28 November 2007

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Iceland Glaciers Episode?

In Season Two, Episode Two, we find Bear plunked down in the middle of a glacier somewhere in Iceland. It is like the French Alps, part two, but with more gore.

Highlights for us were when he dug out his own ice cave and when he experienced a full spa treatment as he gave himself a hot mud bath right after trying out for the Polar Bear club.

The low point for us was the fresh sheepsicle bit. In a pinch we suppose it is better than eating your own arm, or even your camera crew, but still, it wasn't pleasant viewing. In fact, it was much more stomach turning than watching him rend a dead zebra with his teeth. This dinner theater was made bearable only by the presence of the Gerber Gator Serrater. Good thing he had it on hand to strip the flesh from his frozen entré. That way we could enjoy watching him munch on an eyeball, complete with dribbling juices. Bear described it as being full of cold gloop as he tried to gag it down. Definitely not one of my daughter's favorite episodes.

More useful than a knife this episode were Bear's shoelaces which he used for a shish-kebab cooking line and a ptarmigen trap. Nobody ever asks us what brand he uses, though.

The Gerber Gator Serrater is available at Amazon.com

16 November 2007

What Knives Did Bear Use in Season One of Man Vs. Wild?

Season One:
01) Moab - Buck Iceman
02) Costa Rica - Titanium Pro Dive Knife
03) French Alps - Wenger Serrated Mountaineer Knife
04) Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano - Gerber Gator Serrater with Clip Point
05) Sierra Nevada Mountains in California - No knife
06) Northern Kenya - Gerber Gator Serrater with Clip Point
07) Alaska - Buck Iceman
08) Pacific Island - Titanium Pro Dive Knife
09) Rocky Mountains - No knife

What Knife is Bear Using in the Everglades Episode?

Here we are on the eve of the third season finally getting around to writing up the second season. We can't say that makes us fashionably late, but we can say we've still done our homework. We saw some old favorites come back for a return bow and we saw some new knives make the spotlight for the first time. Such was the case with the Everglades episode - the first show of the second season.

Florida is a delightful state. We were there during July 4th in 1988. It was sweltering hot and muggy all day, then as the sun set the sky ruptured with rain. Every. Stinking. Day. Oh, the fun! Bear missed out on the rain, but then he was waist deep in swamp for most of the episode. We think we fared better than he did. We could wait out the rain in the comfort of our tent. Bear didn't have that luxury. With nary a motel nearby, Bear had to slog through the swamp water, build shelters in trees, and worry about alligators at every turn. For those viewers who believe that Bear was somehow making all this alligator anxiety up, we'd like to point you to a nice little story where a criminal fleeing from the law had his head chomped on by the local fauna.

"Some gators have a nasty disposition and [this] was a nasty gator. He seemed to have no fear of people which indicates that he was fed," said a local man who raises alligators for a living. He didn't say what the alligator was fed on, however, but we wonder if perhaps he meant people? At any rate, Bear had these delightful critters on his mind, especially when he practically walked across them from time to time.

Highlights of the episode for us were when Bear used his shoelaces for traction when climbing the tree in order to get his lay of the land. It was a wonderful tip. We'll have to try that up a street lamp next time we are downtown Salt Lake City looking for a parking space. The other highlight of the episode was the beautiful Buck Zipper he used when chopping down saplings, guarding against alligators, peeling grapefruit, and gutting turtles. It's a handy little darling with a gut hook and a rubberized grip. That grip provides a secure hold when the knife is wet which happened to Bear's knife a lot in this episode what with him being in a swamp and all. We think it's woodgrain handled brother is prettier to look at, but as usual Bear opts for the more practical and utilitarian version of the knives he trusts his life with.

It was a great episode and we recommend it for viewing for anybody planning on a trip to Disneyworld. You never know.

The Buck Zipper is available at Amazon.com

04 November 2007

Man vs. Wild Season One DVD Rereleased and Repackaged

The Man vs. Wild Season One DVD is back and better than before. Now it's a 4 disk set with new package art and set for a December 10th release. The Amazon site hasn't been updated yet, but we'll be sure to let you know when it is.

Will the double-sized DVD set feature the expanded episodes featuring crew footage? It seems a reasonable guess.

17 September 2007

Man vs. Wild Season One DVD Release Date Removed

A quick look at Amazon.com's page for Man vs. Wild Season One DVD boxed set
showed that the September release date has been removed. We were wondering if the first season would be retooled in light of the controversy over the summer. Looks like this will be the case, though we cannot verify that is the exact reason for the release delay. We'll post more information once it becomes available.

