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Walking for a long time with a thigh rig is not fun. I wouldn't want my gun on my pack, because sometimes I put my pack down to take a break, to go behind a bush, or climb that rock over there, and I rather have the handgun on me when Mr Bear shows up.

 

So, basically what you're saying is, I'm effed in the A regardless lol. Chaffed leg with thigh rig, or weapon not within range when in danger....BUT , what if I built a habbit to remove the holster from the pack, and thigh mount it while doing some local exploring? Compromise? Also, I could use my rifle for such a thing and keep the pistol on the pack.

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Well that's for you to decide, my decision was to leave my holster where I'm used to it and adjust my gear around it. What works for you, your body type, your gun, your gear ... that is for you to find out. As I said earlier I think it is all a compromise, you need to find which compromise you dislike the least?

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If you're going to carry a gun then just start the fire with a lighter. What world are you practicing for that has guns and ammo but no lighters?

 

That's funny, but does it hurt to have experience doing something that could prove to be a necessity? What if I'm hiking with friends and I get seperated from my group, don't have a pack, but still have my weapon? I like to live by this quote: "Chance favors the prepared mind". What if our ignition source is fouled? Are we to depend on one method of completing a task? I said I would still carry lighters, but would prefer not to use them as it would take all the fun out of surviving this type of scenario.

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My good friend (who I backpack with frequently) and I have tried numerous times to start fires by hand. We've only actually done it once, and that was with a magnifying glass on tinder...kinda the easy way.

 

We came close with the branch/shoe string method, it started smoking but we couldn't get it to combust. The similar method of rolling the branch in between your hands was even more difficult, it blisters your hands quickly and it is a huge PITA. The shoe string method is much easier since the string is moving the piece of wood, not your hands.

 

It takes tons of practice, and more practice upon that. Survivalists who have it mastered are god's.

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Here's the trick. Make the bow long enough so that you're not using a quick jerking motion back and forth. A rock with a pit in it is good to support the top of the friction stick. At the bottom of the friction stick should be another peice of wood. I like to fray the wood in the area that I'm spinning the friction stick, and also have a small hole pushed through it. This isnt hard providing you have a knife handy. A little tinder placed around the base of the friction stick to ignite, and you have fire. I know I made it sound rather easy, and even though it isn't the easiest way to make fire, this is the best method I've found to work as a bow-and-stick system.

 

I can't imagine anyone successfully making fire by rolling a stick. I would think after a minute or two you would be sore, plus getting blisters. Neither of which you want in a survival situation.

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Having hiked a few sections of the AT and having more than a few run-ins with bears, I will tell you that with taking the appropriate precautions a pistol is not needed. I always carry an air horn just incase, but have never had to use it. Not only would it be illegal in NJ, but I would almost guarantee that someone would call the rangers. Im not trying to tell you what tot do but I just don't see the need or reason to carry a pistol. Another thing to think about if you do decide to bring a sidearm would be where to shoot a charging bear and what caliber of handgun you will bring. Last but not least make sure you bring something to lay on at night, especially when sleeping in the mountains cause not only will it be rocky but it will be alot colder than you think. On one of my saltier trips I had an incident t where my hammock rolled down Mt. Tammany never to be seen agin. I spent that night curled next to the fire freezing my a** off, and that was only early spring!! So just make sure you guys are ready for any situation that may arise and have a plan for bear encounters and other emergencies. Stay safe and have fun!!

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