Going Light weight .......... bushcraft style

Sorry for the lack of posts recently guys but life has been a bit hectic and looks like continuing that way for the foreseeable future!

But whilst tied up with my other duties I have had time to test out a few items and ideas. Now my whole "thing" seems to be a slow but steady drift away from the sit on your ass beside the campfire style of bushcraft, these days I yearn to wander, stealth camp and explore - with my pending move to the new forest I hope to see and do much more of each!

I've been reading a few books about lightweight hiking (as I am planning to do the Fjellraven classic next year for example) and whilst my hiking kit and bushy kit are separate I have spent the last few months making the comparison similar.

I wont go into my hiking rig except to say that my entire kit - minus food and water weighs in at 9 kilo's in a 45 litre rucksack. This kit is a set designed for a minimum of a week outdoors and Omni-seasonal so I'm quiet pleased with it.

But for Bushy my wants and needs differ slightly - for example with stealth camping a red rucksack and a yellow Hubba tent might kinda defeat the object, plus being around a fire a lot the usually light weight synthetics and down garments aren't as desirable.

For bushy I want greens and drab colours and ideally wool clothing - but reading about lightweight hiking gear got me thinking that there is no reason to carry a bucket load of gear for bushcraft either.

My favourite pack still is a ALICE pack but unlike the Large one pictured above which I loaded to bursting point I decided to opt for the Medium ALICE instead.

This achieves two things - firstly the sack capacity is 2,350 ci or Approximately 38 litres and is designed to carry a 50lb or 20 kilo load so this should stop over packing and secondly the external frame allows itself to other applications relevant to a bushcraft life style for example it can be used to carry wood or butchered game with the sack removed.

The medium ALICE isn't the ultimate sack but I am yet to find one of a similar size I like as much - but to make her workable she needs a few mods. Firstly I made my own frame as the original one sucks ............ secondly I attached quick release buckles to the lid straps rather than wrestle with the sliding ones.

Now to the meat of the matter - size and weight, for hiking or going bush if we want to reduce our load we need to observe the rule of the big three - this is the weight of your pack, tent and sleeping bag, these are the main and heaviest items so by reducing their weight the rest seems to be a natural progression - and by opting for a sack of similar dimensions the urge to over load it is gone.

I know, I know the old argument is always well a large pack doesn't have to be full - but lets face facts if your like me you will try to fill it.

Of course those of the bushcrafting community who "like" the expedition style camp and all the glamping luxuries their 4x4 can offer might not understand the "foot sloggers" mentality but personally having done both I can honestly say its their loss.

So what does my new bushy kit weigh?? Surprising 11kg minus food and water, not the 9kg of my hiking rig but then again not the 50kgs or 120lbs I used to hike with when I was a soldier .............

Medium Alice
Wash kit and house wife
Haversack for bushy possibles
Swiss Army volcano stove - hexi fuel (1x block per meal per day / 4 days x 3 meals = 12 blocks minimum) – Solo cook set - Rations and brew kit – spare matches – condiments etc
2 x folding cups – large/small
Long wooden spoon
SS mora clipper + Sussipuuko (nuk?)
Flask *winter as required
4l bladder full or empty as req
Filter system
Vango Banshee/ or Poncho
MSS bag (if tent no bivi)
Sleeping mat (if tent no ground sheet)
Mountain cap/shemagh/mittens/choppers
Blanket (if required)
Poncho or waterproof jkt)
Blanket coat/s (if not worn)
Neck knife, saw, cordage, Torch, match safe
Insect repellent
Waterproof socks          
Extra clothing not worn
Carried on body
Army clasp knife
Match safe (main) whistle
Plastic Spoon
First Aid kit (white box)

Above is my current packing list ............. it covers all my needs and is my "go to bag" before even my hiking kit as its tough, more versatile and push come to shove could be lived out of for weeks on end ............

Hope these thoughts have been entertaining and maybe a little useful in some way.


Anonymous said...

I've found that my favorite style is also "bushcraft with a lightweight tinge". After all, who really wants to carry a burdensome pack around? Smart gear choices and knowledge of the environment can make for a surprisingly light bushcraft outfit.


Old Path said...

"sussipuuko" ?

Hey, i REALLY liked to read this, i am in the same boat again with you:

"Now my whole "thing" seems to be a slow but steady drift away from the sit on your ass beside the campfire style of bushcraft, these days I yearn to wander, stealth camp and explore - with my pending move to the new forest I hope to see and do much more of each! "

Before all this bushcraft thing, i was walking a shitload of kilometers in my trips, it was very common dayhike to have 14 to 20km´s, and then.....you build up a kota shelter, get your butt there and youre campcrafter, thinking that youre as hard as your idols who in reality were walking a huge amount of miles, with nothing but the necessary.

BTW, my name once was already published in Fjällräven Classic, but my trip failed, because of my drive to there, peed on me and i was kinda sad about it, as i took care of invoicing my friends there, took care of the fees etc and then i was the one who missed it. All my buddies took the golden medal, that was nice to see. Its a weird route.....with pretty steep mountain to walk across and rocky terrain, althoug you dont need any orienteering skills thanks to millions of men who have made an hard trail along the route.

Survivall said...

Sussipuukko is my winter tool - for warmer weather I find I don't need a bigger blade where a axe and pocket knife will do.

Sadly we Brits don't have the advantage of the vast wooded areas you guys do Mikko - if we did I'd be out hiking every weekend ........how you been mate - haven't spoke for ages

As for our idols hiking with next to nothing .......that's another story

Survivall said...

Post script for this - just repacked my gear for a weekend in the Brecon Beacon's into a 55 litre sack - minus food and water - and the whole kit and kobuddle weighs a sweet 10 kg!!