Camping Gear Reviews

We take a look at all the latest gear available for both beginner and experienced campers. There is something here to suit everybody. If you have a favourite item you don’t leave home without then head over to our contact form and send us a mail so we can check it out.

Best Ultra Light Tent

Best Ultra Light Tent

Going camping is a no brainer if you are someone that likes nature and being outdoors. There are many different places that you can camp, like designated campgrounds, national parks, and more. However, some of these places are not easy to get to and may require a little effort on your part. This is why you need to be vigilant about the weight of each of your supplies.

This means you will need equipment that doesn’t weigh a lot, including a tent. There are many different types of tents that won’t weigh you down, and here are a few in the ultra light category, meaning they weigh just a few pounds. They each offer up a number of different features and can be stored rather easily.

Best Ultra Light Tent1. Eureka! Solitaire

The Eureka! Solitaire tent is a festive looking tent that is designed to be used by one person. The tent weighs in at less than 3 pounds and is black and yellow in color. It is tunnel shaped and designed to be safe from casual rainfall.

Pros:

  • Ventilated roof
  • Interior is completely covered
  • Comes with carrying case
  • Has pockets
  • Can work even for tall men
  • Easy to assemble

Cons:

  • Needs to be staked down
  • Poles may break
  • No room to sit up

This product is only 38 inches high in the center, so while you won’t be able to sit up in it, you will be protected from the rain. It is not advisable to use it in a storm, but it does have some versatility due to its small size and low weight. It is not a freestanding tent, but putting the stakes down makes it that much more secure.

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Kelty Salida 2 man tent2. Kelty Salida 2

The Kelty Salida 2 is a three-season tent that has over 30 square feet of floor space inside. It is easy to set up, is designed for two people to use comfortably, and there is additional space in the form of a vestibule, which provides extra storage. It also comes with a rain fly that protects it from rain as well as wind gusts.

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Made of quality materials
  • Needs no tools to set up
  • Sustains wind

Cons:

  • Not good for heavy rain or snow
  • Pole tips are plastic
  • No windows

This item is a good value for what it offers. Since the layout is freestanding, there is plenty of room for two people to be comfortable. It is also waterproof and can sustain light snowfall and gusts, so it doesn’t have to be perfect weather in order for you to use it. Additionally, it is constructed of high quality materials, which may last a long time.

READ MORE

Best Ultra Light Tents

3. High Peak Outdoors Maxxlite Tent

This is a great inexpensive solution for two people. The tent has two vestibule areas for storage purposes and has an open design, which allows air to pass through freely. It also offers reliable protection from the rain and can be utilized in mild winters.

Pros:

  • Has storage areas
  • Good ventilation
  • Can withstand snow and rain
  • Great for newbie campers

Cons:

  • Not great for winter
  • Taller adults may not fit

This is a great solution for a two-person tent if you have never purchased a tent before. It is described as a 3.5 season tent, meaning although it can handle snow, it would not be good for very cold temperatures. It also has a simple design and is easy to use and care for. 

READ MORE

Conclusion

Each of these tents weighs around 6 pounds or less in order for them to be lightweight enough for you to take wherever you need to go. They also are not too hard to put up or take down.

The three tents discussed in this article are all great ultra light solutions, but offer a variety of redeeming qualities and differ based on how many people are using them.

If there are two people in your party, or you need extra room for one, the High Peak Outdoors Maxxlite Tent is a great value for the money. It not only protects you from wind and rain, it also has plenty of room to store bags and other items in the front and back of the tent. On top of that, the design provides superior air flow, but can still be sealed tight if you need to stay warm. Although it might not be ideal if you are a taller person, the other benefits outweigh this fact. This is also the best solution if you are new to camping or are looking for your first tent.

If you are camping solo, the Eureka! Solitaire is the best bet and is less than 100 bucks. It not only looks really cool, but the bivy shape offers a little bit of cozy no matter where you are. This product also has plenty of storage and even a space to hang a flashlight. Another big plus is that the roof can be mesh on hot nights, or can be covered whenever the nights have a chill and you need less air flow. Furthermore, the design allows for people of many different heights to be able to take advantage of sleeping in this tent comfortably, as it is more tunnel-shaped than domed.

