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20.10.2014 admin
I wanted to see if I could buy everything I needed to camp out in the woods for a budget of just ?100. But buying decent kit can be expensive, and because many people who might be interested in bushcraft cannot afford to buy lots of pricey gear all at once, I wanted to find a way of putting together a beginners’ kit for a budget that pretty much anyone can afford.
The point here is that a lack of money should not be a barrier to anyone enjoying the outdoors. The other big advantage with this approach is that you really get to know what kit works and doesn’t work for you.
This way one also avoids becoming the dreaded ‘all the gear – no idea’ walking cliche – something to be avoided at all costs in my book! So the aim was to buy everything someone who had no equipment would need to spend a night in the woods and do it on a modest budget.
Now, from the off I realised that if I was going to do this article, it would only be right and proper to use the kit for a night or two myself to prove it was all up to standard.
I began to source the kit by looking on various websites including eBay, to get an idea of what everything would cost.
From previous experience, I knew that my money would go much further investing in issued military kit instead of low quality leisure gear; my theory being that military equipment, although sometimes a little heavier, has been extensively researched and designed to do the job and to be durable. After some time searching, I ended up with a kit that I was pretty confident would serve me well. With a plane to catch, a long journey ahead of me and knowing I wasn’t going back to sleep I conceded I was beat and headed home to a warm bed.
I used the kit again while working on a week-long Elementary Wilderness Bushcraft course in Sussex.
At the first camp it didn’t take me long to get the tarp up and a fire lit (with the fire flash). That night, the sleeping kit kept me warm and was certainly comparable to my 3 season sleeping bag and bivvy bag. All in all the gear proved itself to be totally up to the challenge, and in many ways performed as well or very close to much pricier kit. Ben Gray is a member of the Frontier Bushcraft instructional team and has been involved with the teaching of bushcraft since 2009. If anything this shows not only exactly what the “cornerstone” items of kit should be, but also that there is really no excuses to get out into the woods!!
Great article again, I really admire your approach to bushcraft – in particular a line in a previous article which said something to the effect that the point of bushcraft is to acquire less kit, not more! This is the same kit almost that i started my bushcraft with over 25 year ago when i was a beginner.
So many people rush off to the High-street and spend lots of money on average kit, then wonder why what they have just brought hasn’t quite met the mark.
Yes, a first aid kit is a must especially when using a knife and saw and would be the first addition to this kit. I was on a survival course about 6-8 weeks ago and found my Boar knife sharp but lacking in weight for some of the jobs I needed to do.
In my search on their site they were also selling the Gerber Bear Grylls knives from as little as ?6 compared to ?36 in the UK. So, if you are prepared to wait the 2-3 weeks for delivery(which is usually free too), Aliexpress is a great place to source some of your kit.
Very useful as I’m planning a trip with some friends to go wild camping in Galloway Forest Park in Scotland in September. In terms of extra space – yes there was some room, enough for a spare change of clothes. Sleeping sistem- besides the obvious grandma attic, where there is allways an old wool blanket, moving companies use them to protect furniture and are most times happy to give you one. It shows you can could do it for less than ?100, particularly if you make some of your own kit.
For the beginner who is on a super-tight budget or who is willing to go to a bit more effort to source cast-offs or materials to fashion their own kit, there are some good tips in your comment. A person soon finds out what you don’t really need & your just packing around weight ! And after a fire & shelter are made can use the poncho as ground cover or a leaky roof, lol.
I swapped the buttoned in blanket and sheet in the swag with a second hand snugpack sleeping bag that cost ?5 off a mate. Looking around, asking advice from ex service men, and making or adjusting kit, can save you a lot of money and give you a sense of satisfaction. Last October American president Barack Obama announced he was sending troops to help the hunt for the LRA. Around 100 US soldiers have since been deployed in the region to help local officials trace the mass killer.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. Jewish prisoners were treated like cattle; packed tightly into cattle trucks and locked inside for days as the trains travelled to camps across Europe. These prisoners are being packed into open trains for their journey to Chelmno; little do they know that it will be their final journey. These Jewish prisoners have just arrived at Auschwitz Birkenau at the end of their journey from Hungary.
