A Mile in my Moccasins…

With a big winter storm bearing down on the central U.S. now seemes like a perfect time to write about my new(‘ish) boots.

Since last winter I had gone on a several coyote hunts in hope of harvesting a few yotes to make myself a pair of mukluks for deer season.

Worn by Indigenous People / Native Americans, mukluks have kept feet warm for a millennia and I wanted a pair for quite some time. As it turns out I’m apparently a better shopper than I am a coyote hunter because while browsing the net looking for mukluk inspiration I stumbled across an Indigenous owned and operated company in Canada that makes exactly what I was looking for.

Manitobah Mukluks designs and manufactures footwear in traditional patterns blended with modern materials and in my opinion have created the ultimate in cold weather boots.

I immediately contacted the company and ordered The Hunter…Cowhide uppers sewn to a custom designed vibram soul (theres a reason i spelled it that way…) with a faux fur lining and natural shearling foot bed. The customer support was amazing and my boots arrived in time for Deer Camp!

The unboxing was more presentation than it was anything else. The boot box and inner wrapping was beautiful. The imagery, color and symbolism blew me away and the added touch of the authenticity certificate and booklet just pushed the experience over the top. It was clear to me after learning about the company and what they do for the Indigenous Community and Families that you dont simply own a pair of these boots, you become part of something larger, something working to keep the old ways alive and strengthen a culture.

Manitoba Mukluks sponsors what they call the Story Boot Project where Elders share the ways of boot making with the younger generation keep the tradition alive as well as provide a market place for Native Artisans to present their crafts to a global audience.

Meanwhile back at the ranch…

The moment I slipped the mukluks on I was in heaven! The fit was spot on and the softness and warmth was amazing. The construction is solid with an exceptional fit and finish and the soul (see, I did it again!) is everything I have come to expect from Vibram. The unique tread pattern provides good grip on a variety of surfaces while allowing your feet to feel everything thats beneath them giving you a level of awareness not found in regular snow boots.

Designed by Heather Endall, the soles tell the story of a Woodland People and their connection to the earth under the sky with its life giving rain, cleansing winds and a fire showing the People will always survive.

Hiking to the blind my feet were warm and comfortable as well as quiet. The snow was no match for these boots. In the blind again they were warm and cozy adding to the hunting experience.

They worked great and ending there I’d give them two thumbs up…but theres more.

How did they feel?

This past year has been one of reflection and change resulting in a decision to turn more to the Old Ways, exploring an obscure family rumor of Indigenous Heritage and an out of place name in the family tree.

Survivalists call some of what I’m doing Bushcraft, hipsters call it Rewilding, I call it a return to what’s real and visceral. And that my dear readers is how I found myself standing in the middle of the woods in a pair of mukluks determined to take an active role in the food chain.

My dad and I were out before sun up, following the winding snow covered two tracks as they lead us ever deeper into the forest toward our blind. Not a word was spoken between us as we carefully picked our way through the snow, eyes sharp to shapes, ears keen to the sound of movement and my mind focused on the endeavor at hand. Deep in that focus is when it hit me…when was the last time a pair of mukluks walked these woods in search of food? Who was this hunter? What was his story? Were we experiencing the same feelings? Hearing the same sounds? Quietly saying the same prayer? “please send me a deer to feed my family and keep my aim true…”

I could almost feel him next me on the other side of the wind and the cold, just beyond reach, showing me where to go and which tracks to follow…

The beautifully designed soles were leaving their pattern in the snow like a prayer, blessing the earth with every step I took and bringing me closer to my destination in time.

Two lives were going to end in this wood, the deer’s to feed my family and mine as just an observer to this thing called “life”. I was reborn that day as a hunter….as one who provides for his tribe.

As always, thanks for reading!

Click here to visit Manitobah Mukluks and pick up a pair for yourself!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Cleanliness is Next to Godliness!”

