Monday, 28 July 2008

A week of tracking!

A couple of weeks ago, I was up at Canonteign helping Max of Shadowhawk teach tracking. We started off with an Advanced course and then a back to back /fundamental and intermediate - 6 days worth of tracking. Fantastic!

We were lucky with the weather and the people we had. It stayed dry (which is unusual for the area) and the people we taught were brilliant. We pushed all of them hard and they managed to up their game each time. We had a really good time with the Advanced course because it gave us instructors more chance to be creative in our scenarios, shall we say!

The back to back guys picked up the principles very quickly indeed and gave us a run for our money trying to keep up with them. It was great to see all the 'eureka' moments that people had and there were a lot of those. I would like to take all the credit for their fast progress but it wasn't just down to me and the other instructors - they were all very good and quick learners.

On a separate note, I have been promised that there will be something for people to see, concerning my secret project, before the end of the week. I really hope that is the case because I'm busting to let people see what I'm up to and get some feedback.

I will keep you posted. Until later ....

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Paperback writer.....

Well not quite! I have just had an article published in the Bushcraft & Survival Skills magazine on tracking. This is the first of many (I hope) and I think it looks good - even though I say so myself.

I really recommend you go out and buy the magazine because it is full of great articles, pictures and me (only kidding). Follow this link if you want to see my humble offering - tracking article and choose tracking.pdf.

Hope you like it!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Lifesaver Water Bottle (Part 1)

As promised, a first look at the incredible Lifesaver Water Bottle. This bottle may not be the most elegant of beasts but it is probably the most important invention to hit the survival/bushcraft market in recent years. It is a highly significant evolution in portable water purification systems. You may think this all sounds a bit OTT, perhaps it is, but the bottom line is that this is an awesome piece of kit, taking water purification to new heights.

In an earlier post (The OS Outdoor show aftermath) I mentioned meeting the inventor of the bottle, Michael Pritchard. A very nice chap whom I gave a rather hard time over the design and the principles of the system. He graciously answered all my questions and after 3 days I became convinced about the concept.

So, I put my money where my mouth was and bought one! So far, I have only primed the bottle because I had to give it to someone else for a trip to Russia and have only just received my replacement. Anyway, overall, the bottle is very easy to use but does take a little getting used to. The bottle comes with a fitted activated charcoal filter as well as a spare, a spare teat, a strap, a small pot of lubricant and an instruction manual. It is important to follow the priming instructions before you use the bottle in anger, so to speak. I did find that tap water still had a taint after the priming process so I just repeated the last stage another 5 or 6 times to lessen this - no doubt more use will reduce it totally.

To fill the bottle is simplicity itself. Unscrew the bottom, ensure the filter is covering the water inlet hole (this just removes large debris like leaves) and scoop up the water, screw the bottom back on, give it a couple of quick pumps and drink! It is a very fast process. You use your teeth to pull up the drinking teat and also to close it and you can literally start drinking it after pumping. The pumping process does pressurise the water meaning it will squirt out quite vigourously at first. This did catch me by surprise the first time I used it and I nearly choked! So be warned. It does mean that the bottle can be used at any angle (see picture below). That's not me in the picture by the way!

The beauty of this system is that there are no chemicals used in the purification process. It is all done through filtration. Speaking of filtration, it is still a good idea to pre-filter your water if it is very dirty. The only reason being that your filter will last longer! You can scoop up the nastiest, dirtiest water you like (except sea water) and the bottle will deal with it in its stride but it is always a good idea to choose the cleanest looking water you can find - no point in lessening the life of your investment unnecessarily, is there?

I will post another short review later when I have used the bottle in earnest. There is a full review of the bottle in the Bushcraft & Survival Skills magazine along with other water treatment systems. I'm not going to tell you what it says because you need to go off and buy the magazine and read it for yourself!

Go out and buy one - you know you want to!