bushcraft survival tips and tricks

Bushcraft & Camping Equipment Reviews

Why not browse through our pages and take a look for yourself. We are family friendly campers who love nothing more than a trip out into the wild for the weekend with the kids and the dog.

We look at everything from the latest tents and how to choose one for your next trip, to Tarps and Paracord and how you can build a makeshift shelter if you get stuck out in the woods by accident. We cover some of the basics on fire lighting and how to do this safely, how to look after and entertain your kids when on your next trip.

What do you need to pack when you bring your dog along for a camping trip, where does he sleep, what food do you bring along and how do you keep him entertained.

If you need to bring a knife along with you on the trip, how do you keep everybody safe, what skills can you develop that might come in handy in an emergency situation. How you can teach your kids some basic survival skills such as lighting a fire with just your knife etc..

How do you look after your kit and what you can do to make sure everything is kept in tip top working condition. How do you create an emergency shelter with just a tarp and a length of paracord.

There are so many things to talk about when it comes to camping and bushcraft. We don’t cover them all here but we have picked what we feel is important for your next trip and have thrown in a bit of fun along the way.

camping cot reviews

Camping Cot Reviews 2017 | The Perfect Nights Sleep

Camping Cot Reviews


We all love a good nights sleep – well I do anyway.

I also love camping.

But often these two things do not go together…

Until Now.

camping cot reviews

A lot of campsites hire professional photographers to pretty things up a bit and make everything look awesome, comfortable and flat. Experience tells us this is very often not the case so we like to pack our trusty camp cots just in case.

A great picture can show a nice flat campsite that looks like the ground is made of fluffy pillows, but the reality is it’s probably full of rocks and tree roots jutting about all over the place. No matter what you do one of these will ‘migrate’ into the small of your back while you are asleep.

I also like the option of a camping cot to keep me up off the ground in case the weather turns sour and the rain comes in. A wet sleeping bag is no fun for anybody so getting yourself elevated can save you from a world on pain.

Now don’t get me wrong. I will rough it if I have to but for me a good nights sleep is important and its critical that my dear wife and the kids also have a comfortable nights sleep. The alternative is not that pleasant so why not…

When we started researching travel cots it was a bit of a minefield. Too many products to choose from and prices that start off cheap as chips and go as high as you want. It’s camping, not five-star accommodation so we set our realistic budget and went researching for compact portable costs.


Today we want to share our best options for portable camping cots.


(if you are short on time check out our recommendations below)

Most Comfortable Camping Cot

The Chinook Outfitter is by far the most comfortable camping cot on the market but this comfort comes at a price, both in terms of actual cost and weight. Weighing in at about 18 pounds this is a heavy cot and not for the average backpacker. If you like a very comfortable sleep and are happy to throw this in your truck then this is definitely the cot for you…

Chinook Heavy Duty Padded Cot (33-Inch)

Chinook - Sports

$215.94

Best Cot For Backpacking | Keep it lightweight…

If like me you are a fan of travelling light and find yourself on long hikes through the bush to get to your final campgrounds then you are going to need to get yourself a lightweight camping cot. The Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot is perfect for this and fits right into your backpack.

Therm-a-Rest LuxuryLite UltraLite Cot Regular

Therm-A-Rest - Sports

$219.95

Best Heavy Duty Camping Cot

When it comes to my kit I also like to invest in gear I can rely on for the long haul. This is where the Teton Sports Outfitter camping cot comes into its own. Built from heavy duty kit this cot will not let you down.


Best Value Camping Cot

Coleman have always had a great name when it comes to camping equipment and their fold away travel cot has everything you need for your next trip. This cot takes top place for best value.

Sale
Coleman 2000020273 80 x 32-Inches Pack-Away Cot

Coleman Company - Sports

$54.39 - $6.72 $47.67

Coleman Camping Travel Cot


Coleman are known for producing top quality kit and we will always look to them to see if they have a product that fits our needs.

This camping travel cot ticks all the boxes when it comes to comfort, durability and quality.

So lets look at some of the features of this travel bed and see if it suits your needs.

Features

  • Supports up to 300 lbs with the polyester wrapped heavy duty steel frame
  • Plenty wide and will suit your height up to 6ft 8in.
  • Handy side table for night light or water bottle.
  • Really easy and quick to setup and take down
  • Packs up into compact carry bag for transport
  • Set it up and pack your kit away underneath it

Review


To be fair to Coleman this really is a superb cot. The ease of setting it up and taking it down makes it worth it alone. It packs away neatly into its own carry bag so you can throw it straight into the car when you are done. The only issue we heard of was that the legs didn’t lock like traditional cots but because of the design this is not at all a problem.

If you are a side-sleeper then this may be the cot for you. It’s nice and wide so you will have plenty of room. Another feature that we like with the design is because the legs fold out nice and wide and the cot edges are super strong, you can sit up on this cot ‘sideways’ and get dressed etc in the mornings without fear of it sagging or toppling over.

The canvas material that makes up the cover of the cot is strong and durable so won’t let you down over time. The small side table is made of the same material and is good for a water bottle or night light for the kids of they need one. Plus you can take the table off if you have multiple cots in the same tent or room and are tight for space. READ MORE

TETON Sports Outfitter


The Outfitter XXL Cot is rugged and will support up to 600 pounds. Great for camping or hunting and makes a superb spare fold out guest cot for home when you have visitors.
Setup and breakdown is quick and hassle-free so you needn’t waste time fussing with the cot each evening.

This camping travel cot is super strong, has plenty of room and would make an ideal additional to your camping kit for your next trip.

Features

  • Size 216 x 102 x 48 cm, Pack Size 106 x 30 x 18 cm, Weight 11.8 kg., Color Black
  • Aluminum frame, patented steel “S” legs, and heavy-duty 600D Poly Canvas top
  • Cot folds up for easy transport with included carry bag
  • Compatible with Outfitter XXL Camp Pad, Outfitter XXL Quick Tent, Gun Sleeve, Under Cot Storage and Cot Organizer
  • Cot bed supports up to 272 kg.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Review


A good solid sturdy over-sized cot that will carry the weight of a small army… You might want to consider the sleep mat that you can buy with it if you are looking for that extra level of comfort while you snooze.

Set up and break down are handy enough and it all fits away into the supplied carry bag so you can be on your way. Ideal for having in the car but watch out if you plan to carry it on a long trek into the woods due to its weight. READ MORE

Below is a quick video to show you how easy it is to setup the Teton sports outdoors XXL comfortable cot.


