Factors Influencing Winterizing Your Get Home Bag
Factor #1: EnvironmentThe first factor to consider when winterizing your Get-Home-bag is your general environment. A more specific environmental consideration is the kind of winters that your area experiences. For example, people living in the Southwest do not have to worry about blizzard or whiteout conditions. By contrast, people living in the upper Midwest or New England have to take into consideration the more harsh conditions of winter. Another environmental factor that influences winterizing your bag are the winter temperatures and wind chill factors.
Factor # 2: Travel DistanceMoreover, the next factor to keep in mind is the distance that you will be traveling. People travelling long distances will have also to consider the winter conditions throughout their travel. Additionally, one should consider the type of infrastructures that can serve as emergency stopping points or emergency shelter while traveling. Additionally , experience with using your gear is important.
Factor # 3: ExperienceA third factor you should consider when preparing your Get-Home-Bag is your level of experience. Your experience with the outdoors and survival gear influence what you carry in the bag. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Only place items in your bag that you already know how to use. For example, a Bic® lighter is an item that you already know how to use. However, you may not know to use climbing or rappelling gear. The point here is that being stranded on a major interstate in a blizzard is no place to try something that you have never used. Thus, your attempt to experiment with an unfamiliar skill or gear in the middle of an emergency may jeopardize your life or the life of others of whom you are responsible. Therefore, as you consider modifying your Get-Home bag for winter, what are some things to think about when deciding on survival gear?
Gear Considerations For Winterizing Your Get Home Bag
The Right Backpack
The first thing to consider about your Get-Home-Bag is the bag itself. You may need to replace your current bag with something more durable. A couple of good examples of winter capable packs are the 5.11Tactical® Rush 72 Backpack (55 liters), sold at the Sigma 3 Survival School Store, or the SealLine® Black Canyon ™ Boundary Portage Pack (70 liters). Both of these packs have their strengths and weaknesses.The strength of the Rush 72 pack is its capability for modularity. Its material is a water repelling (not waterproof) 1050 Denier nylon fabric. The main advantage of the SealLine® pack is that its waterproof 300 Denier TPU-double-coated nylon body with a 400 Denier TPU-coated nylon bottom. The waterproof material of this pack guarantees that clothing items in the bag will stay dry in rain or snow conditions. The main weakness of the Rush 72 pack is that it is not waterproof. Lengthy exposure in rain or snow water will eventually have moisture seep into the bag. The main weakness of the SealLine® pack is that it does not have any attachment points on its exterior. Thus, after selecting a winter-capable backpack, what are some winter survival gear options to place inside the bag?
Fire Making ItemsThe first survival gear consideration for a winter Get-Home-Bag is a fire making item. Fire is one of the four essentials of survival (Fire, Food, Water, Shelter). A great piece of fire-making gear is the Sigma 3 Fire Kit. Check out my review of this excellent fire kit for more information about this kit. In a winter scenario, being able to build a fire is critical to keep from getting hyperthermia. It allows you to stay warm, dry your wet clothing, sanitize water, melt snow, and cook food. Furthermore, meeting your hydration requirement is critical to surviving in a winter environment.
Water and Hydration ItemsThe second consideration for survival gear your Get-Home-Bag is hydration. Water is a primary key to survival in winter. Therefore, water procurement, treatment, and consumption are central to surviving in a winter emergency. However, finding fresh running water in a stream may be difficult in the winter. Thus, it is essential to have a capability to melt snow or ice to get fresh drinkable water in the winter. The Sigma 3 Water Kit is an excellent piece of gear to consider putting into any winterized GHB. Check out my review of this water kit for more information this versatile gear.
