The ability to light a fire by friction is one of the fundamental skills of bushcraft. It is a skill which our ancestors perfected over millennia, before, sadly, losing these skills in the face of industrialization. Mastering this skill though can give you a huge degree of freedom. Once you are truly comfortable with bushcraft, you will be able to go into the woods with nothing other than what you are wearing, and live comfortably. As we like to say here at Wildway Bushcraft, it’s about more than ‘just survival’.

Read on to learn more about the origins of friction fire-lighting, what you can learn on our weekend bushcraft course, how to perfect your technique, and how we can help you.

 

 

Origins of friction fire-lighting

Learn friction fire lighting on our course

Friction fire-lighting is a skill that has been around as long as humans. There is even evidence of fire being used by Homo Erectus around one million years ago. The fact that our ancestors were able to light fires and, importantly, replicate this technique whenever they were called upon to do so, ensured the survival of our species. There is a range of academic theories that believe fire lighting began with exploiting natural fires, such as lightning strikes. This then evolved into our ability to transport embers, then, eventually master the art of friction fire lighting.  

 

Friction fire-lighting on our weekend course

Friction fire lighting UK

Our weekend bushcraft course, held in beautiful woodland on the Dorset/Hampshire border, introduces you to the basics of friction fire-lighting. If you already have a degree of knowledge around friction fire-lighting, then our instructors are willing to work with you to help you to develop your skills further.  

 

Introduction to bow-drill

Bow drill ember

 

 

On our Weekend Bushcraft Course, we will introduce you to the basics of bow-drill techniques. Having shown you how to use a knife in a way that enables you to make the cuts needed to construct a bow-drill. From there, we will show you how you can use your bow-drill to hopefully get an ember.  If you’ve never heard of a bow-drill before, have a look at our blog on perfecting your bow drill technique.

 

Develop your technique further

Our courses are very flexible. As we’ve said, if you have a basic level of understanding, then we are willing to work with you to help you to get the most out of our sessions.  If you would like a specialist fire lighting session then book on to our one day friction fire lighting course.

 

Let us help you!

friction fire lighting from Wildway bushcraft
Have a go at making your own bow drill and practice your technique at home. Upload photos to our Facebook group here and let us know how well you are getting on with your bow drill. We will try our best to help you from a distance!

Shelter Building Basics – What You Need to Know

 

Shelter building is one of the fundamentals of bushcraft. It is often more important for you to find shelter than it is to find food or water. Remember the rule of threes; three hours without shelter, three days without water and three weeks without food. This is obviously an extreme time scale, but it does show the importance of shelter building skills in bushcraft.

 

Basics of shelter building 

Read on to learn more about the basics of shelter building. For the sake of this blog, we are going to assume that you are in the woods with good tools and all the kit you should have.  Find out more about our guide to choosing a bushcraft axe here.

 

Basics of shelter building

 

 

What does your shelter need to do?

The first thing to consider when thinking about building your shelter is to ask, ‘what does it need to do?’. Think about the weather, how long you are likely to be staying in the area, how many people does it need to protect and how long do you have to build it? Asking yourself questions such as these before you start will save you time in the long run. 

 

 

Shelter building with wildway

 

Location of your shelter 

One of the most important considerations, once you’ve determined the purpose of your shelter, is the location. Long term shelters will need to be closer to a source of water than those that are just being used for a night or two. Your shelter also needs to be in close proximity to the materials that you will need to use to build it. Think about it this way, do you really want to be walking to and from to get water and materials or should you not just bring the shelter to the source. 

chose a location for your sehlter

Time and energy

The amount of daylight remaining and the amount of energy that you have left will also determine the type of shelter you should build. Late in the day and after a long walk you will want to build the simplist shelter possible. You can always work on it the next day if you are staying there for a while. 

 

Shelter building from Wildway Bushcraft

Natural aids 

Having chosen the location of your shelter and decided on what type of shelter you are going to build, have a look around at what natural features there are that could help you. Look for fallen tree branches that could make the basis of a lean-to, are there any caves in the vicinity that could shelter you? Natural features such as these can save you loads of time and make your shelter incredibly stable.  

