EDIT: Watch my updated video review here.

I have talked about Mykel Hawke before here on Bauer vs Wild. In fact, one time Captain Hawke actually commented on one of my posts where I was criticizing one of his rules of thumb for finding edible berries in the wild.

I even reviewed another one of his knives, that I don't think they offer anymore, called the Hawke Harrier Elite which I gave a pretty poor review on. Still though, setting aside the criticism, I am still a huge fan of Captain Hawke and his survival manuals.

This next knife from Captain Hawke's Hawke Brand that I am reviewing is the Hawke Peregrine 2.0. The model I purchased was the Flat Dark Earth G-10 Knife (MH-003SW). Here are the specs:
  • AUS-8 Stainless Steel Blade
  • Full Tang Construction
  • Blackstone Protective Finish
  • Multiple Lanyard Attachment Points
  • Micarta Handle
  • 5" Tanto Blade
  • 10 1/2" Length Overall
  • Tactical Sheath with Velcro strap and auxiliary pocket
Here's a picture of mine:

As you can clearly see, this knife is pretty bad ass looking. The handle is very solid and is very comfortable in your hand. It also has three places on the knife with holes so you can securely lash your knife onto a stick to make a spear out of.

The knife construction is also very solid, and strong. I was able to do some simple batoning to test it out and it handled it without issue. The blade comes out of the package pretty sharp, but with the peculiar shape it's kind of difficult to sharpen, but certainly not impossible if you have the right sharpening tools. I made some pine scrapings with the blade, and it did it easily.

My only gripe with this knife is that because it has the Blackstone finish on it you can pretty much forget using the spine of the knife as a ferro rod striker. I even tried filing off the finish on the spine a bit as you can see below, but it still was pretty lousy as making sparks.

I also tried getting sparks from the half circle area just under the blade and was able to product sparks, but the lashing hole made it difficult for me to get a good scrape using the pin technique, and made it difficult to aim using the pull technique. If you buy this for a survival knife, be sure to bring something else to use as a striker. Or, better yet you can do what Mykel Hawke recommends and just bring a few lighters ;-)

Overall I think this is a pretty cool knife, and would be happy to take it back in the woods with me. My go to for a good survival knife is still (Say what you want) my Bear Grylls knife from Gerber.

What's your favorite knife for use in bush craft or survival? Let us know in the comments!

The 6 P's of survival

Posted by El DiPablo | 7:00 AM |

English: Fire striker, survival kit
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We've all heard of Dave Canterbury's 5 C's of survival right? Well have you heard of the 6 P's?

I guess it doesn't just apply to survival, but life in general. I first heard of the 6 P's in the Navy, and again recently while watching a rerun of The Legend of Mick Dodge. This goes perfectly with my philosophy on survival, which basically stresses being prepared.

The 6 P's are:
  • Prior 
  • Preparation
  • Prevents
  • Piss
  • Poor 
  • Performance
Pretty simple right? So for example, if you know you are going our hiking in the back country bring stuff you might need out there. My four items is a great place to start.

Also be aware of the environment you are heading into. Another example is if I'm going up to The Grand Mesa where it is basically a rain forest, I bring my own tinder in the form of dryer lint and hand sanitizer because I know finding dry tinder up there is near impossible.

What sort of examples do you have of being prepared to prevent piss poor performance? Let us know in the comments!

Last month I posted a video on how to start a fire with a ferro rod. It was a quick fun video that my kids and I put together. In that video I used my US Navy Ka-bar knife as the ferro rod striker. The problem with the way I used the Ka-Bar in that video was that I used the blade of the knife as the striker, and that prompted a comment from one of the users on Reddit that using the blade as the striker will dull or ruin the blade.

The reason I had to do that was because of the black coating on the Ka-Bar blade. The coating makes it just about impossible to get a spark from a ferro rod off the spine of the blade. Still though, the Reddit user was right, it's not a good idea to use the blade for striking a ferro rod.

Because of that, and because I love my Ka-Bar so much I decided to modify it a but. I mean, Ka-Bar's are some of the best knives ever made, so why not try to make it work as your goto survival knife right?

What I did was take a file and I filed off a small section on the back of the spine for use as a striker. It is a very simple modification, and it worked like a charm!

