Jun 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm #1259956
@whiskyjackLocale: The Canadian Shield
There's an article titled "Everything weighs something", but this isn't true, one thing we can take with us in the bush that doesnt weigh anything at all is knowledge.
When shopping for new gear we often consider how many $ per ounce saved to judge the efficiency of the purchase, but have you ever considered time as a factor?
With "leave no trace" trekking and todays focus on gear a lot of useful bushcraft skills that can replace gear are ignored. They weigh nothing, but their penalty is time.
A lot of people carry some combination of stove/pot stand/windscreen. I carry none of these, instead I cook on the camp fire and make an adjustable pot hanger for my billy can.
Time: 5 minutes. Weight saved, dunno, never owned a stove lol.
When cooking fish, instead of using a grill or a pan you can just put them on a stick over the fire, or what I like to is lay a bed of damp sphagnum moss over a hot coals, put my fish on that, then put another layer of moss on. That way I can keep fishing without having to tend to my meal while it cooks.
When I go hike in the Canadian Shield I don't bother bringing toilet paper. Sphagnum moss works even better, it's moist and slightly antiseptic. It gets my butt cleaner and is more hygienic.
Time: 2 seconds to bend over and pick some up. Weight saved: ~2 oz.
Tinder. In my neck of the woods birch bark is abundant, and while there are many other excellent alternatives it's my first choice. It's easier to light than pine needles, much easier to gather than fatwood, and unlike dry grass or old mans beard it's weather proof. You can dunk it under water, shake it off then light it.
Time: None, I just grab a lose piece off a tree on my way into camp. Weight saved: negligible.
Wild foods can potentially save you quite a bit of weight. I'm not a fan of relying on it, but I love to supplement my grub with forage. Aside from the seasonal delicacies there's often staples. I'm quite partial to the roots of cattails (aka bull rushes, reedmace), the green shoots are supposed to be quite good too. Instead of bringing tea bags I simply enjoy the indigenous "labrador tea".
A bed can be fashioned out of spruce bows & moss. I've had to do this one time when I was ill prepared for the night time temperatures on a late October hike. I don't recommend it though, aside from the amount of time it takes it requires a lot of green branches.
Of course there are countless other natural alternatives, but these ones I've found are the best trade off.
What bushcraft techniques do you guys employ in your travels?Jun 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm #1619409
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I don't like to cook over a fire because I don't like to build a fire and I don't like how my pot gets all sticky. I live in Southern California and there are times of the year when fires are prohibited. I don't normally backpack during those times, but a lot of the time when I'm out there it seems like everything would catch on fire in an instant. I've gotten used to not having a fire and prefer it now. However, I have on occasion brought my old pot and cooked over a fire.
Other than the occasional cook fire and once in a while tossing some miners lettuce into my meal, I don't do anything considered bushcraft. Oh wait, I do go without TP but I use white sage or grass instead of moss since there is no moss around here.
I am considering weaving a sleeping bad out of tule or cattails, but I haven't tried that yet.Jun 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm #1619426
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
You've saved around 7 ounces with your fire cooking system.
Bushcraft skills I use:
wiping my butt with leaves
starting a fire
building snow shelters
I also weave my own tarp out of grass, snare my own food, and fashion moccasins out of the skins of normal UL backpackers I encounter on the trail.Jun 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm #1619460
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> fashion moccasins out of the skins of normal UL backpackers I encounter
You don't use up their packs and tarps and quilts???
Or the yummy food they might be carrying?
What an anti-environmental waste!
CheersJun 13, 2010 at 8:15 am #1619559
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
No,no. I show up on the trail with just the clothes on my back and my skinin' knife. My initial skin to out weight is so incredibly low it boggles the mind. I use everything I find.Jun 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm #1619725
@silveradodutchmanLocale: Central Florida
So where does your bushcraft fit in with "leave no trace"Jun 13, 2010 at 8:36 pm #1619743
"So where does your bushcraft fit in with "leave no trace""
where would bushcraft skills not fit in to LNT?Jun 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm #1619749
Aside from fashioning beds from branches (a rightfully outdated practice in most high-impact areas), all you're talking about is cooking over a woodfire, roasting fish on sticks, using natural tinder, and going TP-less.
Sounds a lot like backpacking!
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