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Bushcraft & Primitive Wilderness Skills The Bushcraft & Primitive Wilderness Skills forum is for discussion (on-site content) that directly relates to ancient and/or primitive style bushcraft/wilderness skills (e.g. firecraft, foraging, natural material construction, modern/primitive tools, long-term wilderness survival,...).


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  #31  
Old 07-06-2011, 12:28 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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It is always a good idea to have some way to heat water, especially in an emergency situation. A hot drink, whether something you bring along (coffee, tea, soup etc.) or scrounged from the environment (conifer needles, hartshorn sumac berries) goes a long way to provide some nourishment and improves the morale.

As an old soldier the canteen and cup comes to mind. Several makers provide cups or mugs that fit a 1 qt. Nalgene bottle and there are a variety of small cook pots available. I notice there is now one in aluminum though most are stainless steel. Aluminum is lighter BUT aluminum cups can be lip-burners so be careful. Vargo makes a titanium version, with lid. Titanium has the advantage of lightness without the lip-burning characteristic, but is considerably more expensive.

If you use the canteen & cup add one of the stoves. There are two types. One wraps tightly around the cup but is open at the bottom. This is best if the cover is snug fitting. The other has a bottom but needs a roomier case. You could also carry an alcohol stove and fuel, or a solid fuel stove and fuel (trioxane, heaxamine, Esbit or the new gel fuel. I prefer a stove and fuel since building a fire to heat a cup of water is a bit of a nuisance.

You have many options that are light, compact, effective and not too expensive. Doing without is foolish IMO.

I light utensil beats eating hot food with your hands or stirring the coffee with your thumb. A spoon or spork fits into the water bottle carrier (most of them anyhow). The GI stainless steel spoon can alos be used as a trowel (and a bit of file work can make it into a spork), the plastic ones are lighter but I wouldn't dig with them.
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  #32  
Old 07-06-2011, 02:26 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonrider
Moondog, thanks for the post. I think if I was putting together a kit for an intentional minimalist bushcrafting adventure, or a grab-and-go kit for the car or house, I would definitely include the billy can you mention.

But for this trip, I'm not really settled on what I am trying to do. I started off thinking about what I would normally carry as my emergency kit in my daypack for a day hike, and the trip was intended to test what it would be like if I actually got stranded with that kit. If I stick with that theme, then I'll probably not bring the billy can, because I probably would not put that in my normal emergency kit for day hikes. I'm leaning toward either a metal water bottle that I could boil water in if need be, or a metal cup that would be smaller than the 2-liter billy can you mentioned.

Because my group has sort of set parameters that everything should fit in pockets and a fanny pack, I am actually looking at a military butt pack I saw at a surplus store and a military canteen with stainless cup. The butt pack would give me the capacity to carry everything I've planned on bringing so far, including a few more layers of clothing, and the canteen and cup would solve the issue of having a way to boil water. These are also both pretty affordable.

That's the thing; over here we always try and ensure that in a "GROUP" of people at least 1 person has a full set of gear ( at least 1 in 5 ) so that if the runny brown stuff does fall from heaven there is gear there.
Depending on what buttpack you buy, (Vietnam issue stuff cheap and big) there is enough room for a bigger cook pot, my army canteen,cup and fuel-tab heater is an essential part of my kit and I wouldn't leave home with-out one; to the extent that I own 3 sets of them. BTW oasis have a lightweight replacement fot the water bottle; actually bigger in capacity as well as many grams lighter and the use of a couple of straps or bits of paracord can make strapping a poncho on the outside really easy, BUT, I would stick the poncho inside; the poncho has a bad habit of getting caught and falling off if stored outside the bumbag.
The British gas mask bag I allude to is of an equal size but comes with a shoulder strap, and as you can see has enough room for an A10 hobo stove and the billy and enough spare room for a lot of kit, along with a water bottle on my belt this is what I take if I don't have my rucsac with me
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  #33  
Old 07-06-2011, 04:45 PM
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dragonrider dragonrider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph
It is always a good idea to have some way to heat water, especially in an emergency situation. A hot drink, whether something you bring along (coffee, tea, soup etc.) or scrounged from the environment (conifer needles, hartshorn sumac berries) goes a long way to provide some nourishment and improves the morale.

