December 2016

December 2016

This box is themed after one of Creek’s favorite documentaries titles HAPPY PEOPLE:  A YEAR IN THE TAIGA.  This documentary features a remote community of trappers in the Russian Siberian Forest and everything included in this month’s box relates in some way to this incredible documentary.  You can see the documentary here:

December 2016 List of Contents

Russian  Style  Trapper  Axe

One aspect of the documentary HAPPY PEOPLE:  A YEAR IN THE RUSSIAN TAIGA I couldn’t help but notice was how the trappers depend on their small Russian woods axe.  It is a remarkable tool that is always at their waist and I noticed they used it even more than their knife.  So, I set out to find a small Russian style axe reminiscent of the ones I saw used in that documentary.  Finally, I was able to find and make a deal to order a Russian style axe with the very unique shape of those seen in the documentary.  This design is unique to that area of the world and the steep­­­­­­­­ upsweep of the cutting edge provides support for heavy use in extreme environments.  Each axe head is hand sharpened here in the USA and then fitted (by hand) with a custom formed kydex sheath.  Should your axe head loosen after extended use or should you ever have to replace the handle, I have included 2 small metal wedges to be used for tightening or refitting a handle.  Keep these handy in your field kit just in case.

Virgin  Wool  Watch  Cap

Extreme cold Siberian trapping weather calls for a hat and material that has stood the test of time.  This 100% Virgin Wool Watch cap is made in the USA and designed to combat the toughest conditions Mother Nature can throw at you – even the Siberian Taiga.

Metal  Enamal Coffee Mug

Something hot to drink is a must during the colder seasons. Even when food is scarce, a hot cup of something can give you the mental edge you need to keep pushing forward. I was reminded of this while watching the trappers in Happy People dress hides and warm themselves on steaming cups of rich, black coffee in their cabin. I couldn’t resist the urge to include this metal, enamel-coated coffee mug that bears the reminder “It’s Not If But When” you need something hot to drink! Add it to your pack or clip it on the outside with a carabineer. You’re going to want to keep this mug handy while it’s cold.

Treeline Coffee

Though it’s cold in the Russian Taiga, you don’t have to experience it to know what cold is. When the winter winds bear down, you need something warm to keep your spirits up. The crew at Treeline Coffee Roasters knows cold and the best way to combat it. They have provided us with what is arguably some of the best artisan roasted coffee on the planet. Not only that, but the crew at Treeline prides themselves on being adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts! We couldn’t think of a better product or company to help you break-in your NOT IF BUT WHEN enamel mug.


Self-sufficiency is the name of the game when you’re surviving the harsh conditions of the Taiga. This was really impressed upon me while watching Happy People, and I noticed how autonomous these trappers have to be on every level, including clothing and gear repair. The scene where the older man is having to repair his homemade mukluk boots using a needle and thread comes to mind. This inspired me to include some repair needles for those unforeseen emergency repairs you will undoubtedly need to make in the field while chasing your own adventures. The needles I have included will serve you well in dealing with a wide range of different types of fabrics of varying thickness.


This simple bare-bones 2 foot tall x 6 foot wide monofilament survival gill net can put an insane amount of fish on the camp table if you know how to use it.  It is designed specifically to work with small waterways such as creeks and streams that you’ll find most often in the wild.  The mesh size is also sized to fit the most common sized fish found in those places, such as blue gill, small bass, trout and suckers.  To use, pull tight across the stream and weight along the bottom with rocks.  The fins and gills of passing fish will get stuck in the diamond shaped meshes.  It can also be folded in half and lashed up each side to create a funnel trap, box net or dip net.  The monofilament is durable and can be used time and time again.  As seen in the documentary, gill nets are used extensively by members of the trapping community to pull food and bait from the Yenisei River by which they live.  *NOTE:  Gill nets are illegal to use in many areas.  Check local laws before use.


Although I teach you how to carve your own net making needle in this month’s skills challenge video, here is a plastic back up to keep in your foraging kit.  Watch this month’s skills challenge video (link below) to learn exactly how to use this net needle to weave your own net.


I’ve provided this twine to use during the net weaving skills challenge below.  NOTE:  It’s important when making nets to use twine that does not have “memory”, like this cotton twine.  What is “memory”?  When a twine is uncoiled and still shows the coils in the line, that is called “memory”.  This can make net weaving very frustrating and messy.

POCKET FIELD GUIDE:  Siberian Deadfall

I was so impressed with the innovative trap used by the Russian trappers to catch Sable for fur that I decided to test and master it myself so that I could teach it to you.  Although I’m a big fan of the entire method, I find the trigger system to be the biggest take-away as it can used in a variety of deadfall sets.  This guide walks you through every step of the way.

Siberian  Deadfall  Skills  Kit

Not only can you read detailed instructions with illustrations about how to carve and set the Siberian Deadfall, but you can use this kit to master the ingenious trigger system right at home.  The enclosed kit includes one finished trigger system as an example and also the blank pieces to carve your own.  Reading is great but DOING is better!  Post your pic of the finished trigger system to INSTAGRAM using #apocabox!


Carve your own net needle and weave a gill net

The small Russian community featured in the HAPPY PEOPLE documentary depended on the Yenisei River not only for transportation, but food as well.  One of the primary methods for pulling fish out of the river is with the use of gill nets.  I was shocked to see the quantities of fish each gill net produced, even when the river was frozen over with ice.  The use of these gill nets sparked me to film a video tutorial about how to carve your own net weaving needle and teach you the basics of using that needle and any twine to weave your own survival gill net.  All you need is a wooden PAINT STIRRING STICK from your local hardware store, a knife and the roll of cotton twine included in this month’s APOCABOX.  This is one of my more entailed teaching videos and definitely requires patience to complete so save this one for when you’re in the mood to sit down and focus for a few minutes.  I consider net-making to be one of the more critical foraging skills and gills nets are remarkable in their ability to put fish on the table.

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