The ESEE-5 Knife

Published on Aug 10, 2012

The ESEE-5 from Randalls Adventure and Training is one hell of a knife. This American-made, work horse of a knife is a quarter-inch thick and has a blade length of 5.25” inches. The knife is a full tang and uses 1095 carbon steel. This is a very hard steel that is still easy to sharpen. The edge uses a sabre grind and the all exposed steel is coated with a tough black powder paint.

This blade has several design features that makes it stand out as a survival knife. It has a glass-break pommel just in case you have to escape through a window (great for air crews). This is nice to have because it’s more useful than a flat pommel design typically for hammering. You can always use the spine or the flat side of the blade to hammer if needed. It also has a bow-divot so that if you can create a fire using the bow-drill method. In my opinion, the ESEE-5 comes straight from the factory with one of the best knife sheaths you can have from a stock sheath. The sheath has a tensioner so that you can customize the retention to suite your personal tastes. The knife feels heavier than similar knives. In fact, it feels heavier than the Fallkniven A1 which makes the ESEE-5 more comfortable when chopping.

The biggest drawbacks to this knife comes with the J-belt clip on the sheath and the high risk of oxidation for the choice of steel. I tend to find myself in wet environments 90% of the time, and I will have to see how this knife holds out. All in all, this knife is on pair, if not superior, to most of the knives out there. I even like it better than my Fallkniven A1.

If you’re stuck on what to purchase between a Ka-Bar Becker BK2, Fallkniven F1, or an ESEE-5. They are all good knives but I recommend purchasing the ESEE.

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Seven Knots That Every Adventurer Should Know

Published on Jul 29, 2012

Only seven knots, really? Yes. Now, I know there are lots of enthusiasts out there who will be expecting to see their favorite knots from climbing or boating, but I’ve decided on a minimalist set of knots for this article. This should be viewed as the bare minimum and certainly everyone should strive to learn additional knots for their specialized needs.

Cordage is one of the most useful tools an adventurer can have in their toolbox. Given any situation that may arise, the ability to use cordage effectively and knowing how to tie appropriate knots efficiently is one of the most fundamental skills every outdoors-men needs to have mastered. In my opinion, there are seven knots that every adventurer should be proficient with. In this article, I will share what these knots are, some traits of each knot, and some real world applications for their use.

What is a knot?

A knot is a method of fastening cordage by wrapping and interweaving. When a knot is applied around an object such as a rope, tree branch, or pole, it is called a hitch. The simplest hitch that comes to mind is the girth hitch.

The Girth Hitch

Girth Hitch (or Cow Hitch)Even if you are not familiar with it’s name, you have probably tied a girth hitch before. A girth hitch (or cow hitch) is a method of joining cordage around another object. It can be used for lanyards, attaching luggage tags, and anything that requires a temporary attachment point. You can learn how to tie a girth hitch from these instructions.

Advantages

  • Simple to tie and untie.
  • Fast.

Disadvantages

  • When only one cord is loaded, it can be insecure.

The Clove Hitch

Clove HitchThe clove hitch is one of the most useful knots to know despite it being a little tricky to master. This knot can be used to tie your horse to a gate, secure the mouth of open bags, secure lashings for shelters or tools, rigging belays, and many other uses. You can learn how to tie a clove hitch from these instructions.

Advantages

  • Can be adjusted and loosened easily.
  • Relatively strong (depends on diameter of anchor point–larger diameter, stronger).
  • Self tightens under increased tension.

Disadvantages

  • If the anchor point is small, it can slip under high loads.
  • Stiff or slippery ropes can slip at lower loads.
  • Very weak on rectangular anchor points.

The Slipknot

SlipknotThe skipknot is a knot that slips and becomes undone when one of the cords is pulled. This knot is great for creating a temporary hitch that can be quickly undone. It can be used for traps, snares, tying off lines temporarily, and other uses. You can learn how to tie a slipknot from these instructions.

Advantages

  • Easy to untie.
  • Slips.

Disadvantages

  • Difficult to anticipate which end will slip.
  • Knot can come undone on rectangular hitches.

The Fishermens Knot

Single FishermenDouble FishermenThe fishermens knot is a knot for joining two pieces of cordage together. The knot is strong and produces a secure connection point. It can be made stronger by adding additional round turns. This knot is frequently used in fishing, and is strong enough for rappelling. You can learn how to tie a fishermen knot from these instructions.