How to learn shelter building basics 

The best way to learn shelter building is to join a course with an experienced bushcraft instructor. Our Weekend Bushcraft Course is accredited by the IOL and covers all the basics of bushcraft, including shelter building. During the course, we will teach you how to build a shelter in the woods and then give you the option of sleeping in it. If you would rather sleep in a tent or under a tarp then you are welcome to! 

Learn shelter building with Wildway Bushcraft

On the 8th -14th of July 2019 we will be running a truly once-in-a-lifetime trip, canoeing along the river Spey. This incredible trip will begin on Loch Insh and continue all the way down, through the beautiful Scottish countryside until we reach Spey Bay. Read on to learn more about this amazing trip and how you can sign up for more information.

 

Canoeing on the Spey

Gentle paddling

What to expect

Our river Spey canoe expedition starts at the beautiful Loch Insh in the Highlands region of Scotland. Situated seven miles south of Aviemore, in the heart of Badenoch and Strathspey. From there, we wind our way down the river Spey, camping under the stars along the river each night, until we reach Spey Bay.
As we canoe down the river Spey you will have a chance to pick up some bushcraft skills as we camp each evening. Alternatively, you can just relax and revel in the beautiful surrounding scenery.

Watch the video below for a glimpse of what to expect on your river Spey trip.

WATCH: a film of our Spey canoe expedition. This film shows the highlights of 2018's week-long canoeing expedition along the Spey. Click the link below to learn more about 2019's trip and to book your space: https://www.wildwaybushcraft.co.uk/product/river-spey-bushcraft-canoe-expedition/

Posted by Wildway Bushcraft on Monday, 16 July 2018

 

About the Spey

The river Spey is the ninth longest river in the UK and one of the fastest flowing in Scotland. Famous for its salmon fishing and use in whisky production, the Spey flows for 107 miles (172 km) from Loch Spey to Spey Bay.

 

Experience required

While you don’t need to be an expert paddler to join our river Spey trip we do ask that you have a reasonable level of fitness and are able to swim. All under 18s do need to be accompanied by an adult.

Chance to practice

You will have a chance to get up to speed and practice paddling on the loch before our adventure begins. While some previous canoeing experience would be of value it is not absolutely necessary. Throughout the trip, our expert and highly trained course leaders will be on hand to provide you with canoe tuition, no matter what your level of skill.

 

Wildlife you might see 

Wildlife Scotland Spey

 

The beautiful river Spey is home to a wide variety of fantastic wildlife. While we can’t guarantee that you will see everything that there is to see – after all, nature is unpredictable – hopefully you will spot something.  In the summer Bottlenose Dolphins are regularly spotted in Spey bay; Atlantic Salmon swim throughout the length of the river, otters and seals dart from its banks and Ospreys soar overhead. Find out more information about the fantastic range of wildlife on the river Spey in our blog here

 

Equipment

 

Wildway Bushcraft river Spey

Throughout the trip, all safety and technical equipment will be provided by Wildway Bushcraft. If, however, you have your own buoyancy aid please do bring it with you. In addition to all the technical and safety equipment, we will also provide you with dry bags, these will help to keep your stuff dry throughout our trip. 

 

Camping equipment

Each night of the trip we will wild camp alongside the beautiful river. As such, you will need to bring your own camping equipment. We do have a comprehensive kit list which can be found here. If you have any questions about the kit required for this trip then don’t hesitate to email us on john@wildwaybushcraft.co.uk .

Sign up for more information 

If you would like to know more about our river Spey trip then fill in the form below. We won’t spam you, we hate it when companies do that, but we will keep you updated about this trip and send you relevant information.

Sign up for more information on our 2019 trip!

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We at Wildway Bushcraft are excited to announce the dates of our courses for 2019. It’s an exciting year ahead with highlights including our River Spey Canoe Trip, Women’s Only Bushcraft Course and our Intermediate Bushcraft Course to name but a few. Read on to find out more about our courses and click on the links below to book your space!  

