Thursday, December 31, 2015

Haversack 10 C's Kit for Pathfinder Phase 1 & 2 Course

For Christmas this year my wife gave me the Phase 1 and Phase 2 correspondence courses through the Pathfinder School and wouldn't you know it the first module and first deliverable for the course was to put together a 10 C's Kit and provide three uses for the items in your kit. While I didn't have all of my normal kit items with me this past weekend when I made this course kit up, it will work well for the purposes of these courses. In addition to three uses for each kit item you were to provide an historical account of woodland kits (think Nessmuk and Sears) and compare them to the 10 C's kit that you selected. Throughout this article I will detail the kit, reasons for selecting what I selected (aside from the fact it was in my car), three+ uses for each kit item and the historical significance of the kit. The video below (click the image to start the video) details the contents of the haversack 10 C's kit as well as three uses for each item.

Need A Few Items For Your 10 C's Kit: Try These-

So Let's Talk About Historical Kits:
Otzi The Iceman (Lived somewhere between 3350 BC and 3100 BC)
So this is one of the oldest complete kits of record thanks to Otzi being found frozen in the Italian Alps. His roughly 5'5" 100lbs mummified remains were found along with several kit items in 1991 and have been studied by scientists the world over ever since. The kit included the following items: Axe, neck knife, pressure flaker (for flint napping), Bow, quiver of arrows, flint, chaga, horseshoe fungas, mushrooms, berries, birch bark containers, backpack, net, first aid kit (wild medicinal), belt and various leather and hide based clothing. So what can we learn from this kit? 1) Natural materials work well for clothing (leather and hides work well in various types of weather and the best shelter element is the clothing on your back!). So how do I employ this lesson in my kit- WOOL; 2) Neck knives are not useless- you don't have to have a survival knife 100% of the time (See what I look for in a Survival Knife HERE) as long as you have a heavy-duty cutting option available but it helps.. So lessons learned I like neck knives so I'm going to carry one, but I also like larger knives for heavy-duty tasks so I will carry one as well after all 2 is 1 and 1 is none; 3) Fire is King- While he didn't carry a lighter or any modern means of fire (because they didn't exist) he still had multiple means of carrying fire within his kit. 4) Good quality gear is a must- having an all copper axe in that time period where metal smiting was at a minimum this item would have been a status symbol and very hard to come by for the woodsman of his day- lesson learned buy quality gear especially those in the 5 C's; 5) A command of wild edibles, medicinals and a wide variety of uses for all things in nature is a must for any outdoorsman! Lesson learned- knowledge is power and the more you carry in your mind the less you have to carry with you. 6) Multiple means of obtaining meat is needed: in his kit you will find not only a bow but also a net for small game or fish- lesson learned you need to be able to eat and for long term self-reliance as I say regularly trapping is where its at!; 7) Containers are king- weather they be natural or man-made. Granted water borne pathogens were nowhere near as bad as they are today and their immune systems were more accustom to those pathogens so boiling was not needed as much as it is today. 8) Maybe a Roycraft pack isn't actually a Roycraft pack as his pack looks a whole lot like that model- lesson learned a means of conveyance is key and if you lose one they certainly are not hard to make.

18th Century Woodsman:
So what about all those trappers and hunters living the pioneer life in the early days of the US? What was in the kit of the ultimate survivalist of the time (granted primitive cultures were probably a step above them):  Blanket Roll, tarp, black powder gun, shooting pouch, powder horn, jute twine possibly tarred twine, belt knife, hatchet or axe head, fire kit, canteen, food, means of cooking/boiling, compass and a  fishing kit (see my 18th Century kit here- LINK). So what can we take from this kit to lend to out 10 C's haversack kit?  1) Cover, Cutting tool, Combustion, Container, Cotton, Candle, Compass, Canvass Sail Needle and Cordage- There are 9 of the 10 C's in this kit, add in pine pitch and you have cargo tape of the day thus where the concept of the 10 C's was born. 