Texsport Camp Cot


The Texsport Deluxe camp cot is great value for money. It is the cheapest of the three camp cots we reviewed, but don’t let that stop you.

This camping bed is good and solid with its aluminium frame covered by a water resistant 600D poly cover and supported by steel legs.

Feature wise there is plenty going for this cot

Features

  • Supports up to 250 lbs with the 600D polyester wrapped aluminium frame
  • Easy setup and teardown with great folding system.
  • Heavy Duty Storage Bag included
  • Ideal for Back Sleeper
  • Lightweight Aluminium main frame

Review


Overall the Texsport folding cot is a great buy. Cost wise its cheaper that the others we looked at. One thing you might want to be wary of is if you are a side-sleeper this cot may not suit you as it dips a bit in the middle (like a hammock). If this is the case look at the Coleman above as this would be perfect.

The majority of the reviews have only good things to say about this cot but one guy stated that it was coming apart at the seams so read through all of the reviews on Amazon to make sure this is a once off. READ MORE

  • Camping Cot Reviews
  • TETON SPORTS OUTFITTER
  • Easy to setup
  • 600 lbs support
  • Steel Frame
  • PRICE= $$$

  • alt=
  • COLEMAN CAMP COT
  • Easy to setup
  • 300 lbs support
  • Steel Frame
  • PRICE= $$

  • camping bed
  • TEXSPORT DELUXE
  • Easy to setup
  • 250 lbs support
  • Aluminium Frame
  • PRICE= $

Final Thoughts


We had great fun researching camp travel cots and the best sleeping cots for adults. We hope you find this information valuable in your quest for that perfect nights sleep when you are next out camping.

Our mission was straightforward. Take a look at the best camping best for adults and something to replace the option of a foam mattress or an air bed. We also wanted the option to use these at home as portable beds when guests come over to stay.

These are our thoughts on the best options available but please do your homework and research yourself if you have the time. If not then for value for money go for the Coleman. Great portable camping bed and you will do just fine with this model without having to worry about a sleeping pad or any additional padding. You may want to look for other options for a kids cot but to be honest the Coleman would do the trick – especially with the side table. This is perfect for holding a camping light or drinks bottle.

If you are putting this straight into your tent then you might want to consider getting some floor protectors for under the legs of whatever model you choose. They all have rubberised ends on the legs but better safe than sorry. You don’t want one of them going through the floor of your lovely tent.

Keep an eye on the weight of whatever camping bed you decide to go for. It’s all well and good having one with you but remember if you have a long trek into a forest or campsite you have to carry it along, and bring it back again…

If there is a camping travel cot, camping bed, sleeping system or tent cots that you use we would love to hear about it in the comments below and if you enjoyed the information feel free to hit one of the share buttons to help us spread the word. These are our camping cot reviews so hope you get something useful out of them.

Everybody deserves a good nights sleep – no matter where you are.

Happy Camping…

Stansport Outdoor 277 9 Cup Aluminum Camper-Feets Percolator Coffee Pot

Camping French Press and Camping Coffee Makers

Camping French Press & Coffee Makers Review

There is nothing better in the morning to get you moving than a good cup of coffee. A good camping french press that produces a quality coffee at first light is just what you need for your next camping trip. 

But have you ever tried to make a decent brew when you are camping.

We have… and with varying success.

So how do you get that perfect cuppa when you are far from home and a tent is your short term accommodation.  What do you do when you are hiking in the wilderness and stop for a brew up?

Old timers used to just boil up a pot of water, throw in some coffee grounds and eventually something resembling the color of coffee would come out of the pot. A lot of people settle for instant coffee and sometimes that is just fine but that is not our style, and while we ain’t too fancy, we do like some creature comforts when we camp out in the back country. We have a great little coffee machine in the office called ‘berty’ and he gets a lot of use…

So what is the best coffee maker for camping. We like our coffee brews quick and strong when we are outdoors – how do you like yours? Lets take a look at a few of the options available…


Jetboil Flash Camping French Press

camping french pressFirst up lets look at the awesome Jetboil Flash Camping French Press Coffee Maker.

If you are looking for a quick quality cup of coffee first thing in the morning then you need look no further than the Jetboil Flash. This little beauty will have your water boiled in about 2 mins and with its awesome french press attachment you will have that refreshing cuppa in no time at all.

Everything fits snugly into your pack and away you go. Normally you will need a stove or fire, a pot to boil the water and a camping french press to get that perfect brew going. Here you have it all in one.

An added advantage of this system is you can use the Jetboil for other uses such as boiling water to rehydrate food etc so it’s sort of a two in one really.

  • 1.0 Liter cooking cup 
  • Stainless steel burner with push button igniter
  • Jetboil Coffee Press

Read the reviews here

Jetboil Flash Java Kit - End Grain

Jetboil - Sports

$109.95

backpacking coffee maker

GSI Outdoors JavaPress Camping Coffee Maker

Next up we are going to take a look at the GSI Outdoors JavaPress.

If you are looking for a backpacking coffee maker then this would suit you perfectly.

It’s double walled, has a nylon wrap to hold in the temperature and also has an insulated lid. 

The Carafe is BPA free and shatter resistant so you don’t have to worry about it banging about in your pack when you are out hiking.

It also sports a ‘silicone-impregnated’ plunger which helps eliminate coffee ‘blow-by’ keeping those unpleasant grains in the pot and out of your cup.

From looking at this one you would think it to be a bit top heavy but that’s not the case at all. It provides a rich brew time and time again and the reusable mesh filter is very easy to clean.

You can get this coffee brewer in two different sizes  – 30 ounces producing about 4 cups of coffee and the larger 50 ounce pot giving you 7 wonderful cops of camp coffee.

It is nice and lightweight because it is made of plastic and silicone so very handy for you if you wanted a hiking coffee maker.

 

Read the reviews here

Sale
GSI Outdoors Javapress French Press Coffee, 50 fl. oz.

GSI Outdoors, Inc. - Sports

$44.99 - 13 $44.86

Stansport Outdoor 277 9 Cup Aluminum Camper-Feets Percolator Coffee PotStansport Outdoor 277 9 Cup Aluminum Camper-Feets Percolator Coffee Pot

Another great portable coffee maker for camping is the is the Camper-Feets Percolator Coffee Pot from Stansport. This polished aluminium coffee pot is a great addition to your camping kit. 