Foundation in Bushcraft Skills and Wilderness Living Course Level 2 – Weekend Bushcraft Course. (IOL Accredited Course).

Course dates for 2019


8-10 February
8-10 March
12-14 April
24-26 May
7-9 June
26-28 July
9-11 August
13-15 September
18-20 October
22-24 November

One Day Bushcraft Course

Weekend bushcraft courses UK Dorset Hampshire

9 February
9 March
13 April
25 May
8 June
27 July
10 August
14 September
19 October

23 November

Spoon Carving Course

Sharpen your bushcraft axe

30 March
21 September

River Spey Canoe Expedition

Seawater into drinking water
Takes your breath away.

27 – 31 May

Women Only One Day Bushcraft Course

Friction fire course

16 March
17 August

Friction Fire Lighting Course

family bushcraft course

17 March
18 August

Intermediate Bushcraft Course

Clothing for winter camping

28 September – 2 October

It is nearly Christmas, the winter has well and truly arrived and the world seems to be hibernating. So, at this time of year, we thought that we would have a bit of fun by looking at the different types of snow shelter that, give enough snow, you could practice making. If you do get round to trying any of these out then it is a good idea to have someone close by – mostly to be impressed by your skills but also to dig you out if needs be. As always feel free to skip to the section that interests you the most by using the links below.

Quinzee  

Snow shelter

The Quinzee type of shelter is best used on flat areas of ground and can be built using soft snow.  It is essentially a mound of snow with the middle hollowed out and an entrance bug out. The easiest way to build a quinzee is to pile your gear, particularly if you are in a group, into the intended centre of your shelter and then pile snow over the top – this will then allow you to easily hollow out your shelter by removing your gear.  The pile of snow should be around 7-8 feet high (just over two metres) so that it forms a dome. The snow should then be left to harden for around 90 minutes after which an entrance can be dug out and the inside hollowed out. Be sure to bring a bothy bag or equivalent to keep warm in while you wait for the snow to harden.

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Snow grave


A snow grave is an easily constructed snow shelter, typically used in an emergency. Snow graves can be easily constructed using an ice axe and are best constructed on flat areas of ground. Simply in their construction, they simply involve digging out an area that is slightly wider and deeper than your body. After the hollow has been dug cut some slabs to put over the top of the grave to further shelter you from the elements. Make sure that everything, apart from your warm clothes and sleeping bag – obviously – are placed below you in order to further insulate your body from the ground.

 

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Igloo

snow shelters

Due to their association with Eskimos Igloos are, by many, considered the quintessential snow shelter. In order to construct an igloo, you need harden, packed snow which can be cut into slabs. The maximum dimensions for an igloo need to be less than around ten feet (3.4 metres) in diameter, anything bigger than this becomes almost impossible to construct in the field. Cut blocks of snow and arrange them in a circle formation which spirals upwards to the roof. Remember to pack the snow down on each block so that it is as hard as it can be.

 

Kit

Below we have listed a few pieces of kit that are essential for going out into the woods during winter or at any time of the year.

 

Further Reading

Here are some other blogs that might be of interest, use the arrows to navigate between them.

 

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Whether you head outside for your job, your hobby or simply to explore, you’re sure to have noticed how much better being outdoors can make you feel. Feeling the wind on your face, the sound of the rain or the warmth of the sun on your back, being outdoors makes you feel truly alive, but why?

Spending time in nature is good for your health

Multi-tasking modern lives

In our increasingly busy lives, with many of us being pulled between the demands of our work and home life, we can all be guilty of neglecting our physical and mental health. Multitasking, particularly with electrical devices, is one of the leading causes of stress in the western world. People who are constantly ‘connected’ and able to receive calls, emails, messages and social media updates have been found to have higher levels of physical and mental stress, so taking a break is essential. The longer the break from being so ‘connected’ the better the health benefits. So taking an ‘off-grid’ break to become connected with nature rather than wifi will do wonders for your health as well as allowing your body and mind to fully recharge.