If you have a larger budget or plan on using the same tent for many years, the Kelty Salida 2 is one to keep your eye on. It is easy to squeeze two people into comfortably, or it can be used for one person and a dog or child. This tent has won awards for its design and the fact that it has so many different features. It is also a high quality product that can be used on many different types of terrain. This is also the only one on the list that is proven to be able to sustain any snowfall.

coleman-sundome

Coleman Instant Tent Review

Coleman Instant Tent Review

If you are a fan of camping, you have probably heard the name Coleman. They are one of the biggest names in camping equipment and accessories and have been offering quality items for over 50 years. These items include products such as lanterns, coolers, grills, sleeping bags, and pretty much everything in between. They also make tents, which are a necessity when you are camping.

Coleman tents are available in many sizes, colors, and shapes. They also vary in the amount of features they have and in price, and many can be assembled instantly. There are so many different items available, there is no doubt you will be able to find one that will make you a satisfied customer. Here are a few to consider.

Coleman Instant Tent Review1. Coleman Sundome Tent

The Coleman Sundome Tent is a dome-shaped tent that is designed to sleep up to 4 people and is 59 inches tall in the center. It is green in color, with light and dark gray accents. The setup for this tent is quick, due to the specialized poles and pole sleeves. It comes with a bag to carry it in and is relatively waterproof. There is also a lot of interior space so it isn’t cramped.

Pros:

  • Port for electric hookup
  • Has vent and windows
  • Easy set-up
  • Protection from rain and water
  • Has room to move around
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Reinforced seams

Cons:

  • Poles may break
  • Tent may lose integrity with heavy winds

This tent is not only a great price, but it has reinforced seams to help keep it waterproof. Add to that the fact that it is easy to set up and offers protection from the elements, and you have a great product. However, the product may not be able to withstand heavy winds or extreme weather, so it should be used only in weather that is mild.

Buy on Amazon

2. Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent

coleman 8 person tentThe Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent is a spacious two-room tent. The base of the product is 14 feet by 10 feet, and it has many windows to ensure proper ventilation. The poles of the tent are already attached, meaning set up is painless and can happen very quickly. That also means you can’t really misplace any of the poles. It comes with a removable room divider and is able to comfortably allow for at least two queen-sized air mattresses.

Pros:

  • Room for 8 people
  • Has 2 rooms
  • Can remove room divider
  • Has good ventilation
  • Setup is quick and easy

Cons:

  • May need stronger pegs
  • Tent is too heavy to backpack with
  • Unable to stand up to heavy winds

Although this tent is easy to set up, it is over 40 pounds, making it improbable as an easily portable tent. On the flip side, it does come with its own carrying case, is roomy, and can protect you from rain and the elements. Coleman also offers a separate rain cover for this model, which may not be necessary.

Buy on Amazon

coleman 6 person tent3. Coleman WeatherMaster 6-Person Screened Tent

The Coleman WeatherMaster is a 6-person tent that has many cool features. It is nearly 7 feet high in the center and has a specially designed hinged door, as well as a screened-in room in the front, which can be used to eat breakfast or look outside. It also has extra protection in the floors and a sturdy frame.

Pros:

  • Can hold 6 people
  • All-weather ventilation
  • Has a hinged door
  • Easy to set up
  • Has floorless screened in room
  • Extra strong frame

Cons:

  • Stronger pegs needed
  • Tent may leak
  • Front door doesn’t zip at bottom

If you want a tent that will remind you of your home, this is a good one. The fact that it has a door and a type of porch makes this one interesting enough to look at. The fact that you may need stronger pegs and to modify it a bit to keep certain areas from leaking does not take away from its overall appeal. Furthermore, this model has great ventilation, even when it is raining.

Buy on Amazon

Conclusion

The best part about buying a tent from a large company is the fact that there are often manufacturer warranties. Each of these tents comes with a 1 year limited warranty, but that is really where the similarities end.

For the best deal, the Coleman Sundome Tent is the clear winner. It is a classic tent that weighs in at less than 10 pounds, so it isn’t hard to lug around. It also has a great price and is easy to put up and take down. The product also offers great protection from rain and is big enough for a small family to use, i.e., two adults and a kid or pet. It also has a port to allow for electricity and a special hook inside so you can use a lantern and not have to sit in the dark.

