There are many bushcraft and survival schools offering a variety of great courses. Here at Wildway Bushcraft, we are always keen to get everyone involved in bushcraft, but unfortunately not every school is reputable with experienced and knowledgeable instructors. Here are our tips for choosing a good bushcraft and survival school.

Experience

Instructors should be experienced. There is an accreditation scheme run by the NCFE for bushcraft instructors, which goes some way to prove that your chosen instructor has undertaken some form of assessed training. But this is a bonus. There are good instructors out there that do not hold this. (Ray Mears for example!). Teaching bushcraft is more than just being able to demonstrate how to pitch a tent, but requires training and experience. A good bushcraft and survival school should have high standards of practice and teaching. You could have the most experienced person in the world, but if they cannot teach effectively, you aren’t going to learn anything. Before you book a course, don’t be afraid to ask for more information about the instructors and their background. Only sign up to a course, when you feel confident that they have the expertise you need.

Safety

All schools should be fully insured, including public liability insurance and have risk assessments for all of the courses. Instructors should be CRB checked, be suitably experienced or trained in the safe practice for the skills they are teaching, be HSE compliant and have up-to-date First Aid training. You can ask to see the risk assessments which should cover all eventualities. The most reputable schools should have everything covered and be happy to share the information with you. You will be spending time with the instructors out in the woods, so for your own peace of mind, it’s good to know you will be in safe hands.

Environmentally responsible

Bushcraft is all about respecting nature and the great outdoors. Each and every bushcraft and survival school should strive to promote responsible bushcraft practices on all its courses. This should include maintaining a ‘no trace’ philosophy of leaving an area as it was found, to actively avoid disturbing any wildlife’s natural habitats and encourage responsible foraging.

Reviews

Just like when you are booking a holiday or looking for a company to provide you with a service, you should use review sites like TripAdvisor, to find out what people’s experiences are of the bushcraft school. This a great way of getting an insight into a bushcraft and survival school and to find out if they are the right school for you.

There are so many adventures to be had in the great outdoors. Get in touch and find out more about Wildway Bushcraft and our passion for offering a fantastic bushcraft and survival experience with our courses. We hope to see you out in the woods very soon.

Without their leaves, deciduous trees can be tricky to identify during the winter. But by studying important features like the bark, twigs and bud formation, you can soon learn how to recognise a tree whatever the season. Here are our tips for identifying 10 of our favourite deciduous trees this winter.

Sycamore

The sycamore is usually found in forests and woods and the bark of the young trees is often smooth and can be silvery-grey or brown. As the tree gets older, the bark begins to crack, which eventually become large peeling scales. The sycamore’s buds are oval-shaped and arranged in opposite pairs. The buds have a pointed end and are green with brown tips.

Ash

The ash is a large tree which can be found growing in forests, on open hillsides and in hedges. The ash is one of the first to lose its leaves in autumn and is late coming into leaf in the spring. The buds of the ash grow in opposite pairs and are round, except for buds at the end of shoots and branches, which have more of a cone shape. The buds are very dark in colour and the ends of the shoots curve upwards. The bark is smooth and grey or can be a paler grey-brown in younger trees. As the tree ages, the bark becomes cracked and often develops criss-crossing ridges.

Silver birch

You will find the silver birch in forests, on sandy heaths and open hillsides and down mountain valleys. The silver birch has, unsurprisingly, silvery coloured bark and as the tree ages, the lower part of the tree develops black diamond shaped marks anad develops a thick and cracked texture, with dark grey/brown almost black bumpy ridges. The buds are sometimes sticky and are small and oval-shaped.

Hazel

The hazel is a small tree, usually with multiple stems and often located in hedges and under larger trees in woodlands. The bark starts as a shiny light grey/brown colour. In younger shoots the bark can be peeling but the peelings can often be quite fragile and delicate. Cracks appear in medium sized growths, with larger trees having smooth grey/brown bark. The buds of a hazel tree are green, fat and oval shaped.

Beech

The bark of the beech is smooth and silvery grey in the younger trees. As the tree ages the bark becomes rougher, but not as textured as other trees. The buds are long, thin and pointed and have a coppery brown colour. On young beech trees, you often see dead brown leaves that are still attached during the winter.