Shelter and Cover ItemsAdditionally, a third survival gear consideration for a Get-Home-Bag is that of shelter. One option for meeting your winter shelter needs would be the Warbonnet Blackbird XLC hammock system. The hammock is available at the Sigma 3 Survival store. This hammock system comes with some additional add-on items: a winter top cover and under quilt protector. If you are interested in more information on this hammock system, read my review and video at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. A further consideration for this hammock system would be a sleeping bag. The Snugpak® Tactical 4 winter sleeping bag also would be a great addition to the winter shelter consideration for any GHB. The Snugpak® sleeping bag could be attached to the bottom of the Rush 72 pack.
Food and Food Procurement ItemsAdditionally, a fourth survival gear consideration for a winter Get-Home-Bag is food and food procurement. Another item to think about putting in a GHB for the winter is the Yoyo Fish Trap fishing Reel or the Emmrod® Kayak King Cast Rod and Reel Kit. These items are available at the Sigma 3 Survival School Store. Pre-made meals such as MREs or Mountain House® pouches are useful items to meet the food requirements for a GHB. You can also build your meal kit by using instant oatmeal, instant rice, beef jerky, energy bars, crackers, and instant electrolyte powder (Gatorade®/Propel®).
Winter Clothing ItemsMoreover, a final survival gear consideration for a Get-Home-Bag for the winter is addressing clothing needs. Winter clothing items can be bulky and take up space in the backpack. Therefore, choose winter clothing items carefully. Wool and Gore-Tex should be the kinds of materials that characterize winter clothing. Here are some suggestions for some winter clothing items.The first winter clothing item to consider are wool socks. Keeping feet warm and dry is a critical consideration when discussing surviving in the winter. The U.S. Army MIL-84K Wool Boot Socks or Smartwool® Men’s Hunt Extra Heavy Over the Calf Socks are the types of socks to consider for winter clothing in a Get-Home Bag. Some other winter clothing considerations could be having a wool-based base layer set in the bag, such as the Meriwool Men’s Merino Wool Midweight Baselayer. A military wool watch cap and Weather Wool Neck Gaiter scarf would also be a great item to consider for one’s emergency bag.
ConclusionIn conclusion, the Get-Home-Bag is a great resource to have available in one’s vehicle. As the winter period of the year dawns, it is prudent to check your bag. You should analyze what winter specific survival items you need. It is possible that a more substantial bag may be necessary to meet your winter needs. For example, the things in my GHB are easily stored in the current pack. There is no requirement where I live to maintain large bulky cold weather gear. However, I do need to preserve some winter gear in my bag for traveling in the mountainous regions of the Southwest. So as you begin to assess your winter needs for your Get-Home-Bag choose carefully and wisely the gear that you will need.
Knife grinds? What are the advantages of different grinds? What are my favorite knife grinds for bushcraft? In this article we are going to breakdown everything you need to know about knife grinds and what you should choose for your bushcraft blade. So you’ve heard just about every single so called survival expert in the world tell you the most important tool to have in a survival situation is a knife. But they don’t go into much depth about what grinds you need for the type of work you expect that knife to do. So here are the top ones you need to know and what they are meant to do!
TOP 5 Knife Grinds:
- Scandinavian Grind
- Saber Grind
- High Flat Grind
- Convex Grind
- Hollow Grind
Performance Factors to Consider
- Cutting Ability- Heavily outweighs all other factors. If knife doesn’t cut well, then what is the point of carrying it. You can have the best steel and ergonomics in the world and it means nothing if it doesn’t cut well.
- Edge Retention- How long does the knife hold a sharp edge? This becomes very important when you plan to be in the field for longer periods and need you edge to hold up through tough tasks without resharpening.
- Overall Durability- Does the knife hold up to heavy use? All that really matters is whether you can slam this baby through a cinder block un-scathed or not. I kid, I kid. Though it does seem many in the industry consider extreme durability a much higher priority than they should. Just take care of the knife and use it for what it was intended and it’s not likely to break. But always buy the best your budget can afford. Because this is the most important outdoors tool you can carry.
- Ergonomics- How does it feel in your hand? If you have to use your knife a lot, then how it feels in your hand is pivotal. There are a lot of great knife makers out there, but very few of them understand how to build a professional grade handle.