Nature can lower blood pressure

Nature is good for your health


Why does time in nature actually make us feel so much better though? There is strong scientific evidence showing that time in nature helps to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, in our bodies. If your body is under constant stress for prolonged periods of time this can be damaging to your general health, your mental state and will limit your ability to lead a full and active life. A reduction in stress helps to reduce our blood pressure which reduces the pressure on all of your vital organs. It also helps to boost our mood as well as improving memory and concentration. Other studies have shown time in nature helps to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. These are significant findings being as at least half of us will suffer from these health challenges in our lifetime. 

Increased exercise

Discover why nature is good for you


Being outside makes us move more too, and movement is essential for good health. It doesn’t need to be a rigid exercise plan to get the physical benefits. Those of us who are active outside will have increased functional fitness and strength. This is because we will be more inclined to move in a way that nature intended rather than just making repetitive movements. Even walking outside on undulating ground where your body has to balance itself and engage the muscles needed for good posture and balance is far better than walking on level flooring inside. 

Spend time in natural light

Spending time in nature can be good for your health


Daily life can pull us into unhealthy habits without even realising. Many of us are guilty of spending too long staring at a screen during our daily life. This exposure to blue light from screens can have a detrimental effect on our sleep patterns, and let’s face it, a good night’s sleep is the backbone of good health. Not to worry though as this can be easily dealt with. Reducing screen time and increasing time in natural light will mean that your body’s natural sleep patterns are reprogrammed in no time. This will lead to a relaxed and natural sleep pattern which your body will thank you for. 

Enjoy the silence

Time in nature


Finally, and possibly my favourite reason for spending time outdoors is the noise, or lack of it. Every day life can be constantly noisy which adds to increasing stress levels. Time out in the quietness of nature will help to calm your mind, recharge and get the most out of life. What’s more, time in nature is found to be so beneficial that Drs in many countries are now prescribing time in nature, or forest bathing as it’s often called. So if you needed another reason to close your laptop and put your boots on, your health is probably the best excuse yet. So what are you waiting for, get out there and explore the great outdoors. Trust me, your body will thank you for it.

 

Five ways nature can improve your health

  • Nature can reduce the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, in our bodies.
  • Time in nature can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • We move more when we are outside, leading to improved fitness.
  • The natural light of the outdoors helps us to improve our sleep patterns.
  • Being outside reduces the noise, and therefore stress levels, in our lives.

Natural light is good for our health

After a hard day walking in winter conditions, there is nothing better than a hot brew. That’s why, in this blog, we will be looking at how to make the most of your stove in winter conditions. When we’re looking at winter conditions we are looking at those in places of the UK such as the Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor, and the South West in general. We will not be considering winter conditions in mountainous regions or Scotland where winter conditions can be equivalent to the Arctic. Read on to learn more about maximising your stove use in winter.

 

Key considerations 

Making the most of your stove in winter


This blog is simply an overview of the different types of stoves and their effectiveness in winter. It does not compare stove types nor the enormous number of variations which can impact on the stove’s effectiveness. These variations include things such as, the altitude that the stove is being used at, the type of windshield being used, the temperature of the fuel beforehand, the wind speed/direction and of course the experience of the person using it. 

 

Solid fuel stoves 

Solid fuel stoves use either fuel blocks, such as ‘hex’ blocks or alcohol gels. One of the main drawbacks with these types of stoves is that the fuel is not readily available in your local camping store, nor can you control the heat output of the stove. The fuel is unlikely to be affected by winter temperatures but is obviously prey to the conditions that affect all stoves in winter.

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Unpressurised liquid stoves

Unpressurised liquid stoves, such as the Trangia, typically run on a methanol, parrafin, or kerosene fuels. Typically these have a lower burning temperature than gas or multi-fuel stoves and, once again, the temperature can be hard to regulate. They can be impacted badly by cold weather although there are several things that you can do to improve their performance in winter. These include, insulating the stove from the ground, using more fuel to heat the stove first, keeping the fuel insulated and warm while carrying it and while at camp.