If you have a larger family, the Coleman WeatherMaster is a good choice. It has exciting features that will offer you a bit of luxury while you are camping. With all tents, it is recommended that you put a tarp down before setting up the tent. This will go a long way in making it waterproof, especially on the floor areas. If you do this, there are very few negatives about this product, and the price is pretty reasonable.

Finally, if you want a large tent where there is room to spread out, the Coleman 8 Person Tent will offer you that type of solution. Since it is heavy, you will want to be able to park near your campsite so you won’t have to lug it around. Other than that, it offers space for everyone, and the fact that it can be broken down into two rooms makes it perfect for a family with children.

the kurgo wander dog bed

Best Dog Sleeping Bags for Camping

The Best Dog Sleeping Bags

When you are packing to go camping, don’t forget about man’s best friend.

Consider all the comforts and accommodation you have for yourself and think about if your pet would like some of the very same things.

In addition to food and water, he or she will need some protection from the elements and the weather. This means that unless they sleep in the tent with you they will need their own blanket or special bed.

dog sleeping bags

These dog sleeping bags or bed come in different sizes and varieties and are made with an array of materials. Great for when you are camping or visiting friends and the pooch comes along for the ride. Some are furry and warm, while others are made of fabric that is waterproof and easy to clean. These products are also designed for different purposes; some are for extra padding and others offer a covering for the dog to maintain body heat.

No matter what type you are looking for, there are a list of things to consider, including the amount of support it offers, what size of dog it is for, and what material it’s made of. It is also important to note if the item can be used for other purposes as well. For instance, some of these bags are great for indoors or in the car. Let’s look at a few options.

Chuckit! Travel Dog Bed

This bed is shaped like an oval and looks just like a miniature version of a sleeping bag. It is designed to be put down in a crate or tent for a dog to sit on, or used in conjunction with other dog beds.

It can also be used as a blanket if a dog gets cold overnight. The product is made of a microfiber top and a nylon bottom, which is resistant to rips, even by a dog’s claws.




Rating

Features

  • Nice soft Poly microfiber top makes this extra cosy
  • Bottom nylon ripstop cover makes this bod bed super durable
  • Easy to clean – just chuck it in the washing machine and away you go
  • Double quited so it wont gather or clump after washing
  • AT 30×39 inches this bed suits both small and large dogs
  • Comes complete with a handy nylon stuff sack for easy transport
  • Lightweight – just strap it to your pack and off you go
  • Suitable for both home and travel use

Review


There has been a lot of great reviews on the Chuckit travel dog bed. Everybody says how comfortable and happy their dogs look on them – both big and small. One of the advantages of this bed is that you can machine wash it when it gets smelly. Our dogs love to get messy when they are out and about so having the ability to wash and dry it quickly is a huge advantage.

Suitable for dogs of all sizes and you could search online for quite a while before you find a dog bed of the same quality for the price.

Great quality, great price and the dogs love it. READ MORE

RUFFWEAR HIGHLANDS BED

This dog bed is another great option if you are looking for a camp bed for you dog when you hit the trails or campsite.

It is very lightweight and packs into a neat stuff-sack so easy enough to carry into the woods or pack it into the car and just unload when you get there.

Handy loops built in so you can pin this to the ground to stop pooch running off with it…




Rating

Features

  • Insulates dog from the ground with high-loft Thermore insulation
  • Water resistant shell
  • Quick drying and durable
  • Compresses down into supplied stuff sack
  • Secure bed with the included stake-out loops
  • Fits in all sizes of the Palisades Pack

Review


The best thing about this dog bed is the weight and size when packed. You can really compress this down into the stuff sack and if you are a fan of travelling light then this is the bed for you. Because of the weight, as many reviewers have stated you can even get you dog to carry this bed himself.

A couple of people have noted that the bed may be a bit on the small size if you have a big dog so check out the size first here to make sure its suitable for your pooch.

