pouch for a mini bic. (Another thing to note is that leather is not the best product for the jungle because of the high moisture, unfortunately i love leather)
In the jungle the most effective knife is a machete, however there are issues about carrying one around even if you are off for a couple of days camping or a long hike.
Now why are Knives important- with a knife you can, make other tools for example tent stakes, clean wildlife you have hunted, build shelters, prepare fire wood. Provide a sense of safety from wildlife, hunt and dozens of other things.
PICK A CUTTING TOOL THAT SUITS YOU.
Combustion - To start a fire we need the understand the basics of fire. We can and all have started fires, bbqs, camp fires, just randomly burning stuff . Oxygen, Heat, Fuel. If you only have two of these, you will have no fire. As I said earlier you can start a fire using traditional methods, the proverbial rubbing 2 sticks together and that is a great skill to learn (i am trying) and should you lose all your gear in the wild, its a skill you are going to wish you knew. However with modern technology what I carry in my fire kit is skewed towards making life easy.
(pinched this off wiki)
My Fire Kit, everyone has something different and i have a couple different fire kits set up.
Above you can see a jar of vaseline and if you mix that together with the cotton balls you have a pretty good stable fire starter or wick, you could use a lighter or the Fire Steel which you can see is the long black rod ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2rW5VRJ01U the link is a simple video on how to use a fire steel) with the deer antler handle on the left of the below picture, together with a 90 % spine of a knife you can generate tremendously hot sparks that can create embers that will help you start a fire. I generally carry a couple of these with me when I am camping but I also carry a couple of lighters. Not seen in these images is the magnifying lens I also carry and have started fires with as well. That is the a resource that doesn't expire and if you are kitting out a good fire kit, pop one of those in there. The other items I have are some maya sticks which are resin filled bits of wood which take a spark or flame very well and make good fire starters, I have a dama and if you notice some dried bits of wood and leaves. Have a hoarders mentality when you are out in the woods pick up and keep stuff that might make good fire starting materials or tinder. There are other items that can go into this kit like Char cloth but I would suggest you do some research for what works well for you. Remember we are in the tropics so the humidity is high, things that may work in the dry heat of another environment may not work here or rather not work so easily.. ( As you can see I also carry a small pocket knife in my fire kit, redundancy is king ) I now make my own long lasting large flame high heat fire starter, because a lot of the wood we use here is damp and the smaller commercial fire starters don't last as long.
Now why is fire important- with fire you can purify water, cook food, sterilize tools, keep warm, keep bugs away, keep predators away and have something to watch, Jungle TV as its known.
CARRY A LIGHTER HECK CARRY TWO
Cordage- Rope, String these things as I mentioned can be made but they take a lot of time and effort. I normally carry 550 para cord, its tough lightweight and cheap. It comes in a variety of colours and it does not take up much space. The inner strands can be used in a crisis to set traps or even as fishing lines and in one case to make a fishing net.
I also carry Tarred Bankline its tough, can be split into individual lines and bites on itself so it takes a knot better than 550 cord. Its new to me so I am still trying it out.
Cordage is important, you can make your a good shelter a great one with good cordage, you can use the lines to fish or hunt, to help you transport fire wood and dozens of other things.
COMMS CORD WORKS.
Cover- There are many types of cover, you could carry a small tent, or a tarp, people make shelters out of rubbish bags and emergency blankets . Generally I carry a nylon military issue ground sheet. that is tied off above my hammock its heavy but it can take the rain we get. Its got eyelets that make it easy for you to tie off.
Cover is especially important in the tropics as with heavy rain you could get hypothermia yes even in Singapore. Keeping yourself dry and warm in a heavy downpour can be life saving. With a tarp you can collect rain water as well. If you are out for a hike in the woods, carry a simple rain coat or poncho. These things can make the difference between being comfortable and very uncomfortable. Under some conditions I think cover or a good shelter can be more important than having fire.
Container- I carry a 1.1l stainless steel wide mouth water bottle and recently I got a small stainless steel pot from Ikea. Why a stainless steel bottle, well if you have to get water from a stream or pond you are going to need to boil it and if you had a plastic bottle or a camel pack you might find that a but hard (can be done but not advised). Having a container to carry water is essential to survival. You can live without most things but without water you would be dead pretty damn quick.
The pot I got as a luxury item.
My items are not the best and the list is not comprehensive, even my selections may not be ideal for the terrain I am in and you may have tools that work better for you, you may also have ideas for what you think should be your top 5 items to bring along or you may think 5 is not enough. That is all fine, my list is well just that mine. I do carry other stuff for example a first aid kit, extra clothing, food and my mobile phone, but here I wanted to talk about my 5 C items.
I have a few different set ups, for example I have a hiking kit that fits in a back pack and a hiking kit that I can just carry on me in my cargo pants and on my belt. So for me these are the basic items I need when I am out in the wild.
I am not an expert and do not pretend to be one, A lot of this stuff i have learned through years of camping and outdoor activities so they may not work for you. Tons of stuff i have learned by mixing with the online outdoor community and that has pointed me in the direction of having a set list of items to carry.
Just to show how little the blade is, below its next to one of my leatherman multitools and marks brand spanking new buck foldable knife.