Bushcrafters, survivalists and outdoorsman who are often wilderness camping, like to think up hacks to make life easier, particularly if things come to a real survival situation. After watching season 6 of Alone on History Channel, I got to thinking about ways I could get through the ice for fishing while using minimal gear. I thought if I could embed my knife into the bottom of a pole to make an ice chisel, it could likely outperform an axe. Without an axe, it could be nearly impossible chipping away at the ice with just your knife. In the end, we decided that it worked well, and in potentially longer-term situations, it would be worth the extra effort to make one.
First, Ted showed me and my wife Tori the shelter he built a few weeks back. Here’s the video on Ted’s shelter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go0S4…
I was very impressed with it’s sturdy construction, the location he chose and the bark waterproofing he used. After a chat about survival shelters, we crossed over a hill to reach a creek and found the small waterfall there to be completely frozen over. Likely due to the unseasonably warm day and some melting, the creek was running loudly behind the ice of the frozen waterfall and we took a little time to check it out. On the way there I also looked for Chaga fungus and discussed some of the stages of forest growth. Soon, I found some Chaga and harvested it. Then I cut a pole from which I’d make my ice chisel.
After sawing our a rectangle from the end of my tapered pole, I secured my knife in it. The knife I used for the is the Gerber Strong Arm Fixed Blade and the narrower handle it has made it easier to secure. I then lashed it together with parachute cord.
After my chisel was done, my wife Tori pulled out some throwing tomahawks that she’d bought me for Christmas. We were pretty excited to use them and we found them pretty easy to get to stick into the target Tori set up. it was a lot of fun.
Soon after, my brother Ted finished his ice chisel which was made with a different design than mine. We trekked out onto the ice to try them out, and though we didn’t have much daylight left, we planned to do a little fishing too.
I manage to get through the ice pretty quickly with my chisel and Ted’s worked pretty well too, though his knife did twist some. Ted’s knife was lashed to the pole as opposed to embedded in it like mine was. Once through the ice, we fished until dark and caught nothing. It was a little disappointing but it’s the reality of many survival situations. We joked that if we were in a real survival situation, we’d have to go back to camp and eat the inner bark off of the poles we cut. We laughed but it is often the harsh reality of a survival situation.
Check out the gear I use here:
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