Wednesday, April 23, 2014



I have been teaching a group of 6-13 year olds in my wilderness skills class this past semester and it has been the blessing of a lifetime. There was just one problem. Most students had knives that were great for general use, but insufficient for most camping or survival tasks.

I expected this of course, but I didn't comprehend how difficult this would make class. Because of this, I'm doing a quick write up on the knives that I would recommend for young woodsmen!

Let's get started!

First, we need to determine what qualities we're looking for.

Sharpness

A dull knife makes carving more difficult, and leads to injury more often than a sharp one. When someone needs to use more force then necessary, they are far more likely to compromise their safe carving technique.

Blade Length

A good knife has a blade that is 3-5 inches in length. This makes them short enough to wield easily, and long enough to get the job done.

Strength

Most folding knives lack the strength and stability to accomplish difficult carving tasks. For this reason I recommend a fixed blade knife. Just be sure to keep it in its sheath when it's not being used! There are also a couple of folding knives that are quite useful, which I will show you.

Inexpensive

Even if your child is responsible, I always recommend not putting too much cash into their cutlery. After all, lots of inexpensive knives perform great!

Here are the knives that I would recommend purchasing


Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
Any knife by Mora is a good knife. This one is inexpensive, and comfortable in the hand
$13.31 currently on Amazon
(click the image for more details)

Green River Knife

This is the knife that I use on a daily basis. It's also the knife that your grandpa used, and possibly his grandpa...

It's basically an old-timey hickory butcher knife.
$21.59 currently on Amazon
(click the image for more details)


Old Timer

This is the folding knife that I recommend. It is sharp, solid, and proven. This one also includes a small saw, which is very useful.
$18.59 currently on Amazon
(click the image for more details)




Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at sam@samexplores.com

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


                               

I don't know how much of this should be kept private(I'm not too concerned), but I have recently been contacted by another production company that is interested in making a TV show about survival. Yes, another survival show.

The basic concept of the show centers around having a survivalist (or multiple survivalists) alone, in the wilderness, without a camera crew. I was told by one of the producers that they expected whomever was chosen for the show to last up to 6 months in the wild. I told them that it was very unlikely that anyone could achieve such a feat for one reason. Humans are social.

I completely understand the longing to be solo in the wilderness. I spend a good bit of time alone in the wild, and I count each time as a blessing. What I'm referring to in this post are long term living situations.
Of course, very few people who claim to be "survival experts" posess the knowledge to sustain themselves for that long. They don't have the skills to find enough food to keep themselves alive. But food, quite honestly, is the least of their worries.

If you study humans throughout history we always travel and live in groups. There are only two reasons that primitive man was ever living alone in the wilderness; 1: they were being punished, or 2: they were being tested. There are no long term exceptions to this. Of course, everyone needs to be alone for some time, but never an extended period. Primitive man found nothing romantic about being alone in the wilderness. To be with a group was to share the load of life sustaining tasks they knew they needed to accomplish. Sure, Les Stroud can do it, but he's one in a million. 

Now lets talk about modern man. There is one statistic that stands out when it comes to our social behaviors. Social media sites are now the number one reason that people are online. Sorry for nerding it up, but it's the truth. The really shocking thing is what it surpassed...

Social media surpassed pornography. People are spending more time comunicating with eachother for social gain then looking at naked people. I don't think I could make it any clearer than that.

Coming from a guy who has spent a lot of time alone in the woods, it's not as easy, and often not as enjoyable as it sounds.


Much better.



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rather Listen? Check out the podcast for this post!



The world is full of beautiful places.
How we visit those places is up to us.

In each place there is an adventure, but most will never find it. 
Cameras in hand, caked with sunscreen, a tourist enters a far away land like they enter a movie theatre. 
They expect to be entertained
To take all they can for a short time, before rushing home to critique their experience.
An explorer leaves the beaten path in search of a greater adventure. 
We seek education, not entertainment. 
We respect the places we travel for what they are, not for what hollywood says they are. 
An explorer enjoys every moment, even when wet, cold, or broke.

An explorer chases discovery, open to new cultures and new ideas. 
A tourist has expectations, but an explorer treats each experience with a humble attitude.

Though I fear I may still be a tourist, I strive to leave my selfish tendencies behind.
After all, to explore is to sacrifice your comforts for the joy that a new experience will bring.

Wherever you are,
Whoever you are,
Go Explore,

Sam

Monday, February 24, 2014

Rather listen? Check out the podcast for this post
So, I've been blogging here consistently since I was 19 years old, but I have the feeling that most of you have no idea who I really am, even if you've read all of my posts from Arizona to Maine!

