Been thinking about Proenekke.

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by jackknife, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. RescueRiley


    Mar 22, 2006
    The heavy chopping tool and folder conclusion is something I came to myself a while ago.. While there will always be room for a scandi blade in my bag, A heavy tool and folder see the most work..
    I also like the idea of only taking one tool beyond my regular edc,
    and having a woods capable edc.
  2. wackafew

    wackafew Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Didn't Poeneke have a Gun? In the vido I saw he looked to have a pre 64 Winchester model 70 with iron sights.:confused:
  3. hiwa


    Jun 7, 2009
    Pretty sure it's a sporterized Springfield 30-06 , but I'm not sure. This is what I think I read in his book.
  4. sodak

    sodak Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    In general I agree with you, it's hard for me to let go however. Several years ago on an overseas trip, I brought a SAK farmer and a Frosts Mora. I found the SAK MUCH more useful, there wasn't anything that the Mora could do that the Farmer couldn't do better.

    But it's nice having that fixed blade, I'm still not totally comfortable with just a folder. Maybe the small fixed blades that you've been trying lately are the better way to go. I just can't seem to let go of my SAK's, they're too darn handy. :D
  5. spareparts


    May 12, 2010
    I've been doing a great deal of thinking on this subject lately. Thinking about our ancestors, from the stone age through at least the copper age the ax was the tool to have. On the ice mummy in the Italian Alps among his gear they found a copper ax and a small flint knife. My gear list had strayed from the big choppers and Bowie knives, been going with the smaller fixed blades and a tomahawk or small ax.
  6. Shotgun


    Feb 3, 2006
    That's my thinking about it. If your edc is already wood specific, there's less you could potentially forget to grab when going out the door because it's already in your pocket.
  7. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    No need to let go of any sak's, their too darn useful. Heck, I can't let go of them either. Even though I may have one of my traditional pocket knives on me, there's still a sak in another pocket someplace. Over the past half century of so, I've found that most cutting I have to do on camping trips can be done with a pocket knife.

    My only reason for carrying a heavy duty chopper of any type, is that if a day trip goes wrong, ( and at my age, that's about all I do anymore) I want something that can lay down some serious wood cutting for the first 12 to 24 hours that I or my wife may be stuck someplace. It's going to be hard to lay down a bough bed to keep off wet/cold ground with a peanut. A hatchet, saw, or 12 inch machete will do that way better than any 5 or 6 inch bladed knife.

    WILLIAM.M likes this.
  8. Wardo46


    Jun 26, 2015
    I'm new to this forum (but not new to BFC) so hello to everyone.

    My apologies in advance for resurrecting this ancient thread but I'm really interested in viewing the video that jackknife mentions in his first post (quoted above.) I've tried using the search function but was unsuccessful.

    I realize it's a long shot but can anyone provide a link to the video jackknife is referring to or suggest a way I might be able to find it? Apparently the video was on this forum.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  9. Onies


    Apr 29, 2006
    The video in question is called "Alone in the Wilderness" and ran on PBS quite frequently. You might be able to find it on Netflix, or failing that, on line retailers sometimes carry the DVD.
  10. Wardo46


    Jun 26, 2015
    Thanks, Onies, but I don't think that's the one jackknife mentions in his post that I'm looking for. He said "the video of the guy that was dumped off in the Canadian north country with nothing in his pockets, but he was with a native indian guide who had just an ax. It was amazing what the guide did with that ax."

    Proenneke wasn't dumped off in the Canadian north country with nothing in his pockets (he was in Alaska and had all kinds of tools and gear) and didn't have a native Indian guide so I'm assuming jackknife was referring to another video.

    Thanks for the response though. :thumbsup:
  11. Uncle Timbo

    Uncle Timbo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    This might wet your appetite. It's literally been years since I watched and followed Dick. Didn't he take most of his tools in with him and make handles after he was there?
    He was definitely an amazing man.
    B Griffin likes this.
  12. Wardo46


    Jun 26, 2015
    I just re-read the OP and realized that I wasn't very clear in what I was asking. The OP references more than one video. The one that I'm interested in finding is this one as described by the OP:

    "Someplace on this forum I saw the video of the video of the guy that was dumped off in the Canadian north country with nothing in his pockets, but he was with a native indian guide who had just an ax. It was amazing what the guide did with that ax. I recall he even made a fireboard, and did fine carving with that ax. It was his one indispensable tool for survival. No knife, just an ax..."

    Since Proenneke was in Alaska, had lots of tools, and didn't have a native Indian guide I'm assuming the OP was referring to a video of someone other than Proenneke, i.e., "the guy that was dumped off in the Canadian north country with nothing in his pockets, but he was with a native Indian guide who had just an axe..." That's the video I'd like to find as I'm particularly interested in seeing what the guide could do with an axe.

    Hope this helps to clarify. Thanks for the attempts to assist and sorry I wasn't more clear.

    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
    Uncle Timbo likes this.
  13. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003
    I used to carry a super heavy pack and had to rest like every mile or so. Then I started reading Nessmuk and Mors etc and cut way back. In the summer I've gone on 3 or 4 day trips with a small day pack.

    I love knives so a lot of times I'll bring more than what I need but really like somebody upthread said a multi tool pretty much has all you need. Although you might want an axe or bigger saw if it is cold and you want a big fire. However I've made pretty nice fires just burning limbs in half once I got a nice enough fire going w/ small stuff.

    Couple other thoughts is sometimes I carry a bit more to make better time. For instance making coffee. If you pop out a pocket rocket and make coffee you can be on the trail pretty quick in the morning if you have a long way to go to where you make your next camp, versus lighting a fire. However there is a line there where if you carry too much stuff to get going easier your pack will slow you down.

    Another is if you are going with several people sometimes you can spread out the elements of cooking, group meals or the tent between 2 or 3 people and it really helps.
  14. Pinemoon


    Mar 25, 2005
    Enjoying this thread...
    One thing that stuck out to me in @jackknife 's OP is the mentioning that no one carried large fixed blades back in the day. It was folders and axes (with the possible exception of a ka-bar, etc). Then it was mentioned that while in Costa Rica it was noticed everyone had a big 12" fixed blade. This is a fascinating (at least to me) window into culture and geography.

    A large fixed blade or machete / chopper type is the thing to swing for hours on end through the jungle. Imagine swinging an axe to clear a path for even 15 minutes. You're gonna be hating life. It just isn't the tool. It's heavy; and the edge is too small to cut more than a couple stalks at a time, and you need one free hand to remove the slash.

    Then there's the need to cut joints in wood. This is the axe's domain. Proenekke used his axe to split, fell, and cut joinery in wood; the corners of his cabin, etc. The jungle folks used vines to lash poles to trees, or poles to poles. I don't think they used joinery to make shelters, but if I'm wrong, please enlighten me :)

    Anyway, it's neat to me how knives and tools can illuminate culture. The north woods with its wooded landscape that's easily traversed finds an axe the preferred tool. In the jungle where foliage, not trees, are thick, it's the chopper/machete.

    Now that our modern world has blended cultures, we find northerners getting into choppers. I wonder if the jungle folks are buying axes ??
    I love Proenekke, by the way.
    Comprehensivist likes this.

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