My trusty USN Ka-Bar
Small filed down area
Here is a video of me using the Ka-Bar to strike the ferro rod and use some pine scrapings as tinder to catch on fire.

As you can see after filing off some of the coating it works fairly well as a ferro rod striker. If you want to do something similar just make sure to keep that part oiled, or put a dab of gun bluing on it to keep if from rusting since a Ka-Bar is made out of carbon steel instead of stainless steel.

EDIT: I went a step farther and used a grinder to make the area on the back even better for use as a ferro rod striker. Check out the updated video:

If you are watching a survival show and you see someone use a ferro rod to make a fire it seems really easy. That's because the people on the show doing it are professionals. I am not an expert survivalist by any means. I am still a student, but as a student I can tell you that using a ferro rod without any practice can be difficult.

That's why after weeks of practicing my ferro rod skills, and lots of trial and error I wanted to write up this post on the three key elements of success for making a fire via ferro rod.

For those not familiar with a ferro rod, "ferro" is short for ferrocerium. A ferro rod is also called a metal match, fire steel or a mischmetal rod. It's a rod of various pyrophoric material that creates sparks when scraping off small amounts using the back of your knife or a striker. Those sparks reach roughly 3000 degrees Fahrenheit and can catch dry tinder on fire. The best reasons to use a ferro rod over matches or lighters are because matches get wet, and lighters can fail at certain temperatures. Ferro rods work in any weather condition.

A Schrade Ferro Rod
Just making sparks from your ferro rod doesn't guarantee you fire. What you need in order to be successful are these three things:

  • The right tinder: If you are trying to catch your tinder on fire and it just won't catch a spark and produce a flame it's probably because you don't have the right tinder. I ran into that on my last camping trip in the mountains of Colorado. Everything up there was wet, and all of the grass was green. It took me a while to figure out that pine wood scrapings or fatwood scrapings are my best bet for ferro rod tinder in the mountains of Colorado. Pine wood scrapings take a few extra strikes on the ferro rod to ignite, but fatwood scrapings usually starts up right away due to the extra pine resin.

    Pine scrapings (Via Youtube)

    Another item that makes decent tinder is cattail fluff.

    The tops of cattails have fluffy material inside that makes great tinder
    If you want to bring tinder with you to guarantee a fire, maybe in an Altoids tin or some other fire kit, grab some dryer lint.

    Save your dryer lint in an Altoids tin for your next camping trip

    Make sure to find out what makes the best tinder in your area. Google search it, or watch Youtube videos.
  • The right technique: Not correctly using your ferro rod will make starting a fire with it frustrating as hell. Trust me from experience. I had to suck up my pride and watch some Youtube videos to get a technique that works for me because I was simply doing it wrong. There are a number of techniques, but it basically comes down to two. The first one involves keeping your knife steady just over the tinder and scraping the ferro rod back towards you in a pulling motion. I call this the pull technique.

    Pull technique

    The second technique, which I have found works best for me, involves holding the tip of the rod down on your tinder and pushing the striker towards the tinder. You have to be careful with this one and use a controlled movement or else you risk pushing your tinder out of the way. If you do it right, your rod will pin the tinder down so it won't move and the sparks will land on target.I call this the pin technique.

    Pin technique

    Here's a video from Dave Canterbury that helped me a lot showing both techniques. I thought his description of the pin technique being "for children" was a bit condescending, but the video was still helpful and I'm a big fan of Dave.

    You will notice that in both techniques you have to keep one item steady and move the other. With the pull technique the striker stays steady and you pull the ferro rod back. With the pin technique you keep the ferro rod steady and you push your striker towards your tinder in a controlled motion.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: The final key to ferro rod fires sounds like a cliche, but it's some seriously good advice. Don't wait until your life depends on your ability to make a fire using a ferro rod. Make sure to practice all the time. Find the right technique that works for you, and find what tinder works for you and practice until you can consistently make a fire with your ferro rod.
I'm assuming that if you are reading this post that you are a lot like me and are trying to learn the best ways for making a fire with a ferro rod. I hope that what I've written here is helpful to you. By following the three steps above you should find yourself mastering the ferro rod in no time!

If you feel that I've left anything out please let me know in the comments.