Apr

9

By Leon Andrews

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Categories: General Website Chatter

General Update

Well this year we new there would be some changes, we didn’t know quite how many though. We’ve worked Forgewood for quite a few years now, but this year we will also be working another 2 (Abbotstone and Inwood) sites as well during the summer. Neil has been busy writing the programs for the sites, getting the sites ready with Luke and doing all of the admin associated with it.

Due to a number of factors (time being a major one), Leon has been restructuring the Website, under the products page the cutlery and clothing sections have been removed. Neil wasn’t getting the time to make the clothing and Leon wasn’t getting the time to make the knives. On the knives front it also didn’t help that Fallkniven announced that they would no longer be producing blade blanks.

Leon has also included an Astore on the website, it has subsections that cover many aspects of bushcraft and survival and the equipment that is used. We don’t provide the goods in the Astore, they are provided by Amazon.co.uk.

Leon’s also been looking into tomahawks and thinks he may have found an alternative here

This year we also hope to be able to provide Hultafors tools for purchase on site and on the website. We’ll get some reviews up as soon as we can.

Mar

19

By Neil

1 Comment

Categories: General Website Chatter

Lowa Uplander Boots

Lowa Uplander boots

I have owned my uplanders for about five months now and feel that I have used them enough to review them. Before I start I have copied Lowa’s description of the boot;

They are 10″ high and made from premium leather and lined with Gore-Tex for complete protection. Stable Vibram Vialta rubber outsole combined with bi-injection special performance PU midsole developed by Lowa, in partnership with world leader in sole design Vibram. Full-length plastic stabilisers between the midsole and the outsole provide excellent ankle support and torsion control over rocky terrain.

After some extensive searching for new footwear I eventually decided to try the Lowa Uplander. I have owned Lowa boots before and after reading many on-line reviews, they were the only brand with an unblemished record for the type of boot I wanted. With the exception of my ice climbing scarpa’s these are the most expensive boots I have owned to date. My nearest stockist was the Bushcraft Store, and they retail there at £169.95p. I personally found the Bushcraft Store a pleasure to deal with, they ordered in a size 10 ½ for me just in case a 10 didn’t fit and their e-mail responses were prompt and helpful. I felt the hours drive was worth while as I like to try on my footwear, I have learnt to my cost when you send boots back, it is a lot more than the original postage.

I wanted a boot for hunting, bushcraft, and general countryside use. I have a preference for military style boots, I feel more comfortable with the support that comes with the higher boot. When combined with a Gore-Tex lining it is also useful for shallow wading and boggy ground. Most of the boots I looked at were far too rigid and clumsy for my liking. The uplander offers good support combined with a soft flexible feel, which I wanted for sneaking up on people and wildlife. For those who have worn various military boots they are like a desert boot designed for rough ground with a Gore-Tex lining. Through out the winter I have worn the boots in the woods and fields of Kent and Sussex, and on three trips to Exmoor. They have performed well in various ground and weather conditions. From steep rocky ascents and descents, peat bog, muddy paths, open moorland, rough pathways, rain, ice, rocks, sleet, sand, and mud so far nothing seems to phase them. I have slipped on wet rock but I feel that is not the end of the world, as from my climbing days I know this is a hazard even with mountaineering boots.

I waded many rivers and streams in Exmoor to test the Gore-Tex lining, I went up to approx. 8” depth, in fast flowing shallow water. I also stood in one stream for about 10 minutes to give them a good soaking, so far dry feet. I have had cold feet on occasion whilst deer stalking, however I was not producing much heat due to the static / slow movement associated with this type of hunting. Whilst distance walking on Exmoor my feet were like toast, even though the boots were soaked and muddy. To date I am pleased with my choice, which is good if you remember the cost! I intend to use the boots all year round, some might not get on with Gore-Tex in the summer but it doesn’t bother me personally.