The packed railway wagons would often be shunted around from one railway siding to another for days on end, and for what must have seemed like an eternity. Eventually, after days of travelling in the most cramped conditions, the railway carriages arrived at a camp. Under German guidance, the Hungarian authorities decreed all Jews should wear the yellow star of David. The Warsaw ghetto uprising - Jewish fighters resisted the German attempt to liquidate the Warsaw ghetto. In the Netherlands, Jews were required to wear a yellow Star of David on their outer clothing. The Reds have been out on their sea kayaking journey today, packing up the boats and heading out from the Adventure School and into Loch Laxford to explore the coves and bays on the south side of the sea loch.
Thousands of prisoners were marched and then transported on railway trucks towards work camps within Germany in order to support the failing German war effort. By 1945 more than 14 million people had been exploited in the network of hundreds of forced labour camps that stretched across the whole of Nazi-occupied Europe. The Nazis believed that hard manual labour was the most appropriate way to punish opponents and re-educate them to the ideals of National Socialism.


From the establishment of Dachau, forced labour, often pointless, without proper equipment, food and sleep formed the basis of the camp regime. After the invasion of Poland the Nazis decreed that all Jewish and Polish men must perform unpaid forced labour.
From 1942, the SS reorganised the concentration camp administration to mobilise the millions of prisoners within the camps. Many thousands of German convicts were literally worked to death; living and working in the unhealthiest of conditions and denied adequate food, rest and healthcare. When Big Brother celebrity Jade Goody emerged from a two-week SAS weight-loss boot camp in Wales two stone lighter and with a flat stomach and honed limbs, ITV's This Morning TV expert Sharon Marshall, 36, was keen to sign up.
There are relay races, abs, legs and thighs classes involving endless squats, lunges and situps, and a lengthy hike over the Beacons fuelled only by a pack of bird seed. I do well so they make me do it again to demonstrate.Next is a body workout with logs and learning how to crawl like a soldier through the mud.
Sam, a former PT instructor who now has a sedentary life in the City, emerges from the communal bathroom-in her knickers screaming she can see her abs again. And should the beginner become a novice and want to spend more time in the woods, then upgrading the kit can be done steadily over time, making it much easier on the wallet. I quickly realised that with such a strict budget, there were a few things I had to compromise on. As many a squaddie will testify, not all issued army kit is great, but on the whole the theory is sound. It was back in early March and I had promised Paul I’d get this article written up for a date that ended up being in the middle of a trip to Sierra Leone.
But on reflection, my digital home weather station informed me the temperature had got down to around freezing that night as the heavy morning frost bore testament. This time the weather was a little more friendly and the kit worked really well in the woodland environment. I really like this sleeping system, the zip around the edge made it very easy to climb in and out of the swag and extra wool blankets could easily be added for extra warmth.
Some things like the rucksack, tarp and sleeping bag were fine to use but were heavier and or bulkier than my normal gear. Based in a rugged part of Cumbria, Ben is an enthusiastic outdoorsman who particularly enjoys canoeing. So much kit sold these days for bushcraft, when the ultimate goal is to be able to live from what is around you. After watching Mr Mears on country tracks, i went out and spent the money i got from catching rabbits, and got this kit, and i still have it in the shed.
I agree about not only using online shops – I did actually visit one of my local surplus shops (Military Mart) in person and chose some kit there – definately good to chose things in person and to make use of the shops owners who in my case were very helpful and patient! I think it probably is worth spending a bit more on a Bahco Laplander for this issue alone. I had been told about a Dog Legged Machete that was a great alrounder as an alternative to my current knife, but…I was looking to be paying ?125 for one in the UK. And as most of the things we buy these days are made in China anyway, why not get it dirctly from the manufacturer.
