Today my goal was to scout out and begin setting up a “basecamp”. I had already done some scouting in the area I was interested in, and after a bit more searching and thinking I found a location that I think I can work with.

The challenge is that I am completely surrounded by neighborhood residences. So I needed to find a place that would hopefully be shielded from folks being able to see what I’m doing. I think the spot I settled on will accomplish that with a few improvements.

The tools I brought today from left to right: my CKRT Minimalist Bowie, Morakniv Companion, Coast pocket knife, HD saw, nameless hatchet, Fiskars pruners and military e-tool. I didn’t actually use any of the knives today. And yes, some of my tools have a little rust on them. Don’t judge me!

This is the area where I plan to put my fire ring.

Hey Scott Taylor, at least I won’t starve to death! (Check out Scott Taylor on YouTube if you haven’t already. Watch this video if you want to be in on the joke!)

In progress. I thought this discarded and broken bird bath basin would make a good base and protect the ground from the fires I hope to make.

This should suit my purposes pretty well. Once @Broke (BCUSA) sends me that kneel pad it will work great on that flat rock at the mouth of the fire ring. =) I don’t plan on making huge blazing bonfires, just small fires practising various techniques and fire lays.

Here are a couple of work-in-progress cook kits I brought along to play with test today.

10cm Imusa cup, DIY lid, carbon felt pot handler, Fancy Feast alcohol stove, repurposed Mio container with HEET, measuring cup, and piece of foil for reflective base.

In action! 3/4 oz of fuel got 2+ cups of water to a small simmer, hot enough for a cup of joe.

This kit is based on a Walmart grease pot, titanium spork, aluminum tent stakes repurposed as cross-pieces for pot support, two reflectors/ground protectors I’m experimenting with, titanium twig stove, carbon felt pot handler, and an old bandana cut in two. The bandana pieces are for cleaning and to keep all the metallic parts from clinking together while the kit is in my pack.

While my coffee was cooling I gathered and processed wood for a cook fire.

I also brought a new toy piece of kit to play with test out. “Core4 SHTF Grill” by MySurvivalPack. (Check them out, they have some neat stoves.) It has different pieces you can remove in a “survival” situation, pretty neat concept. Check out my DIY sleeve I made for it (working on a more permanent solution).

For a fire starter I used a cotton ball dipped in wax. It did a great job!

Something popped in the fire just as I snapped this one!

I need to mod my twig stove. It didn’t stay “zipped”. I was able to buttress it with a couple of rocks, so it wasn’t a huge problem. Other than that it worked like a champ!

Time for some chow!

I was really looking forward to this all day!

It was tasty!

I shifted the grill around on the dying fire to burn the residue off. As the fire finished burning down I packed up. I then doused the few remaining coals and headed home. A short but productive trip, and now I have a place to start knocking out my Bushclass lessons.

Lessons learned:

Modification needed to my twig stove so it will stay “zipped” while in use.

After you use your e-tool as a beach shovel you should clean and lube it!

Here are a few bonus pics I snapped along the way….

If anyone knows what’s going on with this tree (it’s a tulip poplar) let us know in the comments below.