Wild Cherry

The wild cherry grows in mixed woods. The bark of young wild cherry trees is shiny and can be greyish-pink to purpley-red. In older trees, the bark is more purpley-grey with raised light brown bumps and peels in horizontal strips. Its buds are egg-shaped and dark orangey-brown.

Hornbeam

Hornbeams tend to grow alongside the beech tree and its bark is a silver, dark grey colour and has a smooth texture. As the tree ages, the bark may develop criss-cross ridges. The tree’s long buds are pointed, green/brown and close to the stem.

English Oak

The English oak is a common tree and is one of the more dominant large broad-leafed trees to be found across Britain. Younger trees have smooth, grey/green bark, and as the tree ages, the bark becomes more cracked with distinctive ridges. The buds are orange/brown and often grow in a cluster near the end of the twig and are egg-shaped with blunt rounded tips and grow in clusters.

 Elder

The elder is a common tree that can be found in hedgerows and woodland. Its bark is beige/grey and the young shoots often have raised bumps, while the older growth develops very rugged cracks and ridges. The buds grow in opposite pairs, and are purple, with spiky scales.

Goat Willow

There are 18 species of willow native to the UK, along with many hybrids. The goat willow is the more common willow tree. Often found growing near water, the goat willow is pale grey and the bark is banded with small diamond-shaped ridges. As the tree ages, the bark becomes shallow, with criss-cross ridges which can later become orange cracks. The tree’s buds are rounded and a shiny red or a chestnut brown colour.

This time of year is a great opportunity to put your winter bushcraft skills into action, so get outside as much as you can and enjoy this beautiful season.

As some trees shed their leaves during the autumn and winter months, determining the identity of deciduous trees can require a little more effort at this time of year. So we have put together a quick guide to help you know what to look for:

Bark

The bark protects the underlying tissue of the tree and its appearance varies across all the different species. The colour, thickness, pattern and texture of the bark are useful ways of determining a tree’s identity. Not only should you study the appearance of the bark but you should touch it to feel its texture. You can also look at how the bark is peeling as this can also differ, depending on the species.

The bark of a young sycamore for example, is usually smooth and can vary from silvery-grey to a brown colour. As the tree gets older, the bark develops cracks which progress to large peeling scales. You need to get up close to the tree and have a good scratch and sniff too! The smell of the bark is also another useful tool, just like with the yellow birch which smells like wintergreen whereas the wild cherry has more of a bitter almond scent.

Buds

The size, shape, colour, texture and position of the buds can often be a useful way to identify a tree during winter. Flower buds can form in different places and can often be much larger than the leaf buds. The leaves will grow as terminal buds, which are found at the ends of the twigs, or they will take the form of lateral buds, which grow along the sides. The number and placement of the buds on the twigs can also be significant to determining the tree’s identity. The buds are most often enclosed in modified leaves known as scale leaves. These may be tough protective structures, coloured or sometimes they might be sticky, like the horse chestnut. When the scale leaves fall, they often leave distinctive markings on the twigs.

For example, the buds of a Hazel tree are short, blunt and have green and red scales and the shoots have rough hairs. Sycamore buds are arranged in opposite pairs and are egg-shaped with a pointed end, green in colour and the tips of the bud scales are brown.

Twigs

Twig markings provide useful information as to how the leaves are arranged when they are there. They can also tell you where the buds grow. Some trees like the ash, maples and dogwoods have opposite branching and this is when the twigs and buds grow off a main branch in pairs. Trees like birches and sycamores have alternate branching which means that the twigs and buds grow off a main branch one at a time.

There are many other bushcraft activities you can get up to this winter, it’s a great time to get outside and practice all your bushcraft skills. For expert tuition from a Wildway Bushcraft instructor, join us on one of our popular courses for a fantastic time in the great outdoors.

Here at Wildway Bushcraft we are always keen to encourage everyone to go out and enjoy the great outdoors, whatever the time of year. But with winter on its way, you may think that it’s time to pack away your bushcraft kit until the spring. Being outside in the woods in winter may not seem particularly inviting, but you can still enjoy being out and practising your bushcraft skills.

Fire lighting

Winter is the time to really test your fire lighting skills. It is during winter that you will greatly appreciate the benefits of a good fire. But whatever technique you use to light a fire, it is harder to do so in the cold and damp conditions of winter. Try to source dry kindling and dead, dry standing wood for your fire. If you find that you need to perfect your technique then you may want to join our one day friction fire lighting course.