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Gas Stoves

Gas stoves light instantly, without the need for priming, and are largely maintenance free. The fuel for gas stoves is generally widely available and can typically be found in local hardware stores as well as camping shops. Their performance in winter is more to do with the fuel that is being used than the stove itself.  

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Butane/Propane

Pure butane is a poor fuel for use in stoves in winter as it stops vapourising (e.g. the gas will remain liquid) at around – 1 degrees celcius. Propane, on the other hand, can be used at temperatures down to – 42 degrees Celcius, making it an ideal choice. However, it is extremely difficult to manufacture pure propane canisters that are suitable for camping. This leaves us with a butane/propane mix, typically canisters of this type will use a 70/30 butane/propane mix.  Even using this mix, however, effectiveness can be reduced in cold weather as the stove empties.

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Pressurised liquid/multi-fuel stoves

Stoves of this type, such as the MSR Whisperlite, are excellent performers in all but the most extreme conditions.  These stoves can be used with both gas canisters and a liquid fuel known as ‘white gas’, a pure form of gasoline. These stoves, however, can be difficult to use for novices as they typically require priming and can be prone to flare-ups, making them less than ideal for using inside one’s tent.

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Fires

Cooking on a fire in winter


Provided that you are able to light a fire in winter (have a look at our blogs
here and here) then they can be a great source of heat, light and can be easy to cook on.  However, you do need to be mindful of the environment in which you are having a fire. Provided that you are not in a genuine survival situation where anything goes then you need to consider if you have permission, the environmental impact of having a fire and, of course, how you can have a fire without leaving any trace. 

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Kit 

Below we have listed a few pieces of kit that are essential for going out into the woods during winter or at any time of the year. 

 

Further Reading 

Here are some other blogs that might be of interest, use the arrows to navigate between them.

 

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In this week’s blog, we will be looking at clothing to keep you warm in winter. There are a huge number of manufacturers out there, each offering a vast, and often confusing, array of garments for winter. With this in mind we will not be looking at specific clothing brands, but rather at one tried and tested principle behind keeping warm in the winter. Read on to learn more of skip to the section that interests you the most.

 

 

What is the layering system? 

Clothing for winter camping


The layering system is nothing new. From the days of itchy vests and seal skin clothing explorers of colder climates and mountainous reaches have been piling clothes on top of each other in an effort to keep warm. There is, however, a lot more to it than just putting on all your jumpers and hoping for the best. 

 

How the layering system works

The layering system is, in essence, comprised of a base layer next to the skin, insulating mid-layer or layers and then a protective outer layer which should be waterproof, windproof etc. While the minimum amount of layers that you want to be wearing is three you can add more mid-layers depending upon the situation. While clothing choice is personal and each one of us will have our preferred brands the principle remains the same regardless of who makes the clothing.

 

Base layers 

Clothing winter camping


A base layer is simply a layer that will sit next to the skin and should be as close fitting as possible. The purpose of a base layer is to wick, or take, the sweat away from the skin. For this reason, it should not be made of cotton – cotton retains moisture and will hold the sweat close to the skin. Typically, base layers are made from Merino wool or synthetic materials, both of which have certain anti-bacterial properties which will prevent one from smelling too much when they return from the wilds.

While it might be tempting to go for thicker base layers in the depths of winter it is important to balance warmth with a risk of overheating. For this reason, it is best to experiment and find the right base layer for you. Read on to learn about mid layers. 

 

What to look for in a mid layer 

A mid layer, or mid layers are essential for keeping one warm when walking or camping in winter. The mid layer acts as the main source of insulation between the base layer and the outer layer. By trapping the heat from your body within your clothes the mid layer keeps you warm. Typical mid layers are made of fleece, which retains its properties when wet, and synthetic materials. Occasionally, in very cold winter conditions a down (or synthetic) jacket can also be worn. A wind and mid layer may help to keep you at an ambient temperature until the rain and the snow really begin coming in, at which point your outer layer can be added. 