Here are 12 things you probably don't know about me.

1: I was inspired to explore the outdoors during a canoe trip in Ontario when I was 14 years old. Our instructor was a 22 year old female college student from Winnipeg named Sam, ironically. Her fortitude, resilience, and leadership skills inspired me follow my passion of becoming an adventure blogger.

2: I have always loved to read, but I have never loved to read anything that was required of me. I usedspark-notes all throughout high school so that I could read books about the outdoors in my free time.

3: Though I love to read, I'm an extremely slow reader. I blame this on my day dreams. I will consistently start a chapter, get an idea from what I'm reading, then completely forget what's going on in the book.

4: I would really like to live someplace cold one day, so that I can have sled dogs (a dream I've had since I was about 4 or 5)

5: The first time I went canoeing I tipped the boat after about 10 yards. In my defense, there was barbed wire involved... this might make a good post

6: In high school, I had the male lead in every single musical during my 4 years. The roles were Tony-The Boyfriend (probably my least favorite), Albert Peterson- Bye Bye Birdie, Danny Zuko-Grease, and my favorite by far, Curly McClain-Oklahoma.

7: It was during the show Oklahoma my senior year that my wife and I started dating.

8: I started blogging when I was 18 after I felt I was being censored by the high school newspaper sponsor. I had a column in the school paper that was relatively popular, and received some positive feedback from students and staff. After a while I was told by the teacher that my articles sounded as if they were just random thoughts I had at 3am... which was kind of the point. The last straw was when my article describing our principal's dating advice was shot down shortly before going to print. Too bad. It would have really helped some of the students out. The blog was originally named thesamspot.com after the column.

9: I write my best while I'm listening to Lecrae Radio on Pandora.

10: I once had a rash in a really bad area for 4 months between my trip to Nicaragua and the Arizona Expedition... I'm not going into any more detail on that one

11: I slept in a sleeping bag from late elementary school to when I got married.

12: I'm completely revamping and improving upon my original plan for my next kayak expedition, but more from that soon!

Thanks for reading guys!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's tough to pay for an expedition. I learned that when I sold my jeep to fly  to Arizona... and when I almost didn't get to the Gila Wilderness last year... and right now as I am attempting to get sponsorship for my current expedition (and you should probably follow me on facebook or twitter to keep up with the preparations!)

Luckily there are awesome adventurers like Al Humphreys to point us in the right direction! I was recently reading his blog when I found a post that he published recently. It contained many of the methods that I have used to save money for expeditions myself. Instead of repeating everything he said, I'll steer you over to his blog. There's really some great insight! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rather Listen? Check out the podcast for this post!

In preparing for my upcoming kayak expedition I thought long and hard about purchasing a backpacking stove. After all, everyone else uses one, right? I thought about the pros and cons, comparing my past experience of stoves vs. cooking on an open fire, and in the end, fire won hands down.
Of course, many others would benefit more from a simple stove, especially those travelling through areas with fire restrictions. Ultralight backpackers would probably benefit more from stoves too. Then there are the polar explorers, and other outdoorsmen who travel through areas where combustable materials are in short supply. Stoves are quick, and easy. They also take very little knowledge to be able to control.  But, for my situation, I have to say that the fire wins by a long shot.
Melting snow over the fire in the Gila Wilderness
An Open Fire Takes Up No Space In A Pack Or Drybag
With a stove, you're forced to carry it, and any fuel you'll need. With a fire, it's as simple as carrying a ferro rod, or some matches. It's as simple as that. By leaving behind a stove, I can carry more food, and thus, stay in the woods longer. 

An Open Fire Throws More Heat
Why does that matter? You may ask. After all, it doesn't take much to cook a small meal. Picture this...  
You're canoeing down a river and after a long day of paddling the temperature begins to drop. You accidentally tip your canoe in a rapid. At this point, would you rather sit next to a little cook stove, or a roaring fire? Many stove users carry extra fire starters just for situations like this.  
It's also reassuring on cold winter days to have a way of heating up someone in your party if they are showing signs of hypothermia. However, the real benefit of the open fire is its versatility!

An Open Fire Is More Versatile For Cooking And Heating
A stove confines you to how many burners you have (which in most cases, is just one) where a fire can provide more cooking space then I could ever use. This means that after I catch 5 trout, I don't have to wait to cook them after I'm finished with the rest of my meal, I can cook the fish and a bowl full of rice, all at the same time. 

Evaluate which option is best for you, and go for it!
Here's an awesome photo taken by my friend Tim Smith of Jackmtn.com. Love the snowshoe setup Tim!

 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

This week I am determined to come up with a way to make my kayak collapsible!


 
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