- Sharpenability- How difficult is it to sharpen? Can you sharpen it in the field? With all the new super steels coming out that hold an edge forever, its hard to know what is the best choice. But it really boils down to a matter of preference and what you plan to do with the knife. Many people prefer a softer steel so they can sharpen it super quickly. Other prefer something they only have to sharpen a few times a year. I lean towards the super steels that are harder to sharpen, because I don’t like maintenance that much, and they tend to perform better.
Scandinavian Knife Grinds
Scandinavian Grind style knives are hands down the king of bushcraft knife grinds because they are capable of doing numerous types cutting tasks efficiently. They are definitely my favorite knife grind and I think almost all outdoors instructors can agree for woodworking and campcraft, the scandi grind cannot be beaten for general use. This is also an exceptionally easy knife to sharpen and any beginner can get one sharp in no time.
Think of the scandi grind as a double sided chisel and we all know chisels to be efficient at carving and removing wood in a controlled manner. The single most important performance factor for any bushcrafter to consider is how well the knife cuts through wood. If it can’t do that well, then sell it or chuck it in the bin for use with some other kind of job. Because cutting performance is the main priority. We need to quickly and efficiently remove wood for survival trap building, making friction fire kits, and other camp craft that is essential to our comfort and survival.
Saber Knife Grinds
I truly believe that the saber and scandi grind blades go hand in hand. You should carry both because each grind has a preferred use. Though you’ll use your scandi grind 10 times more, you should have both. The saber grind is good because it offers superior durability and will hold up better than the Scandi grind will to more abuse. The Saber Knife Grind is essentially a really high scandi grind, with a secondary edge bevel at the edge to add durability. This grind is best for limb chopping, light batoning, and taking down small trees when a saw or axe isn’t handy. Pick a blade with some weight to it that can chop and handle heavy tasks.
While this grind has better durability and edge retention, it will suffer when it comes to cutting wood efficiently. So it should be used as a backup and for heavier camp tasks. But we really think you should always have two different knives in your kit in case one is lost or broken. We also love a two sheath knife system when using kydex and for leather sheaths we like dangler options.
Favorite Saber Grinds Knife: The Standard Blade
High Flat Knife Grinds
I really love a good flat grind, because it is somewhat of a mix between a saber and a scandi grind. The cutting performance is right on par with the scandi, and I tend to like a flat grind in a larger style knife, that I want to make cut as efficient as smaller blades. You can have a very thick spined blade and cut as well as a thin blade with a flat grind. Because the edge is so thin, it has similar performance but the downside of the flat grind is the durability. Even with a super steel, you can still roll the edge or damage the steel from heavy bushcraft use. It has a very thin edge and really should be used for lighter camp tasks. This isn’t my go to knife grind and is considered more of a hybrid option.
Convex Knife Grinds
So I really love convex style knives and they have a plethora of uses. Essentially a convex knife grind offers slightly lower durability of the edge than a saber grind, but cuts closer in performance to a scandi grind. Here is the kicker, a convex grind will work better at taking small amounts of material off or doing finer cuts. While the zero degree scandi will take large amounts of wood and be harder to control for tasks such as feather sticking. It is trying to play in both worlds while offering durability & controllability. The Bark River line of knives is done in convex and is a great choice for any woodsman.
Hollow Knife Grinds
This knife grind is ALL about cutting ability and remember that the thinner the edge, the better it will cut. The hollow grind is one of the thinnest and weakest edges you can get but will get razor sharp. This type of grind is always used best for skinning, gutting, and butchering animals. I’m absolutely a believer that you should carry several knives in your outdoors kit. You should have a scandi for fine wood working, a saber for heavy camp tasks, and hollow grind for cleaning game. When it comes to longer term survival, you will spend more time cleaning game than almost anything else you will with a knife. So this knife grind is a must have in any bushcrafters kits if he plans to get his meat from the land.