A quality product from Ruffwear so check it out before you head off on your next trip. Your dog will love you for it… READ MORE

Kurgo Wander Bed


The Kurgo Wander Bed is just as the name implies. You can use this bed from the house to the car to the campsite. It features a soft fleece top and a rubber bottom, which helps it not slide around, especially in the car.

It can be vacuumed off, offers a bit of support to dogs of all sizes, and rolls up just like a sleeping bag. The product is available in medium or large




Rating

Features

  • Ideal dog bed for cars, camping and traveling
  • Has a rubber bottom so will not absorb moisture from the ground
  • Roll it up like a sleeping bag during travel or storage
  • Polygo fleece top for super comfort and padding
  • 36 x 48 x 1.5 inches opened
  • 17.5 x 8 inches rolled

Review


The Kurgo Wander Bed is ideal when you travel with your dog. Stick it on the back seat on the way and use it at the campsite when you get there. The Rufftex bottom will stop it soaking up moisture from the ground at camp and if it gets dirty just throw it into the washing machine.

It has a nice thick fleece top that will make sure your dog is comfy when away from home. They even have a zipper pocket so you can pack a favorite toy for when you get there.

You can roll it up and store it in seconds when you head out walking or bring it inside when the weather turns bad and pooch ends up in the tent with you… READ MORE

  • Ruffwear Highlands Bed
  • RUFFWEAR HIGHLANDS BED
  • ✔ Waterproof
  • ✔ Suitable for Large & Small Dogs
  • ✔ Machine Washable
  • PRICE= $$

  • chuckit dog bed
  • CHUCKIT! TRAVEL DOG BED
  • ✔ Waterproof
  • ✔ Suitable for Large & Small Dogs
  • ✔ Machine Washable
  • PRICE= $

  • Kurgo Wander Bed
  • KURGO WANDER BED
  • ✔ Waterproof
  • ✔ Suitable for Large & Small Dogs
  • ✔ Machine Washable
  • PRICE= $$

Final Thoughts


Our dogs take pride of place at home and yes they do get spoilt a lot…

When we started our research for a suitable camping dog bed we sort of hit a wall. There are a lot of options available and it took a while to narrow it down to the ones we picked.

There were a couple of key things we looked for in the reviews we found online. Quality is hugely important as we don’t want them to fall apart after a few trips.

This is where the Chuckit! Travel Dog Bed came out on top. It is the easiest on the wallet and also the cutest. If your dog doesn’t need a huge amount of padding or protection from the ground or likes to hide under covers, this is a great pick for them. Besides that, from what we have read it is very durable so your dog would have it chewed into a million pieces in under ten seconds, which is something that is rare in any type of dog product.

When you are searching for the right sleeping bag for your dog, there are very few things that set them apart from each other. All the products listed above are machine washable, roll up or have a carrying case, and can be used with other items.

The Ruffwear Highlands Bed may be your thing if you are looking for the greenest solution of the bunch. Some of the positives are that it dries quickly and is lightweight. The use of recycled materials and the fact that it can be secured just like a real tent may be one of the reasons why this product costs more than the others but all the reviews seem positive and many will compliment Ruffwear on their quality products so may be worth the additional cost.

These are our thoughts on the best dog sleeping bags available but please do your homework and research yourself if you have the time. If not then for value for money go for the Chuckit Bed.

If there is a camping dog bed, sleeping bag, or dog travel bed 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.

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

Happy Camping…

camping infographic

Animated Camping Series

CAMPING INFOGRAPHICS

Camping is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature and your family, and has the opportunity to provide some of the best memories of your life. There is something unique and special about waking up before sunrise, walking quietly and calmly to the corner of a lake — or heading into the middle of that lake with a boat — and fishing as the sun rises in the distance.

Whether you’re a highly experienced camper, or you’re looking to make family camping a new tradition for you and your children, it’s important that you know what you’re doing before heading out into the wilderness.

animated camping infographics

pitching a dome tent

A great animated image showing you the best way to set up your dome tent.

lighting a camp fire

A great animated image showing you the best way to light a camp fire.

fishing tips and techniques

A great animated image showing you to to catch a fish when out camping.

An animated infographic by Personal Creations helps ensure that you don’t forget anything you might need on your camping trip, with a list of 20 essentialcamping items.