Jan

5

By Neil

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Categories: General Website Chatter

Staying on the right side of the Law!!

When teaching I use a couple of different knives, both fixed blades (a mora & homemade stick tang) carried in a neck sheath. They get used for carving, campcraft & food preparation and cover pretty much all of my needs in a bushcraft environment.

That is fine when in camp, but what about the rest of the time?

There are always times when you need a something to cut with, opening packages, cutting string, foraging fruits, leaves or fungi and sometimes just to whittle something to pass the time. These are to time when you need an “everyday carry” (or EDC for short). A small folding blade that you have with you at all times.

For more years than I care to remember, I have always carried a small belt pouch containing a Leatherman Wave, a Ferro rod & small torch. This would go everywhere with me and would provide me with a range of tools for use in all manner of scenarios.

Then someone questioned whether or not a Leatherman is legal to carry? The blades are locking (and the law does not see that as a “legal-carry”). So I started looking around for a more “traditional” pocket knife that would be legal to have in my pocket virtually everywhere. To meet these requirements my chosen knife would need to have a non-locking blade that is less than three inches in length.

Over the last 18 months I have been trying out several knives that fit these requirements. Each have there own merits and drawbacks but all are excellent EDC’s.

First up – the ROUGH RIDER WHITTLER.

P1000232

A very traditional looking pocket knife that is made in China from 440 Stainless Steel and is a bargain at less than £10! It has three blades (two small whittling type blades & a larger main blade), brass type bolsters with plastic tortoiseshell inlays. The factory bevels & blade profiles do leave a lot to be desired and take quite a lot of work to sort out, but it is worth the effort. What you end up with is a superb little “gentleman’s pocket knife”, that is great for peeling fruit, cutting string and, of course, whittling! The size does limit its usefulness at times and the narrow handle can be a little uncomfortable – but for the money it is brilliant.

Next on the list – the BOKER XS.

P1000868

A very different looking knife to the Rough-Rider. All black with a pocket clip, G10 type handle and a “thumb-stud”, this looks far more “tactical” and nothing like a gentleman’s pocket knife. The blade is a little over 3inches, but the cutting edge is less (and that is what the law is interested in). The blade is fairly broad and has a “hollow-grind” , the thumb stud allows it to be opened with one hand, which is excellent in some circumstances. The blade clicks into place with a good solid feel. It is a very utilitarian knife, not particularly well suited to any one task. It can be used for food prep and even to make reasonable feather sticks. The handle is not very comfortable in prolonged use however.

It also looks very “tactical” which can be a disadvantage at times (especially with the great british public being so “phobic” when it comes to knives).

Finally is the BOAR EDC from the Bushcraft Store.

P1000637

This knife comes with a choice of handle materials, either black Micarta or Curly Birch. The non-locking blade is made  from 12C27 stainless steel and has a “scandi-grind” and is a spear-point design. Essentially this is a folding bushcraft knife that has been well designed. It doesn’t have a nail groove on the blade which is a little disappointing and makes it slightly tricky to open if it is wet, but that is the only real fault I can find with it. The handle is comfortable to use and a good size, being oval shaped it is fairly secure to hold too. The blade geometry works well, not too broad or too narrow its suited to most tasks. The steel type is excellent and it holds a very good, while also resisting staining & corrosion. The scandi-grind makes it easy to sharpen and is very well suited to working with wood. The slip-joint feels good & solid when you open the knife out too.

I have used this little knife a lot, its made pot hangers & feather sticks, skinned game, carved various trinkets, etc, etc, and it never disappoints. Of the three knives this is the one I reach for most often. It also looks fairly non-threatening, so I’m happy to carry it in most situations.

I hope anyone looking to get a new Every Day Carry will find the above in some way useful.

Atb

Neil

Dec

21

By Neil

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Categories: General Website Chatter

Sign!