As my grandmother used to say “cleanliness is next to Godliness!” And nothing proves that out more than camping. I’m a stickler for making sure my kids constantly wash their hands and meal prep must be done in sanitary conditions.

The same must be said for cleanup. I don’t know how many times I died from dysentery on the Oregon Trail but I can tell you it was one time too many! Your chances of dying from dysentery today are greatly reduced compared to times long past due to OTC medications, water filtration and access to modern medical care. At it’s worse it would shorten your excursion and at the at the very least ruin the trip.

I go through great pains to make sure any chance of food or water contamination is kept at a minimum. Hand washing is number one, plates, utensils and prep surfaces are number two. Soap and hot water go a long way to killing germs and keeping us safe and it’s always a challenge in the wilderness but I have added a new weapon to my arsenal against illness…

Norwex cleaning cloths! These things are fantastic in the war against contamination. Their microfiber construction ensures that they pickup and trap schmutz & grime and the silver embedded in the cloth destroys germs and viruses. Their great for cleaning up your prep space and keeping it clean!

Plus, they actually self sanitize in about 24hrs. This by no means implys you don’t need to wash them. When combined with washing bacteria are kept to a minimum and you get a stink free dish cloth that won’t be spreading pestilence and disease with every wipe of a prep surface or plate! In addition to their dish cloths there are glass and body cloths to cover all your needs!

I’ve used mine all summer removing baked on grime and soot from my pots and pans with no appreciable signs of wear or damage and I never leave on an adventure without them!

A lot of survivalist talk about the obvious things, the fun things like how to start a fire with your teeth or hunting critters! They don’t want to discuss that it’s equally important to long term survival to keep your hands clean and your eating tools cleaner! That stuff is boring and not glamorous but remember, a raging case of food poisoning or echoli is not a rite of passage and it is just as deadly as that rattlesnake your trying to catch and eat!

As always, thanks for reading and keep those hands clean!

For more information click the links below…

My Norwex rep Michelle Odoerfer

Norwex.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Win Free Ammo for a Year!

Wideners shooting supplies is running their first contest ever and are giving away free ammo for a year! Who doesn’t like free ammo right?! Click the link below and enter your email address for a chance to win!

Good luck!

https://www.wideners.com/blog/ammo-for-a-year/

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Key to Self-defense…

Every now and then a product comes to light that I think is pretty nifty when it comes to personal protection and the Tactikey is just that kind of thing. Descrete and unassuming, this little gadget blends into your keychain leaving only you aware of its presence until needed.

So what is it?

Well the Tactikey is a little gadget that allows you to use your keys as an effective striking tool for self-defense! All you have to do is press your house key into the polymer body, attach it to your keychain, drop it in your pocket and your good to go.

The Tactikey is contoured so that it sits securely between your knuckles giving your punch a lot more bite! I have found it to be comfortable when deployed but a bit awkward punching and having my keys flopping about. But….and a big but here….in a self-defense situation that would be the furthest thing from my mind. All I would be thinking about is hitting my attacker to get some separation to either draw my sidearm or escape!

Think about it, when we walk to our cars or house we are typically at our most venerable. Seldom do we scan our surroundings for threats. Most of the time we realize we forgot something in the car because we were too busy thinking about dinner or laundry or our grocery lists. But beyond all that, what’s almost always in your hand in that situation ? Your keys! This is a fantastic product that makes a lot of sense.

Available in several colors, the Tactikey looks less like a weapon and more like a fancy keytag to the uninitiated.

Pocket carry is comfortable once you figure out how and having been accidentally jabbed a few times in the thigh with it I can attest to it’s ability to inflict pain and discomfort! Trust me, it will get someone’s full attention and encourage them to think about their actions!

I like the concept, execution and plain simplicity of this design. It has become a permanent addition to my keyring and EDC logout. Follow the link below to get yours!

https://tactikey.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Camping Trip of The Season…

The laughter and merriment of the campers around us has begun to taper off and is gradually being replaced by the increasingly persistent patter of rain on our tent. The once smokey air now heavy with the smell of rain fills my lungs with a feeling of cleansing and renewal.