Similar to the the Jetboil above you can take the two stage coffee percolator out and use it for just boiling water.

It uses disposable coffee disks like these ones  and is easy to wash out a clean with just soap and water. 

This camping coffee pot is a great addition to any good camping kit.

  • Made of durable, rustproof, high gloss Polished Aluminum
  • Percolator stem and basket included
  • Comes with top and side handles
  • Easy pour spout
  • Heats quickly

Read the reviews here


gsi outdoor collapsible java drip camping coffee makerGSI Outdoors Collapsible Java Drip

If you do not have the space for a fully fledged camping french press coffee maker or percolator then you may want to consider something like this GSI collapsible coffee drip

This is an over-the-cup design that flat packs and can be stored in your pack or rucksack. Perfect when you are our backpacking or hiking in the wilderness and want to stop for a nice coffee.

Simply pop it open, drop in a filter, sit it over you cup, add coffee grounds and pour in boiling water. Delicious coffee straight into your mug.

  • 4 Filter capacity brews 1-12 cups of coffee
  • Collapsible silicone design expands from 1-Inch high to a sturdy, full height drip cone
  • Unique, fit-ring design centers drip cone over mugs, cups and wide mouth water bottles for stable spill free brewing
  • Weight 4.8-Ounce

Just make sure to pack some filters before you head out into the wild…

 

Read the reviews here


camping coffee grinderCamping Coffee Grinder

The last thing you need to get yourself is a portable coffee grinder. This one from Cozyna is just the ticket. 

Made from stainless steel it will give you a consistent fine grind ever time.

There is no point in having a fancy french press for camping if you don’t have the ability to feed it with finely ground rich coffee beans.

You have the option to adjust the size of your grind with a simple turn of the knob and away you go.

Because it is made of high grade stainless steel you never have to worry about it rusting. Just chuck it in your bag and off you go…


 

So there you go. If you love coffee as much as we do then you are going to want to get yourself a portable french press or coffee machine for your next camping trip. 

The morning are so much more enjoyable if you have a brew before you get stuck in.

If you have a go-to camping french press or a hiking coffee press that you don’t leave home without then let us know in the comments below and we will take a look. 

So pack up your kit, head out into the wild, set up camp and put the kettle on for a nice fresh brew. There is nothing better…

Cheers


 

If you have no idea how to use a French Coffee Press then check out the video below. You will be an expert in no time at all

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIKr2EMkm48

Backpacking coffee press

If you are travelling light then you will want to look out for something like the Finum Brewing Basket backpacking coffee maker. This super lightweight piece of kit makes the perfect cup of coffee when you are on the go.

Weight wise it comes in at only 1.6oz so perfect for the lightweight conscious traveller.

The stainless steel mesh filter is easy to use, easy to clean and will last you trip after trip.

finum brewing basket

We used Amazon as part of our research for these coffee makers. You can find everything you need here from coffee cups, to coffee beans, travel coffee mugs and disposable filters. From a price point you won’t get much better anywhere else so go check them out.

Stick the kettle on, have a brew and pick out your next camping coffee press or french press, stick it in your pack and head out into the wild. Have a good look at the reviews and see what others think before you buy.

bushcraft survival tips and tricks

Items that disappear when the shtf | the best alternatives

Items that disappear when the shtf and our alternatives


shtfWhen it all starts to go wrong one thing is for certain, people will panic, hit the stores, and buy up everything in sight.

Wait long enough and every shelf in the country will have been emptied.

Carts full of worthless items will be rushed to the checkouts and loaded up into cars.

This has happened in the past and happens all the time today with the slightest hint of a disaster or emergency situation.

What if you knew what to look for.

What if you had time to prepare for this eventuality

What if you had a go to list

What if you knew alternatives…

More has been written about this subject than I care to discuss but look closely enough and you will see that patterns are there. The panic buying does have some structure to it, albeit a chaotic one.

First up we want to look at the basics.


Water

Bottled water will fly off the shelves. Thats a given. You can only last a few days without it and every survival scenario you hear of the first thing focussed on is drinkable water. Clunky and heavy to carry around but a necessity all the same.

Water Filters

A good backup for when you start to run short is a water filer. You can buy a purpose built water filter like this one or if you are handy you could try making one yourself. Below is a great video from Survival Lilly on Youtube showing a handy pocket DIY water filter.

Water Treatment Tablets

Another thing that will disappear quickly is water treatment tablets. Used to remove bacteria from water in order to make it suitable for drinking these are a great addition to any pack. Watch out for shelf life as they do expire and always use as a last resort and for short term only. Boil the water first just to be on the safe side.

Canned Food

Food stored in cans is also a fast mover in a disaster situation. Panicked shoppers will load up cart after cart full of canned food, regardless of its contents, because nearly anything in a can has a long shelf life, can be stored easily and consumed on the go. One thing I will say about canned food is this, yes its handy to have but for the weight you have much better options available to you.

food dehydratorIf you are stocking up yourself and storing goods then a great alternative would be to dehydrate your food supplies and store them in sealed bags. Much lighter and will last a good long time as well.

You could use something like this Food Dehydrator to get you started. One thing to keep an eye on is the temperature you store these at though as you don’t want the food to spoil.

Rice, Grains, Wheat, Flour

These will all get snapped up immediately for a few reasons. Long shelf life, ability to produce high carb food quickly and versatility in general. Rice on its own is great in a survival scenario because its really easy to prepare and gives you plenty of carbs and the high calorie count will give you plenty of energy to keep moving. Check out this chart to compare different types of rice and their respective carb/calorie counts.

If you are looking for an alternative to basic rice and grains then you should consider something like these packs from Mountain House. Lightweight, easy to pack and just add water for a tasty meal.

Medication

All types of over the counter pain medication will disappear straight away. Anything for pain relief will be snapped up. Stock up now because there is nothing worse when you find yourself in a situation and your head is hopping off you with a headache. They cost little or nothing and take up hardly any room but can really help you when shtf.

camping first aid kitGet yourself a handy first aid kit like this one and keep it nearby. You should consider getting a second one for the car just in case but make sure its stocked and always handy.

You don’t want to get taken down by something as simple as an infected graze or cut. This one comes with a handy book to guide you through some effective treatments for those unexpected events.

