However, aside from climbing, the prusik knot is also very handy for bushcraft and outdoor purposes.
One of the most common bushcraft/survival uses is for stringing out and tensioning a tarp whilst using a ridgeline.
How to tie a prusik knot:
Create a loop, known as a prusik loop, by tying two of the paracord ends together. You can use a double fisherman’s knot for this or similar.
Next, take the opposite end to the knots and form a bite.
Assuming your chosen pole/branch/rope (that you want to tie onto) is laying horizontally, take your bite end and place over the top of this and then back underneath, so that your bite end and knot and are on the same side and pointing towards you.
Take the knot end and place through the bite end.
Dress towards the pole/branch/rope.
Take the loop that is on top (that was the bite) and take it back over and around again, mimicking the first step.
Again, take the knotted end and place through the loop.
Dress this down to create the prusik knot. You should be able to count four wraps in total.
How it works:
When loaded, the knot tightens securely around its subject. It does this as it is a friction knot.
This allows the user to tighten and secure against this knot, allowing them a fixed point to secure to.
When the knot is unloaded and the tension released, the prusik should loosen, allowing the knot to slide along the rope and re-grip at the next intended point.
This allows the user to move the knot along the rope, to the next required point and then load again.
This allows for a very useful knot, that can be secured and quickly moved as required.
The Clove Hitch
The clove hitch is used to tie onto a pole or branch and is a handy knot to start a lashing or binding with.
It’s not the best of knots if used on its own, as it slips quite easily and needs to be combined with another knot or lashing to be properly secure – but it is a handy knot to know nonetheless.
How to tie:
Take the end of your cord and place over the top of the pole of or branch that you want to secure to.
Take underneath and back around, so that the working end crosses over the first wrap of cord.
Go around once more and feed the end underneath the ‘cross over’ loop that you just formed, so that the cord runs parallel with the tail end.
Dress together and you will have a clove hitch. This can be confirmed by checking that you have a cross formation, as shown in the above image.
The Bowline Knot
If you want to tie a fixed loop at the end of your paracord, the bowline knot is a solid choice.
This knot is great as it locks the loop in place and stops it slipping.
How to tie a bowline knot:
Take the working end of your cord and form a loop in it, where you want the knot to form – the loop should follow an anti-clockwise direction, with the working end should sit on top, and should now be facing downwards, towards you.
Take the working end and thread back through this loop, on the right-hand side, passing it behind the standing end and bringing it back around through the loop again.
Pull tight to form your fixed loop.
You now have a bowline.
The Alpine Butterfly
If you want to create a loop in a length of paracord, without having to get the ends involved, then the alpine butterfly knot is a good choice.
It enables you to tie a strong loop that you can tie onto, whilst maintaining the strength of the main line.
This provides a variety of possible uses, one example would be to provide the loops for a trotline, to tie your mono-filament hook-lengths onto.
All in all, a very handy knot to know.
How to tie the alpine butterfly:
Take some slack and wrap the cord around the palm of your hand 3 times.
Take the middle section and tuck it underneath the right-hand section.
Bring it around the front, to the left, and over the original left-hand section.
Take it underneath the other two sections, and bring out on the right-hand side.
Grip the loop on the right and pull the two rope ends to form the fixed loop.
You now have the alpine butterfly.
And now the video run-through of the above…
I hope you find the above article useful for learning and tying your paracord knots. Please let us know how you get on in the comments below.
A good video showing the fire piston in use can be viewed below:
A bow drill set is a great tool to use in the Northern Hemisphere and can create a good ember even with slightly damp wood.
You will need the following parts to create one:
Bow section: the main part that is drawn back and forward to create the drilling action. This is a formed from a carefully selected tree branch.
Cord: this attaches to the bow and is what grips and spins the drill. 550 paracord is usually used for this.
Drill section: this is what spins and ‘drills’ into the hearth below to create an ember.
Bearing block: used to create a low friction ‘cup’ that sits on top of the drill section and is held in place with your non-dominant hand.
Hearth: the base section of wood that stays fixed in place and is ‘drilled’ into, to create an ember.
