Just a thought .............

"is it cool to know how to make fire with a bow drill? Yes - but survival is not about proving that you're some kind of earth skills guru; its about dedicating your energies to getting homesafetly or getting rescued"
Les Stroud

As Les has said above being able to bow drill is good (its a well rounded knowledge thats needed) but being able to light a fire first time every time is more important.

And this has made me think - being able to carve a spoon is a good skill but isnt carrying a metal spoon better??

Being able to make roycroft rucksack frame is good but should we replace our karrimor with one?

We shouldnt replace knowledge with kit of course - but that doesnt mean we go without kit thats useful and in some ways superior!

Something to ponder next time you look at kit old and new!!


Cold, wet but we had a cheese board!!

The first Bearclaw camp weekend of the year was a small affair (as was expected we didnt expect to many fair weather campers to brave the weather)! Six hardy souls gathered in a woodland lashed by rain and chill winds while pockets of snow and ice hide among the trees and sat snuggly upon a fair few frozen ponds!

What did we get up to?
Lets start with the bad news ....... well we managed to dink the blade of a brand (fresh out the packet) new Bark river PSK (personal survival knife) - dink it not once but twice ........... did we abuse the blade? Nope!! The first dink was acquired while carving a artists fungi to make some amadou and the second (after sharpening out the first dink) was made while carving a feather stick ...................................... sorry but PSK? Errr I dont think so! The owner assures me that ones going back to the company and a refund is wanted!!

Fire lighting was a major, I gave away a load of steels for flint and steel fire lighting so everyone had a play at that ....... and then there was the herculian task of gathering fire wood, sawing and splitting enough to last us the weekend!
Exploration was popular this weekend, I personally found a new badger set with loads of sign of recent usage - which was nice ")

Seasoned pine was foraged for the attempted construction of finnish wood stoves, sadly the pine turned out to be too punky for our basic tools and an attempt with a birch only achieved limited success - a chain saw would have been nice!!

Shelter construction (simplified lean-to) was another task for a very very wet saturday!!

But the star event, as was only fitting for the weather, was our saturday night feast .......... 2 haunches of Venison where brought as well as a variety of garden veggies - a excellent venison roast with roast 'tatties and stuffing was made as a starter, the main course was a huge (I had it for breakfast the next day and sunday evening tea) vension stew with marrow, potatoes, carrots, onions, broccoli and pearl barley ................. then as a little extra surprise a cheese board appeared and did the rounds so we finished our winter feast with various cheeses and crackers!! The libation flowed and a fantastic time was had by all the hardy folk there!!

If all Bushcraft camp weekends were as good as this one I'd be a very contented and rotund man! ")

Looking forward to Feb's gathering already!!



Sorry for any inconvience.


Sorry folks due to technical errors the site and email is presently down - we are aware of this and our hosts are trying to rectify ASAP.


I'm in the very early stages of planning the trip of a life time!!

My plan at the moment is to travel from Yellow Knife to Calgary - thats Canada. I want to work my way down (literally if I need funds)

I want to explore the country be that by snow shoe, caneo or foot and am at present allowing myself a year to do it - that equates to around 150 days walking ( I reckon on it being 1000 to 1500 miles) and 150 days exploring!

As I say very early days yet but can anyone provide me with links to sites, books ect ect by people who've planned and run big expeditions - supported or unsupport. Blogs maybe for people who live in the provinces?

Anything that will aid in research - if anyone knows anyone who might be useful or have good info please also let me know.

Cheers guys ..............


Hopping and Shopping

Dear READER - those of you who have shopped on the Bearclaw Bushcraft Trading post or the Survivall shop will have noticed there was a need to hop from shop to shop as some items where listed on one site not the other! It was annoying!

Well, as of today we have started to tweak the Trading post and will be moving the Survivall shop onto this site - thus creating a one stop shop for all your bushcraft and survival needs ......

We hope you'll bear ( "0) with us while these changes are made!

Cheers me dears!



Winter has visited blighty and with the snow comes ice! A time for people to have a play! Snow ball fights .......... but with the fun comes danger - ice cover lakes are killers!

Unlike Bear Grylls a true survivor does everything they can to limit the danger they find themselves in and crossing frozen lakes and ponds isnt a good idea.

As little as 3 inches of ice can support a person text books will tell you - ya great which person?? A 6 stone teenage girl or a 18 stone man?? Sadly, even if that statistic were good ice thickness will vary across the water surface so even as a rule of thumb it doesnt help.

Best advice - stay off the ice!

But we all know your average kid, or dog for that matter isnt gonna listen so what to do if disaster strikes?

Firstly - use common sense - if the ice doesnt look strong it isnt gonna be strong! If theres water on the surface or cracks and holes in it stay off!

If your walking across ice you have two options - test for strength or pray!

To test for strength you need a sharp object on a stick to stab into the ice - if it doesnt penetrate the ice after three or four stabs the ice is good - test the ice for your whole journey over it .........

In the frozen north people often carry either a long pole or ice spikes - the idea is if you go through the ice the pole is wider than the hole and you climb out or you can use the ice spikes to drag yourself out!

If you do go through the ice try to fall backwards onto the firm ice you have walked on - if you do go in climb out onto the ice you walked on - as this ice has proven to be able to take your weight.

If you see someone go through the ice - dont panic and dont rush out and make yourself a casuallty too - to many dog owners die on ice trying to rescue dogs who eventually climb out of their own accord!

Ideally approach the person in the water from the same direction they used - from a safe distance throw them a rope with a loop tied in it - if no rope use a pole or ladder anything that will reach. If you need to go further on the ice lay down and crawl to spread your weight- move slowly and the slightest sign of the ice breaking stop and back up!
Dont endanger yourself to save someone whose own stupidity has endangered them!

Remember to call for help, call the emergency services before you try to help the casualty!


bushcraft 101 .............. more

1. Cotton Kills .......... no being a idiot kills you not cotton. If your to stupid to take along waterproof clothing whose faults that?
2. Wool while a good insulator is heavier, expensive and slow to dry.
3. Fleeces - promote sweating more readily but dry quicker - a micro fleece base layer, medium fleece pullover and a heavy fleece jacket are a less expensive and incredibly flexible combo.
4. A waterproof jacket is also windproof ........ why wear a seperate windproof??
5. Ventile prices are now way over priced - better a cheap ex army smock - better still a exarmy goretex then you have a hard wearing waterproof and windproof
6. Synthetics melt around the fire - so ventile/wool/cottons better? Technically yes - in reality I've never (in 30 years of outdoorsmanship) ever seen it!
7. Cold feet - put on a hat!
8. The head is a great way to control heat lose or to cool down!
9. Using a scarf or headover/buff is equal to wearing a woolly jumper for heat retention.
10. More people die of cold injuries per annum in London than Norway - never underestimate the weather!
11. Never spend more on a knife than you would on a waterproof jacket.
12. Always button/zip/velcro closed your pocket after use - that way you'll never lose that important survival item or even your mobile phone!

Many of the above comments are made to dis-prove the myths of outdoor clothing - the wool industry invented cotton kills ect ect as such never believe all you read - never swallow the sales hype - listen to those who use the garments not those who sell em or make em or are friends with those who do!