Golden Age of Camping- George W. Sears/Nessmuk
This was the original outdoor journalist! He was a sport writer for Forest & Stream Magazine and was a founder of the camping age and wrote under the pen name Nessmuk (a name which many blades bear the name to this day). So what did Nessmuk have in his kit? Haversack, cordage, sewing kit, file, first aid kit, fire kit, compass, cotton, trapping kit, wool clothing, wool sleeping bag, tarp, cook kit, hatchet, belt knife, folding/jack knife, fishing/hunting gear, food and an axe. So what did we learn from this kit? For me it was that Dave took most of his 10 C's of survival elements from a mix of this kit and the 18th century woodsman as nearly all of the 10 C's were represented in this kit. 

So what are our overall takeaways from these three historical kits?
Each kit carried the 5 C's at a minimum, most of which had at least a spare of those 5 items with the exception of the ice man. The 18th Century Woodsman and Nessmuk both carried some form of the 10 C's (you have to use your imagination a bit on the cargo tape aspect) with redundancies of the 5 C's. Essentially, taking an historical approach to a self reliance kit you would find yourself with the 10 C's, good clothing, a firearm and at least one other means of getting meat (trapping, nets, etc.). So why are the five C's carried in each of these historical kit, lets look at them one by one: 1) Cutting tool- This is without a doubt the most difficult and most used kit item to replicate in nature. With a solid cutting tool (preferably two) you can essential make all of your other survival needs.; 2) Combustion- even the ice man had a huge fire kit as back then fire truly was life and it makes everything else your want to do out in the woods much easier to accomplish all while keeping predators at bay; 3) Container- with the advent of metal containers we are now able to easily boil water, cook or make medicine in our container but even the ice man had two containers with him (one probably was to carry an ember for his next fire); 4) Cover- Each had some form of shelter element, while the iceman was no where near as sophisticated he still work skins and hides which as I always say the best cover is the kind you wear; and 5) Cordage- While the more recent outdoorsmen had access to much better cordage the iceman even knew the value of cordage as he used various types in his kit including natural materials and pieces of leather hide. 6) Mean of food procurement- weather it be a bow/arrow, flint lock rifle, nets or traps finding food is always at the top of the mind and in my opinion an 11 C needs added! I think I will dub it "Critter Getter"!

Need A Few Items For Your 10 C's Kit: Try These-

So Whats In My Haversack Kit and Why?

