maanantai 9. huhtikuuta 2012

Bushcraft Finland Winter meeting 2012 trip report

So we finally got our very first winter meeting for BCFIN forum. There was 7 of us all together and meeting was short, but simply great. Weather was in few plus degrees when we arrived and parked our car few kilometers from meeting place somewhere middle of Finland. So we packed and checked our rucksacks prepared to have some nice snowshoeing into the place. Ozme have made small "ahkio" from children´s pulk to carry his shelter and some other gear easier.

OzMe hauling his gear in "ahkio"

After 20-30min hike we arrived and Rautasarvi, Perkunas & Ukkonen were already there digging snow so fastly unpacked and took our showels to get campsite ready. It was first time for me to meet Rautasarvi & Ukkonen, other guys I was familiar already. So it was really nice to see new faces that we have just met online before.

Rautasarvi & Ukkonen working har for their snowy shelters.

So we took off snow shoes dropped our bags and started to build up "camp". We decided to make few snow caves or rather "shelf" cause weather was + degrees and not so sure if caves will stand.
There´s also cabin meant for cooking and it can be used for sleeping only if you really have to.

Looks like some of us swears on army surplus snowshoes :)

Kimmo shaping snowshelf for sleeping.

 Same time we put up some laavu´s and loue around estimated evening fire. Laavu´s was just build up to reflect the heat from the fire, cause sky was bright so we didn´t expect snowing.

Vihe loue at background

Finnman & Perkunas laavu´s on left

OzMe starting to build up his military surplus cotton fabric laavu / tent

OzMe & Finnman sleeping places ready
Finnman, Ozme, Kimmo & Ukkonen building up camp (photo by Perkunas)

After snow works it was time to gather around fire to dry we gloves and other clothes. So people enjoyed warmth of the fire chatting.

Now everyone started to feel bit hungry so it was time to eat someting. Some fried bacons or sausages and some just grabbed piece of bread with hot coffee.

OzMe enjoying rye bread and coffee in cabin

Cabin with it´s heart rugged fireplace (photo by OzMe)

So after eating people start to chat and get to know each other, cause many of them haven´t meet ever before in live. In our international group there was 5 guys from Finland, one from USA and one from Japan. We didn´t plan any scheduled program here cause it was first bigger meeting (first one had 3 people) which main idea was getting to know each others and simply enjoy good time in nature. Everybody sure bring packful of gear with them so time passes nicely comparing what each one use to carry and why. When it day started to turn evening me and Perkunas got idea to demonstrate very traditional finnish cooking fire "raappanan tuli" which was often made by lumberjacks.
Raappanan tuli looks little bit like "jätkän kynttilä" (finnish log candle) which is log cross sawn with chainsaw and lit standing on groun. Raappanan tuli is more simple it´s log that have split nearly from middle and then from thicker half one slice split off that you have two equal thick halves and one 1-2cm slice which will cut pieces and shavings to lit raappanan tuli. Next thing is to cut grooves / shavings for both halves with and axe to let fire really get into halves. After that you simply build that log again leaving 1-2cm gap between halves and light it up. When it´s burning well you have staple plate to put your pot or koffee kettle on top of fire to cook. Nice trick is to add 4 small stones under the pot to let fire breathe better.

Raappanan tuli burning well. This is very efficient fire for cooking and it burns quite long.

Cause we already started to make traditional fires Perkunas continued with other very traditional long burning fire which have given warmth and comfort finnish outdoorsman for centuries in cold nights.
That we call "rakotuli" or "rakovalkea" which is directly translated as "gap fire" Somewhere I have heard it also called "long log fire" and it have often build using three logs, but originally it´s made using only two. Perkunas made good job building up "mini" version of that "rakotuli" cause we didn´t have long enough logs available. You can find detailed description from it here: Perkunas blog

Gapfire building with remains of raappanan tuli on left, lower log in place with firestarters an wedges (made from fresh wood) in both end to adjust gap.

Gapfire ready to lit.