The infographic also provides simple instructions on how to pitch a tent, get a fire started, and cast a fishing line. You can share this infographic with your kids (or significant other) before leaving for your trip, so everyone is familiar with what to expect once you are all out enjoying nature.

If you do go camping and make use of the animated infographics, make sure to tell us about your trip!

coleman green valley sleeping bag

Coleman Green Valley Sleeping Bag Review

Coleman Green Valley Sleeping Bag

If you, like me are not a big fan of the cold then you need to get yourself a Coleman Green Valley Sleeping Bag. This beauty will keep you warm even if it is only 30⁰ F outside.

The bag is made from cotton and polyester and has a built in Thermolock System to stop heat escaping through the zipper which will provide you with endless warm nights of comfortable sleep. The bag filling is locked in place so will not ‘wander’ around as you sleep. This helps keep you warm and avoid cold spots in the sleeping bag and is one of the more comfortable sleeping bags and the best cool weather sleeping bag on the market.

This bag is designed more for smaller adults and kids due to it’s size. If you are above 5,11 then you may want to look for an alternative coleman adult sleeping bag. If you are on the hunt for kids sleeping bags then go for it.


at a glance

Coleman Green Valley Sleeping Bag

coleman green valley sleeping bag

RATING:
 (473 Reviews)


EDITOR RATING: 97


Verdict: If you are looking for a sleeping bag for use in cold weather then the Coleman Bag is just the job. It has many quality features to make your sleep more enjoyable, keep you warm and give you a comfortable nights sleep

 

features:

100% Polyester with 100% Cotton Filling
The Thermolock System reduces heat loss through the zip
Suited for temperatures 30 F to 50 F
Dimensions: 33 x 75in and suits most heights up to 5ft. 11in
The Fiberlock Construction prevents insulation from shifting helping to extend the life of your sleeping bag
Patented zipper avoids nasty snags when you need to avoid them

PROS:

Overall it is hard to fault the Coleman Green Valley Sleeping Bag. If you are worried about camping in low temperatures then this will save the day.

Comfortable and packed full of handy features such as the anti-snag zipper and the snug lining, plus the fact that its a Coleman you know you are getting top grade quality.

It even comes complete with a handy pouch in the hood to store your flashlight. Great for those late night trips to the bathroom…

CONS:

Not a lot to mention here. On reader did say that the inside of the bag was a bit course, but also noted that its because it was brand new and that it would soften up after a few uses.

FINAL VERDICT 97

What more is there to say about this sleeping bag. Great price for a great product. Head out on your next camping trip knowing that you are going to curl up in a nice warm sleeping bag and sleep soundly all night long.

coleman green valley sleeping bag

If you have gone out and purchased one of these Coleman sleeping bags then let us know in the comments below how you got on. Would you recommend it to our readers and how would you rate it overall.

Feedback is very important to us and its you guys and gals that make all the difference.We hope you enjoyed our review of the Coleman Green Valley Sleeping Bag and wish you well in your quest to find the perfect bag for your next trip.

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.

coleman steel camp axe

COLEMAN STEEL CAMP AXE

Coleman Steel Camp Axe

For years the Coleman company have been producing quality gear for camping and bushcraft adventurers.

Their steel camp axe is a straightforward very reasonably priced hatchet that should accompany you on your next trip out into the wilderness. This sturdy camping axe should be part of every camping or bushcraft pack. The drop forged head will hold an edge and it is fairly easy to handle because of the rubber non slip grip, making this a great entry level axe.

at a glance

COLEMAN STEEL CAMP AXE

coleman steel camp axe

RATING:
 (211 Reviews)


EDITOR RATING: 90


Verdict: Cheap and cheerful but a work horse that you can rely on. The extra weight in the forged head makes chopping a breeze.

You will need to work on the blade to keep it sharp but what do you expect for the price point.

overview:

If you are looking for a cheap reliable axe for your next camping or bush craft trip then the Coleman camp axe is just what you need.

Costing about $10 you cant really go far wrong. One thing you might have to do when you get it is fine tune the blade a bit to get it razor sharp.

