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HAE logo Proper Use of the
Thwam Thwacker

Nothing makes a campfire rip like the THWAM THWACKER. More than just a tent pole, you'll wonder how you ever got along without one...

If you have done any hiking with HAE then you've experienced the thrash and burn methods that have made them satellite images. HAE is in touch with our primal selves and we understand that urge to lumber. Like the barbecue, leaving the seat up and deer hunting, the urge to cut and burn wood runs deep within a man's ancestral memory. We also understand the ..er..ah.. fragile ecosystem and the ...uh... delicate balance of the forest. Can one have it both ways...? Hug your tree AND burn it, too? In New England, the answer is "yes" but it is all a matter of location. If you want to burn wood then don't go where the gomers go! Shelters, popular trails and campsites in New England will be nearly denuded of burnable wood. Keep the snowshoes on and chuff 100 yards from the beaten path and you'll find a place where the forest could use a healthy trim. Acid rain and industrial effluents from far off cities have done a number on the New England northwoods leaving enough standing deadwood in low impact areas for great guilt-free blazes.

You've found the ultimate spot... nice water, flat camp spot and tons of fine wood to burn. If you're wanting a fire hot enough to burn dirt in the shortest amount of time, you better whip out your THWAM THWACKER.

What is a Thwam Thwacker?

The Thwam Thwacker was invented by JB in the early, high impact era of HAE deforestation. During one cold trip into the northwoods, a stubborn fire combined with a face full of ash and a sore back from stooping to blow into the flames prompted JB to find a better way. JB had that prehistoric pup tent since he could spell and with it came those aluminum tent poles. He slapped some duct tape on one end for the mouth piece and the Thwam Thwacker was born. The rest of the HAE team marvelled at the blazing results as JB forced oxygen into the fire with his new Thwam Thwacker invention. In no time at all, JB had that camp fire roaring. The super blast furnance of heat created by the Thwam Thwacker could burn the wettest of wood, guaranteeing success even in the most survival of situations.

A Thwam Thwacker of your own.

Aluminum tent poles are getting harder to find as technology catches up with backpacking. What you're looking for is the two piece, standard pup tent pole with no strings or anything inside. A half inch diameter, thin wall tent pole works great. The 2 aluminum tubes should fit together with one thinned end inserting into the other. The thin, reduced diameter end is key because the narrow opening creates a jet-like stream of air that makes the Thwam Thwacker so effective. When assembled, the Thwam Thwacker should be no longer than 40 inches. A mouth piece of rubber or plastic should be fitted on the end to keep your lips from freezing to the aluminum in sub zero weather.

The Thwam Thwacker replaces the fire builder's need to stick their face dangerously close to the flames in order to blow a little oxygen into the glowing coals. With the Thwam Thwacker, you can arrive home from a trek into the woods with your eyebrows intact. Not only that, you'll find less ash in your teeth, less smoke in your eyes and less chance for ridicule as you nearly topple face-first into the blaze.

Here's some important things to remember when using the Thwam Thwacker. First, be like Bill Clinton and DON'T INHALE. The Thwam Thwacker is not a bong. Second, go easy. Hyperventilating is not as fun as it was when we were kids. A steady flow of breath is enough to stoke a heathly flame. Overly enthusiastic thwam thwacking will also result in more ash and soot than is really necessary. The secret to effective use of the Thwam Thacker is control. Knowing when to stop thwam thwacking is just about as important as knowing when to start.

Copyright 2003 Tim Novak and HAE