EXPERTS AND THEIR OPINIONS ...............do they count for anything??

This morning I was watching a few bushcraft video's on you tube, randomly selected but several were from guys who work in the industry some in UK others in USA and as I watched the films I started to wonder at the information given. (Oh and I include myself in this)

For example one guy was explaining what he carried in his rucksack, some items made sense, axe, mora knife etc - then he brought out packet after packet of fire lighting items, some brand names plugged etc - however in the same clip he had already explained he'd been collecting birch peelings and was a smoker so had a lighter ............my point here why carry so much fire lighting equipment?? As a expert I am sure he wisely carried a back up fire lighter - but 7?

Another example is a UK guy who was demoing basic skills on a night out, at one point he covered fire lighting and carved excellent feather sticks then went to light them with one type of man made tinder - his fire steel technique was really bad too ..............my point here, why not light the feather sticks with a lighter or if using a man made tinder why carve feather sticks??

Watching these video's and offers I find myself wondering why the guys do what they do as they seem to OVER complicate things. My own search is looking for ways to simplify my bushcrafting and as such lighten my load both on my back and wallet!

Take cutting tools - Nessmuk had his trinity, Mr Mears the same - DC says two is one and one is none and I can identify with this. Personally I carry a pocket knife, a Laplander, triflex and a axe, but recently even this, in my opinion, is over kill - a axe and a pocket knife could meet all my needs - or the triflex and a saw (which I travel with most of the time in Sweden etc)

Is there a risk of us losing the plot here - some experts have another agenda too as they are plugging products they sell.

In the end I guess only your experience counts for anything - sadly the phenomenon of the expert is a result of the fact so few people actually get the quality dirt time to form their own in depth knowledge but can easily access you tube or worse one of those egotistical forums full of equally computer bound dreamers - but (and again I am guilt here) bear in mind that all these experts are often still on their own journey of discovery and the knife they say is the best knife in the world in May might be the forgotten has been by July when they discover a new one!

My top tip today is look at the items "experts" have been using for the long term - ie Mors Kochanski and the Mora knife, Ray Mears and his woodlore knife, Cody Lundin and the Mora classic .........for only in their longevity can we be sure that these items are worth our consideration.

Just a thought


Lee Morgan said...

My question is how much are they paid to express that they "always carry" such and such an item.

Recently, I have been researching terms used in the bushcrafting, survival and prepper movements to figure out where information diseminates from. Does anyone REALLY know where these phrases originally came from?:

rule of three (3 minutes, 3 hours...)

the acronym COLD (original source)
the acronym SURVIVAL (original source)

Copy canning

"a survival situation is most often less than 72 hours"

Who is really the expert? Because I have hunted to find these terms and no one can tell me who they are quoting.

Survivall said...

Lee some plugs are financial as they sell or are linked to sellers - others are because they think having x as used by y makes them look more knowledgable or expert.

Most things like rule of 3 and acronyms all stem from the military and as such you'll likely never find the original source

The 72 hour thing I believe might have come from me - as I started using it on BCUK years ago gleened from research I was doing with regards to SAR's operations - but I could be wrong maybe it was a phrase that was in the back of my mind from somewhere else - like my other favourite "three days from a caveman!"

Lee Morgan said...

Thanks for the quick reply. I agree that many of our concepts for survival came from military teaching like SURVIVAL, but I would love to see where it all started. Like when did they decide to put that in there. I would love to verify information, rather than hearsay. Hearsay is dangerous, especially if you are going to trust someone else's knowledge, which is why I went to the Tracker School. At least I know their information is accurate and the books they recommended are safe to use.

Ross Gilmore said...

Very good post. I think there are two reasons why we see this over complication when it comes to bushcraft instructors.

The first is, as you pointed out, lack of experience. From my encounters with teachers of buschraft, most of them are no more than people who have watched the Ray Mears videos, and are now repeating the information, or they simply pack in everything they can think of because in their mind more is better (the example you gave of the massive amounts of different fire starters).

The second reason as I see it is that these instructors have to maintain an image and a mystique around the field in which they teach. If you had only a basic set of tools, and one fire starter that you preferred, you would soon run out of interesting things to show. Of course he can simply use a modern fire starter, but it seems so much more bushcrafty to light feather sticks with it. Then it really looks like he has something to teach you.

I've stopped paying attention to bushcraft teachers, even the well respected ones. I take what I can learn from them-the things that make sense, and discard the rest.

Blackthorn said...

Some interesting thoughts that echo some of my own and I'm in no way shape or form an expert in anything. Interesting you mentioned Mors Kochanski I watched one of his vids where he mentioned he used to take a folding knife as his main knife til someone came up with batoning, another where he mentioned the Skookum Bush Tool which is nothing much like a mora.

RM's Bushcraft book has more than one advertising plug in the 1st few pages which kinda spoiled it for me, I remember when he first appeared on TV before the merchandising.

Piscator said...

Why so complecated.
Practis what your doing and only carry what you use.
Keep it simple.


Anonymous said...

Like others here, I read/watch the experts and separate the wheat from the chaff. If I like something they do/use because it makes sense to me, I may do the same. If not, then I don't. I think there's great value in true expert opinions because of their experience, but that doesn't mean that they should necessarily be copied 100%.

weekend woodsman

Survivall said...

Well said that man!!