You could also read up on some of the natural treatments available for pain relief. This is more of a long term strategy but invaluable information if you have the time. Cols and Flu can floor you so it is worth ready this article for some natural remedies.

Camping, Shelter & Cooking

You can bet your last dollar that everything related to camping or outdoors will disappear from the shelves as soon as word of a disaster hits the airwaves. Next to food this stuff goes immediately.

So what do you need to make it out there.

Lets look at what goes first in a panic.

Generators

Everybody panics about power. Without it unless you are geared up properly and have some basic survival skills you will find yourself in trouble within a day or two. If you are planning to stay put then get yourself a trusty generator well ahead of time. There is no point going looking on the day things go wrong as they will most definitely be gone.

survival generatorThis particular model will run for 7.5 hours on half load and should do the job in most scenarios. It’s portable and lightweight so handy if you have to move away from your base.

It’s not going to run a full house of appliances but then in the event of a disaster you could have your fridge / freezer running, power and charge phones etc and run a light or two to keep everybody comfortable.

Tarps & Tents

Tarps and tents always take a hit. These will get cleaned out quicker than a blink of the eye. A tarp is a very handy item to have regardless of the situation you find yourself in. I’m not talking about a big heavy duty oilskin tarp now though. A lightweight tarp will do just fine.

Great for setting up an emergency shelter like the A frame tarp shelter or you can get very fancy and have a tarp / hammock setup so you can camp out comfortably in the woods if you have to move from base.

a frame tarp shelter

There are a million and one options for tents and your choice will depend on your situation.

Are you on your own or do you have a family to look after. Do you live near an area that is suitable for pitching a tent safely.

Each scenario is different so put a bit of time and thought into this one before you make any rash decisions that may come back to bite you later.

Knife

condor tool and knife reviewA good sturdy camping knife or two should be high on your list. Stock up ahead of time, as yes, these will go along with every other type of sharp blade on the shelves.

A knife can be a life saver.

Not just in a self defence scenario but it can be used for chopping firewood to keep warm. making traps to catch food and preparing that catch for dinner, or stripping down bark from a tree to make some type of cordage to help put your camp together.

The list is endless and only limited by your skills and imagination.

We have reviewed the best camping and bushcraft knives for 2016 here so take a look and see if you find something that suits your need.

Another thing you should consider is getting yourself a sharpening stone. All knives are great when they are sharp but if you are out and about for any period of time the blades will inevitably get dull and will need to be sharpened. This stone is just the job.

Remember to keep all knives out of reach from small children and only use if you are comfortable with a sharp blade in your hands.

Hatchet

survival axeYou should also consider getting yourself a quality hatchet. When the power goes out so does the ability to keep yourself and your family warm unless you can make fire.

A good knife will serve you well here but if you have a sharp hatchet you can make short work of any trees or branches that can be used as fuel for your fire.

Think about that for a second. If you have no power, didn’t manage to get yourself a generator then you are going to need fire to keep yourself warm and to cook food over.

We did a review a while ago on some of the best camping and survival axes on the market so take a look and see if one suits your needs. 

No need to get a full size axe unless you are planning to chop down a forest…

Fire Starter

Exotac-nano STRIKER-Ferrocerium-Fire-Starter--250x2Having the ability to start a fire can be a live saver in a disaster situation.

Disposable lighters will be snapped up straight away so always keep a few spares in stock just in case. Waterproof matches can also be a bit of a life saver so get yourself some of those to have just in case.

Another option is to get yourself a ferro rod like this one or flint and steel if you are feeling really caveman like.

There is a bit more work involved in getting a fire going with this kit but once you get the hang of it you are good to go.

Like everything, a bit of practice goes a long way on the day. Check out this video from Mike over on MCQBushcraft where he shows you exactly how to use a ferro rod to light a fire.

 

It’s only in a disaster or a survival situation do you see the real world with open eyes. Being prepared and having the ability to defend yourself is a must. Desperate times call for desperate measures and hunger and needs will push people to do things they would normally never do.

Cooking Pots

camping potsIf you are in a situation where you have to leave your home and move into the bush for safety then you will have to think about cooking meals to feed yourself and your family. You have to consider weight here as you will need to carry everything with you on your travels. 

This set is lightweight and easy to pack but gets the job done. It all compacts into itself and fits right into your pack. Perfect for cooking for two people. You can use this on a small open fire but you should have a grill or something under it to be on the safe side.

If you want to cook on a bigger open fire then you should go for something like a cast iron skillet but be careful of the weight. This one is extremely popular and has a great rating so give it a go if thats what your after.

Torch & Light

Thrunite TN36 UT 3700 LED FlashlightYou are definitely going to need a torch or light of some description unless you have been eating carrots you whole life and can see in the dark.

A good torch will really help you in any situation when it gets dark. It can also be used to frighten off impostors from your property. We could spend a year discussing the different types of torches on the market and the benefits of each one but we have a review already prepared on survival torches that will give you some pointers on what to look out for.

Small compact torches that use 18650 batteries are probably your best bet. 

Batteries

You are definitely going to need a few batteries in your disaster kit. Rechargeable are best but obviously without a power source you are bunched. Get yourself a few packs of disposable batteries anyway. Yu never know when you may need them.

Backpacks

survival backpackYou are going to need somewhere to store all you gear and something handy to grab in the event of a disaster. One for each family member and even a spare for the car. A good backpack is essential for any scenario you may be faced with.

Our preference is for something low key, no bright colors and not something that looks like military either as you will attract unnecessary attention and somebody desperate may try to take it from you. This 36L Mil-Tec pack is a great option and is built to last but will not stand out too much.

You could also look at the option of getting yourself a fully fledged bug out bag so you are ready to go in an emergency. These fully stocked bags are ideal for a beginner or for someone who does not have the time to put their own kit together. Plenty of options available but this pack is an ideal starter that carries most of what you need in a disaster. This bag has enough supplies for four people for three days.


There are a million other things to take into consideration for every different scenario. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but more of a guide as to what will go first, what you need any how to get the right kit together to prepare yourself and your family for the disaster that may lie around the corner.

We are not trying to be hardcore survivalists here, just realistic and working within our abilities. And yes make sure to have plenty of Duct tape – you can never have enough duct tape.

We would appreciate any comments you have and if you feel like it please hit one of the share buttons, it really makes all the difference. 