Tracking is a vast subject and is not all about following the footprints in the sand.  I am not a tracker, I class myself as track aware.  The following is true and the ground conditions were 60% easy / 40% moderate, there was no ground I considered hard to track over.

In the summer of 1992 whilst working with my battalions reconnaissance platoon, we took part in a three week exercise acting as an enemy force for D Squadron 22 SAS.  The training was in Scotland, and was predominately forestry with some small areas of open heathland.  Our mission was to protect a RAF operational radar site and communications mast.  D Squadrons mission was to observe us for a minimum of ten days, then destroy the radar and mast sites.  Eight men were based at the mast site with the remaining twenty-two at the radar site.

 

We used to send out four-man clearance patrols both day and night at random times.  We worked on a rough time scale of one hour for every five hundred metres we wanted to cover.  When you are looking for sign of your enemy whilst moving tactically, you don’t want to be in a hurry.  Sometimes we would patrol slower, the ground and situation dictates your speed.  In my four-man team I was lead scout, on two separate occasions I found discarded kit that had been misplaced by the enemy.  With out going into great detail, both items were cleared for VOIED’s ( booby traps)  The first item was a used foil boil in the bag, it had been rolled up and taped together.   My deduction was that it came out of the soldier’s kit by accident, as there were areas of flattened grass where four men and their kit had been. Lesson one: always clear your areas, BUT, maybe it was dark and torches are generally not an option.  The second item was a right angle torch, this was found in a drainage ditch on the approach road to the radar site.  The proximity of the find led me to deduct that an enemy soldier had crawled up the ditch in order to close target recce our gate defences, in order to see if a “David Stirling raid” was an option. Lesson two: secure your kit, BUT, **** happens.

 

Whilst on another clearance patrol I came across ground sign of a four man patrol.  We tracked them for approximately two kilometres down grass rides and through conifer plantations.  As I worked my way through a spruce plantation I spotted them laid up thirty metres ahead of me.  We shook out into a well rehearsed formation and “bumped” them, they did not return fire.  We then bugged out pretty sharpish, we rallied, then put in a snap ambush in case of supporting patrols in the area trying to follow up and hit back.  Nothing happened so we patrolled back to the radar site.  On all three of these occasions I / we were debriefed by the D Squadron Sgt Major.  We were congratulated for our “training kill” and he confirmed my deductions for the items of kit I found.  He promised that both soldiers would pay a heavy bar bill for there misdemeanours, along with a quite word in the ear.

 

The reason I wrote this is not to big up myself or my three mates, I wrote it to make a point.  Most people have heard of 22 SAS, so, even when your reputation proceeds you.  Even when you are highly trained and experienced.  Even when you go to great lengths to hide you’re passing. WE ALL LEAVE SIGN.

 

P.S.  They killed us with an air strike.

Nov

30

By Leon Andrews

1 Comment

Categories: Reviews

Laplander or Opinel??

Over the years I have used a number of different folding saws, some of which were branded, others that were made by mystery companies and others still which were just plain cheap and nasty. The three main saws that I use are made by Opinel or by Bahco.

When bushcraft started to become popular the Bahco Laplander became very much the flavour of the month, with certain TV personalities giving it their backing and even talking about it in their books. The question being did it really deserve this level of recognition.

The Laplander Folding Saw has got a few nice touches about it, the blade is easily changed and is a reasonable cost here in the UK. The Saw itself isn’t going to break the bank when it comes to purchasing it. When it comes to safety the saw locks open or closed which is a reasonable safety consideration.As a friend once pointed out you wouldn’t want to reach into a side pouch just to meet the teeth of your saw.

The laplander (Bahco 396 LAP) is a good cutting tool, the XT blade is designed as a multipurpose blade for cutting green wood, seasoned wood, bone and even plastics. There are seven teeth per inch over a 7.5 inch (190mm) long blade. The handle is approx 9 inches (230mm) long, the combined overall length is 405mm and the saw weighs in at 200 grams so the saw is good and light.
Although the blade is hardpointed it’s quite flexible and will bend, this is not a bad thing as you can always bend it back. The cutting action is both ways, it cuts on both the push and the draw / pull stroke. In action it is a good efficient tool that cuts reasonably quickly, it doesn’t however provide the cleanest of cuts and this is due to nothing more than the tooth pattern of the saw.

