Bushcraft and camping gear for overnight trips

For a while, I’ve been promising to show my rucksack and it’s contents, since I’ve already shown my cutting tools, belt pouch and shoulder bag. Seeing as how I had to get my gear together for my upcoming trip to Estonia anyway, I figured I’d take pictures of it all and just put out a single post showing all the gear I regularly use for overnight trips. Naturally, since my trip to Saaremaa will be a late-summer/early-fall trip, I won’t be showing any winter-specific items here.

So here’s an overview shot of the gear I bring for overnight trips lasting one night or more (my longest trip in recent years has been about a week).

1) Cutting tools
2) Belt pouch
3) Seasonal items
4) Bedroll
5) Shoulder bag
6) Rucksack
7) Cook kit
8) Poncho tent kit
9) Extras bag

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1) My cutting tools are a 26″ vintage Gränsfors Bruks axe, a Wenger No.7 Swiss army knife, a custom BushProwler knife made by Ilkka Seikku (with ferro rod in the sheath) and a 10″-bladed Fiskars sliding saw.

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2) My belt pouch contains twine, mini fishing kit, sewing needle, whistle, matches, mini ferro rod, flashlight, spoon, metal cup, bandana, Swiss army knife (it’s the one shown in the cutting-tools picture above; I keep in in this pouch), imitation Swiss card with mirror, mylar space blanket and compass.

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3) The seasonal items I’m bringing with me are a mesh bug shirt and a hand-line fishing kit and fake worms.

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4) My bedroll consists of a waterproof bivy bag, two thin foam sleeping pads and a sleeping bag (the sleeping bag is rolled up at the foot of the bivy bag in the picture).

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5) My shoulder bag contains a German army poncho, candle lantern, bug spray, lip balm, compass, large heavy plastic bag, light stick, wooden cup, coffee/tea/sugar, half a bar of soap, sewing kit, pen, canteen, sausage roaster, alcohol stove, head light, bag of tinder, first-aid kit, paracord, twine, toilet paper, small dry bag and sharpening stone.

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7) My cook kit contains a pot, kettle, fire grill, hobo stove, buddy burner (including a soot brush, cover/extinguisher and extra wax), folding-handle frying pan, spoon, olive oil, salt/pepper mix, aluminum foil, dish soap and dish brush.

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8) My poncho shelter kit contains tent poles, stakes, guy lines, a ground cloth, one poncho and two removable end walls. The other poncho used with this tent is attached to my shoulder bag.

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9) My extras bag contains steel wire, water-proof repair tape, extra matches, needle-nose pliers and a hygiene kit.

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In addition to the items shown and listed above, I will bring one set of extra clothes, high-top rubber boots/wellingtons, gaiters, thin gloves, a set of thermal underwear (just in case), thick socks, a hat, a second water bottle, an extra pair of glasses, my cell phone and food.

I keep my clothes in a dry bag on the outside of the pack. This leaves more than enough room inside the pack for my food and, if I so choose, my entire shoulder bag! If I wear the shoulder bag on my shoulder (which is what I usually do), I can easily fit 2 or 3 weeks worth of food in the pack. Not bad for a 35-liter rucksack.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is neither an ultralight, nor a minimalist, kit. Fully loaded with food for a few days, clothes and 2 liters of water, the total weight is around 17.5 kg/38.5 pounds. I’m happy to carry this kind of weight if it means I’ll have very rugged, reliable items at my disposal. It’s true that I could do without plenty of the items listed above, instead improvising things in the bush. To be honest, though, I don’t always want to have to make the things I need every time I go out! There are also lots of things I may not use, but I’ll be happy to have them if I do need them.

Weather situation: The forecast is now calling for rain every day of the trip, and since my transportation has already been paid for and I will not be able to reschedule, I have had to make a last-minute change to my regular kit loadout. I’ve decided to replace my tent’s ground sheet with a lightweight 2 m x 3 m/6-foot x 9-foot tarp. This tarp can either be used as a ground sheet for the tent or strung up for added protection from the rain. I will probably be wearing one of my two ponchos most of the time, and the other poncho plus the extra tarp will give me plenty of dry space to move around in if necessary. It will also give me the option of making a small kota/teepee shelter. Since I’ll be using the tarp to replace the old single-purpose ground sheet, I won’t be adding any bulk or weight to my pack. I’ll only be adding versatility.