As an old soldier the canteen and cup comes to mind. Several makers provide cups or mugs that fit a 1 qt. Nalgene bottle and there are a variety of small cook pots available. I notice there is now one in aluminum though most are stainless steel. Aluminum is lighter BUT aluminum cups can be lip-burners so be careful. Vargo makes a titanium version, with lid. Titanium has the advantage of lightness without the lip-burning characteristic, but is considerably more expensive.

If you use the canteen & cup add one of the stoves. There are two types. One wraps tightly around the cup but is open at the bottom. This is best if the cover is snug fitting. The other has a bottom but needs a roomier case. You could also carry an alcohol stove and fuel, or a solid fuel stove and fuel (trioxane, heaxamine, Esbit or the new gel fuel. I prefer a stove and fuel since building a fire to heat a cup of water is a bit of a nuisance.

You have many options that are light, compact, effective and not too expensive. Doing without is foolish IMO.

I light utensil beats eating hot food with your hands or stirring the coffee with your thumb. A spoon or spork fits into the water bottle carrier (most of them anyhow). The GI stainless steel spoon can alos be used as a trowel (and a bit of file work can make it into a spork), the plastic ones are lighter but I wouldn't dig with them.

When I go backpacking with my full gear, I have a stove and cookset combo. For this minimalist/survival kit experiment, I currently have a hard Nalgene bottle and an aluminum cup that can nest over the end of the bottle for compact carrying inside the butt pack, or the bottle could be slung outside and the cup outside as well (or other things inside the cup inside the pack --- many variations). This sounds more or less like what you were talking about. I also have an Esbit stove. I usually do carry a few Esbit tablets in my emergency kit, but not always the stove.

You also mentioned the military canteen, cup, stove combo. If I invest in something new for this trip, I think it may be that. There are a few surplus stores around here that have some of this stuff for reasonable prices. I also saw a company called Canteen Shop that sells Nalgene lexan canteens in the military size and shape, stainless steel cups, their own brand of stainless steel stoves (both open and closed grill-top types), and stainless lids for cooking directly in fires, or plastic lids for on the stove. It all looked like good stuff, and it all nested together very nicely in the canteen cover, so that's a pretty nice versatile and compact kit I could carry on the belt of my butt pack. It did look a bit more expensive than the surplus shop variety, however.
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  #34  
Old 07-06-2011, 07:11 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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I like the Nalgene replacement for the reasons I've given but prefer the issue cup and stove.
This is one area in which making your own gear is an advantage, the military canteen holder is useless, it is uninsulated and allows the neck of the water bottle to freeze ( British is much better but is not suitable for the US canteen ) so either make a new holder or buy an after market unit that has space for fuel tabs, brew bags, can-opener/spoon widget, matches and lighter and some heavy foil as an additional wind-shield and it will still not be as heavy as the issue canteen holder. Maxpedition make one that even has a shoulder strap but it isn't cheap.
It is one piece of equipment but almost a survival kit on its own.
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  #35  
Old 07-06-2011, 07:18 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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A few notes on the GI stuff:

The stainless steel lid fits the cup perfectly and fits upside down under the cup BUT it will not fit on the stoves that have bottoms and won't fit into the WWII or Vietnam type canteen covers. This lid is made for GI use and is heavy but nearly bulletproof. I'd prefer a similar lid made from aluminum to save weight.

The soft lid is a rubbery plastic but is not silicone rubber. It's designed as a sipper lid and may melt if it is heated. Because it's flexible you can carry this in a pocket or under the cup in the new-style cover.

The cover that fits everything (canteen, cup, steel lid and stove stand) is the newer type MOLLE compatible (with long straps on the back. The new-type cover has two pockets on the side, fairly large, that can carry packets of purifier (chlorine dioxide) and small fuel pellets or other small stuff.

You can make a lightweight, functional lid by molding aluminum cut from a heavy foil roaster pan or similar. The molding can be done with the fingers. Cut large enough to allow molding a lip around the perimeter (keeps the lid from blowing off). cut one edge larger to use as a handle. This can also be carried under the canteen. You can also glue (with high temperature adhesive) a folded strip for a handle.

Cups are available in aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum is lighter but will burn your lips until the drink cools to luke-warm.