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

What to look for in an outer layer

Clothes for winter camping

Your outer layer is the main source of protection against the elements. They need to be waterproof, windproof and ideally breathable, a combination of qualities that can be hard to come by.  Additionally, this outer layer should come with a hood, one that can be worn over a wooly hat, and provide protection from the elements for your head.  

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

Choosing your trousers 

When it comes to winter camping and walking then choosing your trousers is as important as choosing your top layer. Follow the same principles as those you use for choosing your top layers, pick a good pair of thermals for your base layer, soft yet hard wearing walking trousers for a mid layer and tough, breathable waterproof trousers for your outer layer. Also consider wearing gaiters in winter in order to keep the snow, and general muck, out of your boots and off your trousers.  

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

Headwear and gloves 

Headwear in winter can consist of a warm, wooly hat, or a balaclava in extreme conditions. In instances where there is likely to be a lot of snow, such as in the Scottish mountains, then you might also consider goggles. Gloves are also an essential consideration in winter. Remember to carry several pairs, should you lose one, and use a system of thin, warm gloves under thicker fleece gloves. Waterproof or water resistant gloves should be carried or waterproof mitts can be worn over a pair of warm fleece gloves.

 

Kit 

Below we have listed a few pieces of kit that are essential for going out into the woods during winter or at any time of the year.

Further Reading

Here are some other blogs that might be of interest, use the arrows to navigate between them.

 

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

In this week’s blog, we’re going to be taking a look at camping in the winter. Specifically, we are going to be looking at camping in the winter in the lower areas of England, such as the Brecon Beacons and the South West. We won’t be looking at winter camping in the higher areas, such as the lakes or in Scotland where winter conditions approach the positively Arctic. This blog will focus on camping in a normal backpacking tent, e.g. not a heated tent. Read on to learn about camping in the winter. As always, feel free to read the whole blog or skip to the section that interests you the most.

 

Kit for winter camping

Winter camping considerations


When it comes to camping in the winter then a lot of the discussion revolves around the kit. The kit for winter camping runs along the same principles as the kit for camping in the summer. As long as the basic principles are followed then there is no need to spend a fortune on the kit.

Sleeping bag

A sleeping bag for winter in the parts of England that we are talking about needs to be rated down to the minus numbers. While certain people might sleep hot while others feel the cold there is, generally speaking, no need to splash out on anything rated below – 10. The down vs synthetic debate will rumble on, but generally speaking down is lighter weight for fill power whereas synthetic is better in damp conditions. When you’re considering purchasing a sleeping bag you should look for one that is rated along the lines of the EN13537 standards. When looking at the different ratings, you need to focus on the comfort rating, not the extreme or the limit rating. The ‘extreme’ rating is the “temperature at which the average woman can remain for six hours without risk of DEATH from hypothermia – but can still sustain cold injuries” (source: Alpkit). 

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

Work with your sleeping bag

No matter what the rating of your sleeping bag you do need to work with your bag to help it to achieve the maximum possible rating. If possible, don’t compress it to its smallest size when putting it in your bag but instead put it in a larger bag in order to allow the sleeping bag to retain its loft. Keep the bag dry at all times and consider carrying it in a dry bag in order to protect it. Consider wearing thermals inside your bag to boost its rating and never wear your wet day clothes inside the bag.

Sleeping mat

A decent sleeping mat is essential for a good night’s sleep. Your sleeping mat keeps you insulated away from the cold, wet ground. The more insulated from the ground you are then the warmer you are likely to be. Sleeping mats that have large chambers filled with air are likely to be comfortable but may be colder in winter conditions, whereas closed cell mats, like the classic Karrimat, are likely to be warm but uncomfortable. Perhaps it is best to consider a combination of the two types of mats.

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

Organisation 

 

When it comes to winter camping then a good level of organisation is key to enjoying yourself. Winter conditions in the parts of the UK that we are looking at are likely to be wet, snowy and generally quite grim.  With weather like that, it is important to keep organised, keep your wet and dry kit separate at all times. Store essential items that can be damaged by cold weather, such as phones or water filters, wrapped in something warm, like socks, or stored on or about your person. 

