I’m sure many of you have seen this picture floating around the web. A log burning with a cast iron skillet cooking on top. Yeah I’ve liked that picture on Facebook. I though the idea was pretty sweet. It had a primitive feel that I liked. In the picture though they use a chainsaw. Definitely not primitive. I don’t know about you but I don’t often carry chainsaws into the woods with me. In fact due to my left handed paranoia I avoid them. So I set off on a hike yesterday to see if I could reproduce the results with items I normally carry in my pack. Here are the results.
I set off on the trail with my Buck Hoodlum, Fiskars Folding Saw, Winchester pocket chainsaw, cast iron skillet and bacon. I figured I could just baton the log to create the same effect as the chainsaw without much more energy. After wandering off trail I found a good standing dead tree. Since It had been raining all week this was my driest choice.
I got out the pocket chainsaw and went to work. And work…This was a hard tree and I worked up a mighty sweat. It took a while to get through it and I ended up just pushing it over at the end because it kept getting bound up.
Once I had the tree down I needed to cut it down to the appropriate length. I started out trying the pocket chainsaw and it sucked. The log rolled around too much. Between trying to keep it steady and keep the right angel on the pocket chainsaw I got fed up. I switched to the folding saw. Which also sucked mostly because It cuts slower. I ended up snapping this one too.
After snapping the log I had too much wood left at the top to put the skillet on. Tired of sawing I used the Hoodlum and chopped it off. This went much faster. Just a few chops and I was done.
At this point I tested that my log would stand up. It basically stood up and stood with the skillet as well. This is where things start to go wrong. At this point I’m probably thirty minutes into this project and am exhausted. My plan was to baton the wood partly down leaving room to stuff it and burn some tinder. Have you ever tried a partial battoning? How did it go? Battoning is a pretty un-precise thing. The wood splits how and when it wants. I ended up with a completely split log. Still I tried to get the pieces to stand and burn. The pieces did not want to line back up right. It fell over at a slight breeze. I tried wedging it between some others logs. I looked for rocks. I thought about using cordage to bind it. Then realized it would just burn.
After spending an hour fooling with this trying to get some bacon I said screw it. Even If I could make it work it is a huge calorie sink. This would only be something to do at home, with a chainsaw and only because It LOOKS cook. This is not at all a practical method of cooking. Not only would you need to backpack in a chainsaw. You would need a heavy duty skillet. Neither things I want to carry in a pack. You would be better served it a camping stove. Hell you would be better off cooking over a normal fire than this. This is why I like to try things I see in the internet. Some people will see or hear something and just believe it. There are a million “Survival” myths and I would count trying to cook this way in any situation than your backyard for fun as one. I encourage everyone to go try what they see and read instead of taking it for granted.
What survival myths have you heard that are B.S? Let me know in the comments.
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