There are two types of cup handle. Most (Vietnam era and later) have wire butterfly handles. Older (WWII/Korea) have a U-shaped handle that snaps under the cup. For heating over a fire the U-shape has advantage since you can fairly easily add a twig to make a longer handle.

The canteens are aluminum, stainless steel (older GI models) and various plastics. The really old plastics have a terrible plasticy flavor that never goes away. The GI plstics are so-so but I prefer the translucent newer plastics since they don't leech anything. It's not a good idea to pour hot water into a plastic canteen.

As I mentioned, most of the covers have room enough to insert a spoon. (Back in the day we would carry the spoon stuck into our boot top).

FWIW: my own kits are:

BHI Swimmer's cover, Potable Aqua PA Plus in the pocket-both bottles, BHI canteen, GI stainless steel cup, bottomless stove, aluminum foil lid, spork. (The BHI cover needs rebuilding to fit the cup). A second set has only the cover and canteen.

MOLLE cover, chlorine dioxide tablet packs in one pocket, gel fuel packs in the other, BHI canteen, cup, stove with bottom, foil lid, spork. The second set has the cover and canteen.
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  #36  
Old 07-07-2011, 02:43 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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Australian cups have always used the older heavier handle and you are correct Ralph, it is easy to use a stick with those, and putting a spoon in is easier with the full covers, I have used an old Bren gun pouch to carry my water bottle but those are heavy duty and heavy weight.
Having the extra room available is a good idea; it allows you some dry space to stash dry twigs and tinder; I use an old coffee bean bag made form multi layer foil and plastic as a kindling and tinder bag, holds just enough to light a fire; in good weather almost enough to actually boil the cup of water.
The trick is to collect as and when you find stuff, stopping for 5 minutes in the middle of the day to collect a handful of dry tinder and twigs could save you an hour at the end of the day
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  #37  
Old 07-10-2011, 03:14 PM
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dragonrider dragonrider is offline
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On Saturday, my buddies and I went to a couple of local surplus stores to get some gear for this trip. Here's some of the stuff I picked up:

Military Butt Pack: It's a good-sized fanny pack with a large single zippered compartment. It has two compression straps, and those can be used to cinch items such as a poncho or tarp to the outside of the pack if there is not room inside.

Gun Belt: This is a heavy webbing gun belt. The butt pack has it's own built-in belt, but it is too flexible if you want to add anything else to the belt, like a canteen. The webbing of the butt pack belt also seems a bit slippery, and the buckles would always slide from their set position when hoisting the pack into position around your hips. The gun belt is stiffer, so it holds the canteens more firmly in place. And once the size is set to fit your hips, that thing will not move a millimeter. The butt pack is easy to use with the gun belt by removing the buckles and poking the loose ends of the attached belt into a sleeve along the front of the pack. The butt pack then attaches to the gun belt by using the sleeve or by using the MOLLE straps that are part of the compression strap system.

MOLLE Canteen Covers: I got 2 of these, so I can carry 2 quarts of water in canteens.

Nalgene GI-Style Canteen: The canteen covers actually came with a regular green plastic canteen in each one, but I opted to also get 2 of the the BPA-free Nalgene canteens. (Gave the other ones to my buddy.) You can see the water level, and they are a bit lighter (not much), and there is no plastic taste. They are the exact same size and shape as the standard canteen, so they work with the cups and stove kits and fit inside the covers.

Stainless Steel Canteen Cup: This is the kind that fits on the bottom of the canteen and fits inside the canteen cover. It has the metal wire wing handles. They didn't have lids, so I'll use foil.

Canteen Cup Stove: It's the kind with the open top. Uses Esbit or fuel gel. Fits over the canteen cup and inside the canteen cover.

Poncho: This is a military poncho. It's definitely heavier than the various backpacking ponchos I had seen at a number of sporting goods stores, but it had some features I liked. The edges are lined with snaps -- a lot more than the typical poncho, so it seems like you could make a more secure garment, less prone to flapping around loosely. It has heavy duty grommets at all four corners, plus grommets in the center of each side. The other ponchos I looked at did not have center grommets, so there was no good way to attach a ridge line, if you wanted to make a shelter that required one.

