Bushcraft Gear

Cold October Canoe Trip

A sudden down-turn in the temperatures in mid October didn’t put us off a planned canoe trip on the river Wye. We set off for a short trip with an overnight wild camp on the river, Autumn sunshine and the trees just beginning to turn, we had a brief shower once we got on the […] Read More...

Traditional Camp Kettles

Looking for a traditional style camp kettle? These “Kirtley Kettles” from Paul Kirtley, founder of Frontier Bushcraft, one of the UK’s premier Bushcraft schools look really good: More info and stockists at: http://www.campfirekettles.co.uk/gallery/ Tags: Camp Kettle, Kirtley Kettle, traditional camping kettle Read More...

Biolite Camp Stove - Portable Power!

On our trips we do quite a lot of filming and photography to capture the scenes and the places we’ve been, and power for the gadgets especially mobile phones is always a problem, especially on longer trips like the River Spey Adventure we have planned for July this year. In the past we’ve tried solar […] Read More...

Hobo Stove, Wood-gas Stove, Wild Stoves

A local company to me “Wild Stoves” has started making these lovely looking wood-gas ‘hobo’ stoves. It will be interesting to see how this compares to cooking and boiling water on a Kelly Kettle, but so far it looks very good and packs away very small. I’m going to have to get one… here’s a […] Read More...

Marmot Bivvy Tent

There’s a lot of choices for bivvy bags and one-man ultralight tents. With these you do have the condensation issues, the often garish colours (fine for Mountaineering of course), and the delicate materials than can easily get snagged or get spark holes and tend to flap around in the wind, but there are still some […] Read More...

Out & About - Small Bushcraft Pack

Now the weather’s picking up and I’m getting out and about more, here’s a pic of my chosen gear for a small bushcraft pack; head torch, laplander saw, Hultafors heavy duty knife, Opinel small knife, BG penknife, fire kit consisting of swedish firesteel striker, birchbark and tumbledryer fluff! Read More...

The Wynnchester Australian Swag Bedroll

Great news for anyone interested in trying swag camping: As part of our “Wynnchester Camp & Adventure” project to bring back robust traditionally-inspired canvas camp gear we’ve been working to design and manufacture our own design of Australian swag bedrolls right here in the U.K. Previously the only option was to buy from Australia with shipping […] Read More...

Young Swagaroos! Swag Camping in Australia

This is a great video featuring the OzTrail swags and a couple of youngsters out in the Bush with their Dad trying out swag camping for the first time. For more on Swag camping and use of them here in the UK and for canoe trips see our main swag post here. Read More...

May on the River

We just got back from a great overnight wild-camping trip on the River Wye. Weather was good, but very windy on day one which made the mailes hard going at times, but it cleared beautifully in the evening for our camp. We knew heavy rain was coming early the next morning so set about getting […] Read More...

New! The Poppin Storm Kettle

A new product from the Eydon Kettle company, makers of the famous STORM Kettles we use on this site, the POPPIN is a unique smaller, taller STORM Kettle, specially designed to “Pop-in” your rucksack or whatever else you use to carry gear around. It look a beautiful object from the photos we’ve seen and we’re […] Read More...

History & Romance of the Australian Swag

I’m a huge fan of “swag camping” – camping out under the stars around the camp fire in a canvas Australian “swag” – see my previous post here. I’ve been facinated by these and have gradually been delving deeper into the history to this unique way of camping, that seems more or less unknown as […] Read More...

Luxury Swag! Australian style outdoors comfort...

[Update: new Wild Canvas Australian Swags will soon be available to buy online – see latest post. Australia is the home of the canvas “swag” of course, and the best place to look out for the range of different styles and prices available down under is the Australian Ebay site. This one above from Ebay […] Read More...

Bushcraft Show 2011

Held at the YMCA National Centre Lakeside (the largest outdoor centre in Europe) in the Lake District next year’s Bushcraft Show should be worth a look, especially if you live over that way. Weekend tickets include camping and bushcraft activities, and are a bit of an ‘investment’, but the day tickets seem good value at […] Read More...

Good Ol' Kelly Kettle

You’ll see the Kelly Kettle and Eydon STORM Kettle in use all over this site: If you haven’t already got one then we heartily recommend that you become acquianted with this fantastic piece of gear: perfect for river trips and camping. And if you are wondering where you can get one, we’ve provided this selection […] Read More...

Woodland Camp

We just got back from a fantastic woodland swag camp in a local nature reserve. Given special permission, we were able to camp in a place not normally open to that activity, surrounded by the sights and sounds of a protected woodland and grassland nature reserve. We were treated to young Roe deer and even […] Read More...

Older Entries »

 

 

 

Canoeing Books from Amazon

[carousel keywords="canoeing" marketplace="GB"]

Bushcraft Books from Amazon:
[carousel keywords="bushcraft" marketplace="GB" ]

Wild Camping Guide
See our post on wild camping.