This kit includes the following items and I will list them in order of importance to me personally:
  1. Cutting Tools: Lt. Wright Bushcrafter, Battle Horse Knives Frontier First, Jeff White Spear Point, Bacho Laplander, Striker Knife in Micro 10 C's Kit. So why are cutting tools without a doubt the most important item in my kit? Well if I have a sharp high quality knife and a good baseline skill set I can make most of the other items in my kit if need be and over time can make a very comfortable camp. I always go cutting tool heavy as never enter the woods without a neck knife, belt knife and a Bacho Laplander (buck saw and axe for long-term trips or winter trips with minimal shelter) 
    • Uses: Slicing, modified hammer, batoning wood, modified drill, processing game, cutting wood, carving spoons/bowls, making fire (flint/steel), signaling, etc.
  2. Combustion: Flint/steel, magnification, Bic Lighter, 1/2" x5" Ferro Rod, Fire Pad Tinder, Tinder Quick, Char Cloth, Fat Wood, Gorilla Tape and Magnesium make up the main fire making kit within this kit. I you have ever fallen through ice and then tried to make a fire.... let alone flint/steel or a bow drill fire then you may not understand this ranking especially since I camp without a fire 90% of the time (except for cooking purposes). When you need fire, well you need fire and usually in a hurry. Can I cut back on redundancy here? Of course I could go down to my neck knife and be fine, but different evolutions call for different skills demonstrations.
    • Uses: Making fire (can be used for- making medicine, making charred material, preparing food, signal, maintaining core temperature, hardening spears, etc.) and self defense tool. 
  3. Cover: Clothing (Lester river Bushcraft Boreal Jacket, Scent Lock fleece/wool pants, wool mid layer, wicking heat gear base layer), grabber reflective tarp, SOL 2 person blanket/tarp, two 55 gallon trash bags, two clear trash bags, four prussicks, four tent pegs and one bungee cord. Granted I like the temperature a little colder than most and like minimal cover elements (although I have to admit I'm falling in love with hammock camping) but I would be remissed if I didn't include my clothing in this section and the Lester River Boreal Jacket is a formidable piece of gear and I have done a three day trip with it as my only shelter several times. So like I always say, dress for the worst weather and not for the best weather. 
    • Uses: Cover, warming, lining shelter, collecting water, carrying firewood, modified pack,
  4. Container: Pathfinder 32 oz bottle, Pathfinder nesting cup, Pathfinder Stove, Altoids tin x2, Candle tin and Aluminum foil x2. I lack Birch where I camp and practice my skills so making a birch container is simply not in the cards for me. While I could burn out a container, find and use an old glass bottle or beer car or even carve out a bowl these items are less than ideal. 
    • Uses: A good stainless steel bottle allows me to make water drinkable, prepare food, make medicine, control core temperature, extend my range of travel, a make shift weapon or hammer and much more.
  5.  Cordage: Jute Twine ( 50'), #36 Bankline (150'), #12 Bankline (25'), Paracord (50'), Shock Cord (5') and a Bungee Cord. I may throw around 50' of paracord into the kit eventually to make a few of the tasks easier but generally don't carry much paracord other than show laces, survival bracelets and lanyards.
    • Uses: flash tinder, make charred material, shelter making, lashing, gear repair, and much more.
  6. Cotton: shemaghs x2, Cotton Bandanna x3 (2 not pictured), Small squares x 15 (fire kit), 10"X10" rag (Micro 10 C's Kit). I may remove one of the shemaghs since I added two bandannas (work better for filtering in a tripod filter).
    • Uses: char cloth, cleaning up camp, cleaning gun, muzzle loader patches, sanitation, making medicine, purification of water, much more. 
  7. Candle: 10 Hour Bees Wax Candle, Headlamp, weapon light on CCW and pocket light.
    • Uses: sealing items, heating a shelter, providing light at night, singling and much more.
  8. Canvas Needle: Sail needle x2 (Belt knife, Micro 10 C's Kit), Smaller sewing needle x2 (Micro 10 C's Kit and Neck Knife)
    • Uses: First Aid (splinter removal or sewing wound), gear repair, making primitive containers, boring a hole in place of a drill.
  9. Cargo Tape: 15' Gorilla Tape (wrapped around business card lose), 10' Gorilla Tape (Micro 10 C's Kit), 5' Gorilla tape assorted throughout kit to attach items.
    • Uses: cordage, container, flame extender, tinder bundle, gear repair, water proofing, sealing clothing, shelter, and 1000's of other uses (see myth busters 2 part show, they even made a function canoe out of the stuff!).
  10. Compass: Suunto Compass with adjustable declination, scale, mirror and whistle.
    • Uses: Navigation with or without a map, first aid (mirror), signal (mirror or whistle), fire starting, etc.
  11. Critter Getter: 410/45LC double barrel pistol will take up residence within this kit along with a few spare rounds of ammunition, 45LPC defensive carry pistol with 21 rounds, 410-22lr adapter, 15' snare wire.Honestly I would rank this above some of the 5 C's in many situations as I don't like to be caught anywhere without a firearm, but that's just me (and well every historical woodsman carried some type of weapon with them into the woods).
    • Uses: GETTING CRITTERS, self defense, fire starting (flint lock rifles were often used to start fires), extract powder for first aid, signal for rescue and even a hammer on occasion.
So How Does It Look All Wrapped up? 
The items at the top are all in the main body of the haversack while the others are in the flap pouch to add weight and provide easy access to the items I use the most. The weight is pretty manageable and easy to carry for any length trip and the elements of the kit can easily be incorporated into a larger kit as needed. The shelter kit, shemagh wrap and haversack can sit on top of my Frost River pack while the lose items and water bottle will sit perfectly in the exterior pockets.

While this kit isn't anything new for me as I carry a variant of this kit on a regular basis, but was designed around the deliverables required for the phase 1 and phase 2 Pathfinder School courses. I decided to go with the haversack as its comfortable, but might just add this to my EDC bag for the duration of the classes so I can do whatever is needed whenever I have a spare second. Overall I look forward to going beyond the first module and taking each of you along for the ride. I will do a separate review of the materials once I dig through them, so be looking for that in the near future.

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  1. Thanks for sharing! Lots of info!!!

  2. Hey man this is a great write up I've enjoyed reading. I'll be slimming down to a haversack myself here soon. Thanks again I'll be following along.

  3. Hey man this is a great write up I've enjoyed reading. I'll be slimming down to a haversack myself here soon. Thanks again I'll be following along.