Oven the next few weeks I will be listing all the current kit I use for wild camping. It has taken me quite a few years to establish my kit so there is quite a lot of items to go through. I will be showing the tents I use, the sleeping mat I prefer and the my favorite sleeping bags which enable me to wild camp all year round. I will also show all the other pieces that I use including lighting, cooking, backpacks, boots and waterproof equipment that I use.
I do have different kit options for winter and summer camping but I will list all of what I use and explain when I prefer to use it and why. Stay tuned.
It is now confirmed that I will be attending the Woodlore Fundamentals Course in Lochside, Perthshire, Scotland in the Autumn of this year (2016). This is the first Fundamental Bushcraft course that Woodlore have run at Lockside so it will be a great adventure for all those attending.
The course lasts for seven days and involves many aspects of woodland survival such as, wild foot, tracking, trapping, foot preparation and cooking. In addition to this there will be instruction in knife use and carving plus shelter building plus a wide variety of other Bushcraft skills.
It will be a very interesting experience and I hope to come away from the course with a lot of new skills and knowledge plus a better understanding of woodland survival, and a stronger connection with nature. I have not camped in a woodland for more than a couple of nights so a full week of camping will hopefully help me me feel much more at home in that environment.
There will also be a wide variety of wildlife to observe including Roe and Red Deer, Otters, Badgers, Foxes and Ospreys. Hopefully I will be able to capture some of these in photographs to share with you on my blog.
I’ve watched a lot of videos on YouTube about people staying in Bothies but I had not stayed in one myself, so I thought it was about time that I did, the Bothy that I chose for my first stay was Green Bothy in Kielder.
A Bothy is a building that is made available for people to stay overnight, usually free of charge. Bothies are most often maintained by the Mountain Bothies Association. You can join the Mountain Bothies Association for a small fee and the money goes towards the upkeep of Bothies.
I had asked a friend of mine (Mick) if he wanted to come along for a trip to Green Bothy in Kielder and he said he would, so I planned the route we would take from a small village called Stonehaugh. As usual I used OS Maps to plan the route and then downloaded the route into my phone.
Route to Green Bothy
I had arranged to meet Mick at 2 pm but I got a text from Mick saying he was going to be late and he would meet me at the Bothy, so I set off on my own. It was about 4.5 miles to walk from Stonehaugh to Green Bothy.
It was about a two hour walk to get to Green Bothy, a lot of the route was up hill and there were some quite steep sections. The scenery on the way there was beautiful and there was a beautiful fragrance from the pine trees.
Once I got there I had a quick look around and then started unpacking my bag, There were three rooms which were available for people to sleep in, each with a raised platform. I setup my sleeping mat in the main room where there was a log burning stove. Mick Arived a couple of hours later and picked the room just off the main room.
One we got settled in we got the log burning stove lit and cot some extra fire wood, we sat around the stove and discussed our adventures and shared knowledge. Mick has an excellent YouTube Channel and would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the outdoors: 12thSagitarrian YouTube Channel
Taking the correct camping equipment is essential for a good camping experience. If you are new to camping or have not been camping for quite a while it is not easy deciding what
Camping Equipment – Tent
camping equipment you need to take. The camping equipment that you will require depends on a number of factors, including; Considerations for children, amenities available at the camp site and how long you will be camping for. In this article I will provide a list of basic items that you will need, you may need to add additional items or multiply the items by how many people will be going on the camping trip.
Camping Equipment Checklist
– Tent Family/Backpacking.
– Camping Mats Family/Backpacking.
– Water Bottle Family/Backpacking.
– Table Family/Backpacking.
– Chair Family/Backpacking.
– Stove Family/Backpacking.
– Fuel for Stove
– Food (Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Meal plus Snacks)
– Wash Kit.
– Plates, Knives, Forks, Spoons, Kettle, Pans, Cups, Chopping Board and Sharp knife.
– Towels, Dishcloth, Washing up liquid.
– Tea, Coffee, Sugar and Milk.
– Sleeping Bag (Must be warm enough for camping conditions).
– Waterproof Clothing.
– A Change of Clothing.
– Bedtime Clothing.
– Warm Clothing and Footwear (It can sometimes be wet and muddy).
– Lamp, Torches (Head torches are useful) Family/Backpacking.
– First Aid Kit.
– Batteries and Chargers for phones and torches.
– Games (Useful if children are camping).
– Plastic Bowls (For washing dishes etc.).
– Plastic Bucket or Portable Toilet.
