As you guys know, I was gone for a little while. Since coming back, I’ve been trying to catch up on what has been going on with different blogs and forums. Going through so much stuff in a short period of time, gave me a concentrated dose of some spectacular writing and research done by people, as well as a concentrated dose of the things that people do that annoy me to no end. I just wanted to list some of them here, more for purposes of venting than anything else.
Edible does not equal food. Please stop writing about how you can live off of plants because they are edible. Just because eating something will not kill you, does not mean that it has any non nominal nutritional value, and it certainly does not mean that it has any caloric value. You can easily starve to death with a stomach full of edible plants.
Leave the kits at home, bring the items you need. Please stop counting the items in your kit. For that matter, please stop making kits. Why is a 10 piece kit somehow more complete or ideal than a 9 or 11 piece kit? Why not just bring the items you need? I know it’s fun to have levels to one’s gear, with different kits, each with a different number of items in them, but we are not a space shuttle; we do not need to jettison levels of equipment as we travel in the woods. Try to remember the last trip where you started out with a full backpack (your 60, or whatever piece kit), and then due to unforeseen circumstances, you had to jettison items until you went through your 30 piece, 20 piece and then eventually just your 10 piece kit.
You liking something does not make it the best. Please stop trying to justify personal preferences and likes in terms of practicality. It is perfectly okay to like something just because you like it. Not every choice and preference has to be justified in terms of it being the best from a practical point. Forcing a practical justification for your stylistic or emotional choice just makes for an absurd argument. That is how we end up with a whole lot of ridiculous statements. For example, I wear a wool shirt when I go into the woods. I wear it because it is good enough in terms of performance, but more importantly, because I like the way it looks. I am fully aware that it is outperformed by numerous other materials and shirts on the market, and feel perfectly comfortable with that. I am not going to perform mental gymnastics to convince myself and other people that I chose it because it offers the best performance in the world.
A ferro rod is not a primitive form of fire lighting. I know, we all love sparks, but the ferro rod is a very modern invention. It kind of looks like flint and steel, but it’s not. If you want to use a traditional form of fire lighting, use flint and steel. Using a ferro rod is as primitive as using matches.
A bigger axe does not make you a better woodsman. Unfortunately, lately in the US there has been a trend where people have been taking larger and larger axes on their trips into the woods, with the apparent belief that it gives them credibility as woodsmen. Trust me, it does not. Maybe you will fool someone who has never used an axe, but there are few things less impressive than watching a person carry around a full size axe just so he can haphazardly swing it at a few wrist thick dead trees. A good rule of thumb is that if the tree will snap from a strong breeze, you don’t need that five pound axe. Similarly, poor technique, like trying to chew through the fallen wrist think piece of wood by repeatedly hitting it into the ground, negates any credibility you might have gotten from dragging around that full size axe. Save yourself the back problems, and bring an axe that is more suited for the task. Sometimes knowing means knowing when to stop.
Sleeping bags DO insulate on the bottom. Please stop writing that sleeping bags do not provide any insulation on the bottom because it gets compressed. A person is not a pile of bricks. The sleeping bag contours to your body beneath you and provides substantial insulation.
Your friends are not always objective. Stop thinking that just because your friends say you are “the best” you are actually the best. They are your friends; it’s a self selecting process. As we’ve learned from American Idol, just because your friends and family tell you you are great, doesn’t make it so.
The pack you are using is too small. Please stop telling everyone that you carry everything you need for the woods in the a shoulder bag (or some other small bag of choice), and then proceed to hang all of your gear on the outside of the bag. Just get a pack in which you can fit ALL of your gear.
Well, this is all I have at this point. These are just things that jump out at me, and continue to annoy me time and time again. I’m sure there are many other things out there, and I am sure there are plenty of things I do that get on people’s nerves, so if you have any, make sure to post a comment about them.