Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sami Style Coffee Pouch.

The Sami peoples are the folk who inhabit parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Their livelihood has and does still included coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding. Their best known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding – which about 10% of the Sami are connected with and 2,800 actively involved with full-time. They heavily rely on their passed down skills of hunting, Bushcraft, and means of survival. The Sami make a lot of their own items, Boots, clothes, knives, and general dry goods. One of the Sami items aside from their puukko and leuku knives, that has made there way into the Bushcraft scene is the coffee pouch. Traditionally used to hold coffee, flour, or any dry ingredient are now being used to hold tinder for fire starting.

These pouches would typically be made out of reindeer leather, and hand sewn, But now are being semi-massed produced for everyday people wanting to get there hands on one. However looking online at a couple pictures any crafty person could make their own out of some thin leather, or even canvas. I drew up some plans quickly and set to work. I chose a thin enough leather that I could just poke the needle through by hand, and in about 1 hour had my own pouch. The leather was fairly stiff as it is not reindeer, so a rub down with neatsfoot oil was in order. After the oil and letting it soak in the leather was supple and buttery! I have included some pics of my pouch as well as a picture of the pattern. The pattern is a guide as there might be a bit to cut off when you are finishing up one of the seams.

They make beautiful pouches for any item on the trail. I keep my fire starting equipment in it, but might line it with a plastic bag and keep some GORP in it?. Regardless these pouches make very handy, and traditional items to store and carry your dry goods. I hope you make one, and please send some pictures my way!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pyrex Coffee Percolator.

This weekend on a early morning trip to the Glen Williams Beaumont Woolen Mills Antique Store, I purchased a Pyrex Coffee Percolator 7756-B. This Made in USA Pyrex Percolator came in 4 cup, 6 cup, and 9 cup models. The all glass construction (except the basket bottom and top) is quite a thing of beauty. The Percolator is one of the frowned upon way of making coffee. However, I find no other method fills the morning air with the smell of rich coffee and it's piping hot. Now the taste may not be " the best", but it is damn good. I actually prefer it! The beauty of this percolator is that the glass lets you see the coffee making process in action, judging how strong/weak of coffee you want. Once a perc is in full "bloom" I turn down the heat to low and let it perc for 10 min. Then pour out a great cup 'o' Joe. After I bought this I was scouring the net and came across this blog post and it gave me a good laugh! So please enjoy this post from "I Had An Idea This Morning" .

"We went to the discount store yesterday to buy a French press and spotted a stainless steel, stove-top percolator. It looks like, and sort of is, a piece of camping equipment. Boy Scouts would use it, if they took coffee breaks. It seemed American, as opposed to the Frenchy-ness of the French press. Also, a goomba passing in the aisle said, “Best way to make coffee…if you like it good and strong.”

I drank three cups of percolated coffee this morning and feel like I am going to explode with happiness and nerves. I feel as if I will disco to the subway train. The guy is right. The coffee is strong, and it is good.

Now try Googling “percolated coffee”. The internet thinks I’m doing it wrong, that I should have gone for the French press. Even the Wikipedia entry sniffs that percolated coffee is out of fashion. It’s weird; now I feel like I’ve been outrageously rebellious buying this percolator. After all, everyone who knows anything about coffee knows that this is an inferior method. And caring about your coffee is one of those markers, you know, of intelligence and sophistication. I bet if you mapped out the percolator households and the French press households, they would perfectly correlate with a map of blue states and red states. French presses are for liberals, percolators are for heathens.

But for how long? I predict within 18 months, percolators will become huge. Hipsters, tired of their espresso-brewed triple Americanos, will develop an ironic appreciation for percolated coffee. A percolator will be featured in some sort of spread in Vice, and a few months later we’ll see a percolator on the front page of Sunday Styles. And then William-Sonoma will come out with a $429 retro stovetop percolator, and I’ll sell my vintage model on eBay and use the proceeds to buy myself a shiny new espresso maker."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Canada West Boots: "Red Dog" Loggers

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to get my new Work Boots delivered to my office. It was a marvelous day. Every January I receive my Boots allowance for work and this year I was stuck between a pair of Viberg "Foreman's" or The "Red Dog's". The Viberg's were $400 with shipping and the Canada west's were $215 delivered. I like the look of the logger boots over the military-esque look of the Viberg, which really narrowed the decision for me. Both companies are Canadian, and well known in their style of boots. I was really hoping for a handcrafted pair of boots this year and I thought I was going to lose that with the less expensive Canada west.... Well needless to say I was wrong.

The craftsmanship is beautiful, The stitching is straight and even, the leather is flawless, and buttery smooth, and the nailed lug sole with leather heel is amazingly shaped and buffed. It really blew me away the pride you could feel in this boot, someone was very happy to make it and it shows!