Gapfire starting to burn. (photo by Perkunas)
So it looks like even not planned this meeting´s carrying theme was fire, so we continued practising fire making with flint & steel. Some of us had own flint & steels with them, but Rautasarvi have kindly forged some for those who didn´t have their own and also bring "taula" made from tinder fungus. So everyone were striking sparks trying to make tinder glowing. Man it´s not that easy at all.

I wanted to try to make "charred cloth" first to catch the spark cause haven´t tried that one before. I have bring some cotton fabric in metallic air gun pellet container which I wanted to char. To char it you simply press small hole into container and place it on fire. Soon smoke will come out from the hole and when there´s not much smoke anymore it´s ready. I char it bit too long, but it worked still being just very fragile.

Charring cloth in airgun pellet container. Thick smoke coming from hole in the middle.
Charred cloth ready and this time a bit too "ripe"

After those exercises it was already late and dark so people prepared their sleeping bags and gathered around fire for story telling and barbequeing sausages. Some had can of beer with them and OzMe bring small bottle of brandy. Evening changed fastly to night. Sky was clear and stars bright when people started to prepare some sleep. Someone throw last log into fire releasing swarm of sparks into the cool fresh air.
I noticed earlier that I have forgot my sleeping mattress home and luckily OzMe had bring two pieces so he borrowed me one Halti brand airmatress. That one was quite poor cause it was so thin and I couldn´t fill it well by blowing air in, maybe those are just not for winter. So I put any extra stuff I found under my sleeping bag like tarpaulin, some clothes, foam sitting pad etc.
I have also borrowed US Army bivy sack from Akiri to try it out, cause I have never tried bivy before. When I had adjusted myself and crawled inside of my Savotta military winter bag I fall in sleep like a child. Later at night when I had to go to pee maybe 2-3am, I noticed that weather was changed much colder maybe some -10C degrees and it full painfull to get up and crawl out from quite warm bag, but nature calls. :)
At morning I woke up around 7am and slept quite well but felt bit cold from ground. Decent sleeping mattress could make significant difference I think.

Night was chilly, but everone rested quite well anyway.
Next day there was atleast two activities in program: item swap and goodie box "lottery"
Some of us had bring extra stuff they don´t need to exchange with other. So cabin table was soon full of books, cooking equipment, compasses, knives, axes, pocket knives, etc. I think it was succesfull cause I saw quite many people happily leaving table carrying some new "treasures"

Myself I got leather possibles pouch from Perkunas and Selfmade puukko from OzMe.

Swap table with some of the stuff.
Selfmade puukko from OzMe and handmade possibles pouch from Perkunas.

Last thing before leaving was "lottery of BCFIN goodiebag" Ideas father was Akiri who couldn´t attend meeting but generously gave goodiebag with some content into our lottery. So idea was that everyone who attend put secretly someting inside of bag and then lucky winner will get decent amount of goodies and we thought this nice tradition to continue into future meetings.
I was lucky enough to win this bag this time and yes it contained a lot of usefull stuff which I will tell more here later in future postings.

Goodiebag with it´s contents

Around 11:00am we started to leave and hike back to the cars which means around 30 minutes snow walking in very sunny and fresh few minus degrees weather, very enjoyable!

Hiking back in sunny winter weather

I also finally tried that old Halti outer frame-bag that I traded with Perkunas long ago. Very good bag eats lot of gear inside.

I just added "Thinglink" tags into my blog to give more information about pictures, thanks from the tip Perkunas,

6 kommenttia:

  1. Really nice trip report and pics, Finnman! It really was a great time.


    1. Yes, I think it was great meet and good that more than handful of people could come also.

      Waiting for next winter. :)

      - Finnman

  2. Looks like you had a good time with good folks.

  3. Nice! Especially that Goodiebag, nice thing and nice stuff in it! I'm looking forward to take my place in those meetings!

    1. Yes, that goodiebag was great idea. I think next year trend will continue and one lucky bushcrafter will get bagful of goodies again. Be there Esko!

      - Finnman

  4. As I commented on other blogs, it sure does look good!