Bug Repellants

Bug Repellants

Any of my friends will tell you that I loath black flies and mosquitoes. They turn the perfect part of the spring into an obnoxious swat-fest. I remember the first time I went canoeing with my wife and father-in-law. He was gung-ho to find the best route and followed the directions of “seasoned” canoeists on an internet database. I should have inspected the route, but I assumed they knew where to go and how long it would take. It was not my first time canoeing, but being the better man, I let my father-in-law run the show. He will never live it down. It was toward the end of day one, when we ended up in a small lake. Actually, a large island, ringed by a small “lake”. Ok, it was a swamp. An island in the middle of a swamp. The map indicated a single swamp symbol, and that was more than enough apparently. When we got there it was about 3pm and as the day turned to night, the hordes of insects descended. First it was the black flies… because why not canoe during black fly season. And as soon as it dipped in temperature, the black flies would disappear and then for five minutes, everything was great. And then the mosquitoes. And they never left us alone until well after 8pm. Flying, Biting Insects Mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies and company, are the bane of every woodsman. I am not talking about the single mosquito that lands on your arm, I am talking about the cloud of mosquitoes that have nothing better to do than drain you...
Knotwork Containers

Knotwork Containers

For years, I have struggled with the problem of carrying objects using rope. Every time I take an object – say a cooler without handles – and strap it down , the weave starts to come loose from jostling as soon as I’m on the trail and the “package” begins its escape. This happens regardless of the shape – Jerry cans, 20 lb. propane cylinders, an oversized sleeping bag that doesn’t fit in my pack – they all free themselves eventually. But no more. While thumbing through an old craft book from 1975, I came across an article called Macramé Made Easy, alongside articles on pottery, stain glass work and chamois clothing. You probably remember Macramé from those old owls that people hung in their basements dangerously close to the wood stove. Or that collection of hanging plant baskets with the really fibrous brown jute. Macramé is a form of textile crafting using knotwork rather than weaving or knitting. And it is really simple. You just learned macramé. It was that easy. Oh, there are lots of techniques using different types of knots, but in essence, it’s just a series of knots. With this technique alone, you could easily fashion gill nets (by tying a series of reverse larkshead knots to a length of line), fish traps (using sapling hoops instead of a solid container),  and even a whole woven haversack- using 550 paracord and #36 bankline. In essence, you could make a whole fish net with this technique alone. Applications In the outdoors, macramé is perfect for creating woven containers for carrying large jugs of water, a 5-gallon bucket or any bulky awkward objects – add handles for a two-person carry. Attach your...
Baby Bug Out Bags

Baby Bug Out Bags

I am a stay-at-home father. Is that considered a respectable career choice yet. What came with this career choice has been a bit of a surprise. I don’t really have the free time I was expecting, even though for all intents and purpose I am home a lot. When she is awake, we are off to the park, grocery shopping, reading together or visiting a drop-in centre. And every time she goes to bed, it is either a whirlwind of cleaning after her or I am too wiped to do anything constructive. And it is hard to venture outside when she is sleeping since I have to listen out for her – assuming she graces me with a nap. When I am out and about, I have to juggle getting things accomplished with entertaining her, making sure she doesn’t get into trouble and “accidents”. For all these life events, I rely on the diaper bag. Which sounds like it is only filled with diapers and wipes. A diaper bag is so much more. It is a baby bug out bag (Baby BOB), a child survival kit and it is designed around the child in question. No two are alike. When my daughter spends time with my in-laws, the bag goes with her. When we go to the park, it hangs off the handles of the stroller. And only when we are a minute from it, will I leave the bag in the car. Function The diaper bag fulfils all the priorities of a survival kit – only for someone who can’t handle knives, play with fire and is not...