 


FEATURES:


Drop-forged carbon-steel axe head
Forged steel handle and nonslip grip
No Sheath included
Great for chopping wood
Rubber shock proof grip

PROS:

Price. At under $10 there is no reason why you shouldn’t have one of these. Even if its to keep as a spare or in the shop.

Cheap, reliable and can take a good beating.

CONS:

Weight. Some have commented that this is a very heavy axe given its size. This, to some may be an issue but it makes chopping wood a bit easier because of the additional weight in the head.

Curved handle. It takes a bit of getting used to and some may prefer other models with straight lightweight handles.

FINAL VERDICT 90

You get what you pay for but still this is a very handy axe. Keep it sharp and look after it and it will serve you well.

coleman steel camp axe
best fire starters

The Five Best Fire Starters for the Modern Caveman

Best Fire Starter for the Modern Caveman

Since the dawn of time man has relied on fire for warmth and cooking. Nothing has changed in the millennia that have passed. We still used it in some shape or form to survive on a daily basis. Sure there are a multitude of modern appliances and stuff that we use that does not directly need fire to function, but you can be sure that fire was used in its lifetime somewhere along the way.

Right, history lesson over and lets get back into the wild, caveman style…

Today we want to review a list of the best fire starter devices that get the job done.  Nothing fancy or any marketing rubbish. Just honest reviews that will help you decide on your best fire starter choice.

[bctt tweet=”Best Fire Starters for the modern Caveman”]

best fire starter

Best Fire Starters Top 5

First up is the this little beauty. Cheap and cheerful is always a great option and to be honest if you are looking for something basic to meet you needs or just throw in the bag then you can’t go wrong with the SE.

Because Magnesium burns at over 1000 degrees and lights when even the smallest spark hits you could consider this more reliable than a simple butane lighter.

All in all a great option at a very cheap price.(Customer Reviews)

 


light my fire firesteelNext up we are going to look at the Light My Fire Original Swedish FireSteel Army 12,000 Strike Fire Starter.

This is a high quality firesteel and works extremely well, even when wet. It does take a little practice and you need to understand the basics of fire building to be able to use it effectively.

You will need to use good tinder and perhaps practice your technique a few times before you head out and have to rely on it to get a good shower of hot sparks right where you need them.

Works like a dream once you understand the basics (Customer Reviews)

 


Our Favorite Fire Starter

You cant really review any camping or survival gear without considering the Gerber 31-000699 Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter. This design features everything you need in a high quality fire starter without the massive price.

Very easy to use and comes with a waterproof compartment in the handle to store some dry tinder to get your fire started quickly. Very important in a survival situation.

Check out the video below to see just how easy it is to use.

Overall a great budget fire starter that should be in every pack (Customer Reviews)

 


Aurora Fire Starter 440CNext up is the high quality awesome Aurora Fire Starter 440C. To be honest this is one of the best magnesium fire starters on the market today.

Made in the US by Solo Scientific you are getting a fire starter that will outlast most others on the market. Built from high quality materials the Aurora Fire Starter 440C sports a reversible hardened steel striking blade that gets the job done quickly and efficiently every time.

It is strong and sturdy (made from Aircraft grade Aluminium), can take a bit of a kicking and will be suitable in all survival or weekend warrior situations. It comes in at 3.6 inches in length and is 16. oz in weight. Handy design that can fit on a lanyard around your next or just clip it to your belt.

Comes in at around $20 but well worth the investment. (Customer Reviews)

 


Exotac nanoSTRIKER Ferrocerium Fire StarterThe last fire starter in our arsenal is the Exotac nanoSTRIKER Ferrocerium Fire Starter. Now here is a tool that comes in a neat and tidy bundle.

Handy to hang off you key chain so you always have it with you and will even work in the wet. It is self contained as it just pushes back into itself. Made in the USA as well so the quality is top notch. Reckon you would get about 1000 fires out of this one without any hassle.

One thing to not is that the striker is very small – hence the nano name, so make sure you are comfortable with this. I have hands like shovels so found this a bit small in my hands when trying it out.

Overall a very handy fire starter and looks cool. (Customer Reviews)

 


Using a fire starter to start a fire

So now that you have decided on one of the awesome fire starter kits above you need to know how to get a fire going so you can heat yourself up, cook dinner or just look cool in front of the kids…

We will break this down into three easy to follow steps so as not to confuse you.