When it comes to those low prices the reason behind them is that they are by and large selling fake goods.
This is more for kids, that are less oriented into buying and have no shame of asking, reusing and improvising.
Im sure this artical will get some guys that have been doing this for years look at there kit & say to them selfs; how the heck did i end up putting all this kit in my pack ! Warm as toast most of the time, and if it drops during the night just add a layer and eat something. The DOIs provide a way for the ADS resources to be cited in a similar fashion to traditional scholarly materials. Individuals, families and whole communities together with their personal belongings were packed into cattle trucks. They did not know where they were going, the length of the journey or what would happen to them when they eventually arrived at their destination.The conditions on the journey were appalling. Many of the very young, the old and the sick would die because of the inhumane conditions during the journey.
The doors of the carriages would be pulled open to give the prisoners their first glimpse of daylight, at a place they had never seen before. During the war the development of camps across Europe provided a plentiful supply of free labour for work in the German war effort. Jewish and non-Jewish concentration camp prisoners were subjected to these same conditions with the same end goal of death through work.
Military fitness instructors Staff Reitze and Staff Smith are going to be training us, military-style.We've got six minutes to get our gear on and get outside. By lunchtime we can have done six hours of work and an egg, a tomato and a seed bar is just not enough.
The most difficult item for me to find within budget was a sleeping bag – the only thing for the right price was a British Army Jungle bag, but I knew that for me anyway it would be too thin for 3-season camping in the UK so I carried on my search. This is in stark contrast to cheap and nasty leisure kit, often designed to look the part but with many corners cut to reduce the manufacturing costs as far as possible. After all, I wouldn’t necessarily have expected my normal 3-season sleeping bag to have kept me snug on a cold night like that. Despite being seriously durable, made with canvas, leather and steel tube, it was also very comfortable to wear fully loaded. But this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, and if I was new to bushcraft with a light wallet, I would certainly use this gear to get me out of the house and into the woods!
Generally I was impressed with it, although I’m not sure it would be as waterproof as the British Army Goretex bivy bag I normally use.
When I do, I have a brew and fill the water bottle with hot water, cover it with a sock and pop in down my front.
Replacing the sheet and blanket with a sleeping back is good, rolls up smaller and easier to get out of for that early morning call of nature than a bivvy bag. The Nazis also deported many hundreds of thousands of civilians for forced labour throughout the Reich. The Auschwitz camp complex contained over 40 sub-camps that housed thousands of Jewish prisoners to work as forced labour in the coalmines, various munitions factories and the I.G. The nutritionist from ITV's Celebrity Fit Club, Marissa Peer, has devised our diet and the meals come to 1,500 calories a day.
With a treatment of cotton canvas proofer this rucksack would make a very practical addition to anyone’s kit!


Many of these would provide the much-needed human resources to produce weapons, vehicles and goods for the German war effort. I'm a 5ft8in, size 14 with highly unimpressive statistics of 37-34-43.An hourglass whose sand has run to her bottom. Bread, she says, is "glue," milk is full of "pus and mucous," Diet Coke is "osteoporosis in a glass." I bet she's a bloody riot at dinner parties. We are to be punished with another run up a hill because we were three minutes late setting off that morning. For me, decent kit does what it’s designed to do effectively, consistently and is hard wearing. If I'm not careful I'll head back to the size 16 proportions that first earned me a place on Celebrity Fit Club in 2006.
By 7pm it's dark, but for the next hour we march uphill with torches strapped to our heads. One girl on a weight-loss mission bravely speaks for all of us and says there's no way this is 1,500 calories and asks for more. Until around 3am that is, at which time I woke up feeling colder than a penguin’s cold bits. I've been a size 12 ever since I left, running the 2007 London Marathon, taking three dance classes a week, and Pilates.