– Toilet Paper.
– Hand Wipes , Hand Wash.
– Sanitary Items.
– Toothbrush and Toothpaste.
– Maps and Compass, GPS.
– Insect Repellent.
New camping equipment can be quite expensive and sometimes you can pick up a bargain and find some excellent Used Camping Equipment
I hope this camping essentials checklist helps you decide what you need to take on your next camping trip. Camping is a wonderful experience especially for children and I am sure the experiences they have will stick with them throughout the whole of their lives as it has done for me.
Some of the items in the list may not be suitable of you are a backpacker camping on your own but I have tried to provide a reasonable basic list of camping equipment requirements that will help a family going on a camping holiday.
Earlier this year, I decided it was time to visit the Lake District in Cumbria, UK. I had been thinking about going for quite a while but had been waiting for the weather to improve. The forecast for the coming week was clear and sunny so I packed my kit and set off. The place I had chosen for my wild camp was called Harrop Tarn. A tarn is a body of water left over from the ice age, in the case of Harrop Tarn it is quite small compared to some of the other tarns in the Lake District.
When I arrived at Thirlmere, the large man made reservoir which is the starting point of my climb to Harrop Tarn, I discovered that the road down to the chosen car park was closed. I would need to park my car at the Thirlmere Damn and walk the 4.5 miles to the car park where the ascent to Harrop Tarn begins. I was pleased that I had packed plenty of additional water as it was a hot and sunny day. I set off on my walk at about 1 pm and it took me about 2 hours to get to the car park, I had stopped several times to take photographs of beautiful Thirlmere and to just take some water on board, I was aware that dehydration was a real possibility in the heat of the sun.
I arrived at Dobgill Car Park at about 3 pm, the trail to Harrop Tarn is signposted from the car park. The trail is quite steep and winds its way up past a small waterfall, the trail has in the past had some work done on it with stone laid along the route but it didn’t appear to have had any maintenance for some time, some of the stones were loose and required careful consideration. This walk would be quite tricky in wet conditions as the stones were quite slippery even in the dry. It is not a long walk and you are soon rewarded with the stunning view of Harrop Tarn. The tarn lies in a high corrie and is surrounded by impressive crags which provide a great deal of shelter, particularly from westerly or northerly wind, with coniferous woodlands almost completely surrounding the tarn.
It didn’t take me long to find a suitable spot for my tent, it was just on the tree line and was completely flat. this was quite a surprise as most of the grass surrounding the tarn was thick sedge and was marshy underfoot. By the time I got setup it was almost 5 pm and it was time for a sit down and a hot drink. It was extremely peaceful with not another person for miles and only the sound of the wind swishing through the trees to keep me comfortable. There were a lot of deer tracks but I wasn’t lucky enough to see any while I was sitting enjoying the ancient landscape.
A few hours later, after some food, the sun was starting to disappear behind the crags, it didn’t take long for the darkness to sweep over the tarn giving it a completely different atmosphere under the streaming silver light of the moon. It wasn’t long before I was asleep.
The morning was bright and sunny and the crags shone with a golden hue as the sun moved across their rough surface. I packed up my equipment and checked that I had not left anything behind. I quickly found the trail head and started to descend, looking down towards the car park I was overjoyed to see a couple of Roe Deer just standing there grazing on foliage. They eventually noticed me and started to wander into the deeper cover, but not before I had managed to capture them on video.
I eventually got back to DobGill Car Park and set off on the 4.5 mile walk back along the road running beside Lake Thirlmere. A couple of hours later I was back at my car.
Kit List for This Trip
Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek + 55-65
Luxe Hex Peak V4
Thermarest NeoAir All Season
Kathmandu Columbus Down Sleeping Bag
Alite Mayfly Chair
Alpkit Bruler Stove
Alpkit Splitta Table
Luxe Single Groundsheet
Alpkit MyTi Mug
Adventure Food Pasta Ai Funghi
Deadwater Fell is located at the north or Kielder Reservoir at an altitude of 1873 feet. My walk to Deadwater Fell began at Kielder Village near the library.
The start of the walk takes you past Kielder Castle and visitor centre which is open seasonally between March and September. There is also a cafe and public toilets, that cafe is open between 9am and 5.30pm.
If you are planing on doing the Deadwater Fell trail for the first time it is advisable to take a GPS and map your route before hand or go with someone who has done the walk before. The route is marked with a red arrow but there are many crossing paths at Kielder and it is quite easy to take a wrong route.