There are so many options when trying to pick a bushcraft blade or set of blades for outdoor use. The options can be mind numbing and overwhelming. So here is what I tell students about knives in general.
Get the best you can afford! But if you can’t afford much, then get something with a great knife grind for the task. You can put a great grind on a terrible steel and it will still cut good for awhile. Put a bad grind on a fantastic steel and it will still cut bad despite being great steel.
Grind geometry is far more important than steel choice, ergonomics, or anything else about the knife. It needs to cut well, and the grind & sharpness are the most important factors to consider. Each grind has something it’s designed to do so use the knife for it’s intended purposes. Carry several if there are several cutting tasks to be done. They weigh very little and you can rebuild almost anything with a good set of blades. So why not have them all?
MEET THE AUTHOR
Founder of SIGMA 3 Survival School
Here is a quick camelbak survival hack that I think you will like, and it’s something that I’ve used to cross many waterways of all different types. I first figured this tactic out when swimming across rivers while fishing. I’d see a good fishing spot and want to get across to get to the best spots but also wanted to be safe. So I came up with this method to help me, since it’s an item I always seem to carry on me.
The Camelbak is a water bladder I’ve been using ever since being issued my first one back in the army in the early 2000’s. When I first entered the army they were still using plastic canteens, but when we deployed right after 9/11, they improved gear for combat greatly. We were taught to hydrate as much as we could in the military to prevent ourselves from becoming a heat casualty. Which is a real threat with the kind of intense outdoor activities the army does on a daily basis. You had to drink water, or you wouldn’t make it through the day.
Canteens just weren’t practical all the time and couldn’t carry nearly as much water. Not to mention they were much noisier when running than a camelbak. You could carry much more water in a stealthier and more convenient manner. So it was no brainer that we would use these over the old plastic army issue canteens.
STEPS TO TURNING BLADDER INTO PFD:
- Empty water from bladder. Close cap tightly
- Blow as much air in the bladder as you can via the drinking tube.
- Throw it in the water and check how well it holds your buoyancy.
- Look for bubbles coming from cap and make sure it’s tight.
- Get to swimming!
This Camelbak survival hack has got me across some pretty big bodies of water and is extremely efficient floatation device. The larger the bladder, the more capacity it has for keeping you or equipment afloat. The average bladder is 2.5-3.0 liters in capacity and that is plenty to keep a large man afloat. The larger dromedary bags that some people carry are even better, though they don’t strap on you back like a camelbak.
The backpack style versions will allow you to attach them to your back, stomach, or even wear them like a diaper for upright floating. There are many options for wearing these depending on the type of swim stroke you are doing.This survival hack has got me across numerous bodies of water, including the pictured lake above. Its a legit technique to use and works almost as well as a life vest. Some other improvised techniques include tying your pant legs off into knots, filling the legs with air and using that as a floatation device. Though I don’t think it is a great method, it might be all you have. If you’re down to having to use that tactic, its probably because you ended up in the water abruptly. Basically anything that can contain air and not leak will work.
Why would you need this Survival Hack?
- Crossing large bodies of water with safety. A float will allow even the best swimmers the safety to take a break and catch their breath.
- Crossing quicker moving rivers to get to other side.
- Setting limb lines in deeper water or checking fish traps.
- Retrieving a jug line.
- When exiting an area, you may not have a choice to go around a waterway. Sometimes you have to cross it and get wet. That is why it’s always best to put your gear in compressible dry bags.
- Let your kids use it as floaty in case they don’t have a PFD.
List of Best Hydration Bladders & Dry Bags
- Sea to Summit, Dry bags- These are best dry bags for hikers!