Ray Mears demonstrates the process in the video below:
For an even more detailed look, MCQBushcraft has an excellent video on this also.
A very basic but effective method is to start a fire from a lense, usually a magnifying glass.
If you carry a standard plate compass, such as the Silva Expedition 4, then you will have a magnifying lens built into the compass.
You do need bright sunlight for this to work, but assuming the sun is strong enough, you can move the lens closer to the tinder until you have a small concentrated spot of light, that is laser focussed on your tinder.
If the beam of light is intense enough, the tinder will start to smoke and with a little help – eventually, ignite.
This is a great method to use, as it enables your compass to have a dual purpose.
Not much use if it’s cloudy though!
As you can see, there are many different ways to get a fire going. I would encourage you to try and master as many methods as you can.
Not only is it fun, it could save your bacon one day and is certainly not wasted effort.
We positively encourage you to leave a comment below or contact us to let us know what you think, good or bad.
These types of stoves are usually cylindrical in design and incorporate an external jacket.
How does a wood burning camp stove work?
This jacket funnels warm air (taken from the external vents below), upwards.
This warm air is then deposited into the top of the main fire compartment, via the internal vent holes, just above the flames.
The Solo Stove diagram below shows the process in more detail.
As you can see in the diagram, the airflow process effectively fans the flames, similar to when you blow on a fire to get it roaring.
This creates a hotter, cleaner burn, and also helps to reduce soot build-up.
The above process will begin to happen once the fire in the main compartment has warmed the stove up to operating temperature.
Wood stove round-up
Whether you opt for the box or wood gas type, these stoves are very popular and have very little to go wrong.
They are therefore a great choice if you are looking for a no-nonsense stove, that should last for many years.
The fact that most can also incorporate other fuels, such as meths or hexy blocks, is an added bonus and further increases their versatility in the field.
The main consideration on which type to go for would be transportation.
If you want one that can fold away into a flat package, the box type is probably your best bet.
They take a little assembling, and they can be a little frustrating to put together at times, but once together, they are solid.
If portability isn’t your primary concern and you are happy with a fixed unit, the wood gas type is a great option.
Theseare already good to go, so are great from a time perspective, but do not fully pack down.
Your choice will ultimately boil down to space and your trip length.
What is a Solostove?
A Solostove is a type of wood gas stove that is cylindrical in design and incorporates a jacket, so that cold air can be drawn upwards from the bottom of the stove, warmed by the flames and then delivered to the top of the stove where it fans the flame and produces a hotter burn.
See the image above for a visual description.
What is a twig stove?
A twig stove is a type of camping/outdoor stove that uses natural materials, such as dry twigs, leaves, pine cones, pine needles etc.
These stoves are a great option if you have a reliable supply of fuel as they can be run on free to find materials.
Additionally, some models allow you to incorporate a basic burner, such as a Trangia or you can just use a basic hexy block. See above for more on these.
Sometimes known as an alcohol or spirit burner, this style of stove is another simple option for bushcraft activities.
They are generally known as Trangias, although this is a brand name and they are not all made by Trangia.
These stoves are small in design, lightweight and portable.
You will need some form of pot support as well, as these will not generally work with a pot placed directly on them.
However, there are many options available.
How does a Trangia work?
These burners all work on the same principle, in that you partially fill the main central chamber with fuel, then light it.
The main chamber will slowly burn (sometimes it’s very hard to see) and heat up the stove and fuel.
Once it is up to operating temperature, the fuel that is in the outside chamber, starts to vapourise.
This vapour then rises up to the small pinprick vents at the top, where it combusts.
This is often referred to as ‘blooming’ and means the burner is now ready to cook on.
Trangia spirit burner
The Trangia Spirit Burner pictured above is the best known and most widely used meth/alcohol burner out there.
Low cost, virtually indestructible and brilliantly simple in its design, this is a fantastic, relatively lightweight stove, with a multitude of applications.
Designed back in 1951, at Trangia’s headquarters in Sweden, not much has changed.
It is made of brass, with a weight of 110g and consists of the main burner unit, screw-on lid and a simmer ring.