The children are tucked into their sleeping bags on the upper level of our bi-level tent system and the soft glow of LEDs illuminate the inside enough to let zoe get in a few pages of her book before bedtime.

This my friends is what it’s all about…

I slept on the lower level in my new ground tent from Napier Outdoors that connects to the truck tent via a nylon sleeve.

There is more than enough room in the 8×8 addition and I was comfortable on my cot opposite the folding camp kitchen I setup inside of it. The Sportz Link, as they call it, really enabled us to up our camping game!

With the Link we have extra living space for playing games, watching movies or just relaxing and it really shines as a trip saver if it rains!

With the camp kitchen indoors, food prep was a breeze. I had room to get everything ready for the fire free from bugs and the sink made sure our dishes and hands were clean!

Keeping clean and germ free is very important while camping. Nothing ruins a trip faster than a run in with the “stomach flu”! The huge steaks we had for dinner were delicious and the kids ate every bite! I had no idea children could eat that much meat!

After cleanup it started to rain. We put on a couple movies and got cozy. The tent system kept us dry through the night with no leaks.

The morning found us well rested and hungry. The fair for today was to be hotcakes and sausage followed by some archery time and croissant wrapped hotdogs for lunch!

It was a fantastic trip with good food and fantastic company. As I said at the beginning, this is what it’s all about!

As always,

Thanks for reading!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scrub (n.) … “hard-working servant”, c.1709

As I have said before, there is something visceral and grounding about using a knife and I dont mean a butter knife spreading jam on your toast… I mean REALLY using a knife! Slicing up an apple in the field, making feather sticks to start a fire, cleaning a fish for dinner. Its those acts that connect us to our primative selves and strengthens our bond and brotherhood with Otzi the Iceman. Of course technology has changed since Otzi went into the Alps with his stone knife…bronze replaced stone and as time went on and metallurgy developed iron replaced bronze and steel replaced iron. Shapes changed and edges became sharper and harder then ever before but at the heart they are still the same tools they were a melenium ago…

Its in that vein, that sense of utility I see the Scrub from CRKT. Designed by Corey Brewer and made of SK5 Carbon steel, the Scrub has a corrosion restant finish and versatile Persian pesh-kabz shape. Razor sharp and ready for any task, the Scrub hides away in its polymer sheath that’s equally at home on your belt or around your neck.

With the Scrub the mounting options are endless and the polymer sheath quickly adapts itself to any mode of carry. I use it as a neck knife and as such it’s always at hand on the trail or in camp. If your climbing a neck knife may not be the best way to go for fear of it hanging up and quite possibly resulting in injury, but for hiking the trails it’s hard to beat.

The edge was sharp right out of the box and ready for work and I set to making feather sticks and cooking up some SPAM! After lunch was over it was time to see what else it could do…

The spline has nice and crisp 90° angles which are perfect for using a ferro rod or scrape against a piece of wood to make fluff to use as tinder.

The slender point is needle sharp and well suited to making holes in leather or canvas for sewing and cleaning the paint out of the eyelets on jiggead.

The handle is just right in size and the cord wrapped grip gives you a secure purchase allowing you to employ the blade with confidence

Now, I’m no expert but in a defensive role this little knife easily lends itself to thrusting and jabbing while the curved blade is ideal for hooking and slashing of two and four legged opponents alike. It has the potential to make the difference between life and death. It’s lines are graceful and dare I say elegant for a tactical knife!

Click below to learn more and order yours!

https://www.crkt.com/scrub.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Are Expanding!

Happy Monday! I’m excited to share that the blog now has a YouTube Channnel. We’re still trying to come up with a snappy name for it but there’s content up and more to come so give it a look and hit the subscribe button!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment