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Backcountry Survival Knife

Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival Courses in Scotland
Backcountry Survival Knife

Backcountry Survival Knife

Looking for the perfect Bushcraft/Survival Christmas present?  Designed by Neil Foote of BCS and crafted by John Scruby of JES Knives. The BCS Knife is designed as an all round survival knife to be utilised in a wide range of scenarios and environments; from sea level to mountain top, and everything in between! When you book on a BCS course in 2017 the BCS knife will be there for you to trial.

Vital Statistics;

  •  Medium Profile. Full Tang Scandi Grind. 4″ 01 Tool Steel Blade (medium alloyed oil hardening steel). 4 mm Stock.
  • Thumb Grips for wet weather grip. Ferrous Rod striker groove.
  • 5.5 ” British Whale Brand Tuffnol handle. Stock handle is ergonomically designed for grip in wet weather.
  • Bow drill dimples. Lanyard eyelet (to fit .22 bullet) Bone/Glass breaker.
  • Kydex Sheath for easy care in the field/anti corrosion. 9mm ferrous sriker storage.

Does the perfect all round survival knife exist, or is it similar to the perfect pair of winter gloves?! Its all very much up to the individual as to what/where/when they will be using it at the end of the day.  The concept behind the BCS knife is that it has been designed with our courses in mind, and our clients complement us on our realistic training.


The blade has been designed to be heavy duty for all round woodland use, but well enough balanced and profiled for building traps and finer work. A full tang 4mm stock made of 01 Tool steel means the potential for distortion during heavy work is kept to a minimum, as does the potential for corrosion, yet the cutting edge can be kept razor sharp. The majority of Survival blades struggle with skinning small/big game, to us this is a big no no! The BCS is designed by John Scrubbie of JES knives. These guys have a long pedigree in providing quality knives to hunters and keepers who use their blades for this very reason!

bow drill dimples have been added to cut down on physical output when your friction wood isn’t perfectly dry and the lanyard eyelet will prize a .22 bullet from a round. The striker groove in the stock gives off a consistently bright shower of sparks. It is also possible to get sparks from the Bone/Glass breaker, using flint/quartz.

Backcountry Survival Knife

Backcountry Survival Knife

Why Kydex? Not as attractive as leather but the BCS knife is all about function over form. Having experience of running courses in the mountains, on the coast as well as in the woods we know that build up of grit over time can act as an abrasive on the cutting edge. Kydex is far easier to clean out, it also has the upside of drying out far quicker than leather, reducing the time that the steel is in contact with moisture.

The full package will weigh in at £180.00, which for an all rounder is exceptional. Still not sure? Why not book on one of our courses in 2017 where you will be able to test the BCS knife for free!

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.

What’s the Minimum Amount Of Water Needed To Survive?

Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival Courses in Scotland

What’s the Minimum Amount Of Water Needed To Survive?

Let’s face it, running courses and spending time in the outdoors in Britain, there’s no shortage of water…..In fact we take it for granted!  But what about more Arid conditions such as the Desert, Being out at sea or even Arctic conditions?  How much water is required to keep the human body functioning when in Survival mode?

Water loss factors are very much dependent on external and physical factors such as the environment you are operating in (both weather conditions and terrain), and your physical output and fitness levels. The fitter/healthier you are the more efficient your body is at retaining and assigning H2O.

A breakdown of the mechanisms for water loss in the Human body is thus:

  • 600ml lost through urination (per 24 hours)
  • 400ml lost through the skin (per 24 hours)
  • 200ml lost through exhaling (per 24 hours)

It should be noted that the above is a figure for an average sized man whilst resting. If a survivor where to find themselves in a situation where water was scarce they would obviously become dehydrated and the rate of urination would drop, for arguments sake to 500ml<. This leaves a rough figure of 1 Litre or 32 ounces to keep the average human alive whilst resting in a temperate environment.

 

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.

The Difference Between Bushcraft And Survival

The Difference Between Bushcraft And Survival

The Difference Between Bushcraft And Survival

A short interview we did recently for a blogging website on the differences between Bushcraft and the need for Survival training.

http://www.sumosurvival.com/episode-83-sumo-survival-bushcraft-podcast/

 

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.

Life Above the Clouds 

Life Above the Clouds

Life Above the Clouds : A journey into the Cairngorms (and a test for some new Fjallraven gear!)

‘Best day of the winter season so far…’ ‘most memorable cloud inversion…’ comments like these were flooding in on social media pages from friends and colleagues, so it took no further persuasion for me to pack my ruc sac and head up onto the Cairngorm plateau.

Avalanche forecast noted, filed and similarly the weather forecast. The whole of Strathspey [and beyond] was covered in a low lying blanket of cloud, but those
Facebook messages and photographs from above Cairngorm ski centre showed what else was happening weather-wise… blue skies by day and star filled at night. The combination of hot days and freezing nights on snow fields were ideal conditions to field test some new Fjallraven clothing and equipment.

From the ski centre car park at 600 metres it was a steady uphill climb through sunshine and shade, sometimes on rocky ground, higher up on hard frozen neve where crampons were worn.  Finally cresting the slope of Fiacaill a’ Choire Chais and the welcome sight of the large cairn at spot height 1141m, a key navigation point in bad weather. Clothing consisted of Lappland Merino Henley shirt , Buck Fleece and Keb trousers. I was glad of the venting zips on the Kebs as when in the sun it was hot work. But I was on the plateau before mid morning which meant the snow was still frozen apart from the top 1-2 centimetres.. ideal for walking on without the crampons.

Life Above the Clouds

Life Above the Clouds

Walking poles off the kaipak ruc sac and crampons into the net side pocket. Around the edge of Windy Gap and across the summit of Stob Coire an t-Sneachda. A perfect vista far and wide over the snow laden plateau as the sun got higher. Perfect easy travel over the snow and great visibility with no navigation issues enabled me to traverse quickly across the basin of the Feith Buidhe to the magnificent overlook into the Loch Avon basin, this is without doubt one of the best viewpoints anywhere! But little time for awe inspiring views I wanted to get to my overnight bivvy spot before the snow melted too much. Down into the Garbh Uisge Beag drainage and luckily a collapsed snow bridge over the burn, perfect place to fill my water bag. A full four litre water bag added considerable weight to my pack and such bags are invariably unstable but the Kaipak has enough straps and buckles to make this item reasonably secure, though this didn’t seem to make the uphill pull onto my target Carn Etchachan feel much easier.

Home for the night was a one man tent perched on the small shoulder at the end of the Etchachan ridge 1120m. Firm flat snow col, great all round views and if I’d guessed right I’d get late sun in the evening and early sun in the morning. Arriving somewhere like this is always a highlight, finding just the right spot to camp or bivvy, setting up the gear quickly and efficiently and then the crowning moment sitting back with a brew! Like many who work in the great outdoors I’m not ‘minted’! But moments such as this… I’m endowed with riches and treasures…

Light and shadow begin the dance as the sun lowers. Wandering above the precipice of the Shelter Stone crags, hearing rock and avalanche [cornices slumping off], picking out climbing lines on Hells Lum  remembering faces and deeds from the past thereon, Raven calls and I salute him, as he is my brother.

Rapidly it cools. The Sun drops further towards the ridge north of Ben Macdui … cold is on its way! Time to don the Pak Down jacket. Almost immediately I feel warmer, a snug hood [but sadly no draw cord, this its only failing], good pockets. More photos of the ever changing colours. New Forest Gloves on for first time and again almost instant warmth, which I find unusual for gloves [ and most winter days out I’ll carry 3-4 pair]. An hours wander in the fast fading light before checking in to the tent.

Tent entrance fully open and rolled up so its more like a tarp. Now will be a full on field test. Sarek Three Season sleeping bag ..do your stuff! And it did. I wore only shorts and the Lappland shirt inside the sleeping bag and feel more than adequately warm. Estimated overnight temperature -3c. That’s a great performance from a three season bag. One snag was I didn’t like the leather tightener on hood drawstring, much prefer [ or possibly just so used to] plastic toggle. I did however think it a fantastic sleeping bag, light, packs down really well, and a major plus is Fjallraven info on their ethically produced down. I think we have , at last, moved far beyond companies just offering a ‘green wash’ version of production and ethics.. great to see this.

Up next morning to greet the dawn, still well below freezing so another test for the down jacket.. flying colours again. Then sun up and basking time with hot coffee before striking camp. Enough room in the Kaipak 58L ruc sac for all kit and such a comfortable carry too. I’ve used a smaller version for day pack and knew how simple but effective a pack it was. I’m not a big fan of packs with’floating lid’ and there was some slippage on the waist belt, but apart from these small niggles I think this is an outstanding pack. Out and up across to Ben Macdui summit, mine the first tracks this morning. A nice steady decent, blether with some ski tourers skinning up… and then down, into the valley and the ‘unreal’ world waiting beneath the cloud.

 

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.

 

Robson Green Pre-Expedition Training

Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival Courses in Scotland

Robson Green Pre-Expedition Training

This week BCS have been working down south for JWC Media production team and Robson Green on a new Television series called “Robson Crusoe”. Robson who is no stranger to wild environments will spend 2 weeks living on a remote Island in the Phillipines with minimal gear. As you’d expect there will be plenty of laughs along the way, however on a more serious note Robson will be faced with some serious challenges similar to what Alexander Selkirk went through. If you’re not familiar with the story of Selkirk, the man Robinson Crusoe was based on, you can read about him here. A story of true survival, but also overcoming the odds and eventually thriving in an alien environment.

 

Robson Green Pre-Expedition Training

Stay tuned for more info.

 

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.

Mountain Safety

Winter Woodland

Mountain Safety

This week has seen a large number of rescues in the British Mountain, in particular Scotland. If you’re going out please make sure you check the Mountain Weather Information Service and if you’re a hill walker, skiier, mountaineer or climber become familiar with the Scottish Avalanche Information Service. Survival isn’t about grizzing the bad weather out, it’s all about not getting into a survival situation in the first place. It’s also about having the right equipment with you and choosing a suitable route according to weather and topographical features. Attached to this post is our equipment list for our 3 day winter courses (this list doesn’t include crampons, ice axe, ski’s or other safety gear that we supply to our clients) it can be found here; snowholing

With a total of 3 deaths this week and 2 climbers having gone missing since Sunday (14th Feb 2016) The media are doing their usual, bringing up the questions “should the mountains be closed to people in the winter” and “should everyone venturing out into the wilderness have insurance”.Our personal opinion is absolutely not. The statistics for deaths in the mountains are relatively low VS the number of people participating in the activity.  This doesn’t comfort the loved ones of the mountaineering accidents, but the majority of serious outdoor hobbyists understand and accept the risks and try and manage them as best they can……sometimes accidents happen.

Should we be insured to enjoy the freedom of the mountains?  If I’m ever out in the Alps climbing, I make sure my insurance covers climbing accidents. The European system works differently from the British way of doing things though.  The rescue services in Britain are partially government funded with many of the Mountain rescue teams raising money for themselves through donations etc. All members of mountain rescue teams are volunteers, many of whom know what it’s like to be at the receiving end of a rescue. Lets put it this way, how many Saturday/Sunday football and rugby players each week are taken to hospital (via ambulance or helicopter)? How many accidents occur every month from Horse riding (one of the most dangerous past times you can participate in)?  The answer is many more than mountaineering accidents!! So why don’t we have the media demanding these sports are stopped, or to play them you need private insurance?

Regardless of the rights and wrongs, the most important thing to do is keep yourselves safe out there “work your weaknesses”, if you know your navigation is poor, book on a course….”the more you sweat, the less you bleed”.

 

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.

 

Introducing The New Keb Endurance 2 Man Tent

Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival Courses in Scotland

Introducing the new Keb endurance 2 man tent

Backcountry Survival have been using Fjallraven tents for the past 3 years, both for personal instructor use and clients when running courses up in the mountains. We’ve seen the Keb tent range mature from being a reasonable tent that did the job, to the new upgraded edition, which to be honest is a different beast altogether.Lets start with the basics.

Running a company in the outdoors and especially in the Cairngorms, where the weather is at it’s harshest in the British isles leaves no space for second class gear. You have an equipment failure with something as fundamentally important as a tent on the wildness of the Cairngorm Plateau, and it can ruin a course, be incredibly uncomfortable and at the worst be potentially dangerous.

Backcountry Survival ran the Fjallraven 2016 tent launch in the U.K last October, with journalists from TGO and Trail magazine attending. From Backcountry’s staff point of view one of the highlights was the head designer Svante Bjorkroth had flown in from Sweden to do demonstrations and answer any technical questions that may float about.  Backcountry had in the past had minor issues with the older Keb 2 and 3  endurance, so we naturally had some feedback……..at the presentation on the hill it quickly turned out that all our questions had been answered in action rather than words by the design team, from new fabrics to new sourcing for the tent poles.

 

Introducing The New Keb Endurance 2 Man Tent

Fjallraven and primus press trip

 

The first thing to think about when buying a tent is ‘what are you actually going to be using it for?’ 

Are you going to be using a tent to throw in the back of a car and pitch up at a campsite? Walking or skiing long distance, so you need to keep the weight down to a minimum?  Camping in all seasons including winter?

I’m sure Fjallraven won’t make any bones about it, the clue is in the name Keb Endurance. The updated version of the Keb 2 is a 4 season workhorse that sacrifices lightweight for sturdiness and comfort.  The skirting around the bottom of the tent is reinforced for pitching on rough ground, the zips and zippers are heavy duty for use with gloves, the tunnel vents are reinforced with copper wire for sturdiness and as you’d expect with a winter tent the outer goes up first. The weight of the 2016 Keb 2 has been reduced compared to older models of the tent due largely to the upgraded fabric used (Polyester and polymide) which also almost completely eliminates build up of condensation. The “weight in bag” is 3350g which is acceptable for a 4 season tent. When issuing the Keb to clients we usually spread the weight evenly amongst the packs (one take poles and pegs, the other takes the outer and inner sheets)

 

Introducing The New Keb Endurance 2 Man Tent

Introducing The New Keb Endurance 2 Man Tent

Working in the outdoors means I’m constantly doing recce’s for new areas to run courses, new crags to climb at and new gorges and canyons to keep courses fresh. You can’t do this without a tonne of safety gear, most of which needs to be dried at some point.  The Porch section of the Keb 2 is perfect for this and has roughly the same foot print as the sleeping area itself, in built dry lines inside and out keep the floor space clear. So regardless of how much of a gear freak you are, the tent will store it, the only problem is can you carry it all in with you!

The inside of the tent is quality, the panelling and cut of the inner has been well thought out and executed leaving you feeling like you are safe and in a quality product. The price of the Keb 2 hovers around the £500 mark which isn’t cheap, but lets put it this way…….How many times have you been caught out walking in the driving rain in a Jacket that feels like Rab C Nesbitt’s string vest? Been skiing in gloves you bought from a service station and quickly regretted when the “hot aches” set in? Or been standing on a freezing belay wishing you’d spent that extra £100 on a down jacket?  The fact is when you’re out in the wild, you can’t head to the shop! Make the decision to get one before you head out……you won’t regret it.

Want to grab a deal? Head over to our friends at Above and Beyond for the best deals

 

Introducing The New Keb Endurance 2 Man Tent

 

 

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.

How The Water-To-Go 75cl Changes How we Make Suspect Water Safe.

Water-To-Go Review

Over complication of anything in a wilderness setting never works. The more working parts you have in a system the higher the likelihood that the system will fail. The consequences of not having ready access to clean portable water are obvious, so finding a reliable way of making dirty water drinkable is a high priority for anyone spending anything more than a few hours in the outdoors. Water safety lessons at Backcountry Survival focus on the big three filtration methods. The first stage: get rid of the visible stuff or sedimentation. Next, filter out particulates. Finish with purification to neutralise harmful pathogens, bacteria, protozoa and viruses.

For reasons I have never been able to get my head around the traditional filtration systems from Katadyn, Lifesaver and Sawyer (we’ve tried others too) never work that well for us. They break too easily: valves fail, handles snap, and the expensive carbon filters never produce the volume of safe water promised. In the field, traditional water pumps are not designed for sustained, repetitive, heavy-duty use. Given how important a constant, reliable source of clean water is, that’s a problem looking for a solution.

At first glance, the Water-to-go system looks like nothing more than an ordinary water bottle. But under the lid there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on. Water-to-go filters do use activated carbon, but they are not strictly “carbon filters”.

The Water-to-go system features a Nano Alumina membrane, a technology developed for NASA. The idea – like all good ones – is really simple. Nano Alumina active particles have a positive charge, harmful pathogens all have a negative charge. Anything that makes water unsafe is first captured by the active particles and then rendered harmless/denatured.

We really like the fact that Its easy to understand what’s going on under the hood, and We really, really like the fact that there’s nothing to go wrong, fail or break. Setup is swift and idiot-proof, unscrew the top and the primary filter screws into the underside of the lid. And that’s it. No pumping, no priming, little or no potential for cross-contamination. Note; You need to prime the filter the first time you use it.

The Water-To-Go will filter water with the following in it:

  • Bacteria, viruses and protozoa
  • Fluoride and chlorine
  • Heavy metals
  • Discolouration and bad odours.

Over the course of the last couple of months, we’ve given half-a-dozen Water-to-go bottles a severe hammering. Our brief wasn’t really to test them but rather to try and break them. We didn’t manage to do that. But we did make the decision to integrate them into all our future courses.

 

Summary

Adopting the Water-to-go system takes a major headache out of our course set-up: Provision of “on-tap” safe water, without the usual hassle.

Pros: Easy, reliable, fast clean water supply. Inexpensive. Maintenance free. Nothing to go wrong.

Cons: None

Rating: Five stars

 

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.

The Keb Jacket Review

The Keb Jacket Review

Its one of the mantras we live by on our courses….Survival can happen at any time in any place. Book on a Backcountry Survival multi – environmental course and you’ll be in the woods, on the hills and mountains and more than likely descending gorges! There’s certain clothing systems that work better than others in each respective terrain, and as we are mountain leaders with a personal as well as professional relationship with the hills, we were pretty psyced to get our hands on the new Keb Jacket from Fjallraven to test.

The Keb Jacket Review

Fjallraven describe the Keb range as a technical mountain trekking line of clothing, which it is! The Keb jacket is panelled with the 4 way stretch for ease of movement around the chest, arms and back but also paired with the famous G-1000 fabric around the parts of the jacket that are liable to wear and tear notably the shoulders and waist where rucksacks tend to rub.  As the shoulders are G-1000 they can be treated with Greenland wax for water proofing. The hood is very well thought out, giving you a number of options depending what the Scottish weather throws at you, and also sits over a climbing helmet exceptionally well.

Bushcraft and Wilderness skills in the Britain’s most northerly Survival School

What you tend to find nowadays is that companies are doing away with side pockets and are favouring the chest pockets instead. The thinking behind this is that if you have a waist belt on with your rucksack it’s a faff to get into the pockets, not to mention uncomfortable as the items are pressed against you by the waist strap. The Keb jacket is blatantly designed by outdoors men and women as the chest pockets are designed to hold a map comfortably with inner pockets to hold a compass or GPS securely.

The cut of the jacket is excellent, the waist line fits snugly with enough cover over your backside to stop it riding up under the rucksack or exposing flesh when you’re making an awkward reach whilst out climbing or scrambling. The front zipper comes right up to protect the lower part of your face, whilst the inner of the jacket is G-1000 to aid windproofing.

So where does the Keb jacket sit with regards to already existing mountain trekking systems and technologies?  Having used mine out and about for work and leisure I would say its closely akin to a soft shell set up.  The Keb jacket (like a soft shell) is never going to keep you completely dry in a deluge, but it is going to give you warmth, water repellence and flexability. Another point worth making is the modular thinking behind the Keb system and how it fits into the the Fjallraven Eco Shell which is their waterproof jacket, we’ll give the Eco Shell a write up next month.  All great ranges of Fjallraven clothing can be found at our friends at Above and Beyond. Remember when you book on one of our courses you are eligible to 15% off Fjallraven and other great ranges.

Keep up to date with our blog for more offers on our Bushcraft and Survival Courses in Scotland and North East England – We feature discounts and competitions regularly.