24.11.09

Water bottles now on Bearclaw

The amazingly versatile Stainless steel water bottle is now added to the bearclaw website -

http://www.bearclawbushcraft.co.uk/trading/shelter.htm


Anyone who orders from Bearclaw over the Christmas period will also get a free MOD issue torch included in their order!!

Happy shopping ...............

23.11.09

Have you got a pot to ............. boil in?





One of the hardest things to do in nature is boil water without a metal pot. As such there has always been a need to carry a boiling vessel along with your water bottle. For many this is simply a matter of a army water bottle with the attached mug - for others a seperate pot. But always the added boiling vessel increases bulk and weight, especially for the lightweight traveller or the day hiker, after all if were just spending a day away from camp do we really want to haul in cookware etc etc?




The answer is usually no! As such many folks will carry a water bottle in their day sack but leave the pots and pans in camp.




But what happens is disaster strikes? You become geographically embarassed and have to spend the night out or you find a walker suffering from exposure or you run out of precious water and need to boil and purify some more??




Well you can light a fire and boil the water in your bottle ............ yep plastic drinks bottles will work, so will Aluminium ones but you only get one shot with the plastic as it will strink and melt (releasings all sorts of chemicals into the water as it does) and with the Ali theres the possible (yet to be confirmed) link with Altzhiemers and the risk of the bottle burning through if allowed to dry out (evaporation). Both are risks worth taking if you have no other choice of course but if you had a stainless steel water bottle things would be different.




Stainless steel is the only safe, toxin and Bisphenol-A free bottle. Bottles are reusable, durable and lightweight as well as being enviromentally friendly. But what is more in the above scenerios you could safely boil water in them without any undue risk to health or damage to your bottle.





Boiling water in a stainless steel bottle means you can warm up that chilled hiker, purify your water or make yourself a comforting nettle or pine needle tea on a unexpected sleep out!









Even better, not only wont a stainless steel water cost future generations the earth they wont hurt your wallet either the larges size retailing at only £8.99.





The old scout motto was BE PREPARED - by replacing your existing plastic or Ali bottles with stainless steel ones you will be!




Stainless Steel bottle Range with replacement/interchangable caps will be avialable on the Bearclaw bushcraft website soon.



http://www.bearclawbushcraft.co.uk/trading.htm





4.11.09

Greenhorns teaching greenhorns .......

Usually I try to keep my posts on the blog fairly light but after a interesting chat with a friend this morning I feel todays post will need to be heavier - addressing certain questions which some might find annoying - especially those who have grown up expecting "respect" ............
What do I mean? Well a certain leader in the field of bushcraft has refurbished their website and one of the additions is a list of instructors. This is what my friend rang me about asking me if I'd seen it.
Well I have now!
I've been living and working in the outdoors for nearly 30 years now, one of my associates who teaches on courses has been doing similar for over 50 years so imagine my surprise when I viewed said websites instructors profiles and found an array of fresh faced youths some looking like they should still be at school.
Now dont get me wrong I'm not saying they are bad instructors - far from it I am sure they are all capable of repeating piece meal the lessons they have been taught. However to my mind their is more to being a good instructor than just being able to repeat word for word a lesson you've been taught.
At the end of my Milan Detachment commanders course my instructor said "Well boys the lessons are over, now the learning starts!" Wise words which have stuck with me for many years. What he meant by that was that the classroom and the real world are never quite the same and the lessons were to be those learnt in the school of hard knocks!
A good instructor needs more than anything else experience, experienced accumilated in doing, not reading books, watching tv or sitting around a cosy expedition style camp surrounded by abundant gear and food. Experience not only in the skills being taught but of living. An instructor needs to have lived, travelled and put the skills he or she is teaching into practice.
How can a guy or gal with limited life experience and even dirty time possibly teach a subject which is 99% experience based? Take bow drill for example how many different wood combinations can work, how many minute errors or flaws in technique can cause a person to fail? How can someone whose never made half the errors or used half the woods be expected to know the answers??
Bushcraft - the industry and the hobby is a small world, in days of yore the instructors from this and most schools had names known among their peers - none of those listed, and for that matter for half the other schools out there, are names I've never heard of or heard others mention.
Why am I harping on about this - after all we all had to start somewhere - well because I am firstly sick of the weakening and watering down of the skills I see so often these days and secondly because I am fed up with then having to re-teach the skills to people attending advanced courses when they should know this but dont.
The first instance is a crying shame - when I started on the bushcraft trail our aim, our ideal, was to master skills which enabled up to live in the wilderness comfortably with just the clothes on our backs and a billy can to use as a boiling vessel ........ now if its not a expedition style camp and the soft comfy option most people arent interested, god forbid to have to forage for food (unless its as a taster to add to your feast cooked in your dutch oven!) god forbid you have to find and process your water .......... what no tap, well I'll go without thank you ...........
In the second instance on courses like the WEISS course were now almost constantly have to run workshops for skills like bow drill - we've even had students attend who have been taught you can only do bow drill in pairs ................plant id skills are non-existant and even the fundamentals like knife sharpening are lacking.
Of course the worse offenders are those who have done a course and suddenly think they can teach others without a schools or a more experienced leaders back up and theirs plenty of those out there too, but still the key is experience. Even if the school has been established for 20 or 50 years the experience base of the instructor teaching is what counts ...............in the old days we all earned our stripes and paid our dues only in so doing can any instructor be worth his salts.
So there you have it dear reader - if booking a course ask yourself this, would you like to be taught skills you one day might pin your life on by someone whose never used them him/herself? Or are you happy to just tick the box and say "well I did a survival course with such and such so I'm the greatest"
If your answers Yes to either question - I have some dehydrated water you can buy .......... Experience is the only key which safely opens the doors of nature treasures.