13 August 2007

Bear's Blog Updated with Support from Peers

Photo by mtsrs
(cc) mtsrs

If you read Bear's Blog: Sahara Filming Update when we first linked to it you may want to visit it again. Bear's updated the entry to include supportive letters from other summiteers and explorers like this one from Sir Ranulph Fiennes:

Dear Sir/Madam

The Daily Mail's attack on Bear Grylls mentions that he is 'the cheese soufflé' of the adventure world and, by way of pushing this assertion, suggests that he may not have been the youngest Brit to scale Everest, and implies that the T.A's/21 SAS Regiment is not as tough as the Regular 22 SAS Regiment. I would comment that he was indeed the youngest Brit because the only possible rival claimant was clearly Australian. And that 21 SAS membership requires distinctly non-cheese soufflé people. Its comparison to 22 SAS is therefore irrelevant and cheap, suggestive journalism of a misleading nature.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes
('World's greatest living explorer' Guinness book of Records)

It's nice to see Bear getting support from his peers. We like to kid him because of the show's sometimes outlandish and extreme nature, but then that's what we love about the show! All those crazy stunts, dangerous climbs, and revolting food choices make us come back again and again. We may feel that certain elements of the show were staged for filming purposes, but not the way the press has portrayed it. Mark Wienert is a stand-up guy and we tend to believe he was misquoted and had his statements taken out of context. The Daily Mail's piece was particularly nasty and smacked of gleeful nancy boys eagerly pushing for the downfall of a man that makes them feel inadequate.

More power to you, Bear. We'll be tuning in for Season Three.

Preorder the First Season of Man vs. Wild now

04 August 2007

Bear Grylls Confesses! Sorta!!

Photo by mtsrs
(cc) mtsrs

Now that Bear Grylls is back from his Sahara shoot he has taken some time to kick back, enjoy friends and family, and catch darts thrown at his face by the media. Figuratively speaking, of course. They'd never throw REAL darts. They just like to perforate people's lives from a safe and virtual distance. In this case, Bear grabbed the accusations and wrestled them down to the ground like he would an Alaskan Brown. Except he avoids those. Right. Well, he avoided the accusations, too.

Basically, Bear stated on his blog yesterday that the reports of his roughing it in motels and staging his stunts were not telling the full story, which means that there was some truth to it but probably not as bad as the media depicted. Oh, and the producers handed him the answers before he went on the air. No, we kid.

The most important bit of the blog entry was this:

The upshot is we’re determined to make all new shows more inclusive of the crew and their role. Discovery and Channel 4 will also include a disclaimer at the start of the show so there's no confusion.

Personally, we see this as a good thing. We're looking forward to seeing more of the crew. Those guys are out there roughing it along with Bear even if they DO eat Mars bars and sleep in motels more often than he does. We've already grown accustomed in the second season to the pitter patter of their little feet as they run up to Bear at the beginning of each episode. Why not show more of them? They could be stars, too.

Preorder the First Season of Man vs. Wild now

29 July 2007

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Rocky Mountains Episode?

In the ninth and last episode of the first season, Bear took on the Rockies somewhere near the Canadian border with just his clothes, backpack, and wits. He had no knife at his disposal. However, that's not to say he didn't get himself equipped with a sharp pointy thing in a hurry. He just clubbed two rocks together and made a knife out of a chipped fragment. He called it a "disk knife". We couldn't find out too much information on that name, but the rock was sharp enough to help make kindling and cut off a snake head. Not too shabby. You can probably find a "disk knife" of your own anywhere that Fred and Barney do their survival shopping.

Aside from being resourceful, Bear displayed his fear of bears again in this episode. Something went bump in the night outside his makeshift, enclosed lean-to and had him running down a mountainside in the middle of the night and even inspired him to leap off a cliff into unknown waters below. Personally, we would have found another way down, but you can't deny that Bear seemed genuinely relieved when he reached the other side of the river with the bear behind him. Was it all for show, or was he sincerely spooked? We don't know, but it made for great TV.

Our favorite part of the episode was the section dealing with cattails. With all the things we did with those things as kids, we're sure our mothers are glad we never thought to start fires with them, make arrows with them, or eat them.

This was a good, personal show with lots of confession time in front of the camera as well as sound tips on how to survive in the Rockies. Try to catch it if you can.

28 July 2007

Former Guide Sinks Bear's Raft

The idyllic Pines Resort of California. Possible Grylls lodge?

According to survival guide Mark Wienert, Bear Grylls has not been roughing it in the woods the way he is depicted on the telly. That's what the Sunday Times reported last weekend. Bear, instead, has spent cosy nights snuggled in nearby motels and resorts, enjoying the harsh rigors of cable TV and high speed internet. In fact, this guide claims that he and his team built Bear's raft in the Pacific Island episode to make sure it worked properly before disassembling it so Bear could reassemble it for the camera.

Does this means that the show is fake, Bear is a poser, and perhaps Mark Wienert should be given the gig? We're not sure. Is there anybody out there that actually believed the show WASN'T staged in the first place? C'mon, people. The camera always seems to be in the right place at the right time, ahead of Bear, AS IF planned. Maybe because it was all planned. We still laugh ourselves silly watching Bear take that "jump" from the cliff face in the Moab episode. Oooh, he leaped a bone-tingling four feet? This is TV, for crying out loud. Of course it's staged and fake. Did you honestly think that Bear knew all about local fauna, edible or otherwise, from every corner of the globe? He's obviously coached, educated, and guided through the difficult terrain. Consultants are even listed in the closing credits. Consultants like Mark Wienert.

If the allegations are true and this is not all just sour grapes, does this mean that Bear used sleight of hand when pretending to eat bugs, that the zebra carcass was a Hollywood prop with fresh deli meat sewed into fur fabric, and that the salmon sushi was carefully prepared by a Japanese chef waiting in the wings? Probably not. As for the wild horses in the Sierra episode actually being from a local ranch, Bear suggests as much in that episode. Survivalist fans of the series were discussing this very point seven months ago.

We say wait for Bear's side of the story before making hasty judgements. We have no idea what Mark Wienert's angle is, or whether what he says is true or not. We think it is pretty suspicious that this story broke mere weeks before the Man vs. Wild DVD set is about to be released. We'll post the truth here, both good and bad, when it's known. In the meantime, we just know what we've always known. Man vs. Wild is an entertaining TV show that keeps us coming back for more. Oh, and Bear uses really cool knives.

Unless those are fake, too...

Update: You can read more about this here and here

Update II (29 July 2007): The more we look into this story, the more we are convinced something is not being reported correctly. Mark Wienert and his wife, Celeste, run a fantastic website called Lifesong Adventures. We didn't realize that the Mark from this fact-filled thread was actually Mark Wienert. We're embarrassed that we ever suggested foul play. Mark has never had anything negative to say about Bear. He has even been asked if Bear was cheating before and defended Bear and his television production. Frankly, we're scratching our heads. Our guess is that Mark's words have been taken out of context. We'll post a follow-up as soon as we know more.

Update III (29 July 2007): The only statement we can find by Mark is here. He basically validates what we thought might have happened, which is that his statements were taken out of context and distorted. He even links to another web discussion that doesn't necessarily paint him in a good light at first, but that supports him overall as a good guy who's always been upfront about Bear and the show.

Update IV (7 August 2007): Corrected the spelling of Mark Wienert. Mr. Wienert has commented on this blog posting in the comments section. He verifies that his words were taken out of context, that he considers Bear a friend, and that there was never any cover up. This contradicts the original article quite starkly and reveals the original journalist was most likely writing a smear piece.

Update V (6 May 2009): Updated the links to Mark's website as best as we could. The post we referred to in Update III seems to have been deleted or edited. We are reposting Mark's own comment here to preserve it.

Personally, I can attest that newspaper hacks twist words to fit whatever angle they are shooting for. I was interviewed last year and the results were not kind.

We would like to thank Mark for his candid contribution to this blog. By now the controversy has passed over and Bear has gone on to produce several more seasons of wonderful survival entertainment:

Mark Wienert:
I have to say I’m pissed!

All this manure regarding Bear Grylls integrity is really pissing me off!
These words - fake, fraud, ect, should be be directed at these sleazy tabloid critics and blowhards. (You know who you are.) Sure I was blind sided, these idiots will stop at nothing for a frigging front page story. I’m sure the guy was druelling all over his pants when he found what he considers dirt.

I’m disgusted!

I consider Bear my good friend as well as the production company and all the folks involved in the show. There was never any cover up, we all worked our butts off to produce the very best show we could do. Get a grip and stop feeding this crap and enjoy the show. Please send Bear and Discovery you’re support for the show. They have worked hard and risked their lives to bring this show into your households. Post your support here as well.

Notice how I spell my name -

18 July 2007

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Pacific Island Episode?

It's Season One, Episode Eight, and somewhere in the Pacific Ocean Bear is set adrift and makes his way to an uninhabited island two miles away. Good thing he brought along his Titanium Pro Dive Knife. He used it to hammer his way through deadwood to build a signal fire, and it was great at making a multi point spear for fishing even though he wasn't so great at fishing. In fact, we wonder if the local fishing commission wouldn't mind if we dropped large amounts of tuba plant into the lake when we go fishing next time just like Bear did in that tidal pool. All we'd need is a net to scoop up our haul!

What really impressed us was when Bear chopped through bamboo trunks to build a raft, then still could filet fish with his Titanium Pro Dive Knife later. We called it a "Made in China" cheapie before, but that's one hardy knife. We could do worse than have it with us if marooned on an island. We think Bear made a good choice bringing that knife along.

17 July 2007

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Alaska Episode?

In Season One, Episode Seven, Bear's old friend, the Buck Iceman, makes a return visit to help him hack down saplings for a makeshift lean-to. You can recognize the Buck Iceman by it's Black Oxide finish, partial serrated edge, clip point blade, handle shape, and characteristic rounded guard. This knife is so tough Bear could pound on it with a rock to cut through small trees to make a spear. Let's see you do that with a pen knife!

This was a cold and gruelling episode for Bear, and he used his wits cleverly, but our favorite part was learning that Bear is scared of bears. Is this the same guy who stood near a pride of lions in Northern Kenya and excitedly described how quickly they could kill a man? Watching Bear make his way through the forest shouting "Yo Bear!" reminded us of that part in The Parent Trap where Vickie banged sticks together to scare off mountain lions. It actually brought a smile to our faces. But then again, considering what happened to that 11 year old boy last month in Utah, maybe Bear has the right idea.

The Buck Iceman is available at Amazon.com

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Northern Kenya Episode?

In Season One, Episode Six, we see the return of the Gerber Gator Serrater with clip point as Bear takes on Northern Kenya. Perfect for hacking flesh from fresh lion kill. No berry picking for our man, Bear. It's "awesome" steak in the wild as he rips into a dead Zebra with his teeth. Can you believe this guy?

Bear gets a lot of heat for taking risky chances, but admit it. If he just set up a smoke signal and waited for help you'd be flipping channels faster than Bear scree runs down a crater.

The Gerber Gator Serrater is available at Amazon.com

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Sierra Nevada Episode?

Weren't you paying attention? Bear didn't have a knife in this episode. When Bear was dropped off in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Canada, he used hands, vines, boots, and Indian throwing sticks to survive. He even skinned a rabbit with his bare hands. The guy is hard core.

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Hawaii Episode?

In Season One, Episode Four, Bear was dropped off in the middle of an old volcanic flow at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano. Everything about this landscape was hostile from it's surface to its atmosphere, but Bear took it all in stride as usual. When he finally made his way to the forest, his Gerber Gator Serrater came in handy. This knife has a combo edge with clip point, but was almost as hard to identify as the Buck Iceman. We eventually noticed the faintest smudge of a logo near the guard and the identity was nailed.

The Gerber Gator Serrater is not really a fancy blade, but we can see why Bear likes to use it. Nimble enough to pull out in a tree top for avacado picking, it can also be used to slash through the lush Hawaiian jungles and hack down saplings (Bear's favorite survival activity).

The only difference between the Gerber Gator Serrater you can buy today and the one Bear is holding are the rivets in the handle. Bear's knife must be an older model because Buck uses a different rivet now.

The Gerber Gator Serrater is available at Amazon.com

16 July 2007

What Knife Is Bear Using in the French Alps Episode?

You remember that scene in Crocodile Dundee when the mugger pulls a knife on ole Croc and Croc says "That's not a knife"? Then he pulls out his very large bowie to prove his point? Well, we felt like the muggers when Bear started flashing his Wenger Serrated Mountaineer Knife in the French Alps. Suddenly our Swiss Army knife felt piddly. We used to be so proud of it's built in saw and two knives. Now we have knife envy.

The Wenger Serrated Mountaineer Knife is everything our wittle pocket knife tries to be, but twice as long and four times as cool. This folding knife is 4.75" closed, with a 4.2" saw and 3.9" serrated blade. No wonder Bear made short work of the Alps. If we had been stranded on the French Alps with just our pocket knife, we'd still be up there trying to build a snowshoe. Given time, Bear probably could have built a motorized taboggan with the Wenger.

The Wenger Serrated Mountaineer Knife is available at Amazon.com

"Man vs. Wild" Season Three Begins Filming

According to Bear's blog, Season Three of Man vs. Wild/Born Survivor is already underway. Bear takes on the Sahara Desert this time and he'll be up to his neck in danger. We can't wait.

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Costa Rica Episode?

In Season One, Episode Two, Bear takes on the jungles of Costa Rica where he shows us first hand why we need to boil water before we drink it.

When he's not tossing his cookies off camera, Bear is wacking his way through the underbrush with his Titanium Pro Dive Knife. Some people claim it is a ScubaMax KN-200, others a ScubaMax KN-80, and still others insist Bear's knife is an Eagle Z-1 Little Mo. They're all right and they're all wrong.

It turns out that Bear is using inexpensive knives to more closely reproduce survival conditions for regular tourists, not survival nuts like himself. The Titanium Pro Dive Knife is just a "Made in China" special that has been rebranded by multiple sellers and available at any scuba shop. The funny thing about this knife is how many sellers claim they developed it. Go figure.

It's a hearty little thing with a double edged blade, 3/4 of which is serrated, plus a line cutter and clip point. Bear even beats on it with a log to chop down saplings.

Bear must have an older model because we couldn't find any models for sale with an all black handle. If you find one let us know.