That's it for my spending spree. One of my buddies got something called a sustainment pouch or pack. It's a large pouch that could be attached to a larger pack or a belt using MOLLE straps, but it also has it's own removable shoulder belt. Seems like a good bag. He also got a Trangia spirit stove and wind screen set. Another friend got the same Trangia set, and a mess kit that fits inside the wind screen.

I think this gear will be a good fit for the minimalist survival kit trip we are planning. It's definitely different from how I first visualized it, but I'm getting excited about trying it out. This setup will allow me to carry the 2 liters of water I wanted, and with 2 canteens, I can be purifying one, with the other ready to go. The cup and stove mean I'll have a way to boil water if necessary, and they take up almost no room at all. The poncho does double duty as both garment and shelter (and it's nicer than a drum liner). Without being very careful about it, I've jammed the other items I expect to bring on the trip into the butt pack, and it looks like I should be able to fit it all, with the poncho on the outside. Being more meticulous about it, I might be able to fit it all inside the pack.

I'll try to take a picture and also post a full updated gear list if I get the chance.
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  #38  
Old 07-10-2011, 08:05 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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I almost always carry the poncho rolled and secured to the top of the pack. Easy to get to for a sudden rain storm. Some of those extra snaps on the GI poncho are also used to snap two ponchos together as in the old shelter halves to make a two-man shelter ( if you like being really cozy with your buddy). The grommets you mention in the center of the poncho can be used as you descibe but are also for securing a rope belt (an overhand knot in front of each grommet keeps the rope from sliding out. This wraps around and nips in the waist that also keeps the poncho from flapping about in the wind. Remember to toss in some 550 cord, too.

The bottomless stove works fine and provides a windscreen, too BUT be careful to place it on rock or mineral soil lest the fire get away from you.

With careful packing the butt packs can carry a lot more than you might think.

When selecting gear it's interesting to note a few things that primitive people want and will trade almost anything to get: a good steel knife, matches (the flint sticks also count) a flashlight and a metal kettle. A good wool blanket was also highly desirable.

Stone (flint, chert, obsidian) knives are very sharp and functional but they are also a bit fragile and take awhile for even a very good knapper to make. Steel can cut, chop and split (batoning) and are much more durable.

Fire is a necessity but making fire by primitive means is a real nuisance. Everyone should try it sometime (and then try it again in the rain) to appreciate how nice matches or good man-made flint strikers are.

A flashlight opens the night and is a lot easier to use than a torch.

Boiling water by primitive means is also a pain in the tookas. Dropping hot rocks into a bark vessel or one made from animal hide works but you have a bunch of rock in the bottom of the stew. You can boil water over an open fire in a birchbark basket waterproofed with pitch but you have to be VERY careful that the flame does not get above the waterline or your bark kettle will burn to the waterline. (I've tried that too, take my word for it - an aluminum, steel or iron pot is a lot better.)

Trying a truly primitive camp would certainly open your eyes to the advantages of even early civilization.
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  #39  
Old 07-11-2011, 07:25 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph
When selecting gear it's interesting to note a few things that primitive people want and will trade almost anything to get: a good steel knife, matches (the flint sticks also count) a flashlight and a metal kettle. A good wool blanket was also highly desirable.
. . . . .
A flashlight opens the night and is a lot easier to use than a torch.
. . . . .
Trying a truly primitive camp would certainly open your eyes to the advantages of even early civilization.
While being prepared with proper equipment is always a good idea, we should remember that the EXPERIENCE of making do WITHOUT is invaluable in cultivating a mindset for improvisation under pressure. Testing an existing "survival" kit in order to experience it can be circumvented if instead, we always look for "convenience" and "comfort" and end up making our "survival" kit ready to deal with every contingency.

After all, it's the unexpected situation that catches us off guard, and a 10 lb butt pack with 2 liters of water on it is much less likely to be on the butt when needed!

Just a reminder to remember the theme .
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  #40  
Old 07-12-2011, 12:42 AM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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10 lb 4.5 kilo
Yeah that's more likely to be left behind, I'd aim for half of that 2 kg 5 pounds max Water can be extra tho so 4 kg with that 2 liters of water.
I reckon mine should fit that criteria but I'd have to weigh it to find out
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