Deadwater Fell is a moderate walk and walking boot are advisable as the terrain is varying. The temperature can vary greatly from down in the village to up on the top of the fell so it is advisable to take warm clothes, even in the summer the fell can be cold with strong winds. The last section of the trail is quite steep and has loose stone surface, this is designed for mountain bikes to descend form the summit. If mountain bikers are around it is advisable to take the spiraling longer route around the back of the summit Please leave plenty of time to make your trip, if you are planning to walk there and back in the same day it could take a considerable amount of time, the distance is about 8 miles round trip and naturally it’s mostly up hill on the way there, in some places it is quite steep walking. You do NOT want to walking in the dark. It took me over 2 .5 hours to walk there and just under 2 hours to walk back.
My first trip to Deadwater Fell was in mid April and I wanted to stay the night on the fell to see the legendary sunrise. I knew it was going to be cold so I was well prepared. I had two sleeping bags which were nested together for additional warmth and also a bivvy bag to prevent the sleeping bags from getting wet. I knew there was a kind of shelter that I could use to get out of the wind so I didn’t take a tent. The temperature dropped to around minus 6 centigrade and the wind added a lot of wind chill. I would not recommend trying to camp out in these temperatures unless you have the right equipment for cold weather and are experienced in cold weather camping.
Check out the videos below to see how I got on…
Please watch Part 2 to see the awesome sunrise and views from Deadwater…
I have added a new piece of equipment to my kit in an attempt to make my backpack lighter and to provide flexible sleeping options. The AlpKit Cloud Cover Quilt is a very reasonably priced lightweight down quilt, it has a 650+ white goose down fill and weighs just 460 grams.
I took the Alpkit Cloud Cover on a recent woodland hammock camp where the temperature dropped to 0c/32f and while the quilt is not warm enough just to use on it’s own I inserted the quilt inside my lightweight three season sleeping bag and was very warm all night.
My plan is to use the quilt as a liner for my three season bag in the winter and colder nights and then use either the three season bag or quilt on its own on warmer nights. The quilts is suitable for hammock and ground camping and can be clipped together with attached plastic poppers to turn it into a sleeping bag. In the bag configuration I found that I had to leave the top poppers open as it was quite tight when they were all closed. The dimensions of the Cloud Cover are:
Length: 185 cm
Width top: 133 cm
Width bottom: 94 cm
The Cloud Cover also has chord at the top and bottom so either can be synced up to provide additional warmth. The quilt material is very soft and comfortable against the skin, in fact the material is very fine. The quilt has enough width to tuck the sides under to prevent drafts. I would say that if you are over six feet tall that the quilt would probably not be long enough, but it is just right for me at 5’11.
I was able to pack the quilt and my sleeping bag in the sleeping bags bag which meant that I didn’t have any additional space taken up by the quilt. I would only do this while traveling as they are both down and need to be left to loft while not in the backpack.
The AlpKit Cloud Cover Quilt does not come with a lofting bag so you will either need to make one or store it with another down sleeping bag.
I really enjoyed using the AlpKit Cloud Cover Quilt and look forward to trying it again soon.
If only I had known earlier – known that I had a bushcraft school right on my own doorstep. The Northern Wilderness Bushcraft School is only four miles from my home, and they have some of the best woodland that I have ever seen. The school is located at Finchale Abbey and has over two and a half miles of untouched woodland which runs along the river Wear.
Arriving At Base Camp
I saw on Facebook that they were having their monthly meeting (moot), so I just had to go along to see for myself. On arrival at Finchale Priory I paid for a parking token, this was to ensure that I could pass through the exit barrier on leaving. I had a rough idea where the school was located as I had earlier checked on Google Maps.
Setting up Camp
On entering the school base camp I was greeted by a large parachute hanging above an open fire, and the friendly smiles of Dan and Gilan one of the bushcraft instructors. I offloaded my backpack and started looking around for somewhere to hang my hammock. After a minute or two I met Ian and Ryan, two other lads that were there for the moot. The lads had been there the previous night and already had their camp setup, they kindly invited me to join them. After hanging my hammock and tarp beside Ian and Ryan I headed off back down the the base camp to see what was planned for the day.
