Knowledge Weighs Nothing
Prepping Gear & Bushcraft Skills
The more you carry in your head,
the less you carry on your back:
Guest Article By: Des, from the Youtube channel Des Cattys
The subject of what kit to carry whilst on an outdoor or bushcraft excursion is almost regarded as a science in the sense that there are many "scientists" who claim that their chosen items are the best list of items to carry.
I do not wish to be patronising as there some very amazing and experienced people out there offering advice and tips on the subject.
But I personally feel that there is no set list on what stuff to carry, majority of the time it’s the subject of having enough time to practice and experience the skills in which you want to achieve.
* Knowledge Weighs Nothing
I really enjoying mixing it up when I’m out from maybe a small number of hours through to a week’s excursion.
To the point where I would leave my lighter and ferro rod at home or stored at the bottom of my pack and I would start a fire from say a method of friction fire lighting or maybe flint and steel.
By doing this you practice other means of ignition or fire lighting in all conditions, I suppose it could be said that the more you can utilise from nature the less you would need to carry.
Essentially, the more you know about nature, and store away in your head, the less reliant you are on gear.
You could leave your tarp at home and construct a shelter from what is around your immediate location maybe a debris or group shelter to maybe a scout scrape in the ground. Kind of get the picture?
The reason I bring points up such as the above it gives food for thought that “what do you need to carry?”.
I recall attending a survival course in the country of Sweden equipped with a rucksack full of essentials for making my life more than comfortable whilst out in the nature of Sweden.
The first day we were not allowed to access to our kit – actually we wasn’t allowed access to our kit for the complete duration – but as a course we were spoken to about which was the one fundamental piece of kit or equipment that each individual wanted?
Some said food, and the like but the one piece of kit that we all mostly agreed with and that was the knife, as well as our FAK (first aid kit) too as a rule of thumb.
But if you are carrying such tools then at least have a roll of electricians tape or even some duct tape for those occasional incidents.
The knife in my opinion made life a lot more simpler and made tasks easier to complete: Okay some of you could say why not use flint shards for knife blades but there weren’t any materials like that in the vicinity.
We were equipped with an old style external frame rucksack, a Trangia pot, an old Swedish army type canvas poncho and then finally the knife and FAK.
No sleeping bag or insulation matt, apart from the issue of sustenance, water was not an issue as we were able to consume water straight from the large lakes that inhabit the place, we were provided with a little food every now and again, the rest we foraged.
* So Is There A Point To This
So is there a point to this, I believe there is, before I go on my quest to suggest what you should take on a ‘bushcraft/ outdoor’ excursion, the best way that you can learn any subject under the so-called bushcraft umbrella (I cannot stand bushcraft as a label – but that’s me).
You can either choose anyone of the many avenues available to people today whether its:
Or you may wish to incorporate some or all the above, whatever the decisions that folk make, DO NOT GET CAUGHT UP IN KIT AND EQUIPMENT, why because it can subdue some of your early or existing experiences. So, some folk may think “what the hell is this smuck talking about? “
* Are You A Kit Addict
Some people become what I like to call ‘kit pissed’.!
They get too caught up in the latest gadgets and equipment, for example you hear people tell you they have the latest best knife, sleeping bag or jacket.
In my last article for the U.K. preppers guide, regarding knives for bushcraft or prepping, I mentioned something along the lines of if someone trained with a butter knife and continuously used it then that person would become very competent in using it for whatever the task.
Also, the subject of knives can make enemies of best friends and this is one of those debates that I wish to keep away from.
I am not going to say that I have no decent kit and equipment because I do, but for me to have gotten to the chapter in my experience of where I am today has taken me some 30 odd years of experimentation and that journey is wonderful and continues even today.
So, don’t get ‘kit pissed’. I personally continue to try and strive to reducing my kit weights and improving the multi functionality of any of my existing kit.
* How comfortable do you want to be?
How much kit do you want to carry?
I can remember from my days in the military, and the loads we were carrying, they were of large volumes of weight but as soldiers you just got on with it we were trained physically and mentally to carry those heavy weights long distances.
But I’ve come across YouTube videos for example on the subject of carrying lighter loads and people asking questions like how do I lighten my load or how do I learn to walk longer distances with heavier packs?
Now please, without sounding patronising and abrupt, but my answer is get out there and walk, get outside and run, get outside and do it, experience what you are doing and enjoy it, you will probably get fitter and lose weight in the process that’s if you need to lose weight. That’s it.
Its wholesome fun with friends or as an individual to set challenges like going out with 5 or 10 items of kit or a daysack challenge or carrying a full load walking longer miles with a camp out in between for good measure. Whatever you decide on have fun and stay safe.
* What Gear Do You Need?
So, what should you take?
I think that only you can answer that, what I will suggest is some items that contribute to your safety and experience, this is not a hard and fast list of what you take but more of what I like to call the ‘oh yeah list’.
I will list a load of items and then you choose what you wish to carry in your daysack or rucksack, holdall or whatever.
Cutting tools are an essential part of prepping and survival, and as such such be considered high up on your short list.
Although it is possible to muddle your way through a survival situation without a cutting tool, you should always make this a top option.
Of course no cutting tool should be alone, and by that, always carry a first aid kit that deals with cuts and blood injuries.
Other main items to consider are:
torch, spare bulb, spare batteries, candles, lantern, tarp, tent, tipi, Bivi bag, sleeping system, ground mattress, cot bed, hammock, under blanket, pillow, bed wear, cooking pot, frying pan, cup, water bottles, water bladders, water purification system, cutlery, admin kit, wash kit, spare clothes ,soft shoes, paracord, wire, food supplies, gloves, hat, glasses, insect repellent, sun cream, emergency rations, maps, cases, compass, GPS device, spare batteries, pencil or pens, notebook, mobile phone, solar charger, waterproof clothing, boots, trainers, weapon, crossbow ,catapult ,snares.
Check him out - loads of interesting stuff to watch.
A good perspective on on survival and the fact that knowledge weighs nothing - you can carry more in your head than your rucksack.
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