- Dromedary Bags- These carry the most water! Very Tough
- Camelbak Hydration Bladders- Most are good, but I prefer MilSpec
- Best Water Filter System for Bladders
During my 10+ years in survival I have seen hundreds of survival gadgets come and go. Many of which I thought were clever, but would never make it, and others I thought would be great to have. It is kind of like the fidget spinners. They were extremely popular, and even bushcrafters were using them to make friction fire, but I knew the craze would die off. Many survival gadgets are like that, but I wanted to share a few that I think are extremely useful:
Some of favorite survival gadgets that I use on a regular basis:
There is nothing worse than tangled paracord (cordage). If you have ever done any shelter building with cordage then you know what I am talking about. The Spool Tool is amazing because it holds up to 100 ft of paracord, and it has a cutting blade and spot to hold a mini Bic lighter. I absolutely love this thing.
This nifty gadget is great for keeping your Bic lighter dry. I love kayaking, and in the winter time it is essential that you have good fire starters that will work even if they get wet. The FireSleeve is a waterproof case for your Bic lighter. It also has a rubber flap to slide over the gas button so it stays lit. I did have to remove the child safety to get the flap to stay. Overall great gadget for the price.
I love survival bracelets, and they make excellent gift for kids and kids at heart. Unfortunately a lot of them are overpriced, or the bracelet doesn’t fit right. The great thing about the SpeedyJig is it is easy to use, and you can get the perfect fit every time. Once you get the basics down then you can begin adding things to make it the ultimate survival bracelet. I have one with some fishing line, hooks, jute twine, and even a small ferro rod attached to it.
This amazing knife sharpener will get your blade extremely sharp. Even if you have no experience sharpening knives the guides help you get the perfect angle for bushcraft. I used to always struggle getting a consistent edge on my knives until I started using this handy gadget. You can also sharpen serrations and fish hooks. I love it’s versatility, and not only does it have diamond plates it also has a ceramic rod and leather strop on the sides. I won’t go into the field without it.
These amazing lanterns are great for backpacking because of their portability and weight. They are extremely light, and they pack up nice and compact. The inflatable design turns the light from and ordinary lamp into a bright lantern. The best part is it is solar powered. I had the opportunity to use one of these first hand recently during a search and rescue training I was doing. It wasn’t no spotlight, but it lit up the area really well. I plan on taking two with me when I go to the Jungle in June.
There are several gadgets out on the market right now, and there are sure to be hundreds more, but these 5 are winners in my book, and if you are looking at picking up any of these items be sure to support Sigma 3 and purchase from the links provided.
Thanks for Reading!
Justin “Sage” Williams
Director Sigma 3
Being a full time survival instructor I have the opportunity to truly test knives in the field and see how the hold up in not only professionals hands but amateurs as well. This list is my favorite blades of the last few years and have all proven to hold up extremely well in the field […]
The term bugging out is a term survivalist preppers and some military use when talking about getting out of a certain situation. A bugout bag is a handy set of ready to go items that you can just grab and go. Some people prefer the term “B.O.B.”(Bug Out Bag) or “Go Bag.” The general rule of thumb is to have enough supplies in your bug out bag to survive at least 3 days, although sometimes bug out bags are made to last 7 – 21 days, and even indefinitely.
Depending on your skillset and how much survival training or knowledge your posses it is possible to survive with a knife alone. Even the most skilled survivalists would rather have more tools with them than just a knife. I mean why would you want to make surviving harder on yourself.
We have compiled a list of must-have items that our Instructor’s recommend, as well as a list of items to put inside your bug out bags. These items could vary depending on the climate you live in but for the most part, they will stay the same.