A Tour of the Woodland
Gillan said he would take us all for a walk around the woodland so we could see the scale and the natural resources. We set off after lunch and headed up to the top of the wood (the furthest away from the river). The woodland is on a slope down to the river, but at this point it was relatively easy walking. Once we got to the top we walked along the edge of the tree line and came to a huge area of open land, there were clear deer tracks and the tree line was full of wild edibles including, Blackberries, Blueberries and Rosehip. The ground was covered in Beech Nut and also empty Acorn shells, there was clear sign that squirrels had been eating the acorns. When we got to the end of the open area we headed into the woodland. We saw a huge variety of trees, Beech, Birch, Hazel, Oak and many more. It was obvious that this part of the woodland had not been managed for many years as there were lots of dead standing trees.
Ivory Wax Cap
We headed down steep inclines until we came to the river, this really was magical. There were ducks and swans bobbing around on the river and every so often the surface of the river would ripple as a fish leaped out to grab an unsuspecting fly. An old tree had fallen near the side of the river, it was covered in green moss, and had mushrooms and fungus growing on it.
We headed back up through the woods, it was a much steeper climb at this point, I was out of breath by the time I go the the top. We headed back into the open space which lay between two areas of woodland then walked back to base camp. It must have take two and a half to three hours to walk the woodland which gives you some idea of the scale.
Chilling Out by the Fire
When we got back to base camp, Steve Taylor, the person that runs the Bushcraft School was there to greet us. He had been collecting fire wood and bringing up the cooking equipment to prepare for the evening meal. Ian got the fire going and Stevie started preparing his specialty ‘bean stew’. I spent the rest of the evening siting around the fire listening to Stevie and Ian exchanging stories.
As well as the Bushcraft school, which offers a wide variety of courses, they also offer several membership options that allow a small number of people to use the woodland for wild camping, or to camp overnight to practice survival skills, shelter building etc.
I had a fantastic time at the Northern Wilderness Bushcraft Moot and I can highly recommend it to anyone who is considering going. I have signed up to become a member and will certainly be attending future moots.
Winter is approaching fast, so I thought it was the ideal time to check my Bergans Lavvo for holes or rips before the bad weather comes along. The Bergans Lavvo is a Tipi Tent and the model I have sleeps up to 6 people. That is, six people sleeping on the floor, personally I prefer a little luxury in the colder nights. More often than not I use a camp bed, well, it’s actually a Carp Fishing Bed with a memory foam mattress, it’s very comfortable. The thing I really like about the Bergans Lavvo is that it can accommodate a wood burning stove, a vital piece of equipment, in my opinion, for winter camping.
So, I packed the car with all the equipment and set off for some local woodland where I had permission to camp for the night. I found a beautiful spot and started to set up the Tipi…
The Lavvo looked in perfect condition and had not suffered any ill effects from spending the past seven months in it bag. It didn’t take very long to collect some firewood and tinder and get the stove lit. Once inside the Lavvo, it was extremely cozy, and the camp bed provided even more luxury.
One thing I had wanted to do for some time was to have a go at making bread on the stove and now was the ideal opportunity. I had brought all the ingredients with me and mixed them together in a big pan. Once the dough had been made I split it into two foil trays, to enable the bread to cook quicker. I only had space to cook one portion of dough at a time, but within twenty five minutes the first roll of bread was made, it turned out to be very tasty.
After my meal I settled in for the night and enjoyed the sound of the birds roosting and the distance sound of cows mooing. It was very enjoyable and I had a very comfortable and warm nights sleep. If you get the opportunity to sleep in a Hot Tent, you should definitely give it a go, it is a wonderful experience.
When you are off the beaten track, either camping of backpacking is is important to have a good flashlight. What I mean by a good flashlight is, one that is robust, waterproof and has several different settings. I have had a number of good flashlight over the years but I decided to invest in some newer technology.
Flashlights have come a long way in the last few years, they have moved away from the traditional bulb and now use L E D (light emitting diode) technology. What this means is that they a much more reliable and a LOT brighter.
The flashlight I decided to purchase was the ThruNite TN12, it has all the features I had been looking for and was a very reasonable price compared to competitive flashlights. The Thrunite TN12 uses one 18650 battery which provides the flashlight with a lot of power, the flashlight can produce 1050 lumens on the highest setting, which is very impressive for such a small flashlight
The Thrunite TN12 is also ideal for Survival and Search and Rescue as it can throw it’s beam for quite a long distance while also providing a good amount wide spill. The flashlight also has a strobe mode which could come in very handy in emergency situations.
Thrunite TN12 Specifications:
Uses one 18650 rechargeable battery or two CR123A batteries (not included)
Max output: 1050 lumens
Reverse polarity protection design to protect from improper battery installation