Bushcraft / wild camping

Since my children were very young we have always spent the odd night or 2 out camping in the woods. I say camping in its loosest term, NO tents allowed. We do have a tarp up if rain is forecast, if not we sleep under the stars.

Over the years we have tried all sorts of equipment, knives, cookers and axes so I will where appropriate offer an opinion on some of the kit we use.

I hope to expand this page and include some more photos and stories of previous trips but for now here are a few photos from our last couple of one night stays with my son.

We used to be ground dwellers (sleep on the ground) but over the last year or so we have moved to hammocks. There are advantages and disadvantages which I may try and cover in future posts.

Part way through set up and my sons first priority is usually disposing of any food we have brought with us that is meant to last 24 hours! Scottish Beef Jerky is a favourite snack and being munched on in this pic. Not the cheapest but they have some great flavours, great service and the jerky is very nice indeed.

Here we have two DD Camping hammocks, this is the basic one from DD and serves us well. I replaced the webbing straps with homemade whoopie slings. You can buy them ready made, and many of DD’s hammocks come with them fitted. I had never heard of them until I started looking into ways to improve our set up. They offer a bit of weight reduction but their main benefit is the adjustability once set up, they allow you to get the hammock set up just right for comfort.

Depending upon the time of year we also use the DD under blankets. By far one of the best improvements to hammock sleeping ever. They hang beneath your hammock trapping a warm layer of air, keeping you toasty warm from underneath. Sleeping bag over the top like a quilt and you are set for a good nights sleep. We have given up trying to get in/out of the sleeping bags, it’s a right faff, so now we just part zip up the bag so you can tuck your feet in, then lay it on top, with the under blanket it works a treat.

Tools wise we always tend to take too much, especially if we know we are not walking too far to where we are setting up. It’s good though to give them all a try out, part of the fun of bushcraft and camping for us is using tools.

Above we have 2 Gransfor Bruks axes. The large one is the Small Forest Axe and a firm favourite. The smaller one is GB’s smallest axe, the Mini Hatcket.

There are two Alan Wood knives (the famous maker of the original Ray Mears knives) his knives are sublime and regarded amongst the best in the world. The larger of the two is a woodlore profile bushcrafter, in 01 Steel. The smaller one is an Artic Fox model, again in 01 steel. Both very competent knives.

The other knife is a Falkniven S1. A beast of a knife, very strong. It has a different grind to the AW’s so is slightly different to use sometimes depending upon the task.

The last item is a Bahco saw, again a great bit of kit.

Cooking wise depends on what time of year it is and what we fancy really. Usually a nice fire does the trick, especially if we need extra warmth, but if we are feeling lazy we have started using the Bushbox XL. They make a number of different options depending on your needs.

It’s a great stove and can be used with hexi blocks, mini trangia stove or just small twigs and split sticks. The main benefit is less Wood to collect, less prep of fire area, and less to tidy up before heading home. It is by no means less efficient than a fire, in fact in some respects it is more efficient.

Cup of tea on the go.

That’s a little titanium kettle from blacks on top of the bushbox XL.

Steak cooks great on the stove too, especially using the Muurrika. The Muurrika is great, it’s not light so again we tend to take it if we know we don’t have too far to walk, but it’s well worth he weight. It’s essentially a flat cast iron skillet type of pan, very shallow. Has a really long wooden handle which makes it very easy to use on a fire. This was a gift from my in laws, thanks Roger and Stasha.

Breakfast on the fire. Perfect. This is where the long handle comes in handy.

The other piece of cooking kit we always carry is a Crusader Mess tin. A vast improvement on the military issue ones, which I have extensive experience of. These little tins are great for cooking, boiling water etc the lid can also be used as a small frying pan, they are very tough, no corners inside so easy to keep clean too.

And if we don’t feel like cooking at all, there is always…

Bow drill set.

I had a go at fire lighting with a bow drill too. Got a smoking ember a few times but never got to actual fire, quite confident I would have with a little more patience, but with the accessibility of a fire steel, and the desire to have a cuppa sooner rather than later I gave in and cheated. Good practice making the set though.

Hope you like the pics. Please drop me a line if you want to know anything about the kit I have etc.

Hopefully some more updates to follow.