Once you master fundamental bushcraft using modern gear and skills the challenge of outdoor living eases. Confidence in your skills can often lead to one of two things, discontent with the modern skills set or a type of apathy where sitting around the campfire and not doing much else becomes the norm. And yes before someone says it I have heard all the excuses from those who practice the later. (Personally I've been there done that. I've been a member of a group where skills eventually became secondary to arriving on site, claiming a place close to the fire, setting up your food and beer and then not doing much else - others excluded from the fire circle could cut fire wood and do the chores!! This is most common and you only need look at pictures from "meets" on the various forums to see it everywhere!)
So to my mind the expedition style "type" bushcraft group camp thing is not for me - glamping, rough camping whatever - I personally got into bushcraft with one ideal and that was to be able to go out with just a billy, a blanket and a knife for a overnighter or even a couple of days. And this is more in keeping with the longhunter view than the modern bushcrafters.
I like the challenge of using older skills and simpler kit as much as I like the idea of carrying less kit. With this in mind then lets look first at our line of defence against the elements, our clothing.
Below is a list of clothing worn by a type ranger during the French and Indian war, we will use this as a comparison to what modern equivalents there are.
Hat - knitted torque, Canadian cap, tri-corn or wide brimmed.
Shirt - typically linen or wool
Waist coat (short or long sleeved) - typically cotton, linen or Wool
Trousers - breeks or long trousers generally a canvas or wool make
Shoes - 18th century model leather shoes with brass buckles but when these wore out moccassins.
Hunting Shirt - often canvas or Linen - sometimes wool (used as a protective coat over normal clothes)
Ranger Uniform coat - wool coat usually for dress with wool facing and pewter buttons etc.
Blanket - says what it does on the tin.
Blanket coat - wool
Gloves and scarf - wool
OK so if the above is a typical "ranger" wardrobe what can we the modern "ranger" wear that is similar?
Modern similarity -
Hat - knitted watchcap, wool felt hat (brimmed)
Shirt - flannell or wool (swanndri ranger is you have the coin or army surplus wool if you prefer)
Waist coat - this would be a mid/outer layer - if we stick with traditional materials then ideally wool.
Trousers - canvas work trousers are available but ideally poly-cotton trousers are a as tough alternative.
Shoes - not many of us would wear shoes to the woods these days so we have to accept hiking boots but there is still room for moccassins!
Hunting shirt - bearing in mind its roll is protection not insulation ventile is a good alternative although canvas or tin cloth jackets are available.
Ranger Uniform coat - isn't really applicable but a modern army great coat would make for a excellent warm option.
Blanket - says it all but bear in mind the other uses of a blanket - ie matchcoat, wrap/shawl etc
Blanket coat - capote or similar - a swanndri Mosgiel would be a good alternative but as before a better option would be to make your own from an old blanket.
Gloves and scarf - wool, avoid acrylics as these melt around the fire!
So we can dress in a modern fashion but using traditional material, this means we can also replicate the layering system and type of clothing worn without recourse to look like a re-enactor. Wool being preferable for its warmth when wet abilities but bear in mind the amount of linen, hemp, Linsey Wolsey etc worn in 18th Century colonial days - due primarily to the scarcity of wool in the colonies at this time.
Next and more importantly we'll look at the kit our ancestors used - this to my mind is key as its here the real differences lay in both skills required and how we use them. It is here we can lighten our load and simplify or outdoors life!!