5.8.12

In my comments to bedrolling I said, "no issues at all if someone wants to camp in a RV or VW beetle van ....... if they want to carry a 120 litre bergen thats down to them and their back (skills aside) - I often use one as you know. I also often use a LK35 depending on my mood and what I want to do, the skills come into it in as much as I am not limited to one choice, I can have the full Ray Mears Style outfit or just a blanket, a knife and a billy can"

The key sentence there is "skills come into it in as much as I am not limited to one choice," now I couldnt get out this weekend so i thought I'd think laterally and have a play at home. If someone didnt want to carry a bedroll but liked the idea of, or needed guidance to help them, going minimal how could this help?

Obviously I can not suggest a replacement for learning the skills - skills can only be learnt by doing, and if your fear of going minimalist is due lack of skills you know the answer to your dilemma! If your fear of going minimalist is just down to comfort thats a different matter, although I would say comfort is relative. But with average skills most people can strip down their kit and live comfortably in the woods, after all our ancestors managed it and as a soldier I would often live in the woods for weeks at a time with only the clothes on my back, a sleeping bag, mat, tarp, metal mug and one warm top almost everything else I carried was military equipment!!

I filmed a video genetic kit list (.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnE_Es5u4nI&feature=g-upl) about 2 years ago and this list is still pretty much the same so works as a good guide line even today.

So lets say the idea of the bedroll and haversack isnt for you, lets say you want to or prefer to carry a pack on your back - is this a problem?? No, of course not (although one thing I have found bedrolling is that you dont get a sweaty back like you do with a rucksack!) its the minimalist principle, the use of skils rather than kit dependancy is what matters.

Now to give you an idea of the space used by a bedroll and haversack I tried repacking my entire rig into a daysack. And my kit fitted comfortably into a 30 litre Artis patrol pack in its entirity!!

This said maybe the "bedrolling" tag was wrong and "bushcraft minimalism" might be more to the point - but the fact remains - whether you go for a bedroll or a daysack, minimal kit free's you from the tyranny of kit dependancy and teaches you the importance of skills not kit!

4 comments:

Karl said...

Gary, Another great post on the theme...

I think most of the controversy we get for this method of outing is the comfort factor, as I see it, comfort comes with skills rather than kit.

Like you I have spent many weeks in the bush with just a hootchie, poncho liner and a cup, with no ill effects, the rest of my gear belonging to the Commonwealth... in that way you learn quickly to replace what you don't have with what you can make or find in the local area... you also learn quickly that a heavy pack is not your friend out there.

I have also observed that many of the heavy pack crowd are the ones who travel the least distance possible from the car to the camp site...

Those who are interested in the minimalist method but want more than a bedroll would do well to read Kephart's woodcraft & camping and get a better idea of how it can be done...

Karl.

http://ranger-pathfinder-notes.blogspot.com/

Survivall said...

Cheers Karl, another good read that makes you think is walden, by Thoreau. Its thought provoking if not so much about skills.

I will re-read Kephart's books myself I think - thanks

Ross Gilmore said...

Good post. It is certainly good to be able to use skill instead of gear.

However, I worry that too many people try to demonstrate that in very impractical ways, defeating the original purpose of using skills.

Take the currently prolific use of blankets in the woods. For some reason it has been taken as a mark of "knowing", when in my opinion, it is simply an impractical fashion statement. It weighs more than a sleeping bag, it's much larger than a sleeping bag, it offers no insulation advantage over a sleeping bag, and int he past several decades, every woodsman had relegated the blankets to their bed at home. However, now that we read Nessmuk, the blanket has become the fashion. It is a way to show people that you can go into the woods without gear, when in fact it is more gear than the sleeping bag that we left at home.

Recently Andrew Skurka did a post called "Stupid Light". It was directed at lightweight backpackers who took the concept to such extremes that it defeated the purpose.

While I agree with the general notion that less gear is a good thing, it is not always so, nor is it always the mark of a good woodsman. If bringing that one extra item will allow you to travel twice as far in the woods, then not taking it is perhaps not a good call.

Survivall said...

As always a good reply Ross ......... do you have a link to that article mate?? I'd like to read it.

I agree and disagree with you however - for example the blanket thing, OK yes if your only taking blankets to look like you know your stuff or if your only taking them because others do - but no if you take a blanket, try it out, evaluate it and learn from the experiment. And I think thats pertinent many things in the field - but where you are 100% right is for 90% of shrafters the general notion that less gear is a good thing, it is not always so, nor is it always the mark of a good woodsman. If bringing that one extra item will allow you to travel twice as far in the woods, then not taking it is perhaps not a good call.