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.

What Knife Is Bear Using in the Moab Episode?

In Season One, Episode One, Bear takes on the arid Utah landscape in a trip to scenic Moab. Good thing he brought along a Buck Iceman. It helped him make a straw, scramble eggs, and cut up a shirt so he could pee on it before wrapping it around his head. We're not sure we could do that last bit, but we've recently spent time in Capitol Reef National Park - a bit north of Moab. The heat was scorching. Keeping hydrated and cool was a real problem, so if we were desperate enough, and NOT a short car ride away from our air conditioned hotel, we might have considered it.

Nah, probably not.

As for the Buck Iceman, it's a folder so it closes up to 5" which fits nicely in your pocket. Perfect to bring along on a hike. We wish we had known about it before we went down south. It would have come in handy.

The Buck Iceman is available at Amazon.com