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24 comments on “Bushcraft and camping gear for overnight trips

  1. Corey says:

    I’ve got my eye on the Bushprowler! Beautiful knife. Your sleeping bag at the bottom of the bivy looks quite compact. Is it a pretty warm bag or does the bivy aid in insulation?

    • You’ll have to pry it from my Sub-Artically frozen hands. 😉 I highly recommend having Ilkka make you one, though. He forges his blades the old fashioned way and charges less than a lot of companies do for machined stuff.

      The bedroll picture is kind of an optical illusion. The bivy bag is pretty roomy, and the sleeping bag is a normalish size. Not super compact and not huge and bulky. It’s a summer bag, but I’ve been reasonably comfortable in it down to 2.5*C/36.5*F with long johns on.

      This particular bivy (Italian army surplus) doesn’t aid in insulation.

  2. OutdoorEnvy says:

    Nice gear. You’ll get some good wet weather fire starting practice with the wet weather.

    Does the bedroll fit on the bottom of the pack with the lash straps? I’ve got the same pack but haven’t tried to lash a bedroll or sleeping bag yet. Just curious about the size it will hold.

    • The forecast had changed a bit (yet again), and it looks like I won’t be soggy the entire time. At least I can hope. 🙂

      The bedroll almost fits on the bottom of the pack. If I take out one of the thin sleeping pads, it will fit. Two pads make the overall roll too big, so I have to put it on top of the pack (held on with paracord). I put my clothes bag on the bottom. But the leather straps on the bottom of the pack will actually hold a good-sized bedroll (just not my semi-oversized one).

    • Also, I kind of compressed the rucksack a bit for the picture, so it looks smaller than it is. I.e. the bedroll is not hugely wide and oversized in comparison to the pack. 🙂

  3. Ross Gilmore says:

    Great set of gear. I had the same question as OutdoorEnvy.

  4. Sam says:

    I really like your shoulder bag, I have one very similar that I got at a yard sale. My bag is U.S. surplus from the 1940’s, I was wondering what kind yours was, and did it come with straps on the bottom or did you add them? Very nice gear!

    • Thanks. 🙂 My shoulder bag is the old-style Finnish gas-mask bag. I added the straps to the bottom of the bag so I could attach my poncho there. Otherwise, it comes with a shoulder strap and a waist strap as standard. The waist strap is nice, because it both takes some of the load off your shoulder and also prevents the bag from flopping around while hiking.

  5. American Grouch says:

    Well written and thought out. I like the cut of your jib.

  6. Ah very nice. I’ve done a considerable amount of backpacking, and when the forecast is soggy at best, I have never once regretted bringing a tarp. For a well-strung one really makes the difference between merely surviving and thriving.

  7. Sean Kempenski says:

    Greetings!,

    I am the owner of http://www.easiercamping.com and I like your website.
    I also have a website that offers great information on “camping”.
    If you would like to exchange links, I would be happy to do so.
    Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in.   

    The link information is:
    URL: http://www.Easiercamping.com   

    Thanks and looking forward to your reply,  
    Sean

  8. Alex says:

    How well does that bivy bag work? And what material is it made of? Does it breath pretty well? I’m thinking about ordering one. Thanks for a nice blog!

    • Thanks for the comments! The bivy does not breathe well. I pretty much leave it unzipped to allow water vapor to escape. It does keep out water from the ground, which is my main concern. I’m not sure exactly what material it is. If you can get one cheap, it’s worth it, but there are better bivies out there, for sure.

      Stay tuned for a full gear update in the near future!

  9. vje says:

    I assume you use the dish soap in the forest? You do realize this is very environmental pollutant?
    Doing your dishes with only water and sand/brush wil do the job.

    Leaving tha, nice gear. I love the axe!

  10. jephsimamora says:

    the shoulder bag lookslike that Indiana Jones use in movies. very cool!

  11. hobo says:

    Nice information about your pack and equipment thanks for sharing

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