Advantages

  • Strong
  • Easy to learn, and frequently used.

Disadvantages

  • Hard to untie.
  • Hard to pass when rappelling.

The Figure Eight Loop

Figure Eight LoopThe figure eight loop is a quick and easy way to produce a loop in a piece of cordage. It’s easier to untie then an overhand loop (loop produced with overhand knot).

Advantages

  • Easy to tie.
  • Strong (due to the knot’s symmetry).

Disadvantages

  • Suited when the tension is aligned with the direction of the cordage.

The Bowline

Bowline KnotThe bowline knot is one of the most useful knots anyone can have in their toolbox. It can be used for just about anything–from tying temporary loops to tying in to a climbing harness. It’s reliable and easy to tie with a little practice. You can learn how to tie a bowline from these instructions.

Advantages

  • Strong and secure.
  • Easy to untie.

Disadvantages

  • This knot can come undone if the tension is released.
  • Tricky to tie with one hand.
  • The knot can capsize if the loop is pulled from two extreme angles.

The Figure Eight Knot

Figure Eight KnotFigure Eight Knot Before Doubling UpThe figure eight knot is a strong symmetrical knot that is easily mastered. It can be used to tie into a climbing harness and joining to two ropes together. You can learn how to tie it from these instructions.

Advantages

  • Easy to tie and untie (even under high loads).
  • Strong and secure due to symmetry.

Disadvantages

  • Difficult to pass when rappelling.
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So what happened to the Newmac Expedition?

Published on Jul 19, 2012

Since there is a lot of confusion and interest from many people, I would like to clarify what happened to this expedition from my perspective. I have tried to stay out of the rumour mill but there are some very good questions being asked. You can read some of the theories on David’s post on the Guerrilla Explorer.

I would like to clarify that I did not receive any of the funding, nor used any of it. In fact, my participation and desire to produce a documentary film was not within the original budget when Stephen first authored the kickstarter page. I came on board in late April 2012 with the expectation that I would have to fund myself and that the expedition’s finances would only cover my food and travel expenses once I was in the country. I was responsible for my Congo airfare and personal gear and my documentary film would have to be funded via my own kickstarter fundraiser. Unfortunately, my fundraising had failed to garner the support I was expecting and I had to place my hope for producing the documentary project on an alternate strategy.

Two days before Stephen and Sam left for the Congo, I had begun to suspect that the expedition had financial problems when I was told that a specific purchase was not within the budget. Within two days of the team entering the Congo, I was forced to withdraw from the expedition when I was told that there “wasn’t enough funds for three months.” This was shocking and I was disappointed that I had placed my reputation on the line, only to have someone I trusted disappoint me with their poor financial planning.

I have since decided to start to raise my own funding for a new Congo expedition to search for Mokele-mbembe. The team will be led by Cameroonian-born American and professonal hunter, Cam Greig. Cam provided much of the consulting during the Newmac Expedition and was a great asset. He has conducted fifty expeditions in Cameroon and seven expeditions in the Congo. One such expedition had rendered him stuck in the Congo when the civil war broke out in 1997.

My new expedition will have complete transparency and the proper management that caused the first expedition to fail. Furthermore, the reason that the Newmac Expedition twitter account had gone quiet is because I was the glue holding the media and online presence together. Once I realized that I could no longer risk being associated with Stephen Mccullah, I made arrangements to transfer the website and the domains over to him. Prior to this, I had personally financed these activities with my own resources.

If anyone is wondering why things went quiet or why the website went down, it’s because I was no longer involved in the Newmac Expedition. My efforts and resources are being devoted elsewhere.

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New Congo Expedition

Published on Jul 16, 2012

Resting in Big CypressThis weekend, I ventured into the Big Cypress National Preserve for an overnight hiking trip. Big Cypress is a 729,000 acre preserve in South Florida that lies directly West of Miami. The soggy, swampy preserve contains both tropical and temperate plants, as well as animals like the Florida Panther and the American Alligator.
Given the recent setbacks, nothing clears the mind like the wilderness and I needed that. I put my reputation on the line and ultimately got burned by someone who foolishly endangered the entirely endeavor before it had even started.
Unbeknownst to me, I was left in the dark regarding much of the decisions, especially pertaining to the expedition’s finances. I have decided to raise my own funds and will go and seek out the dinosaur of the Congo with my own team.

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