3 Day Bugout Bag Checklist – 3 Days is the bare minimum amount you will want to have enough supplies for. Having enough water and food can easily be packed into a small bag. The 3 day kit is designed to meet your initial needs. It provides for the key components to any short-term survival situation. Shelter, Fire, Water, Food, and Security. It is designed to get you by for the first 72 hours until you can resupply or relocate to a safer, more plentiful location. Other than food and water your 3 Day B.O.B. should contain :
- Durable Clothing
TRU-SPEC 24/7 Tactical Pants
Fjallraven Vida Pro Pants
- Shelter System
Aqua Quest Defender Tarp
Warbonnet Hammock System & Superfly Tarp
- Water Purifier
Sawyer Water Filter
Sigma 3 Water Kit
- Fire Starter
Sigma 3 Fire Kit
Leatherman – Surge Multitool
Firearm (If Trained Properly)
CRKT Obake Titanium Knife
21 Day Bugout Bag Checklist – Beyond those primary needs you will need to extend your kit. When building out your bug out bag consider keeping it modular. You should be able to simply attach your 3 Day Bag right on to your 21 Day Bag. This prevents you from having to pack all the same items into two separate bags. In addition to your 3 Day Bag, your 21 Day Bug Out Bag should include:
- Sleep System
Snugpak Tactical Sleeping Bag
Therm-a-Rest ProLite Mattress Regular
Military U.S. G.I. Modular Sleeping Bag System (4-Piece)
- Cook Kit
NDur 9 Piece Cook Kit
MSR Pocket Rocket Stove Kit
- First Aid
Coleman Mini First Aid Tin
Pro Guide First Aid Kit
- Added Protection
Pulse Taser with 2 Cartridges and Holster
SABRE Red Pepper Gel – Police Strength
Baofeng Radio Plus (USA Warranty)
Cell Phone and Charger
Alternate Power Supplies (Battery Bank)
Knife Sharpener – WorkSharp
55 Gallon Contractor Trashbag
Notepad and Pencil
INCH Bag “I’m Never Coming Home”Checklist – You can’t possibly carry enough supplies to last forever, but with some training, you could survive for a very long time and possibly indefinitely. The INCH Bag contains all the items in your 3 and 21 Day Bug Out Bags, but also includes everything you feel like you can’t live without. In the event your home becomes uninhabitable due to disaster or hostile environments you will want to secure invaluable items. This could include everything from photos, family heirlooms, and items that bring you joy and fulfillment. The list of INCH Bag items is only limited by your ability to transport those items.
This list is provided to give you some options. You may not need to carry every item on it. Just things to consider.
Preparedness is key, and having a quick bugout bag ready to go at a moments notice could be the difference between survival and worst case scenario. In closing, the items recommended in this list have been tested in the field by experienced survival instructors. Show your support, share and shop the links provided in this blog post.
Thanks for Reading!
Justin “Sage” Williams
Director Sigma 3
For many years, I’ve been searching to find the best wool clothing on the planet. Working in the wilderness full time means I need a clothing fiber that works in wide range of temperatures and rough conditions. Clothing choice is a huge consideration when purchasing equipment for work because it means the difference in being […]
The conditions outside will dictate everything, and could encompass thousands of different temperatures and climates. For this article we will be highlighting some of the Best Cold Weather Sleeping bags.
When it comes to wilderness outdoor activity there are really only 3 types of buschcrafters.
- The “Arm Chair Bushcrafter” – Enjoys the virtual arena of the outdoors, and finds enjoyment in the entertainment side of survival.
- The “Avid Bushcrafter” – Enjoys physically getting outdoors, and actually training in survival skills. They enjoy the occasional overnighter, but many times their outdoor activity is dictated by the conditions (weather/climate/etc.).
- The “Active Bushcrafter” – Enjoys testing themselves, and finds joy in challenging conditions. They like to see how their gear functions in less than ideal circumstances, and will typically stay out multiple days, as their schedule permits.
Depending on the type of bushcrafter you are, you may not have a need for a sleeping bag, but if you are a serious outdoorsman then an adequate sleeping bag is vital. (Unless of course you are solely a primitive skills practitioner.)
