Silly season (definition):  a period (in late summer) when the media often focus on trial or frivolous matters for lack of major news stories

It’s mid August and we are in the midst of the silly season and it’s a relief to take a break from some of the awful headlines that have plagued us in the first half of the year, anyway in the spirit of the season here is video of a mini/pocket bowdrill.

Although in practice this is not an option I would recommend, it’s still a challenge worth setting yourself.  As with any task, when you make conditions more difficult than normal it forces to you to focus on technique and then, when you revert back to the normal conditions, it all seems easier than before.

The same is true of tasks like tying knots: if you can tie them in the dark, then your muscle memory is truly ingrained and if, out in the field, you are trying to set up your hammock with rain beating down on you it’s not a problem; your fingers know what to do so well they do it despite the distraction of the rain.

Friction fire is also a skill worth learning as it teaches you more than just how to get an ember: you then have to get a fire from that small ember too.  Another way of testing yourself (if you are determined not to learn any friction fire techniques) is to go into the jungle, light a cigarette and prop it on the ground somewhere.  Then as the cigarette burns down you have that amount of time have to collect all the materials you need (i.e. before the cigarette goes out) and to get a fire going from the cigarette ember alone –  a fire that will burn long enough for you to collect more wood until the fire is fully established and you can boil enough water for a cup of tea.

Give it a try…it’s harder than you might think and the next time (when you just use a lighter and some inner tube) it will seem like a breeze to get a fire going.


Update – 24th Oct 2016

mini_bow_drill_1A week or so ago, a fellow outdoor enthusiast (called Darcy) sent me some photos of his own design for a mini-bow drill set.  I was really impressed and thought his set looked far superior to mine, so I asked Darcy if I could post some of his photos here, which he kindly agreed to.

He used Cedar for for the drill, hearth board and bearing block and stainless steel to connect the bow parts (made of bamboo) with bamboo shavings as an ember extender.  Cardboard to go under the hearth board and shoelace for the bow string.

Looks great!