Stay safe and have an awesome day out there – wherever you are…

 

Best Lightweight Gaiters | Hiking, trail running

outdoor research mens crocodile gaiter

The Best Lightweight Gaiters | Perfect for hiking, trail running and hill walking

Today we are looking at gaiters, specifically lightweight gaiters. These simple, yet effective additions to you kit are a must for the serious hiker, trail runner or backpacker among you.

There is nothing more uncomfortable than a boot or shoe full of dirt and pebbles when you are hiking.

Most of the time you will keep walking and say to yourself every hundred meters or so ‘I must stop for ten seconds and empty my shoe’ but you don’t.

This gets even worse if you are on a competitive run and stopping unless you absolutely have to is not an option…

If you have ever stood on a plug or piece of lego you can feel my pain.

I have hiked for years in every terrain imaginable and one thing that I sort of swear by is a set of gaiters. For something so simple they make the world of difference if you are into hiking, walking in the bush or just rambling out on a trail.

So what are gaiters and why should you even consider buying some.

Gaiters are elasticated covers for over the tops of your boots. They come in various lengths and are made out of pretty much every material on the market. Often water resistant gaiters shield you from getting dirt and bits of gravel into your shoes or boots when hiking about.

I spent years working in Australia on construction sites and while in Western Australia in particular I wore lightweight gaiters all the time. The ground there was mostly sand based and it usually took about ten seconds to get a boot full of the stuff when running about the site. A Kiwi gave me a spare set of his one day and it was a game changer. I could have filled a swimming pool with the amount of sand that ended up in my boots on a daily basis, but not anymore…

Yeah right – you may think, but to be honest they really are an awesome addition to you kit bag and because they are lightweight they don’t add to the load in any way at all. Another great use for gaiters is to keep nasty pests off you lower legs. Often called anti tick gaiters or snake bite gaiters they are great for protecting you when you are walking or hiking through dense bush. I would however opt for the heavier material gor-tex or leather style ones in this scenario.

You won’t win any fashion awards wearing them but its worth the sacrifice for the comfort factor and your feet will love you for it.

Types of Gaiters – Depends on you activities planned…

The right set of gaiters really depends on what you are planning to do activity wise and the conditions you expect to encounter while out there.

The main types of gaiters are:

Trail gaiters

saloman low trail gaitersLightweight, breathable gaiters that offer basic protection against gravel and grit getting into you boots.

They can also protect you against light rain. More for day to day light use but a great addition to any pack.

These Saloman Low Trail Gaiters are ideal for the trail runner amongst us

Alpine gaiters

alpine gaitersTougher and designed for more heavy duty hiking or mountaineering. Great with a set of snow shoes or if you are cross-country skiing.

They have the added advantage of protecting you lets from cuts and abrasions from rock outcrops or thorny brush. Much better at keeping out water and the elements because they are normally made of heavier duty material.

The Outdoor Research Men’s Crocodile Gaiter are as tough as nails. Not much has changed in their design over the years – for a very good reason – they are un-beatable…

Expedition gaiters

These are for when you need added protection from the elements. You are going to get extra features like insulated layers to keep you warm, they are waterproof but breathable so your feet don’t melt, and they will be ultra comfortable. The biggest thing with a quality pair of gaiters is comfort. You should not even know you are wearing them.

What are gaiters made of:

Most of the gaiters you see online, especially the lightweight ones are made from nylon that has a waterproof coating of some description on it. These are perfect of the day hiker and are perfect for keeping you shoes or trail runners free from stones and grit.

The heavier duty gaiters can with be made from layers of nylon that keep them breathable or they may be made from something like gore-tex.

Gaiter Features:

The features for a set of gaiters depends on the style.

You can get sort boot cover type gaiters or you can go for the long calf length gaiters to keep out show and other debris in harsher conditions.

Most gaiters will have some sort of a fixing on the front to attach them to you paces or boot eyes. They also come with an under boot strap to tie the down and keep them tight against the top of you boot.

What to look for when buying a pair of gaiters:

What gaiters should you buy anyway. Here we review some of the best on the market and break them down into different style to hopefully suit your needs.

Best lightweight gaiters

First we took a look at the top three lightweight gaiters first because we like to keep things well, light when we travel.

Outdoor Research Sparkplug Gaiters

lightweight gaitersFirst up are the Outdoor Research Sparkplug Gaiters

  • 86% Nylon/14% Spandex
  • Breathable, lightweight
  • Movement-mirroring stretch
  • Anti-slip silicone pads
  • Hook & loop patches at heel for secure attachment
  • Elastic top and bottom edges

Avg. Weight (oz./g): 1.2oz / 34g (L/XL)

These gaiters are ideal for trail running or hiking. They are made from water resistant fabric and are great for keeping grit and gravel out of your runners when you are hard at it.

READ REVIEWS


rab hunza gaiterRab Hunza Stretch Mid Gaiter

Next up we take a look at the Rab Hunza Stretch Mid Gaiter.

These lightweight gaiters are ideal for trail running and cross country hiking where you are going to be on loose gravel and dirt tracks.

Nothing is going to get past these bad boys.

  • Material: [membrane/laminate] 3L Stretch Watergate, [face fabric] 69% nylon, 21% PU, 10% spandex, DWR coating
  • Closure: front zipper
  • Attachment: underfoot bungee
  • Height: ankle
  • Weight: 3.5 oz

 

Coated with DWR coating these laminated breathable membrane gaiters keep your feet protected from morning dew, moderate rain and soggy trails. They have a front zipper for easy setup and an underfoot bungee and a front mounted lace hook They have a top ridge silicone gripper to stop them sliding down onto your ankle when you are running.

READ REVIEWS


Our top lightweight gaiter offers:


Top Women’s Gaiters


use a tarp for camping

A Frame Tarp Shelter Setup And Tips

Something we always have in the pack is a good tarp shelter. Lightweight and versatile an a frame tarp shelter will save you if you get caught out on a hike and the weather turns for the worse or you are on an overnighter and want something to cover your hammock.

All tarp shelters are more versatile than tents…and some like the Kelty Noah Tarp Shelter pictured above weigh little or nothing in your kit bag.

One thing we always look for in our kit is durability and versatility. Yep you can indeed use plastic sheeting as a make-shift tarp or even rig up a few black sacks if you are really stuck, but long term investing in a quality camping tarp is the way to go.