I have spent many nights sleeping on the cold ground with improper sleeping gear. When I first got into survival I was convinced I only needed a wool blanket to make it through the night, and although I still love wool blankets, in harsh environments they simply are not enough. Even the natives would use large thick animal hides such as elk or buffalo. I have found after years of training that I still prefer a quality layering system. That is why the Military Sleep System has been so popular, but over the years technology has evolved. Many companies now are making quality high end sleeping bags that are light weight, compact, and affordable. With the right sleeping bag you can easily survive in sub-zero temperatures, and when you add a simple wool blanket or down throw you will be able to comfortably sleep in negative degree temperatures.
Here are some of my top picks for the Best Cold Weather Sleeping Bags:
These are in no particular order.
- U.S. G.I. Modular Military Sleeping Bag System (4-Piece) – I used this system for years and loved they layering capabilities, but it can be bulky.
- Snugpak Tactical Series 2 – I personally love Snugpak sleeping bags, they are extremely warm and versatile.
- Snugpak Basecamp Series – Featured in the video below is the Basecamp Navigator SQ which has the squared bottom instead of the mummy design. If you can handle a tight footbox the mummy design is warmer
- Coleman North Rim Mummy Sleeping Bag – Affordable and reliable sleeping bag. Bulky, but really comfortable and warm.
- Big Agnes – 0 Sleeping Bag – Extremely comfortable sleeping bag filled with Thermolite Extra Simulated down and is for use in temperatures down to 0 degrees F.
- The North Face Sleeping – One of my friends is a mountaineer and has summit some of the top glaciers, and he swears by North Face Sleeping Bags. Only downside is they are pricey.
Don’t forget to add a sleeping pad:
- Multimat Foam Pad – Extremely durable closed cell foam mat. It is supplied to the British Army and is the most reliable sleeping solution.
- Thermarest Ridge Rest Solar Sleeping Pad – The aluminized surface is perfect for reflecting body heat adding to the effectiveness.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Sleeping Bag:
- Budget: “Buy Once, Cry Once” is our motto, and it is important that you get the best sleeping bag you can afford.
- Size: Be sure to purchase a sleeping bag slightly larger than you think you need.
- Temperature Rating: Be sure to do some research on what the bags insulate R value is. Make sure it is rated for the necessary temperature.
- Comfort: The size of the bag usually indicates the overall comfort. Large bags tend to have more padding, and provide more comfort.
- Shape: Sleeping bags come in all shapes and sizes. Mummy style bags are usually warmer, but are more restrictive to movement.
- Temperature Control: Think about where the zipper placements are, and preferably choose a sleeping bag with a head cover.
I wish you the best of luck on your next overnighter, and hope this simple sleeping bag list is helpful. Be sure to check out the video below, share, subscribe, and shop using the links provided in this article. Support Sigma 3 and shop SurvivalGear.us
Justin “Sage” Williams
Director of Operations
Sigma 3 Survival School
5 Best Bushcraft Saws
For years we have been using silky saws in the field and they have performed exceptionally well. So this list will heavy on the silkies, but we will cover some other saws as well. There is a ton of different saws out there on the market to choose from, the options can be overwhelming to a newbie. So we have tried everything out there and narrowed it down to a handful of saws for you that will work best for bushcrafters and outdoorsman. All of this equipment has been in use by SIGMA 3 Survival Instructors for years, since it is one of the single most important survival tools we bring to work. Our day job consists of showing up in the woods with a knife, saw, axe, and nothing else. That is what we teach with for most classes, so we use them a LOT!
What to look for?
Folding saws are the best option. Pack-ability is always a concern when carrying woodworking tools. You can only carry so much and you want it to be lightweight, durable, and very efficient at cutting small to medium-sized logs. As well as being able to take something larger down if need be. You’d be surprised how large of a tree you can take down in a short amount of time with a mid sized saw. Well over 12″ trees are possible and as a survivalist, you really shouldn’t have a need to take anything larger down. But if you do, then plan on carrying an axe. Our favorite axe at the moment is the Hults Bruk Akka Forest Axe. You can take down anything you need with an axe this big, and the head is light enough you can choke up on the handle and do light cutting work.
