Coghlan’s Magnesium Fire Starter

Although the ubiquitous Magnesium Fire Starter has its share of drawbacks, for the price and convenience of having both a firesteel and reliable supply of tinder in a single “waterproof” package, you really can’t complain.

The idea that the magnesium doesn’t ignite in its block form, but only when shaved into fine pieces is absolutely brilliant (the magnesium shavings provide a flame source of 2,982°C). Having a readily available source of dry tinder in a survival situation can be a lifesaver. The entire device is unaffected by water and/or moisture, making it even more valuable when you need to start a fire in wet conditions.

The advantage this type of device has over traditional standalone firesteels is that it has a source of tinder attached to it. However, the drawback is that the firesteel rod on these blocks don’t stick out very far – it’s like having only a 1/4 of the rod available to you – the rest of it is buried inside the block itself. The other irritant of this otherwise fantastic device is the necessity of a sharp blade or some type of robust scraper to shave the magnesium block (the block of magnesium is quite hard). Scraping magnesium shavings off the main block can be time consuming and frustrating if you don’t have the right technique.

Cost: Around CDN $7

Mora of Sweden x Light My Fire

A recent collaboration between two well known brands in the fields of bushcraft and survival has produced a knife that will appeal to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts.

Mora of Sweden have been producing low cost, high quality knives which can be found in the hands of most bushcraft practitioners. When a brand is praised by Canadian bushcraft legend Mors Kochanski, you know it’s worth checking out.

Next up we have Light My Fire, another Swedish company whose products can be found in the kits of many survivalists, most notably their famous firesteels.

In a survival situation, having a knife and a means to make fire is essential. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to carry both items at the same time, you’re in luck!

Mora of Sweden and Light My Fire have teamed up to create the Swedish FireKnife™.

The Swedish FireKnife™ comes in a variety of bright colours (see the “Colour of Survival“) from which to choose and has an integrated firesteel that twists and snaps into the handle.

The Mora blade has a Scandinavian grind (excellent for bushcraft) with a “scalloped” portion along the top 1/4 of the knife.

The steel is Mora’s famous 12c27 Sandvik Stainless Steel. This steel is tried and tested and is an excellent stock for general purpose outdoor use – very comparable to Mora’s High Carbon blades.

The edges of the knife’s spine have been purposely kept “sharp” so it can be used as the firesteel striker.

The sheath is simple and functional – nothing fancy here. There is a small hole at the tip of the sheath for water drainage.

A gimmick? Perhaps.

Functional? Yes.

Good value? Absolutely.

Cost: Around CDN $30 

Arctic Survival Instructor

Shawn – Senior Arctic Survival Instructor for Maple Leaf Survival

Survival Background & Experience

An Arctic Lifestyles course taught through the university was the catalyst for Shawn to become an aficionado and expert of Arctic Survival training.  Shawn attended the course in the winter of 1998 where he was first introduced and given the opportunity to discover the incredible world of the Inuit. The course introduced him to the world of ice, the midnight sun, and the beautiful culture of these storied people.  Throughout his academic studies he continued to dive further into Canada’s aboriginal cultures with specific interests in hunting techniques, tools, and traditional lifestyles.


After living in the arctic, immersing himself in the Inuit culture, and absorbing the breathtaking landscape unique to this part of the world, Shawn has gained invaluable first hand personal experience from these masters of survival.  Living alongside the Inuit of Canada’s arctic regions, he learned from a culture that has managed to thrive and flourish in a beautiful yet harsh environment since time immemorial. Hunting, gathering, and living the “Inuit way” was profound and insightful. As such, it is reflected in his approach towards arctic survival.

An expert at building Igloos and Quinzhees, Shawn is also an avid hunter and wilderness enthusiast with extensive knowledge of aboriginal hunting techniques, lifestyles and cultures.

Shawn has since been the Senior Arctic Survival Instructor for courses offered through the departments of Zoology, Environment and Geography, and Native Studies.  These courses have been attended by all levels of post-secondary students and faculty members, emergency rescue personnel, pilots, medical professionals, military personnel and wilderness survival enthusiasts.  The courses have been designed to provide participants with the knowledge of not only how to survive, but thrive in Canada’s coldest environments with an emphasis on aboriginal techniques – specifically those of the Inuit and northern sub-arctic peoples.

To experience the iconic cold of Canada’s north, consider taking part in the winter courses offered by Shawn and Maple Leaf Survival.



go·ruck [verb go + verb ruck] noun ruck is short for rucksack (aka backpack), it’s also a verb: to ruck is to move with a rucksack, and implies action, energy, and purpose.

Special Forces sent me to cities, mountains, jungles, and deserts, by day and night, in every condition imaginable throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. I surrounded myself with the best, a standard I grew to expect, and I trusted my teammates, my instincts, and my equipment. We never knew what we might find, so we always came prepared for anything. Throughout it all we worked hard and played hard, sometimes in that order, and I learned an honest way of life that will always be my core, and the core of GORUCK.

GORUCK introduces military-grade gear tough enough for Special Forces to adventure seekers worldwide. All GORUCK gear is built in the USA and adheres to the highest standards of functionality, durability and style.

GORUCK gear comes with our Scars Lifetime Guarantee, so play hard.

Wherever you’re going, whatever you’re doing, go ready, GORUCK.

– Jason McCarthy, Founder of GORUCK

You get what you pay for…and when you pay for a GORUCK pack, you’re getting the best. I’ve used a ton of day packs and non of them cost nearly as much (especially for this size of pack), but non of them are quite this good.
I have been using the GORUCK RR (Radio Ruck) pack for around a year now as my EDC (Every Day Carry) bag and it’s absolutely fantastic. The GORUCK RR has more than enough space for your everyday stuff without being too large.
The simplicity of the design defines the functionality of all the GORUCK products, and the design is everything you need, and nothing you don’t. No unnecessary clips or straps found here. You may think that the lack of chest, waist, and compression straps seem odd (since virtually every outdoor pack worth its weight has them), but how often do you really use them? During high activity perhaps, but mostly they just flap around and get caught up on things. On the GORUCK, you won’t miss them. Having said that, the GORUCK stays close to you and is extremely comfortable. Everything about this bag has been very well thought out, and as a result it flows very well.

The entire front of the pack folds open flat (like a suitcase) making packing a pleasure and a breeze, as opposed to most “top loading” packs on the market where the zipper stops around 3/4 from the bottom. Isn’t this an inherently weaker design? Not if it’s a GORUCK!



The GORUCK is a specialty product – one that is steeped in craftsmanship and a relentless pursuit for quality. If you find yourself buying a new daypack every other year because of durability issues, design etc… consider making a long term investment in quality and functionality and buy a GORUCK.


At first glance, it may appear that the GORUCK line of bags lack organization in their design. In fact, the simplicity is a refreshing change and prevents over packing. It seems if a person is given a reason to fill a space, they’ll fill it. Stitch in 4 pen holders, and you’ll fill every single one of them – won’t you! And if you don’t (after all, when do you need to have 4 different writing instruments on you?), isn’t it a waste? The GORUCK is minimalism without sacrificing an ounce of functionality.

“Less is more, and more is lazy.”

– Jason McCarthy, Founder of GORUCK

From the GORUCK website:


Medium Ruck
Volume 24 liters

Radio Ruck takes inspiration from the size of the primary radio used by Special Forces – hence its name. Radio Ruck is a versatile daypack that can accommodate whatever adventure the day brings.

Tip: Use Radio Ruck daily to compartmentalize a change of clothes in the main compartment from a computer and files in the laptop compartment.

  • Built in the USA of military-grade, highly water resistant materials
  • Two compartments: one main, one laptop/hydration next to wearer’s back
  • Main compartment opens flat, internal pocket layout allows for optimal organization
  • 16″ tall compartment next to the wearer’s back extra reinforced to securely take a laptop or hydration bladder into combat
  • High stress points are strength tested at over 400 lbs
  • External slant pocket provides quick access to keys, snacks, and other small items
  • 2”x3” Velcro on front allows you to customize Radio Ruck with the patch of your choice (patch is not included)
  • Scars Lifetime Guarantee

Style: Black
Primary Material: 1000D Cordura
Zippers: YKK with silent 550 cord zipper pulls
Bottom panel: 1050D Ballistic Cordura
Size: 12”W x 18”H x 6.5”D
Laptop: Protects up to a 15″ MacBook Pro
Hydration: Sized to hold a 2L hydration bladder (not included)
Frame sheet: No
Volume: 24 liters
Weight: 2.40 lbs (1.08 kg)

Note: By military-spec submersion tests, waterproof means you could repeatedly submerge something and its contents would stay entirely dry. Our rucks are highly water resistant but not technically waterproof. 1000D Cordura protects internal contents from rain – this and its strength to weight ratio are why 1000D Cordura is the preferred material for Special Forces rucksacks.

If you are interested in what makes the Goruck RR so good, be sure to check out Radio Ruck Explained for the full story.
Price: US $265


Outdoor Research BackStop Gloves™

The Backstop Gloves™ by Outdoor Research are a technical liner designed for high-energy activities offering wind protection (WINDSTOPPER® lining on the back of the hand) and breathability (on the palm).

Lightweight and simple, these gloves are great for chilly (nothing more) days when you want to keep your hands warm. A handy snap-clip keeps the gloves together when not in use.

  • If soaked, they do take a while to dry out.
  • The “grippy sticky” tracks aren’t terribly durable
  • Not good around fire, sparks, flames…




Comfort Range:

25 to 40° F / -4 to 4°C

From the Outdoor Research website:

The BackStop Gloves™ are the ultimate high-energy liners, strategically designed to provide maximum wind protection as well as high breathability. With a WINDSTOPPER® lining across the back of the hand, you’ll be protected from stormy gusts when gripping poles or on a winter trail run. But with highly breathable Radiant Fleece™ construction on the palm, heat and moisture will quickly escape, leaving your hands protected, dry and comfortable.

Avg. Weight (oz./g): 2.2 / 62 L

  • WINDSTOPPER® lining covers back of hand from cuff to fingertips and back of thumb
  • Soft, wicking interior pulls moisture from skin
  • Silicone prints on palm, and fingers provide solid grip Fabric: Radiant Fleece™: 95% polyester, 5% spandex / 100% polyester WINDSTOPPER® Technical Fleece

Cost: Around CDN $40