Animal tracking

Winter conditions make it a great season to do some animal tracking, especially if there is snow on the ground. When you are looking at animal tracks on snow you will be able to piece together the whole track. You will be able to observe certain activities and behaviours, which would be much harder to determine or could be missed altogether without snow. But even if there is no snow, the soil is often damper in the winter and there are a lot more muddy patches, making tracking much easier.

Snow shelter

You can build a snow shelter using blocks of compacted snow. You might want to aim for an igloo style shape by digging a trench in the snow, then using blocks to create an angled roof over the trench in an inverted V-shape. You can also build a shelter from digging into a pile of snow. Snow shelters are surprisingly warm thanks to the air trapped in the snow, which makes them well insulated.

Melting snow for drinking water

If there is snow on the ground then you can use this to make drinking water. If you have some water available, put it in a pot and heat it up then add snow gradually to melt it. Or you can start with a bit of snow which you melt quickly, then keep adding small amounts until there is a good amount of water in the pot, then continue to add large quantities of snow a bit at a time. But snow can vary in its consistency, so you might find that you need to practice this to get it right.

Identifying trees and plants

It isn’t always easy to identify evergreen or deciduous trees in winter, but when you do it’s very satisfying! During winter time you can’t rely on looking at just the leaves, flowers or fruit, but you have to look at other details. Many wild plants appear as early as December. Not just herbaceous plants but cherry trees are often well under way in early January.

Using your axe

Whether you are in a tent or sleeping out by a fire, you’ll need plenty of firewood to keep you warm, boil water and cook food. So this is where your axe becomes an essential bit of kit during the winter. If you want to sharpen your axe skills then sign up to our axe skills and charcoal making course.

It’s not surprising that many of us would rather hibernate during the colder winter months, but if you use layers of clothing to help you keep warm, wear good quality boots and pack a good bushcraft kit, then the winter is just yet another great season where you can really enjoy the great outdoors.

If you want to brush up on your bushcraft skills or maybe try something a bit different, visit our courses page and sign up for an adventure with us in the woods.

 

If you have ever fancied unleashing your inner Robin Hood, why not try our one day deer and archery course where you can really get to grips with the basics of bow shooting.

If you mainly associate the longbow that we know today with Sherwood Forest, you may be surprised to learn that it has been around from as early as the Neolithic times. Although it is thought to have made its first major appearance towards the end of the Middle Ages.

The longbow completely dominated medieval combat. During the Hundred Years War, the longbow was used by the English with a devastating effect and a similar result was experienced during The Battle of Sluys in 1340, which saw English archers discharge a shocking longbow attack on French ships.

The land Battle of Poitiers in 1356 saw the longbow responsible for the deaths of 2,000 French mounted knights. In 1346 at the Battle of Crecy, English archers completely devastated the French whose loses included 11 princes, 1,200 knights and 30,000 soldiers. In comparison the English lost 100 men. This one battle is often used as a popular example to demonstrate just how effective the longbow was as a weapon.

At Wildway Bushcraft we promise that we won’t be sending you out to battle with your longbow! But with coaching from our experienced instructors, you will be able to see your shot improve as the day goes on and by the end of the course you will be able to hit the target consistently and accurately.

Historically, the longbow was held in such high regard that the kings of England sponsored archery tournaments and banned all sports on a Sunday, except for archery. This meant that there was always a large group of experienced archers ready to be called up for battle, if England needed them. It was even enforced by law that each English shire had to provide the king with a certain number of trained archers. An experienced archer could shoot an arrow every five seconds, so a large army of skilled archers was an asset in any battle.

The longbow was about six feet long and made from a yew tree, although a shortage of yew trees saw elm, ash and wych elm being used instead. The arrows were made out of ash, birch or oak and were about three feet long with broad tips able to pierce a knight’s armour.

If you want to improve your skills with using a longbow, our Deer and Archery course is a great experience and a lot of fun. The course is not just about shooting, as you will also have the chance to skin and butcher a deer before cooking all the best steak cuts for a delicious venison meal.  If that has wet your appetite come along and join us in the woods.

The bow drill method of friction fire lighting is one of the most popular methods of lighting fire by friction in bushcraft. Although it can take many attempts to get it right, it is definitely worth the effort and perseverance.

