Now, I have been guilty of a never ending collection of bushcraft kit- a bag for this, a knife for that, more axes than I could ever use, and as for billy cans, why do I need so many pots and pans?
So I thought I would sit down with a brew and try to help others avoid the same pitfalls.
Now there is nothing wrong with buying bushcraft kit and equipment if you want, it’s nice to have new things but not as nice as having well loved solid “go to” items that you know work, so here are my top 10 items that I take with me on every trip;
Knife- a good knife is a must but a good knife does not mean an expensive knife. A Mora Knife will see you through every job you could want to do out on your trips to the wild. At around £12 it’s a no brainer, it’s simple and a joy to use. If you want to fork outmore money then you can find some very nice knives being hand made by some very talented makers out there. If you’re going to buy an expensive knife, I would suggest one with a full tang and a Scandi grind to ensure it lasts a life time.
Saw- a small folding saw makes life so much easier in the woods. Not only is it more efficient but it’s kinder on the tree if you’recutting green wood. I use a Baco Laplander, they are around £15 and I have never had a problem with mine. They come in woodland green and black so I tie some orange Paracord on to mine so it’s easier to find should I drop it or place it down on the ground.
First Aid Kit– where my knife goes so does my “ouch pouch!” Often over looked, this should be one of the first things you pack. Mine contains plasters, cleaning wipes, Compeed blister plasters and the like. There are some good ones of the shelf you can buy but it will be cheaper to make one that suits your needs. The most important thing is you have one with you.
Tarp’- I use a light weight DD 3×3, which packs down really small and fits in to my day sack. I always take it with me in case of heavy rain and can be put up in a couple of minutes. I attach about 4 m of Paracord to each corner and then shank it up so it’s tidy and out of the way. Top Tip- take a stuff sack so you can keep the rest of your kit dry if putting a wet tarp away into your kit bag.
DC4– my little sharpening stone is a must take item. It is perfect for touching up my knife’s edge whilst in the woods. I really have not found anything else that does the job as well.
Billy Can– I use a 12cm Zebra Billy Can, with this I can cook in it and eat out it of but most importantly I can boil water for my brew, I don’t do well with out tea!
Fire Steel– my main way to start fires when I am out and about, I have used lots of fire steels in the past and with out a doubt the best one I have ever come across, and still use today, is the Light My Fire Army version. I have found that it just works the best out of every one I have tried. This is one bit of bushcraft kit I just want to work, it’s that simple.
Whistle– I always pack a whistle, it’s a simple thing but I won’t head out on a trip without one. It’s a great way of gaining attention should I find myself in an emergency situation and need to get help. My bushcraft kit always has a spare tucked away.
Tinder– just because you can find tinder in the wild, does not mean you should use it every time you need to light a fire. The UK is a small place so I don’t like to use up natural resources unnecessarily so I always carry some pre sourced tinder. Be it cotton wool or Birch bark, or a bit of fat wood, it’s just sensible to have some dry “go to” tinder all ready when you need it.
Brew Kit– last and by no means least, TEA, SUGAR and COFFEE MATE. I need tea to survive. I am part Zombie without a good brew in the morning!
Like I said at the start, this is my top 10 “never leave for a trip without” list. You will able to add to this, but the most important thing is to enjoy the wild places you visit and learn and have fun. Right, kettle has boiled, so I am off!