Wednesday, 24 June 2015

HOW TO - Fire by bow drill - Treader Tube

Fire by Bow Drill

A few weeks ago my good buddy Tom Reader stopped by the Hunter Gather Cook treehouse to learn how to make fire by bow drill with Nick Weston. Keen to brush up my skills I joined them and here are the results. Tom will be out and about making videos about his adventures so if you like what you see click and subscribe to his channel - Treader Tube on Youtube

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Review: MSR Miniworks EX water filter

I’ve covered a fair few wild edibles in the past on this blog and where as I do enjoy going out collecting these plants I usually take them home to cook in a “normal” kitchen with taps. 

I wanted to talk today about stripping things back a little and heading more in a survival / wild camping direction. At the right time of year I don’t think I’d have much trouble surviving for a few days, even a week or two foraging for my sustenance however clean water would always be a bit of a worry and carrying 2 litres for each day I would be out would be rather weighty. Things to be concerned about when collecting water are chemicals, toxins ,pesticides, bacteria, protozoa, cryptosporidium and waterbourne viruses. This is where the MSR Miniworks EX comes in.

The Miniworks has a replaceable carbon ceramic filter, good for 2000 litres and with 0.2 micron filter size will get rid of all of the above apart from the viruses. For the viruses I’d suggest a using a chlorine tablet after you have filtered the water and if you are not a fan of the flavour, filtering the clean water through the Miniworks again should remove most of the pool water taste. 

Weighing in at 16oz / 450 grams some say that it is a little on the heavy side but when you think about it, it is only a quarter of the weight of your daily water needs. The Miniworks is completely field maintainable needing no tools to take it apart and just a little 3M scrubbing pad to clean the filter. On the base of the Miniworks there is a little red calliper which when able to fit over the removed filter indicates that its time to replace it. Replacement filters cost around the £40 mark but you do occasionally see them cheaper. 

The filter is operated by a hand pump which includes an Airspring Accumulator and when completely clean will deliver a flow rate of a litre a minute. It is ideally suited to the MSR Alpine 1 ltr bottle which will screw straight onto the bottom of the Miniworks. Together you have a great little set up to extend your adventure time in the wild, keep you and small group hydrated and at £77 from Webtogs won’t break the bank!

When compared to its rival the Katadyn Hiker Pro which comes in at around the same price with a similar cost for the replacement filter I would certain chose the MSR over the Katadyn as the latter filter is only good for 900 litres so less than half that of the MSR.

For more reviews like this why not check out Outdoor Gear Review 

Friday, 28 March 2014

Yukhoe - Korean Venison Tartare 육회


This Korean version of steak tartare was originally made with horse meat and more recently with beef. For best results the meat needs to be absolutely as fresh as possible. At Hunter Gather Cook this dish is made with venison fillet within a couple of hours of it coming off the deer so we have the perfect opportunity to make the finest of dishes.


10 Wild Garlic Leaves
1 Bunch of Three Cornered Leek
16 Edible Wild Flowers to Garnish ( Dog Violet, Wild Garlic Flowers, Three Cornered Leek, Primrose, Cuckoo Flower)
4 Sorrel Leaves


1 pound / 450g Venison Fillet
2 Pears
4 small egg yolks or 4 quails eggs
2 tablespoon pine nuts

Seasoning Mixture:

4 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon clear honey
3 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 tsp chilli powder

Wild mies en plas

Firstly the Venison Fillet should be put in the freeze for 1 ½ to 2 hours, this hardens it up slightly making cutting it thinly a lot easier.

For the seasoning mixture add the soy, honey, sesame oil, sesame seed, pepper and chilli powder to a bowl. Next very finely chop the Wild Garlic and Three Cornered Leek and add to the bowl. Stir well to combine and set to one side.

Yukhoe seasoning mixture
Fill another bowl with a cup of water and add a teaspoon of salt to it. This will keep your pears from browning whilst preparing the rest of the dish. Peel and julien the pear cutting it into matchstick sized pieces and place in the bowl of salted water until ready to plate up.

Take the partially frozen venison fillet and slice it in the same way as the pears. You want lots of tiny matchsticks of venison. Add the sliced venison to the seasoning mixture and stir well.

Making sure the venison fillet is free of any fat and sinue
To plate up make a bed of the pear sticks, take a serving of the venison and seasoning and place on top of the pears making a small indent in the top of the venison. Carefully place the egg yolk on top of the venison. If using a quails egg the top should be cut off and the egg put in the same place ready to be poured over when served.

Garnish around the stack with whatever edible wild flowers you have found, the sorrel and serve!

Yukhoe - The finished article

Monday, 24 March 2014

Snugpak Jungle Hammock – Review

Working as I do in the middle of the woods and often spending several days out in the sticks, comfortable, lightweight, sleeping arrangements are quite important to me.

Last year I started using a hammock to save weight rather than lugging around a tent. The hammock I was using was basically a heavy weight, canvas, oversize job that was very nice and comfortable but only fractionally smaller and lighter packed down than the tent I used to use. I started checking out the some light weight versions using parachute material but was surprised to see the likes of hammocks by Hennessy coming in at over £120!

In instead opted for the Snugpak Jungle Hammock from at under 35 quid it was a steal and appeared to have many of the same materials and a similar set up including the integral mosquito net I wanted after being eaten alive last year.

Compared with the with the old hammock it was quite a different beast, weighing in at less than 800 grams and a full 1.2 kilos less, it packed down to a quarter of the size. At this point I was wondering how sturdy it could actually be being that lightweight, nonetheless I was looking forward the end of my working day and to trying out my new bed.

Setting it up was a pretty simple and quick affair or at least it would have been if I hadn’t had a few wild cocktails with dinner. For suspending the hammock you have two lengths of 550 paracord knotted at increments making it quick to get the right tension when tying it to the tree. The hammock itself had steel carabineers at each end so simply clipped up to the paracord secured to the tree. Setting the bug net was a little trickier than the actual hammock as you need to get the tension just so. Too little and the net will sag on to you when in the hammock and too tight and I’d imagine it may tear the net when you get it. Would suggest setting it up with a loose tension with your adjustment knot accessible once in the hammock. That way you can get in to the hammock then adjust the tension to perfection. If you don’t want to use the bug net you can simply flip the hammock over and use it without.

There was plenty of space in there when I got in, I’m 6”3 and I reckon it could comfortably fit someone a fair bit taller and heavier than me. On the technical specs it says that it can take 180 kilos, which would be a very hefty individual. It was really comfortable to with enough room to curl up. It was a pretty cold night and I woke to frost on the field just outside the wood. I was pretty chilly but I put that down to the quality of my sleeping bag rather than the hammock. I’d suggest on any cold night using a roll mat or extra sleeping bag to keep the cold off your back, however in the summer having a cooling breeze on your back can be pretty nice.

Overall I’d say the Jungle Hammock is a massive improvement on my previous one and I’d recommend it anyone wanting to travel lighter and stay comfortable. I’ll certainly be getting a lot more use out of it this year at Hunter Gather Cook . Happy Camping!