Here are our bow drill troubleshooting tips:

Squeaking: Try changing the amount of pressure you are using, add some or reduce it as needed until the noise goes. Once things get warmed up things should get a lot smoother and the squeak should disappear. Sometimes it helps to roughen up the surface with a knife if you think that the drill is polished up (it will look glassy). A polished drill will reduce friction and not help you at all.

Cord keeps slipping: You need to tighten the string, if you struggle with this you can tie the cord straight to the bow before its bent. Then when you twist the drill into the string, it won’t slip. Make sure the bow is as long as your arm, which will make it easier to drill with greater effect.

The cord keeps wearing out and breaking: This might be because of a looser cord causing friction and heat which will melt it rather than wear through. Try with a tighter cord and if that doesn’t work, plait three bits together as this will also help grip the drill causing less slipping. Para cord works well but does not last forever, if you can get hold of a leather strap or thong then this is perfect.

No smoke: If you aren’t getting any smoke, don’t stop bowing but instead add pressure and bow speed.

Not the right colour dust powder: You want dust powder that is dark brown/black.  If the powder is light brown in colour and dusty, then you are going too slow and not applying enough pressure. If the colour of the powder is too light but the consistency is correct, then you are going too slowly. Also, if the colour is right but the consistency is that of little rolls of fibre, you might be going too fast or not pressing down hard enough on the bearing block. If you are getting the right colour but the powder looks crusty, then you might be going too fast, pressing down too hard, or both.

Moving the bow is too difficult: The drill may be too wide, so try lubricating the bearing block with Vaseline, or if you don’t have any at hand, facial grease or earwax would also do the trick. Make sure the drill is not binding on the edges of the bearing block hole and whittle the drill accordingly.

Drill keeps popping out and the notch has become irregular or oval shaped: This can be caused by a number of things such as the hole in your bearing block may not be deep enough, the notch in the hearth board may not be whittled deep enough, you may not be holding the hand-hold steady enough or you may be jerking the bow back and forth too vigorously. You need to use smooth even strokes.

A great way to get to grips with using a bow drill is by joining our one day friction fire lighting course held in beautiful woodland in Dorset and Hampshire. You will learn what wood to look for and be shown how to make a bow drill set, before heading into the woods to make your own. Our instructors will demonstrate how to use it and make fire by friction, with plenty of time to practice until you produce your very own ember. We hope to see you out in the woods very soon.

AxeAn axe is a popular and useful tool for bushcraft and is generally used for cutting, splitting and shaping wood. But before you rush out and get one for your kit, do bear in mind that not all axes are the same, so here is our advice for what to look for in a bushcraft axe.

You need to begin by deciding what type of bushcraft axe you need as you have a choice between a general duty axe which is good for most tasks like chopping and carving, and then the bigger more tougher axes, often called a splitting maul, which are more capable of splitting large logs.

The hatchet is an axe that has a shorter shaft and is smaller and lighter in weight, making it a good choice for smaller bushcraft tasks and trekking.

There are different axes available for different jobs. A cutting axe and a splitting axe for example. When you look at its profile, a cutting axe is thin which gives it the maximum force on a low surface area and severs what it cuts across. Axes that are better used for splitting have a wider angle with a wedge like action which will force the log apart.

For general woodland purposes, a rounded bit is more versatile.

If you are very tall then you may find that you benefit from an axe with a long shaft handle as you will probably find it much better to use. If you will be sharing your axe then it’s worth remembering that a longer handle may be awkward to use for someone that is much shorter. You are a brave person if you start sharing your tools though, as no one will look after your axe quite as well as you!

It might sound obvious but it is worth keeping in mind how you will be carrying the axe when you are out in the woods. You will probably want it to fit in your rucksack so think about that when you making your choice. You should also make sure that it has a leather sheath or axe mask with it.

You will need the axe to last and to be able to stand up to tough use, so choose wisely and do your research.

Look for a good sized chopping head of 3 1/4”. A good quality axe should cut through a 6″ diameter timber with ease so its edge should be able to hold its sharpness.

If you want to find out more about axes and how to take good care of yours, we recommend you visit www.wetterlings.com/care

But before investing in a new axe, make sure you pick it up and hold it to see how it feels in your hands. You will want it to be comfortable to hold and easy to handle as it is likely to come a key part of your kit out in the woods.

To really get to grips with using your bushcraft axe safely and effectively, sign up to our bushcraft axe skills and charcoal making weekend course, ideal for anyone who wants to become competent in using an axe, whether a beginner or more experienced but would like to hone existing skills.

