Hannah "Hatchet Jane" Kycek is a marketing professional in the outdoor industry. She resides in Idaho's panhandle to ensure the opportunity of raw adventure lay in all directions. She's most alive with bolt rifle in hand and toting a single backpack that contains all she needs to hunt, explore, survive and maintain her livelihood.
What does self-reliance mean to you afield?
I consider Self-reliance an inherent trait that I have gained after spending majority of my life immersed in the outdoors as a hunter. In the field, it reflects my ability to confidently dive into the raw, uncontrollable wild and welcome the likelihood of Murphy’s Law with a smile. It’s the need to face issues head on and find creative solutions for myself and to maintain and safeguard my wellbeing. It’s to have the mental and physical strength necessary to keep myself alive amidst unknown variables and depleted resources such as time, shelter, food, and water.
How does it overlap/translate into your average days in civilization?
Hunting, and trekking through the woods taught me to keep my head on a swivel and to be aware of my surroundings. I always joke that I’m not afraid of any lurking four-legged animals, because it’s the two-legged ones you really need to worry about. The same can be said for everyday city life. I find it foolish to leave the house without a few different forms of self-protection. I usually have a pistol with me and two knives that are easily accessible.
What's an "oddity" in your kit that you rely on and would recommend to others?
I was prompted to reevaluate my cook system after mine failed in the woods. I was haunted by the sounds of my growling stomach and decided to consider fool proof options that weren’t necessarily marketed towards or used by hunters. I found that with Uberleben’s Stoker Flatpack Stove.
This mini stove break downs completely flat and weighs in at a mere 14.3 oz (the new titanium version is 7.3oz). Without an instant flame, this stove certainly adds more time to preparing a meal or boiling water, but I have found the challenge and time spent allows me more time to relax, recover, and strategize for what lays ahead.
What skill would you want to pass along to your children, or friends?
I would want my “future” children and friends to understand the value of standing their ground and to treat any situation as if help WASN’T on the way. I would further implore them to take self-defense classes regularly, in an effort to train their minds on how to react to different situations. Above all, I’d hope they felt empowered, prepared, and never fearful whether in the wilderness or walking the streets after dark.
What skills/knowledge are you hoping to learn or gain to become more self-sufficient?
From fungi to tree bark, I would like to study and learn about the beneficial characteristics of our natural world. As much as I love a good hippie joke, I have long been impressed with how foragers and gatherers are able to identify “safe” plants for remedies and food. I plan to get into the habit of studying local plants before entering new territory and finding comfort in knowing I can eat that rank smelling mushroom or grind up that flowers petals to help with infection.
What are the "just in case," items you carry in your kit?
It wasn’t until two years ago that I began carrying a first aid kit in my hunting pack. The more ground I covered in Idaho the more I realized that if I got hurt somewhere, I’d have a hell of a road ahead of me to find even a measly small-town clinic. I studied different “all in one,” first aid kits for a few weeks until I figured out how truly junky, and worthless they were. I then asked people I knew, whether they were nurses or former medics in the military and created a list of must have items. I shopped online, went to the local drugstore, and bought a bunch of one-offs from REI until I felt my first-aid kit was satisfactory.
Kept within a Sea to Summit Dry Bag:
- Bleeding control: Tourniquet (learn how to use it, don’t skimp on cost $50ish), QuikClot Clotting Gauze (2), butterfly bandages, fabric bandages (get the good kind!), gauze squares, gauze bandage, tape
- Topical: Mole Skin, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, alcohol preps, bug bit swabs
- Oral: Rehydration Salts, Ibuprofen
- Other: Mini collapsible scissors, clothes pin, mini tweezers, emergency lighter
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