Tents are great as well but again, you can rig up a tarp with just the tarp itself, two trees and a length of paracord. Most of the tarps available can be compresses down to fit into your pack and off you go. (Great if you are a fan of travelling light…)

There are plenty of very fancy configurations for setting up your tarp but our favourite is the standard A-Frame. The A-Frame tarp shelter is easy to put up and can be done really quickly. Great if it starts lashing down rain and you need a quick shelter.

Types of tarps for making tarp shelters:

Tarps can set you back anything from $5 to $200+ for the high-end models if your budget and more importantly requirements stretch that far. Budget wise we tend to look at quality first and what others are saying online in reviews before we narrow down and make our choice.

Things to look for with a tarp for your shelter.

Weight – You can buy a tarp for a fiver but it’s usually one of those blue or silver fibre reinforced polyethene. Does the job but weight wise it’s going to a lot heavier that some of the nylon ones and quality leaves a bit to be desired.

Tie Down Holes – These are the reinforced grommets you will see along the edges of the tarp. Loop your paracord through this and out to your tie down pegs and that it. The more expensive tarps usually have more of these and that allows for different configurations when setting it up. The standard A-frame tarp setup is perfect but sometimes you may need a different setup –  depends on you camping spot, the conditions, like wind direction, rain and what you are trying to cover up.

Here is a selection of tarps we found over on Amazon. We based our choices on previous research and reviews. You can’t really beat the prices here and that where we buy most of our stuff.



If you are undecided about which tarp setup to use then check out the video below. This guy covers off on a few great options for your next trip.

How do you choose a location for your tarp shelter:

There are a few things you must look out for when choosing a good location for your tarp shelter.

Firstly you are going to need two trees spaced about 15 to 20 feet apart to tie your ridge line to. This runs along the centre line of your tarp. With the A-Frame tarp, you simply drape the tarp over this tight line and away you go.

The second thing to look for is what’s above your head. Check out the area directly above you and also surrounding your camp area for deadfall or anything that may look like it could fall down – especially if the wind gets up. It’s called deadfall for a reason and a thin tarp over your head isn’t going to save you.

Next, you want to look at the ground. Is it level, in a depression or in a water run off. Everything may be dry when you set up camp but what happens if it rains in the night and you wake up in a puddle or have a stream running through the middle of your camp.

How to prep the site for your A Frame tarp shelter:

Clear out any loose branches, sticks and rocks that are in the immediate area. If the ground is dry you may get away with sleeping directly on the forest floor but we usually take a ground sheet tarp with us to keep ourselves and our gear out of the dirt.

Tip: Make sure you have a decent supply of firewood within range – if you are camping in an area that allows open fires and it’s safe to have one.

a frame tarp shelterRigging up your tarp shelter – The A-frame setup:

For the A-Frame tarp setup, you tie your paracord ridge line to the two trees and throw the tarp over it – splitting it evenly on both sides. You may want to leave the ridge line adjustable at this point because you want to make sure the tarp reaches the ground on both sides.

Some of the better quality tarps have loops along the ridge line. These are great and you simply thread the paracord through these before you tie off the second end to the tree.

You can buy specialised pins to tie down the ends of the tarp nearest to the ground but we prefer to make them when we hit the campsite. It’s great practice with the knife and there is always plenty of material around to do this.

Other kit you may need when you go try out camping with a tarp-style shelter. You are going to need some decent paracord to tie the tarp down. If you are camping somewhere that is short on trees you might have to bring along some dedicate extendable poles for the tarp or you can use hiking sticks at each end to prop up the middle.

You might also want to bring a camping and bushcraft knife along with you to work on some other project while you are there. Plus if you are like us you will need it to fashion up some pegs to hold the tarp to the ground…

Final thoughts:

The A-Frame tarp shelter works well most of the time but is not suitable for all weather conditions. Easy to rig up and break down its definitely one of our favourite ways to set up camp on a night in the woods…

Thrunite TN36 UT 3700 LED Flashlight

The Brightest LED Flashlights Of 2017

The Brightest LED Flashlights Of 2017

 

We all need a bright flashlight. But sometimes you need a bit more.

 

By more I mean an ultra bright flashlight that pretty much turns night into day.

 

Frighten off predators or threats and light up the path ahead with one of our tactical flashlights.

 

So cutting through the marketing blurb here we have our top selection of the brightest flashlights of 2016

 


THE BRIGHTEST LED FLASHLIGHTS OF 2016

 

Coming in at 7500* lumens the Acebeam X60M is by far the brightest flashlight. Rated at 10,000 lumens but several sources and owners say its more like 7500 so lets go with that number for the moment.

 

It will set you back around $400 but if you are looking for a super bright LED flashlight then this is the one for you.

 


Thrunite TN36 UT 3700 LED Flashlight

Brightest Compact Flashlight

 

If you are looking for something a little bit more compact then the Thrunite TN36UT is the brightest compact flashlight.

 

It gives off around 7300 lumens. The Thrunite runs at around $337

 

Some of the features of the Thrunite TN36UT


TN 36 UT CW adopts the latest CREE XHP 70 LED, which reaches 200 lm/watt, a milestone of LED technology. Moreover, TN36 UT CW is well equipped with CREE XHP 70.
1 dollar for 30 lumens compared to average 10 lumens/dollar on the market.
Advanced driver of TN 36 UT CW makes the energy efficiency up to 96.5%. With ThruNite ITC Technology, the flashlight is well protected from overheating and can be used for a long time.
30-day free replacement, 24-month free repair and lifetime limited warranty.

Brightest flashlight that uses AA batteries

 

If you are looking for an ultra bright flashlight that uses the standard AA type batteries then you need to check out the Nitecore EAX.

 

It gives out 2000 lumens powered by 8 AA batteries.

 

This little beauty will set you back around $200, is impact resistant to 1.5 meters and conforms to IPX-8 waterproofing standards of 1.5 meters. The nightcore is our choice for the brightest aa flashlight available today.

 

Some of the features of the Nitecore EAX

Brightest AA LED Flashlight
Maximum output of up to 2000 Lumens
Innovative single button two-stage switch
Constructed from aero grade aluminum alloy
Eight rapidly switchable brightness modes
Up to 800 hours of runtime

The Brightest Keychain Flashlight

 

The Titan Plus keychain flashlight is an ultra bright 300 lumens LED light that runs on a single 18650 battery. It has three main settings – the full 300 lumens, a secondary 75 lumens medium setting and a low 15 lumens.