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Tent management

 

Winter camping involves a good deal of tent management. Consider opening ventilation flaps in all but the worst of weather in order to reduce condensation and prevent your sleeping bag getting damp. We will look at how to make the most of your stove in winter in a blog post later this month. If snowfall is heavy then you may need to get up in the night to clear snow off your tent, less it weighs on the fabric and damages it. 

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

Recap 

When it comes to winter camping it is essential to upgrade your sleeping kit so that it is suitable for use in lower temperatures. Don’t just focus on the sleeping bag but also consider the quality of your sleeping mat and thermals. Organisation is also vitally important when it comes to winter camping. You need to keep your wet and dry kit separate and items that can be damaged by the cold wrapped up somewhere warm or on your person. Look after your tent, be careful of mounting snow on the side of the tent and try to pitch it with the end into the wind so as to reduce its impact on the tent. 

 

Kit 

Below we have listed a few pieces of kit that are essential for going out into the woods during winter or at any time of the year. 

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Further Reading 

Here are some other blogs that might be of interest, use the arrows to navigate between them. 

 

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

As we move into autumn and then into winter here in the UK, the weather gets colder and, more often than not, wetter. In these conditions, it can become more difficult to find dry wood with which to light a fire. The true bushcraft practitioner, however, has no difficulty finding dry wood and kindling with which to light a fire in the winter. Read on to discover more tips on how to source dry wood in wet conditions. As always, feel free to read the whole blog or skip to the section that interests you the most

Don’t forget the basics

Fire lighting in damp autumn conditions
Before we look at finding dry wood in wet weather in more detail it is worth stressing that just because the weather conditions have changed there is no reason to forget the basics.  All the principles that normally apply to good fire lighting practice apply double in the winter. Take care of your tinder and use lots of dry and suitable kindling. When it comes to kindling the amount that you use in wet weather should be several times more than you would use in dry conditions. Don’t also forget to build a small platform of twigs on the floor in order to raise the fire off the damp floor.  

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

Importance of keeping your kit dry

Fire lighting damp conditions


In wet or wintery conditions it is of vital importance to keep your kit dry at all times. This applies equally to sleeping bags, tents, and everything else that you might be carrying. When it comes to fire lighting it is important that you keep your tinder, whether you have gathered it as you have gone along or bought it from home, it is vital that it is kept dry. When gathering tinder and fuel as you go along one of the easiest ways to keep it dry is to put it in the pockets of your waterproof jacket or trouser pockets underneath your waterproof trousers. Care should be paid to keeping your fire lighting tools – such as matches or Swedish firesteel – dry. It is always worth carrying several methods of fire lighting in your kit, for example, a fire steel, matches and lighter. 

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LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

Gathering as you go

Leave no trace after camp fire is finished

One of the easiest ways to find dry fuel for the fire while out in wet weather is to gather it as you go along. Rather than trying to find it all in one place at the end of your journey, gathering fuel as you go along not only saves you time when you reach your camp but it also enables you to look for fuel in different sites along your route, often when the weather conditions are more favourable.

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.

 

Making feather sticks 

One of the best sources of dry wood in wet weather is in feather sticks. While the outside of the wood might be wet the ability to make feather sticks will help you to access the dry wood on the inside. Provided that the wood is not saturated with water then feather sticks can be an excellent way of lighting a fire in damp conditions.  

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Learn more about making feather sticks in our video. Watch via our YouTube channel or in the blog below.

 

Kit 

Below we have listed a few pieces of kit that are essential for going out into the woods during winter or at any time of the year.

 

Further Reading 

Here are some other blogs that might be of interest, use the arrows to navigate between them.

 

LEARN FIRE LIGHTING, SHELTER BUILDING, AXE SKILLS AND MORE ON OUR WEEKEND BUSHCRAFT COURSE.