Preparation

“Hawkeye” Writes…

Just thought I’d collect my thoughts following a recent canoeing and ‘get out and stay out’ camping trip in the Wye valley. I’ve shared a few tips and ‘learns’ below that I’ve picked up in recent trips with the help of a touch of ‘backyard’ testing too.

Camp Fire!  Firstly, respect your surroundings at all times, only light camp fires where and when they are allowed and keep it safe. Depending on where you are and if there are restrictions – find out and follow the rules.  Extinguish remains and embers thoroughly as it can travel both over and under the ground.    

  • Collect the fluffy bits from your tumble dryer – from the filter you have to keep clear. Great tinder support. Keep it dry and take it as back up as you can find tinder in the field / woods, even in the rain if you know where to look. Ray can anyway.!
  • Open pine cones great too, put a couple in with your small twigs.  The air gets in around them and it really picks up quickly
  • Prepare your sizes of sticks before hand and have them in different graded size piles.  Nothing too fussy but otherwise you will be scrabbling around for the right sizes…. and the fire has gone out.
  • Birch tree – tiny delicate bark shavings are fab too – they are flakey – care not to damage any trees though.  We’re talking the tiny bits from broken branches if possible.
  • Have a lighter and/or matches as back up but try to light your camp fire with a simple steel striker without an instant naked flame doing the work for you. I know this maybe cheating too but it’s only a step away from a flint stone approach, so stop making it so easy and improve your skills.
  • I find that firing up Kelly Kettle and using what’s left is easier than starting from scratch with a general camp fire. Let the chimney effect of the Kelly process do its thing.  Remember to point the ‘vent’ hole into the approaching wind to feed Kelly with air.  If there’s no wind, blow in there but too much puff and its out. Once your water is boiling use the established fire base to start your camp fire and have the sticks ready.  It’s all in the prep.rich1
  • A well as a small sharp knife, if you don’t mind carrying it – a little wooden handled hand axe is very useful or even a hand sized fold up saw – most DIY stores.rich2
  • On two occasions recently, I burnt my hand lifting the full kettle from the fire and in my instant reaction to the burn, spilt precious water on the fire that I still needed as I lifted it off! Now I run a decent stick under the kettle handle, angle it and lift from there, to keep my hand away from climbing flames in the ‘chimney’ of the kettle. Also, if you put the kettle straight on to a small fire rather than its own base, remember to keep the cork and wooden part of the handle away from the ‘wider’ flames.
  • The medium Kelly kettle takes 2.5 pints but remember not to fill it unnecessarily.  How much tea do you need? You’ll be peeing all night. Boil what you need for 2 mugs and it will be quicker anyway.
  • Collect fire wood, tinder, dried grass, leaves etc during your walk or canoe trip.  Don’t expect it to be lined up for you where you want to light your fire.  There won’t be a boot sale there with an estate car full of twigs with a bloke going, ‘’50p for the lot – get your fire here.’’  Not in the places I’ve camped anyway. Chances are it will be getting dark and there won’t be a dry stick in 50 metres radius especially if it’s a well used spot.  You might be lucky but don’t walk past some great natural fuel if it’s jumping out at you.  And it will be.  So much of it you might not see it.  Can’t see the wood for the trees and all that.  Take the dead stuff – don’t hack away at branches.  Look under your feet. Chuck it in your bag or into the canoe if you can reach it but don’t rock the boat!  It’s all in the prep.
  • Get the right side of the wind.  There’s nothing worse than a face full and eye full of smoke just as you’re getting it going. As your eyes sting and stream with tears, the appeal will wear off and you’ll be longing for a gas cooker and a wet flannel.
  • During the effort, refrain from putting your ‘tools’ from your kit on the ground – eg knife, striker, maglite etc.  You’ll mislay it, walk it into the soil, lose it in the cover or generally lose track.  Get in the habit of putting it into one handy pocket with a zip… and zip it up or it’s falling out with all the stooping you’re doing.  It’s like at home doing a bit of DIY – can you ever find your pencil if you put it down?! And the car keys…….rich31

“Get Tuff With Your Stuff”!

I find a good way to keep things to a minimum, with your buddy doing the same, is to challenge each other.  Basically swap bags and go through each others and get ‘tuff with the stuff’.  Take it out.  Why do you need this? and this? and this? How many of these?! Be honest with each other and eliminate any unnecessary duplication of kit.  Never cut out essentials but know what the essentials are. Could be they’ve forgotten something and you need to add rather than take away but you only know by checking. Oh, when you’ve checked it to an essentials ‘list’, check it again. Make sure you both know where the car keys are, the mobile, the tiny first aid kit you argued about taking earlier……….and zip up pockets and pouches ….or an item could slip out in the long grass when you have your next brew and you’ve lost it for ever……..

Leave a Reply