The simmer ring’s design allows the flame to be regulated and also allows you to extinguish the burner completely when finished.
The stove is designed to run on methylated spirits (denatured alcohol). This fuel can be obtained very cheaply from your local hardware store.
It is worth noting that this burner can be used on its own if it is placed in a sheltered depression and your cooking vessel suspended above.
In general, though, the spirit burner is designed to be used inside a cooking system.
This shares the same chemical structure as butane but delivers higher pressure, which increases flame performance.
If you want to read more about gas stove fuel options see the MSR article here.
Modern gas stoves may struggle at extreme altitudes, but for most applications, they will operate absolutely fine.
Due to the above, these stoves are slowly becoming the choice of professional mountaineers.
This is due to their simplicity and the fact that they are generally more lightweight and safer in use than liquid fuel options.
One thing with gas stoves is that you do need to have the correct gas canister cartridge for your stove.
You also need to be able to find these fairly easily should you need to get replacements.
This is not usually a problem in more developed parts of the world, but may be an issue in more remote regions.,
Make sure to check this before setting off if you are likely to need more.
How does a camping stove work?
In general, most gas stoves simply require you to:
attach the gas canister by screwing it onto the burner (clockwise)
deploy the pan and stove supports (if any)
turn on gas by opening the valve
Some stoves even feature an integrated piezo ignition, which ignites the gas for you when you turn on the gas.
This is a handy feature to have.
However, even if your stove has this, you should always carry an alternative form of ignition.
This could be a ferro rod or lighter, in case the piezo ignition fails for whatever reason.
Top-mounted canister stoves
This is the most common type (see picture above). The gas canister screws onto the bottom of the burner and acts as the stove’s base.
Because of this, top-mounted stoves require a very stable and level surface to place the complete unit on.
This style of stove set-up often becomes top-heavy.
This is especially true if you have a lot of liquid in the cooking vessel that might slosh from side to side.
This sloshing can then end up tipping the stove over, including your food.
It is therefore important to site the stove correctly in the first place, on a flat, level surface.
Be vigilant of any gusts of wind that might have your pot toppling.
You also need to guard against you or your companions knocking into it.
Although the above is a bit of a drawback with this style, the fact that they are simple and generally cheaper than other designs, makes them a popular and solid choice for your bushcraft cooking needs.
Remote mounted canister stoves
This style of gas stove is by far the most stable, due to the burner being much lower to the ground and having a set of wide legs for stabilisation and support.
The gas canister is attached to a hose that allows the canister to sit to one side, adjacent to the burner.
However, due to the additional materials used, they are generally a little more expensive to buy than the top-mounted style.
Other than that, they generally operate in much the same way as top–mounted stoves.
Liquid fuel portable stoves
Liquid fuel stoves generally cost more than their gas-fired cousins.
They also usually weigh more and involve a bit more effort in their operation.
With this in mind, why would you choose to opt for liquid fuel over the more common gas cartridge type?
What are the advantages of a liquid fuel stove?
In most cases, it chiefly centers around the fuel that you can obtain.
If you are operating in remote locations, for extended periods, a liquid fuel stove may be the better option over gas or other types.
The reason for this is that gas canisters are not always readily available should you run out.
They are usually stocked in outdoor shops and available online.
However, if you are out of area and certainly if you are in a different country, you may not be able to come across them quite so easily.
You can obviously bring 1 or 2 in your pack when you are on shorter outings.
For extended trips though, such as expeditions etc, you need to be mindful of how much fuel you are likely to use.
It is likely that you will find that you do not have the room to be taking heaps of gas canisters with you.
Added to this, once used, empty gas canisters need to be brought out with you and disposed of responsibly.
This creates additional dead weight and space that you will have to carry out with you.
Here lies the advantage of liquid fuel stoves!
In most places around the world, you can find some form of fuel to use in your stove.
Most liquid fuel stoves burn a variety of fuels, that are readily available across the globe, so you should never (hopefully) find yourself without a fuel source.
These include – white gas (also known as Coleman Fuel), petrol (auto gasoline), kerosene, diesel and more.