For more tips about what to take with you when out in the woods, see our list of top 10 buschraft items. Whether you are new to bushcraft or already have experience, there is a Wildway Bushcraft course for you. We hope to see you out in the woods very soon.

At Wildway Bushcraft we enjoy the changing of seasons, especially autumn, as it offers an opportunity to forage some lovely nutritious and delicious foods. From nuts seeds and berries, there is a lot you can gather while the weather is still fine.

Foraging is about finding food from nature, but you should only pick what you need and make sure you leave a good amount for the nearby wildlife to enjoy. Here we share our top foods to gather at this time of year.

Rosehips

Rosehips were used as an alternative for citrus fruits during the Second World War and used to make a rosehip syrup and to add flavour to foods. Discard the seeds and just use the flesh of the fruit and make syrup or jelly with either wild dog rose varieties or the more common Japanese Rose. Full of Vitamin C, they are a good nutrition-packed snack. You can find these fruits in hedgerows, rough grass and scrubland. It grows up to 3m high with pink or white flowers and the fruit is orangey red and rectangle shaped. Be careful of the thorns when you pick them.

berries-940132_1920Raspberries

An easily recognisable plant, raspberries will be coming to the end of their season soon, but you should still be able to gather a few. It is a spiny fruit with toothed oval shaped leaves and a white underside.

Crab apples

Crab apple trees are deciduous and grow up to 10 metres tall. The round fruit is very tart and comes in a variety of colours and ripens from October. Crab apples are great for making jams and jellies accompanied by other fruits like blackberries, rowan berries and rose hips which also ripen around this time.

Beech nuts

Tasting similar to a walnut, these tasty nuts grow with four, three-sided nuts to one brown prickly shell. The tree can grow up to 40m with bright green and oval shaped leaves. You are competing with the local squirrels for these so you will need to gather early.

Elderberries

You will need to look in woodland and hedgerows for a medium sized tree or shrub with distinctive rough bark and mid green coloured leaves. These berries are small, sweet and are a dark-red, purpley colour, packed with vitamins and antioxidants. They grow in clusters and have green, slightly toothed leaves and are perfect for sweet pies, jams and crumbles. Their rich deep flavour also makes them ideal for wine making.

Wild strawberries

They might only be small and can be difficult to find, but these berries are definitely worth the effort. Full of delicious flavour, they are best eaten straight from the plant. They can be found low on the ground in open woodland and on grassy banks. The fruit’s shiny, toothed leaves are in clusters of threes.

Hazelnut

These may prove difficult to find as you will be up against the squirrels again. The nuts are perfect for picking when the leaves are just starting to turn yellow. At first you may think that a bush is bare, but if you lift the branches you will often see that they’re hiding underneath as the nuts grow under the leaves. You can also give the branch a shake and then look underneath. Found in hedgerows, woods and scrubland, the leaves are round, downy and toothed while the nuts are enclosed in a green, leafy shell. There are a variety of species of hazel which produce nuts. You can eat them when the shells are still green, if they have a developed nut inside, these are delicious. Dry the nuts in a dry dark place and you can use them dry or roast them.

Poppy

poppy-1446340_1920The seed heads are perfect for picking when they are a grey-brown colour and have small holes underneath the flat top. If you put the whole seed heads into a paper bag and shake, you can easily take out the heads leaving the seeds in the bag which can be used for sprinkling on rolls, bread and cakes or as a tasty snack to nibble on.

Blackberries

Most of us have probably picked blackberries at some time. The prickly shrub grows in hedges, waste places and woods and has prickly leaves that turn a reddish green in the autumn. The berries should be a deep purpley black when picked. Berries should be used the same day that they are gathered. Use them for jams, chutney, wine, or freeze the berries to use in the future.

Hawthorn berries

Autumn foraging Hawthorn

This shrub can be found in scrubland, woodland and hedges and on heaths and downs. Its leaves are a glossy green and found on spiny branches. The round red, nutty tasting berries are called haws and grow in small bunches.

Has this inspired you? Find out more about foraging and other bushcraft techniques by signing up to one of Wildway Bushcraft’s courses and see what you can discover in the great outdoors.

If you want to learn more about what outdoor adventures you can have with your family, Bushcraft: A Family Guide is the perfect book for you.

