There’s been a bunch of talk about equipment on this site. What you should get, what they’re good for etc.
But what do I use? And how do I use them?
I have a LOT of equipment.
You’d be surprised by how I use each item, too.
Bushcraft isn’t about following a strict set of rules. Many resources and items can be used for different things.
By no means do I take the entire kit out during an overnighter. It simply weighs too much.
I usually bring:
- Mora Knife
- My own food/water
- Medical items
- Stormproof matches
- Extra clothing
- Birch bark
Cost: £28 on Amazon
The Roughneck hatchet has served me well for basic tasks such as splitting wood logs and sticks.
I haven’t managed to use it for any difficult tasks. For now, it does the job for me.
Due to its weight, I tend not to bring it on my travels unless I know I’m going to be working with a lot of wood. Such as primitive shelter building or woodworking.
Bread Knife (no handle)
A simple, cheap bread knife that has lost its handle. I use it as a makeshift saw, which does the job well for menial tasks.
Nothing majorly exciting, you’d probably want to get yourself a proper fold-up saw.
Really cannot recommend this knife enough. A small, sharp blade is perfect for all kinds of activities.
I’ve used the knife for collecting resources, digging and even woodworking. The blade itself is still perfectly fine and the grip is comfortable.
In terms of the sheaf, it does its job. I wish there was more options when it comes to attaching it to your belt, bag or pocket as it can become uncomfortable. But the whole thing is small and lightweight enough to be worth bringing on any trip.
I like to use this knife as a good middle ground between my mora and my hatchet.
It can be used for finer jobs, such as collecting resources, but is also effective at splitting logs, if you don’t do it too harshly.
What I love about it though, is the top of the ridged edge at the top of the blade. Always making sure to use it as a striker, it absolutely douses tinder in a shower of sparks!
Tent Pegs & Wire Mesh
Place the 4 tent pegs in a square formation over a fire, then lay the wire mesh on top.
Easy platform for your pots/pans to be placed on!
Once you’ve finished cooking, use your knife (not the one mora one as it’s too small) to lift the tent pegs up and out of the fire, as they’ll be scorching hot.
Large Magnifying Glass
I found this particular in some old junk from my father’s house.
Yet to actually get a fire going with it, a huge magnifying glass such as this would work perfectly on a hot summer’s day.
At the right angle, concentrating sunlight onto your tinder can get a fire going in just a few minutes.
My binoculars aren’t amazing by any means, I’ve had them since I was a kid.
Giving me barely any visibility at range, it lets me see just enough to understand what is in that general direction.
I do need to upgrade it, though!
Donated to me by a friend, this fungi book gives me details on every fungi you can encounter.
Fungi have a myriad of traits and talents. Some are incredibly delicious, some can be used for firemaking while others will slowly kill you over a few days.
Having a book to hand at any point, is massively beneficial.
Right now, I just use it for educational purposes. I’m not experienced enough to immediately touch a fungi, even if it fits what the book says perfectly.
Many soups and noodles have been cooked on these bad boys. They’re simple, easy to clean and the handles don’t get too hot.
Unfortunately, I lost my Gerber Bear Grylls firestarter, which was the best firesteel I’ve ever used. Now stuck with that pitiful ferrocium rod, I’m using my lighter for everything nowadays.
This will definitely be updated soon.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Your basic 1L water bottle. Filled it up with water from home, it can last a while.
Can also be filled with natural water (after being filtered), placed into a fire to be boiled and sterilised.
As effective in the outdoors as they are in the bedroom, condoms are multi-talented items.
Holding things together, patching shelters (duct tape is better for that) and a general useful item to have.
These things are incredible, I’ve no idea how they work in such harsh conditions. Legit, buy a pack, light one, lift it into the harsh wind, pull it back down…the flame is still going.
Both wind & waterproof, coming with its own striker and compact bottle, you’ll want to have a pack handy at all times.
Whistle & Cordage
The remains of my old fire starter 🙁
Whistles are used to help others locate you.
Cordage is great for all kinds, such as bindings, snares, tinder, traps and shelter building.
I haven’t used it too much, instead keeping it as a back-up.
A great method of acquiring kindling is by using a pencil sharpener on sticks. Especially effective in wet weather.
Exposing the dry inner core of sticks into large bundles can make firemaking simple and easy.
Stainless Steel Cup
A simple, small cup. For consuming tea & coffee.
In terms of the handle, it can get way too hot if placed over the fire. Instead, pour the hot contents into it from a pot.
Black & White Cloth
Bought at a random town market 10 years ago, this cloth has many purposes and is ever reliable.
Filtering water, holding resources, extra clothing, you name it. In desperate circumstances, you can turn it into char cloth as well.
Definitely worth buying, weighs almost nothing and can fit anywhere.
Back-up tinder. Always have some.
Donated by my dad, this multi-tool contains a huge variety of tools to choose from. Scissors, knife, saw, even a ruler.
However it does have a bit of weight to it. Nothing serious but it all adds up, I bring/use it scarcely.
It’s a small shovel.
Fits snuggly into my pack, basically an entrenching tool. For digging things like dakota fire holes or getting up natural resources, it’s perfect.
Only used for specific trips where I know I’ll definitely need it. Otherwise, it sits at home. Definitely worth having on in your inventory though.
A simple, cheap wind-up torch. Nothing too fancy, allows me to have a look around my shelter at night time.
TCP Anti-Septic Liquid
Used to treat wounds such as cuts and deep scratches. Anti-Septic liquid serves to disinfect, keeping any harmful bacteria far away from your insides.
You never know what you can find in the outdoors. A simple cut can get infected and get more severe. A decent dosage of TCP will aid your troubles.
I bought/carry a huge bottle. But you may find it easier to buy a bottle and ration it into smaller containers (such as vials).
Water Purification Tablets
Thankfully I’ve never used one of these, the taste is said to be a resemblance of chlorine.
Half a tablet will purify a litre of water. In a desperate situation, it might be the only thing preventing you from bacterial infection from untreated water.
Compass with built-in mirror
Navigation is a skill I’m still learning. Having a sense of direction and being able to find your way without a map is a necessity for being a true expert bushcraft enthusiast.
The mirror can act as a reflective signal mirror, to alert cars, ships or aircraft if necessary.
Used for worst case scenarios, restricting blood flow if needed, or keeping dressings in place.
Cold/Flu Relief Powder Drink
No matter where you are, everyone always gets a cold at some point. Even having a pack or two of relief can make the chores of the outdoors a lot less tedious.
Reinforced adhesives for skin closures. Basically, after applying anti-septic liquid to a deep cut, place a steri-strip over it.
I’ve actually used this combination on a fairly deep cut I got a few months ago. Worked a treat, was able to stay out and active and the wound closed nicely!
Cost: Obtained from a US single meal MRE
In a real survival situation, morale is extremely important. Keeping that right state of mind can be a huge difference to your survival chances.
It sounds silly, but being able to add salt/sugar to your naturally resourced meals can be a dealbreaker.
I always bring my own coffee/tea but these ones serve as a back up in a dire situation, if needed. Taking up basically no space or weight, they’re well worth it.
Your basic ibuprofen painkillers.