Today was my first day with them on, and they are great! They need their break-in, but that is to be expected. and I am not use to the heel, but my calfs are thanking me already. Now Canada West Boots just need to make them in a soft toe, as there soft toe boots tend to be more of a western boot than a work boot ala Red wing, etc. So if you are looking for a solid work boot please take a look at, and give them a try yourself.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Darius Kinsey (1869-1945)

Darius Kinsey was the most important and prolific photographer of logging activities in the Pacific Northwest. His photographs show the hard working logging industry in its hay day, showcasing camps, equipment, railroads, and the people. You can see in the pictures some of the still available Filson clothing. The landscape in his pictures is beautiful contrasted to the gritty tired subject matter.

Darius Kinsey was a pioneer artist active as a photographer in the Northwest from the late 19th century to 1940. He was born in Missouri in 1869. Arriving in Snoqualmie, Washington at the age of 20, he went into the hotel and mercantile business, but soon after became intrigued with the art of photography. After learning the photography trade, he was hired by the Seattle and Lake Shore Railroad Co. and spent the next five years taking views along its line. At the same time, he started his pictorial documentation of life in the logging camps, photographing every aspect of logging in the Pacific Northwest.

This info is borrowed from, and more pics can be found at the University of Washington's digital collection.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Crepe Sole Anyone?

By far one of my favorite type of walking soles is Crepe. It is lightweight, flexible, and fairly durable. In the dictionary Crepe rubber is defined as:

crepe rubber
1. (Chemistry / Elements & Compounds) a type of crude natural rubber in the form of colourless or pale yellow crinkled sheets, prepared by pressing bleached coagulated latex through corrugated rollers: used for the soles of shoes and in making certain surgical and medical goods.

Crepe Rubber being Packed into wooden crates for shipping.

I find you could walk all day in crepe shoes and experience no fatigue in the feet at all. If there was ever a need to sneak up on someone, crepe could get it done. It is eerie how quiet and stealthy they are.

Probably the most seen crepe sole is on Clark's Desert Boot, Wallabee or their Desert trek. It has always been a staple Clark's. This year I notice that L.L. Bean came out with a Crepe soled boot. It is quiet beautiful and would make a excellent Camp boot. I know a lot of Moccasins already have a crepe sole for durability, and would probably be great , I just think that the L.L. Bean boot woudl have a bit more support. If you haven't tried a day walking on crepe I suggest you do. The initial swishy-ness of the sole with feel bizarre, but you will soon see that the are really excellent walking platforms!

Clark's have been using Crepe Sole like the ones on these Desert treks for 60 years.

L.L Bean's Crepe sole Moc Boot. Looks great!

Close up of the crepe sole moc boot.

P.S. A piece of crepe rubber is great for cleaning rubber cement off paper, and cleaning your grinding wheel!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Alcohol Stoves.

As a child, camping with my Father involved his old Coleman Peak One. A white gas, single burner stove that filled the early mornings with a roar. Then in my late teens as I started canoeing and camping with my soon to be wife, the Coleman single burner was my first choice for back country cooking. After a couple adventures and a wife who did not like the foot high start up flame of the Coleman, I had to find something else. Something that nestled, easy to light and lightweight.

With all these requirements I came across Trangia stoves. A Swedish Alcohol stove that was simple in design, no moving parts, zero pressurizing, windproof, and worked fairly well in the cold. Trangia has been making alcohol stoves since 1925, and is still in 2011 a top name in camp stove industry. When I started using alcohol stoves, the first thing I noticed is the silence. After all those years of roaring Coleman's and the almost locomotive sound of my Svea 123, the complete silence of the Trangia was how outdoor cooking should be. We go out to the bush for quiet retreat and the alcohol stove can deliver. These super reliable stoves do have a couple small downfalls, cooking time can be a bit longer ( but what's the rush?) and there for require more fuel, preheating is a must in freezing weather as the evaporation rate of alcohol drops in the cold. These few tiny inconveniences are nothing compared to the pros of these simplistic beauties. For the past 5 years have used a alcohol for every adventure I have been on, from week long canoe trips in Algonquin, to a hot lunch at the local Conservation area. Though my Dad's old Coleman served up plenty of memories, it's taking a much needed rest on my shelf and letting my Alcohol stove make new ones.

My first Stove a "Trangia Mini". This tiny little thing is my morning hike/stop for coffee stove.

My number one go to stove. A Swedish Army stove in harder to find stainless. Scoop them if you see them! At one time Ebay was basically giving these away. I think this was like $20. Note that all pots are equipped to be used on open flame as well.

This is a 1940's Vulcano 232E stove. Still burns great! This is my car camping stove.

This is a Tatonka "Multiset", full stainless steel. Basically a Trangia 27. I got this beacause Trangia does not offer Stainless versions of there cookware (which they should!).

All three compact stoves put in there nestled positions.