 

There are no intense hot spots on the beam no matter the setting and you adjust the brightness by simply twisting the head.

 

Constructed of nickel plated brass that is scratch and corrosion proof this light is rugged but small enough to keep in your pocket or hang off your keychain.

the brightest keychain flashlight

Some of the features of the Titan Plus

Uses 1 Rechargeable AAA NiMH Battery (included)
Proprietary MaxVision Beam Reflector
Quick-Detach Tailcap with Keychain ring
Nickel-plated brass body construction

Cheap LED Flashlights & Accessories


flint and steel

Flint and Steel Fire Making

Best Flint And Steel Kits

Since we humans first mastered the art of fire making, there have been many advances and changes to the most commonly used methods.

 

Over time the average member of society has gone from relying on friction-based and hard-to-master methods, such as the fire drill, to using matches, lighters and other ultimately chemical means of fire making.

For those of us who wish to preserve the lifesaving skills that our ancestors held so dear, and yet still have in our possession a reliable and easy way to make fire, there is a middle ground.

 

This golden middle is occupied by a trusty fire making tool kit known as flint and steel.

 

Why not give this clever method a try and bring back some of the romance of the outdoors by going back to basics and being truly at one with your surroundings?




Why Use Flint and Steel?

The use of flint as a versatile material for tool making has been part of human nature since our species first emerged, so it was only a matter of time before flint was put to use to facilitate the propagation of one of the most quintessentially human of skills: the ability to light and control fire.

 

Steel, on the other hand, is a relatively new raw material when compared to the primordial use of flint and other stone tools.

 

The dawn of the Iron Age eventually led to the discovery of steel, the carbon content of which led to the production of instruments which were far more durable and less brittle than simple cast iron tools.

 

The fire making potential of the sparks produced by striking a piece of flint with a flat piece of steel was not lost on our crafty ancient ancestors.

 

Hand-forged-firesteel

 

Though the sparks produced are of a lower temperature than those made by firesteels, over millennia, our forebears developed the sequential flint and steel fire making approach to such a degree that it quite literally became child’s play.

 

Even up until a century ago, young children were expected to be able to start a fire to keep themselves warm and safe from animal predators while out in the wilderness.

 

While this is no longer the case today in many parts of the world, those of us who enjoy practising bushcraft and other outdoor skills can certainly appreciate the ingenuity of our forefathers.

 

As with many ancient tools, we might be forgiven for thinking that it is no longer possible to get hold of a freshly made high-quality steel striker for use as part of a flint and steel kit.

 

Fortunately, such an assumption is incorrect.

Who Still Makes Flint and Steel Kits Today?

Despite the ancient origins of these tools, some blacksmiths have preserved the art that is the production of handmade flint and steel fire making kits.

 

In fact, had they not done so, steel strikers would essentially have become extinct as fire making tools.

 

Attempts at mass production have shown that it is simply not possible to maintain the necessary high standards required for the production of reliable and easy-to-use flint and steel kits.

 

When it comes to fire lighting, handmade is king.

 

flint and steel kit

 

Some blacksmiths have gone a step further and have developed their skills to such a degree that they exclusively produce flint and steel kits, including all of the materials you need for preparing tinder and kindling.

 

One such craftsman works for Flint and Steel, a company which puts together the finest range of handmade flint and steel fire making kits available on the market today.

 

Such a kit makes a wonderful gift for anyone with an interest in the outdoors, from experienced hunters to novice Boy Scouts.

 

Perhaps the best flint and steel kits are those which combine the ancient knowledge of our forebears with some slightly more modern innovations.

 

While many natural materials can be used as tinder in their raw as well as processed forms, nowadays one of the most reliable materials in use is commonly known as char cloth.

 

This term describes pieces of cloth, such as cotton or linen, that have been enclosed in a container and subsequently scorched by exposure to heat.

 

Despite the excellent properties of char cloth, it was not used during the medieval period or in previous epochs. This wasn’t because we had not realized the potential of such materials, but rather because textiles were expensive and hard to come by for common folk.

 

It would have been criminal to waste such a precious resource at the time! It was only at the dawn of the industrial revolution that textiles were commonplace enough to be used as an easy source of tinder for fire making.

 

Even with the apparent superiority of char cloth, the beauty of the flint and steel fire making approach is that you can opt to use whichever kind of tinder you like.

 

The step-by-step process remains the same, no matter which materials you use.

 

In areas where birch trees are prevalent, such as the forests of Northern Europe, certain species of birch bark fungus would have been used.

 

These and other fungal species are great for holding an ember for long period of time, and you can even transport them with relative ease for future use.

 

One of the major advantages of flint and steel kits lies in the fact that the tinder remains in close contact with the flint at all times while being struck by a steel striker.

 

This gives a very high success rate when it comes to sparks hitting the tinder. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to produce an ember in a matter of seconds.

Where Can I Find the Best Flint and Steel Kits?

fire starter kitThe Flint and Steel company was founded on the back of generations of experience, passed down from father to son up until the present day.

 

Only natural and environmentally friendly methods of production are used to produce every aspect of their flint and steel kits.

 

Their smithy in Saint Petersburg, Russia operates only using natural charcoal and freshly sourced spring water, resulting in high carbon steel strikers unparalleled in their beauty and function.

 

Their dedication to helping you learn to make fire knows no bounds.

 

Each of their flint and steel kits comes with thirty pieces of char cloth in their own metal tinderbox. You can even use this box to make your own tinder once you’ve run out.

 

You are also provided with plenty of natural jute twine for use as a great source of kindling. Each kit comes with step-by-step, illustrated instructions, making for a stress-free and easy-to-follow introduction to the flint and steel way of fire making.

 

As if this wasn’t enough, you can find all sorts of tutorials online, made by the Flint and Steel blacksmith himself.

 

When such superior tools and materials are used alongside the finest flint from minerals beds across Europe, you end up with a flint and steel kit that is perfect for reliable and quick fire lighting.

 

There is no better gift to give than one that teaches a skill, and there’s no skill that will serve you better in the woods than fire making.

 

If you get a flint and steel kit for the outdoorsman or woman in your life, you’ll be giving them the gift of warmth at night, protection from wild animals, and a kitchen, all in one.

bushcraft videos

Best Bushcraft Videos

The Best Bushcraft Videos

There are literally hundreds of great Bushcraft videos online so we decided to showcase our favourites. Below you will find the best bushcraft videos online – see featured videos from the likes of Ray Mears, MCQBushraft (one of our favorites) and many more.