Why a folding saw over a buck saw?
The problem with bucksaws is that the depth of your saw will determine how large of trees you can cut. Which can be a problem if you’re carrying a big clunky buck saw, and it won’t even cut large logs if needed. They tend to be heavier and much bulkier, which makes them an issue to carry in backpacks. Whereas a folding saw can cut larger logs and will slide right into one of your pockets. The Silky Ultra Accel actually fits perfectly into the upper left cargo pocket of the Fjallraven Vidda Pro Pants (My favorite outdoor pants of all time).
Some things only a saw can do:
- straight cuts for notching, survival traps, shelter building, and much more
- Faster cutting and less work than axes. It takes about 1/3 the effort to use a saw versus an axe.
- Fit into small pockets.
- Cut quickly in confined areas.
- Strap it to a pole and cut limbs way out of your normal reach.
Why does a survivalist need a saw more than an axe?
People who travel in the woods often, tend to try and do it lightweight. Tool heavy yes, but as light as they can go to get the job done. Why carry a big 3 lb axe if you don’t need it? I primarily carry an axe for winter trips in colder climates and in places you need to chop lots of standing dead wood to burn. Unless I have to process and split a lot of wood, I don’t really need an axe for most 3 season trips. The saw can do anything I need and then some. Plus it fits in your pocket and the only survival tools that matter are the ones you’ll actually carry regularly.
There issues with almost every folding saw on the market. It isn’t designed to necessarily replace an ax, it should be paired with one. Because of the two items, the axe is far more durable, even though it’s not as efficient. I typically carry both and end up using my saw 80% of the time. Remember that your wood working tools are your survival tools, because they can help you construct items for your longer-term survival. Not to mention a fire is pivotal to survive in any environment and you want a few tools at hand to process wood.
Silky Issues- This saw has the hardest steel by far, meaning it holds an edge much much longer. But the harder a steel, the more brittle it is. The only issue people have with silky’s ever is that if you abuse the blade it will break. You have to use it properly and never force it through wood or allow the blade to bind. If done right it will fly through the wood with very little effort on your arms. The silky also has a very wide kerf (thickness at cutting edge), meaning it binds the least of all the saws. This is a professional tree trimming saw and is by far and away the fastest cutter. Just be careful when using the blade so as not to break it. I’ve never personally broken one after years of use, but I have seen it happen.
Corona Issues- This saw has a thinner kerf and will bind a little more than the silky’s. It also has an issue with the bolt loosening and once you lose the bolt, the saw is almost worthless. The blade is also softer so the edge won’t last as long. And it’s more likely to bend than the silky saws. That being said, it’s durable enough that you can straighten bends in the blade. All in all, this a fantastic saw for the money. It was my go to saw before finding the silky ultra accel.
Bahco Issues- This saw is the slowest cutter of all the saws by far. But it is probably the most popular bushcraft saw in the world. Not sure why they are so popular other than the durability of the blade, which is why it made the top 5 list. You can literally bend the bushcraft saw blade at a 90-degree angle, and then bang it out straight with a log. Its an amazingly tough blade, but it has some drawbacks. The kerf on the saw is very thin, meaning the blade binds a lot. It is also a small saw, and can only process small limbs. You can’t cut even half as large of trees with this bushcraft saw, as you can the silky or corona. You also have to be careful the bolt doesn’t fall out on this saw. It has to have loctite added to the threading or it will come loose in the woods and be rendered useless.
Top 5 Bushcraft Saws:
- Silky Ultra Accel (All time favorite saw)
- Silky Pocket Boy (Best Pocket Sized Saw)
- Corona Clipper 10-inch Curved Blade Folding Razor Tooth Saw RS 7265
- Silky Big Boy (Largest bushcraft saw in class)
- Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw, 7-1/2 -Inch Blade, 7 TPI
Just a couple of good buck saws: