When I craft a spear there is a part of me that can’t help but feel connected to the “inner caveman” that lurks somewhere deep in each of us. Knowing that this ancient weapon has kept humans alive on the earth for thousands of years gives me a unique respect for its place in our history. But the spear isn’t just a relic of the past. I believe it remains an important tool for the modern woodsman, but probably not for the reasons many would think.

In most scenarios a knife is the single most important tool you can have in a wilderness environment. In the hands of a skilled practitioner it yields shelter, water, fire, food and many other vital elements that keep you alive. Therefore, if you do something to break or damage your knife, it could be a mistake that costs your life. I say this as a word of caution because attaching your only knife to the end of a stick and then swinging it around aimlessly is a recipe for ruining it. It is not for hunting, and most definitely not for spear fishing because those activities will leave you with a blade that is shattered, cracked, dulled and essentially useless.

The technique I show you in the video above and in these step-by-step instructions should ONLY be thought of as a last resort, improvised defensive weapon for protection against big predators that can truly inflict harm. Even at that, I would argue that the greatest value it provides a psychological one.

Bedding down alone at night in the wilderness can be a nerve wrecking affair, particularly if you are in one of the less forgiving parts of the world. Having a spear at your side may be the one thing that gives you enough emotional comfort to fall asleep. And sleep in a survival situation has immeasurable value. Similarly, if you are in a group survival scenario, this technique can instill purpose in someone who does not have skills to begin with, even if you just give them a sharpened stick. It gives that person a focal point that will keep them sitting still and occupied while you pursue things that will actually keep the group alive.

Click here for step-by-step photo instructions.