When one of the staff blokes comes to cross a gorge on a rope that afternoon, I'm supposed to winch him across by yanking on the rope. The Blues were based from the Adventure School today and were out on our wilderness orienteering course on the high ground and hilltops around Loch A Chadh-Fi.
I leave him suspended over the water and tell him to drop the hill climbing threat or we'll cut the rope and drop him in the river. Other biological discoveries include my quad muscles which are the things aching in my legs. It seems a bit shallow to admit I'm a spoilt telly type who's here because her knickers are a bit tight.
Apparently, we were supposed to shout "Bang, bang," not jump on top of them and start hitting them shouting "Die!" The exercise drills, based around real Army-training processes are not easy, and two girls drop out each week. One girl has gone home with exhaustion, a woman in her 50s, who usually serves tea in her cafe, has ripped the muscles in her leg trying to keep up.
There are SAS soldiers training in the background as they work out in the Brecon Beacons to prepare them for service.
Then the call comes asking if I'd like to join the New You Boot Camp, the army-style fitness regime that claims to make any woman drop a dress size in a week for A?1,225 upwards.I say I'd like to be a size 12 again and say yes.
And we, a collection of city-dwelling, overweight women, do it on one bowl of porridge, one flask capful of soup, three oatcakes, a bit of hummus and a health bar. The first of these boot camp was held in 2007 with the aim of giving a quick kick-start to healthy living. The aerobics, sit-ups, press-ups and running round a field with kayaks again in the frost are not. They make documentaries on the Discovery Channel about people who survive things like this. Now more than 40 are run throughout the year across the UK, from the Welsh hills to Devon beaches. The staff blokes set off a fire alarm at 5am and bark at us to start power walking up a hill.
I burst into tears as I stomp through a swamp and start shouting that I don't want to be a soldier any more.
Day OneDinner: Grilled salmon,five sticks of asparagus (plus one pre-Boot Camp bacon sandwich at rail station). It's early afternoon and pouring down as I arrive at the hostel, in the shadow of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales.
Next it's an hour's boxing class, and a circuit class which involves staff screaming at you while you hit punchbags, do press-ups, push-ups, squats and lunges for an hour.
Aside from the usual running up a hill and an early-morning PT workout in the dark, we've only been suspended over a gorge on a rope, gone on another three-hour hike through waterfalls and been thrown off the edge of a cliff face.
We're still working out for ten hours a day, we're still exhausted, but it's starting to work.
Once inside, I'm ushered to a bunk bed in the dorm I'm sharing with 17 other overweight women.Nobody speaks. Fears are being conquered as well as cellulite, but tempers are running high as people complain of feeling weak through hunger. A scary-looking female member of staff in green camouflage gear points at a plastic container on the floor. When one girl is seen eating a pack of bird seed, accusations fly that seed-stealing has been going on. Except a smile at the sight of Staff Reitze realising at the end of the hike that his rucksack had been stuffed with rocks.
Yesterday has taken its toll: two girls emerge hobbling on sticks and one nursing a sprained shoulder.
The rolling Welsh valleys are beautiful and bleak - this is where the real SAS carry out survival training. Looking down at my new waterproof coat and shiny walking boots from Millets, I feel like a total amateur.
We lug a kayak around an assault course pretending it is an injured soldier, and crawl through netting, over fences, and sprint round fields.
Claire, the girl in the bunk below me, has overcome a chronic fear of heights to do a 30ft abseil and she's been grinning ever since. Eleanor, an inspirational fifty-something, apparently leapt off like a supersonic wetsuit-clad lemming yelling "Geronimo!" And she's got arthritis.
Best result of all is the 19-year-old who's just lost 12 stone - by deciding to junk her useless boyfriend. There arewomen here who've been dealt a bad hand in life, but lacked thestrength to take control of it all.Yes, the girls have all shrunk in size, yet by the end I can seeeveryone has grown, too.



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