Make Your Own Archival Gear – Pocket Strike-a-Light Outfit

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Back in the olden days, when matches were scarce in the outlying areas, many bushmen went back to their ancestral roots and used flint and steel instead. I’m not talking about the spark-showering ferrocerium rods sold today as “firesteels”, ferrocerium wasn’t even invented until the early 20th Century. No, what I’m talking about is a lump of steel (high carbon is best) struck against a lump of rock (flint or quartz, etc.) with the resulting spark caught by some form of tinder (charred cloth or dried fungus) and then coaxed into a flame with the addition of some bullswool (such as a bundle of dry grass or shredded stringybark). That’s a crash course in the use of the traditional flint and steel. The good news is that the use of a traditional flint and steel becomes much easier with practice. Continue reading

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Archival Gear – The First “Hootchie and Swag” challenge

Bushwalking in the Old Style - Australian conservation pioneer Myles Dunphy in the Blue Mountains in 1915.
Bushwalking in the Old Style – Australian conservation pioneer Myles Dunphy in the Blue Mountains in 1915. Dunphy and his companions traveled the length and breadth of New South Wales’ wilderness areas in the first half of the 20th century, often living for weeks at a time out of a traditional Aussie swag bedroll.

In a few weeks I’ll be participating in an event with a rather odd name –  “Bushcraft Challenge – Hootchie & Swag Low-Tech Overnight Bushwalk”.

Unlike most recreational hiking trips, this one has rules covering the types of equipment used.

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A look at some WWI Compasses

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Through my recent eBay adventures, my vintage compass collection has increased dramatically. Some of my favourite new acquisitions are a pair of 1918-vintage US Corps of Engineers military marching compasses both made by Cruchon & Emons in Switzerland. These are the types of compasses that Horace Kephart might have used.

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