In the backcountry, a pack full of tools will undeniably make your life easier. At the very least, it’s wise to bring along the “5 Cs” of survival essentials — cutting, combustion, cordage, container, and cover. However, even if you find yourself without the most basic items, you can get by with some knowledge and ingenuity.

Boiling water knife Tom Brown tracker hot rock boil tools tree bark 1

The following video shows how bushcrafter NW Primate tested his survival skills with only one of the 5 Cs: a cutting tool. He uses nothing but a Tom Brown Tracker knife to make cordage for a bow drill, gather tinder and kindling, start a fire, make a water vessel, and boil water for drinking and cooking.

Boiling water knife Tom Brown tracker hot rock boil tools tree bark 3

His water vessel is made from a large section of tree bark, carefully stripped from a maple tree, soaked, folded, and clamped together with split sticks at each end. He writes, “I have seen several demonstrations and designs for bark containers that will hold water and initially intended to make a variation of a canoe bailer that was used by the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest.” This vessel was used in conjunction with the hot rock boiling method to heat and purify water from a nearby stream. Finally, he kicked things up a notch by using some of his water to prepare a box of mac and cheese over hot coals.

Boiling water knife Tom Brown tracker hot rock boil tools tree bark 2

A quick reminder: always be very cautious with hot rock boiling, since porous rocks that contain moisture may explode and send sharp fragments flying. Protect your eyes and stand back whenever possible — few things will ruin your day faster than a face full of shrapnel from a fractured stone.

For more info on the details of this water vessel, click “Show More” under the description on the YouTube video.

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