The Opinel, well I say the Opinel, but there are two of them, the No’12 and the No’18.

The Opinel No’18 Folding Saw is closer in size to the Laplander saw, it locks, but it only locks open. This can be rectified by tightening the bolt and nut that hold the blade in position. The lock is effective enough even though it’s a very simple system which also makes the system easy to fix if it should be broken.
The handle is made of beech which is both aesthetically pleasing as well as being warm in the hand. The blades are replaceable, but the cost is prohibitive (it cost nearly as much to buy a new saw in the UK should you break a blade). The blade length is approx 180mm (just under 7.5 inches), the handle length is approx 9 inches (I have seen measurements of both 220 and 230mm) and the weight is around 200 grams.
So as far as specs are concerned the two saws are clearly very much the same (I can’t find a stated TPI for this tool). The tooth pattern on the Opinel is totally different to that of the Laplander, infact it resembles the tooth pattern to be found on the Silky Arborist saws, it cuts only on the draw cut, but it cuts very quickly and very cleanly (I have split blocks of Ebony to be used for knife scales with one of these saws).
The channel that the saw cuts is narrower than that of the Laplander, but it cuts as quickly if not slightly quicker than the laplander. The teeth are large, sharp and run side by side in offset pairs.

The Opinel No’12 has a 120mm blade, it has a locking collar that allows the blade to be locked both open and closed in the same way as the Opinel lock knives. The tooth pattern is exactly the same as that used on the No’18. It’s a nice little pocket saw, it won’t cut through the same diameter as the larger No’18, but it’s portable / pocket sized in a way that the other two saws aren’t. The downside to this saw is that there is no facility to change the blade and it’s still quite expensive.

From my point of view as an owner of this saw I like it a lot and it gets carried on a regular basis especially when weight and space are a concern.

As a personal thing and what I carry for use by me, I tend to use an Opinel, if I am mobile then I use the No’12 and if I am working from a static location where I don’t have to carry all my kit on a daily basis then I’ll use the No’18. The Laplander is ideal for use when teaching as it is less likely to get damaged when being used by people who are not used to using handtools, it is also considerably cheaper to buy than the No’18 and the blade replacement is also cheaper.

Nov

29

By Leon Andrews

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Categories: Reviews

The Armageddon Cookbook and Doomsday Kitchen

 

The Armageddon Cookbook and Doomsday Kitchen by Marcus Harrison.

It’s no secret that we at Green-Craft know Marcus. It was however a bit of a surprise when Marcus let me know there was a little something coming in the post.

A good few years ago at the Wilderness Gathering Marcus was chatting to us about a work in progress, it was quite a large undertaking to say the least, he wanted to cover aspects of wild food and cooking in a survival situation / environment, however it was not going to be just plant identification and a few recipes. It was to be a work covering many different aspects of food and cookery.

Well three months ago the book actually popped through the door. It didn’t take very long before I picked up the book for a “quick read”, however the book seemed to have a different idea and a quick read turned into a much longer and more in depth read. Marcus has gone far beyond any work that he has ever undertaken before.
Infact I believe that Marcus has covered more in this book than pretty much any other “in the field” cookery book. This book covers the psychological aspect of survival (which is both a good read and very honest), acquisition of food, plant identification, food prep, cooking methods and recipes.