Written by Wildway Bushcraft’s John Boe and Owen Senior, this illustrated practical guide, is packed with essential information and useful hints and tips that can be used by all the family, to help you get more out of your time outside together. This guide has everything both children and adults need to know to have fun and be safe in the great outdoors.

Whether you are planning a mini adventure in the woods or countryside, a camping trip or simply exploring your own back garden, this guide can teach you the art of bushcraft and get you and your friends and family out there ready to explore and have fun.

With activities such as how to find and collect water, build a shelter, how to navigate by the sun and stars, making a bow and arrow and tips on how to make the perfect toasted marshmallows – an essential when you are in the great outdoors!

Bushcraft : A Family Guide is not just for beginners, but offers practical tips and ideas for even the more experienced bushcraft adventurer. The guide covers subjects such as the law, equipment, fire, water, foraging, hunting tools, preparing meat and seafood for the pot, cooking in the great outdoors, staying out overnight, tracking, natural navigation, making things, carving and how to make sure you leave no trace when you are finished. Each chapter also has a useful section at the end where you can make your own notes.

John and Owen are both passionate about the great outdoors and sharing their skills and enthusiasm with others. They have been teaching practical and adaptable survival skills for many years, helping people get the most out of their outdoor experiences and adventures.

Being outside in the fresh air is the perfect way to spend time with friends and family while learning about nature and gaining confidence and practical new skills together.

The aim of this book is to encourage people to catch the ‘bug’ and spend more time outside with the people they love. ‘Perhaps you can persuade your friends to do the same. More people getting outside means more knowledge, enthusiasm and energy for all the wonderful things you can do in the great outdoors.

As the guide says, the basic ingredients of having fun and adventures outside is very simple, ‘just friends, family, food, woodsmoke, dirt and laugher’.

Bushcraft: A Family Guide is available from Amazon and book shops.

When you are going on a bushcraft trip, whether it’s a short or long trip, a well packed basic kit is absolutely essential. You will be reliant on your kit for the whole trip so you will want it to be good quality, durable and have everything you need.

Bushcraft kit essentials

Here are our top ten things to carry on a bushcraft trip:

bushcraft knifeA good knife is one of the most crucial items that you can take with you. The uses of a knife for bushcraft are endless and it’s best to take a knife with a fixed blade as they are more durable. Last year we reviewed the Bear Blades Forest 3 knife and it is now our preferred every day knife. Before going out with a knife, make sure you know about the knife law.  

 A folding saw is a very useful tool to have in your kit. It takes up very little space and along with a knife you can do everything that an axe can do and often more efficiently and quicker.

 Taking a first aid kit with you is essential, whether you are going on a short or long trip. A good first aid kit should include plasters, scissors, tweezers, antibacterial wipe, dressings, thermometer, surgical gloves, safety light and burn treatments.

 Whatever the weather, you will want to take a sleeping bag with you. It’s surprising how cold thesleeping bag nights can get when sleeping outside. Make sure that you’ve checked that you can fit comfortably into your sleeping bag and move around.

billy canYou will need a metal cooking pot as part of your kit. You will want to get something big enough but still light and easy to carry over long distances. It’s worth considering getting a pot that’s wide and tall as it provides a better distribution of heat and can be used as a frying pan. You may also want to get a cooking pot with a handle to make it easier to use.

Bushcraft in dorsetMost tarpaulins are very lightweight, versatile and will take up minimum space in your bag. With a tarpaulin you get more room than you do with a tent. It can shelter you from the rain and wind, especially if you are sleeping on the ground. They can also be used with poles as an emergency stretcher if needed.

Suitable waterproof clothing is a must. Carry a waterproof jacket or coat even if you think the weather will be dry. Good walking boots are also important. You may be doing a lot of walking in bad weather and you need to be comfortable and safe, especially if you are going to be carrying a heavy backpack.

Fire steel is a fire-lighting tool and capable of producing a shower of very hot sparks, enough to create a fire. It is one of the most reliable methods of lighting a fire outside.

It is important to get a good quality backpack to carry all your kit and it’s worth spending a little more money on a bag to avoid having to replace it too soon. The size of the bag will depend on how much kit you want to carry. Side pockets are handy for quick easy access to items that you will want to use regularly.

A water bottle is an essential item to take with you. Make sure it is strong and water tight. Avoid trying to carry all your water from the start of the trip as your bag will be too heavy, just make sure you refill often.