Hope you like the collection!

Our Top Bushcraft Video

First up on our list is a video from MCQBushcraft – a seasoned bushman from the UK, Michael has produced some of the best instructional Bushcraft Videos we have ever seen.

 

He is very easy to listen to and his tips and guidance alone are a great reason to watch his videos.

 

This particular video is one of our favourites. Michael heads off into the woods on a five day solo hunting and bushcraft adventure.

You can check out his Youtube Chanel here. Plenty of great tips and instructional videos on how to build a bushcraft camp, how to look after your bushcraft gear and how to find food in the wild.


Wild Food Bushcraft Video

Next up on our list is Ray Mears. Considered to be one of the best Buscrafters around Ray has produced plenty of exception videos.

 

Our favourite is the WIld Food series where he and Professor Gordon Hillman of University Colledge London travel around the world and demonstrate how our ancestors hunted and gather food for survival.

This is a great video series, all of the videos have found their way online and are well worth checking out.

 

They cover how people used to – and still catch and cook wild food, how to gather and identify wild edibles and how people of time long forgotten survived before we had pre-packaged food.


Living Off The Jungle Bushcraft Video

Next we wanted to show you a video from the guys at Sigma 3 Survival School. These guys are hardcore Bushcraft & Survival experts and get stuck in when it comes to showing you how its done.

 

They cover off on everything you would need in a survival situation as well as detailed instructions for the Bushcrafter in you. How to find, catch and prepare food in the wild. How to build traps and snares, fishing hooks and basket traps – all from materials found in the Bush.

You can check out their Youtube Chanel here thats loaded with great tips and hacks for Bushcraft survival


How To Make A Bushcraft Knife Video

Buying gear for Bushcraft and Survival can get quite expensive if you go for all the shiny toys so we though it would be a great addition to this list if we showed you a video on how to make a Bushcraft knife.

 

Michael is a fantastic bushcraft knife maker from Poland who has a collection of videos on his channel that show you how its done.

 

One thing we love about these videos is that Trollsky uses mostly old steel from recycled saw blades and files, wrenches to make his knives – no shiny bar stock to be seen anywhere here..

 

Check them out he is a true craftsman.

You can check out his Youtube Chanel here. In this particular video Michael show how to make a Bushcraft knife and Axe set from old steel – complete with homemade handles.


Bushcraft Hunting & Gear Review Videos

A great channel for bushcraft and hunting tips is run by Survival Lilly. Lilly, from Austria has an awesome collection of Survival and Bushcraft videos over on her Youtube channel.

 

She covers everything from how to make a Bushcraft shelter and field dress a duck, to hunting wild game and plenty of survival tips thrown in as well.

You can check out her Youtube Chanel here. She goes into great detail on how to survive with just the basics. Definitely one to watch for the future.


Your Thoughts

Have you a favourite Youtube video channel you go to for Bushcraft Videos?

 

This list was never meant to be huge or cover everybody. Its just people we follow and get great value rom their content. Bushcraft is about learning to survive and live off the land with whatever tools you have to hand and we are still learning every day.

 

If you have a have a go to channel please share in the comments below and we may update this list in the future. Also if you got value from this post please hit one of the share buttons as this will help others to see it as well.

 

If you have any videos you shot yourself when out in the Bush feel free to send us the link – you never know it may end up on this page as well.

 

estwing survival axe

Best Survival Axe | Which one is in your Pack?

The best survival axe for your pack

estwing survival axe

Whether its a bushcraft hatchet or a survival axe you are after there is one thing thats certain, you need quality. Why? Simply because your axe gets a serious work over every time you take it out of your Bug out Bag or Pack.

It is a trusty workhorse that will never let you down and has so many uses that we would run out of space on this page if we were to list them all.

Here at Wildgetaway.com we are very fond of Bushcraft so do our homework when it comes to stocking up on tools and gadgets that we need out in the forest. We have our favourites and staples that come on every trip. A good bushcraft or camping knife is key, a solid axe or hatchet, paracord & tarp and a means to filter water. With these things you are giving yourself a much greater chance of survival if things go bad.

Today we want to take a look at the top survival/bushcraft axes on the market. Why do we call them both – well to be honest they really are the same thing unless you want a hardcore military grade zombie apocalypse tomahawk.

We are trying to educate and help people in the lost art of Bushcraft on person at a time and hope that you find something useful here today in our axe reviews.

Click on each of the images below to go to a more details review of each product. If you have a favourite then please leave a comment below. You can also help us spread the word by clicking one of the share buttons on the left.

Thanks for stopping by and have an awesome day wherever your travels take you.

Estwing E24A Sportsman's Hatchet

survival axe

Coleman Steel Camp Axe

coleman steel camp axe

M-tech USA Stainless Axe

M-tech USA Stainless Axe

Yes4All Multi Functional Axe

Yes4All Multi Functional Camping Axe

Columbia River Knife and Tool

Columbia River Knife and Tool axe

Condor Tool and Knife Axe

Condor Tool and Knife

bear grylls gerber hatchet

bear grylls gerber hatchet

United Cutlery M48 Hawk Axe

United Cutlery M48 Hawk Axe

What to look for in a good survival axe?

So what qualities do you need when selecting a good axe. This tool needs to be reliable and pretty much unbreakable. It is going to get a serious workout every time you take it out of your survival pack.

It needs to be razor sharp, hold a good edge and be easy to sharpen when the blade goes dull.

Balance is very important as well unless you want to carry around a freezer for ice packs..

Some of the survival axes above come complete with a sheath which is very handy and a good safety feature when it is stowed away. It also keep the axe safe from the elements.

It needs to have a good grip. A lot of people think that an axe with a rubber handle is more grippy but we actually prefer a wooden handle on our axes. I suppose its up to personal preference really and what you are most comfortable using when bush crafting or chopping up firewood etc..

Safe Use of your Axe

Whichever survival axe you choose one thing is certain, make sure you are comfortable using it and take it nice and steady when you first start out. These things are razor sharp and will do some serious damage if they clip your leg on the way by.

Always cut away from your body and make sure there is nobody else in the vicinity while you work – especially kids. They will often wander over to see what you are up to.

As with all sharp tools when there are kids about, please make sure they are stored in a safe and out of reach location when not in use. Safety first every time folks.