Normally we find that wild food books cover straight forward weeds that we can eat, but Marcus has added in bits to do with trees and the use of some for food and some for making infusions for teas. We are all familiar with the normal sources of protien, but this book has covered insects, molluscs, fish, crustaceons, birds, mammals and he’s covered the seasonal availablity and environment that some of the food can be acquired. Some food will need to be stored and storage away from animals has also been covered. Preservation of food has also been a consideration.
Marcus has also addressed one other aspect that’s normally forgotten in books like this and that’s Water. He has covered water sources, harvesting, filtering and sterilisation. Improvised utensils have been included, cooking methods, jigs and ovens. You’ll find that Marcus has placed in a number of recipes, some of the names will make you chuckle and they’re meant to.

In Summary, The Armageddon Cookbook and Doomsday Kitchen is well written, it covers a lot of different aspects of wild food that aren’t normally covered. As a personal opinion I think that this book lends itself towards disaster relief, the psychological apsect and the decision making process are very relevant specifically to these situations. For people that have lost most everything, having to improvise the basics, this book contains the knowledge and ideas that you need.

Nov

18

By Leon Andrews

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Categories: Reviews

98.6 Degrees

A good few years ago I was teaching at an event arranged by Bushcraft UK. At the event I met Mors Kochanski, a very nice and knowledgeable man who is probably considered by most to be the father of Modern Bushcraft. At the end of the event whilst chatting with Mors he presented me with with a book. 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive

On the way home I started to read. Now this isn’t a large book, but it packs a lot of knowledge into the pages within the cover. The basic idea behind the book is that when your body core temperature alters by more than a certain level it has a drastic effect on how your body performs or doesn’t perform as the case may be. This was no new concept to me because of the environments that I had worked in, I had both seen and at times felt the effects myself.

This was the first time however that I am aware that a lay person had put together a book that actually listed / dealt with the potential hazards of core temperatutre change for people working in outdoor environments or having been caught in dangerous/survival situations. The book itself is actually all common sense and could potentially have been a very boring text of a clinical / medical nature. However what Cody Lundin has done is to interject some light humour both in the text and as diagrams (which I found very reminiscent of Elsworth Jaeger’s Wildwood Wisdom). It would appear that Cody has a sense of humour and of irony, actually a major requirement of a good survival instructor. The Book contains loads of well thought out hints and tips, suggested contents for a grab bag that doesn’t include the kitchen sink and as such is much more realistic.

98.6 degrees is a well balanced and thoughtout book. It has a small amount on small basic survival kits which don’t reqire a lowloader to shift them, it contains the odd story to back up the research and data that has been quoted by the author, all in all it’s a damned good read for anyone and not just people interested in the great outdoors

May

24

By Neil

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Categories: General Website Chatter

If Only……

IMG_0883IMG_0904IMG_0870We could get more blankets. Sadly we can’t and therefore we have stopped making our Blanket Smocks, which is a great shame as,a few weeks ago, we recieved this article that a satisfied user sent us.

Article for Jacket Green –Craft

Sometime ago while hanging out with my Bush Craft buddy Jed Yarnold in England I was given a Green-Craft blanket Smock to bring back to my home in Canada.
“Here take this back to Canada and tell me what you think of it,” he said as he generously handed me his jacket.
And so the jacket started its journey to the wilds of western Canada to start a journey of adventure, that I would expect its maker could not have forecasted, for this thick woollen garment.
I am an outdoor pursuits instructor in the Canadian Rockies I teach a lot of different outdoor skills from skiing to snowshoeing and hiking to mountain biking and more!
I specialize in Bushcraft and traditional living skills so I was anxious to try this jacket out within this area of my outdoor expertise.

The smocks first Journey was on snowshoes into the bush where I was conducting a lesson on setting snares to trap various fur bearing animals. The cold day of -25°C did not seem to phase this smocks thermal properties as it kept me remarkably warm. Its spacious kangaroo style pouch pocket and hand-warming pocket were perfect for temporarily placing my snares and tools, while weaving my way around the bush to place traps.

Hunting season rolled in so yet again here was the perfect opportunity to see what this jacket can do for my comfort level. It proved to be the perfect garment for sitting in a Tree stand (high chair in the UK) or nestling in the bush awaiting deer or elk. Although not exemplifying the now traditional disruptive camouflage pattern of different shades of green, and brown, it blended into the bush enough to confuse the various deer who came in extremely to my location.

To me one of the ultimate tests for an allegedly warm jacket is a day out Ice Fishing.
So off we went to “Spray Lakes” in the mountains a beautiful yet at times an in hospital place, this 21km long body of water is exposed to gale force winds that bring in bone chilling temperatures.
After drilling my holes in one meter thick ice I settled into my seat with a cup of tea and marmite sandwich (yes I am English). The wind drove itself into my back buffeting all the equipment I had placed around me, threatening to blow some of it away.
My Green-Craft kept me warm in its woollen cocoon creating a microclimate that maintained my core temperature at a very comfortable level, the day I was out temperatures dropped to -30°C. The hood I found offers the perfect cut that allows the wind to blow past my head and does not create a Ventura like negative effect that sucks it back onto your face. My smock has a generous cut that allows me to layer up underneath, and once again the hand warming pocket were excellent to stuff my gloved hands into the jackets glowing interior.
After 4 hours my friend who was me declared that he could not take the cold anymore and had to head back to the truck and home, he was dressed in modern Gore tex and various modern fibre insulative layers. I was chilly but still quite willing to stay out another hour or so.
This jacket was also used on several dog sled trips where I found that it was the perfect garment when standing on the back of a sled, travelling through cold inhospitable terrain.

If you want a smock to help you through those chilly Bushcraft days sat around a fire in a cold -35°C, snowy dry climate, learning or crafting this is the one.
I am one of the few Wilderness Living Skill Instructors mentored and endorsed by Mors Kochanski.
Every year I attend a meet (the Rat Root Rendezvous) here in northern Alberta where many Canadian, and some US, Bush type dudes meet up and compare skills and challenge each other to a Black Powder rifle shoot off. Many of these experts, including Mors Kochanski, ask to try on my jacket and end up drooling over it offering me many things in trade for it; needless to say I still have it.

In summary I have found this smock to be perfect on cold days when one is involved in Country Style or Bushcraft type pursuits. It is a heavy jacket so not one that I would backpack around with me. Though of course when supported by a larger vehicle it is the perfect companion. I have stuffed it in my canoe, dog sled, truck or pulk which I take on ski trips or to carry gear when ice fishing or trapping. My main problem with this jacket is that my wife has claimed it and refuses to give it back!

Mar

7

By Neil

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Categories: Reviews

Axminster Detail Carving Tools

XM 006 (Medium)

XM 007 (Medium)Detail Carving Tools.

Another Christmas present that I have been using over the last couple of months. What you see is what you get, a good value starter kit for fine detail. All 8 tools came razor sharp and ready to use in a basic, but fairly robust plastic case. The tools sit in the case well, and the cutting edges do not touch each other. All the tools are easy to use in both the left and right hand, and perform well in soft / hard, seasoned / unseasoned wood.

8 Piece Axminster Detail Carving Tool Set £11.30p

A low cost no frills good quality tool kit, you can’t go wrong.

Flexcut Slipstrop.

A basic shaped strop for small gouges and vee tools. I have honed all 8 of the detail carving tools on this strop, it works well when used in conjunction with the polishing compound supplied with it. Axminster Tools sell this product.

Flexcut Slipstrop with Compound £13.20p

Feb

7

By Neil

2 Comments

Categories: Reviews

These boots are made for…..Bushcraft

DSC01372 (Medium)
The kit we use in the woods is a very personal matter and no item more so than the footwear we choose. And it’s not just in the woods – work shoes (when I was a chef) and, of course, running shoes when I was pounding pavements and running marathons.

Over the years I have tried a lot of clothing and footwear, everything from army surplus boots, to traditional walking boots and everything in-between. Like most people I have researched my purchases, looked at what other people use and looked at what the outdoor “celebs” and guru’s use. I have used boots from all sorts of manufacturers: Lowa, Miendhl, Lundhags, Merrel, Nike, Zamberlan, etc,etc. Hunting boots, walking boots, approach shoes, cross trainers – you name them, I have probably tried them – even Crocs!!!
When I was working for Bison Bushcraft, Roger and I designed a boot especially for bushcraft. We were looking for something light that allowed you to feel the world around you, the idea was for an “enclosed flip-flop”, a simple shoe with no raised heel (this simplistic idea seems to have taken off with the advent of “bare-foot”& “minimalist” shoes). While very good, they were not the “ideal” for year round use and had a slight flaw in the design.
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One thing that become apparent is that no one pair of boots can be suitable for all conditions in our world of bushcraft.
So what is the answer?
I looked at the clothing I use in the woods (more specifically – what covers my legs!) and there was the answer!
Most of the year, I wear an old pair of British Army Lightweights (cheap, robust, fast drying, not too many pockets). If the weather is hot and I decide to get my legs out – a cut-off pair of German Army Moleskins (baggy, made of cotton & super comfy). When the mercury drops and the weather gets cold & damp, I want something that offers more protection. I have a pair of Tuff-Stuff “Bushman” trousers that are made of polycotton canvas, have cordura pockets for knee pads and have a few sensible pockets.
So all I needed was three pairs of boots!
The boot that I have chosen for use most of the year (and I am still testing eight months on!) is the Vivobarefoot Mens Off Road Hi M Leather Trekking and Hiking Boots
, a water-proof lined leather minimalist boot, that is amazingly lightweight, grips superbly and lets you feel the world under your feet. I have used them in the woods, on the Cornish coast path and as a general purpose boot while teaching. These boots need care, don’t use them for everything! Like plumbing, going to the pub, going to Tesco’s, etc,etc – because they are not made for that sort of use – the clue is in the name “off-road”, use them for that purpose and the sole will last!
In the heat of the summer woods – you want something very light, very soft (so you can feel the forest floor), grips well and dries fast. Again I looked to Vivo-Barefoot and I use their “Vivobarefoot Mens Neo M Trail Running Shoes

” shoe. This was the first shoe I got from this company and I have been using them for over a year and they are superb. Incredibly light, very “grippy” and the sole allows you to feel everything that lies beneath your feet. They also make excellent “camp-shoes” to change into at the end of a hard days hike, weighing nothing and packing down very small.
My one word of caution with “bare-foot” or “minimalist” footwear is, that the properties that allows you to feel everything – does just that! If the ground is cold, so will your feet be!
DSC01373 (Small)
So what to wear when it’s wet and the ground is cold?
For the answer I looked to countries where the winter months mean snow, cold & wet for the duration. In countries where it remains cold & dry – Muk-luks are favoured, however in places where wet is also added into the equation, the “Pac” type boots seem to be favoured. These boots have a rubber foot section (like a wellie) and then have a leather top that, laces up. The inner is usually made of felted wool (or similar), keeping your feet warm & dry.
I purchased a pair of Seeland Pac Boots (£42) at the beginning of the winter. Last winter I used a Gore-Tex & Thinsulate lined “cold/wet” boot and in prolonged use had cold feet most of the time. This winter with my “old-school” Pac Boots, my feet have stayed warm and dry. The dry part was severely tested while teaching scout-leaders in Gloucester in November when we had 14 hours of torrential rain and wide-spread local flooding.
While feeling “big & clumpy” compared to my other “minimalist” footwear, they have become a firm winter favourite.
So there you have it – my thoughts on footwear for use in our woods, the whole year round. And as far as cost goes – the three set of footwear, suitable for use the whole year round – was £180….which for a “year-round” set of footwear – I think is quiet reasonable.
Til, next time.
Neil
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