 

Step one is to find a suitable location where you want to light the fire. There is no point in trying to light a fire if you are facing a gale force wind or sheet rain… Try to find a sheltered area out of the elements – as long as it is a safe area to light a fire (use common sense for this bit).

Don’t try and light a fire in bushes or you may cook more than just your dinner. A pro tip here is to build your fire close enough to a suitable source of material because you don’t want to be wandering around all night looking for firewood to keep it going.

Step two is to clear out the area at ground level where you intend to light the magnificent caveman style fire. I prefer to scrape everything back to bare earth and give myself enough clearance around the base of the fire so it does not spread.

If you are working in a wet or frozen area then chop up some lengths of branches a couple of inches thick and lay them out under where your fire will go to keep it up and off the wet area – Fire burns much better when its not in a puddle.

You might also need to build yourself a wind breaker to shelter your fire from un-avoidable winds. This will also help to direct the heat of the fire back into your camp and keep you extra toasty.

Step three is to make sure you have sufficient materials to hand to (a) start the fire and (b) to keep it going for as long as you need it. You will need the following to get set up properly and I suggest you gather as much of this before you light anything:

1. Tinder. This can be anything from shaving off a dry branch, birch bark if you can find any, dried moss, chaga fungus or use some of the cotton wool that you got in the handle of one of your firestarters…

2. Fine kindling such as dried grass. This will be step two and you place the tinder directly in a loosely formed ball of this material to get things moving. Blow on it until the grass or whatever material you decide to use catches a decent flame.

3. Twigs and small branches are next up and can be place right on top of the burning pile of kindling to really get the fire going fully.

After that the choice is yours. I tend to have a good supply of thin logs cut from deadfall (dry) piled up a ready to go. These will burn for much longer and produce plenty of heat for warmth and cooking.

Make sure when you are ready to leave camp that you fire is fully extinguished and you clean up any mess before you go. If you think about it – you started a fire with just a spark so make sure there are no burning embers left in the fire than could potentially start a new fire without you.

And finally if you are going to have fire at your camp make sure to keep children at a safe distance and don’t take your eye off them for even a second…

[bctt tweet=”Best Fire Starters for the modern Caveman”]

If you have a go to fire starter then let us know in the comments below and we would really appreciate it if you click the tweet or one of the social buttons to help spread the word about us.

Happy camping!

paracord bracelet

Paracord and Knots for Camping, Bushcraft, Survival

paracord braceletParacord and Knots for Camping, Bushcraft, Survival

An essential piece of kit for any camping, bushcraft or survival experience is good quality paracord.

Often one of the cheapest items in your pack it is one of the most valuable in terms of its multitude of uses.

The multi strand cord is so versatile that it should be on every kit list on the planet – simply because it does so much.

Now not all cord is equal. Military grade cord MIL-C-5040H for instance must be made from nylon and pass a list of stringent criteria to qualify.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to go for the best quality paracord on the market but for the money involved you are better off spending those extra few dollars and go for a decent brand. You don’t want it to let you down when you are in the field.

First lets look at the top four popular paracord options online and see if you can find one to suit your needs.

recommended paracord for bushcraft and camping

Paracord Planet Type III

paracord planet type paracord

Titan Military 550 Paracord

Titan Military 550 Paracord

MilSpec C-5040H

Guaranteed MilSpec C-5040H paracord

Military 550 Paracord

Military 550 Paracord

Most useful knots for bushcraft and camping

Half hitch. Both the half-hitch and double half-hitch are probably the most useful of any knots used in Bushcraft or Camping. There great for tying off the loose end of your paracord thats wrapped around a tree or tarp, plus you can set them to be very easily opened for quick release when its time to pack up.

 

Siberian / Evenk knot. This knot is great when you are setting up your hammock or tarp and is most commonly used when you are tying up your ridge line to a tree or post. A simple knot to master and once you are confident I’m sure you will use this every time you head out camping. A simple pull of the loose end releases this knot. If you want additional security with this knot tuck the loose end back through the loop to lock it in place.

 

Adjustable hitch. I use this knot all the time to add tension to tent guylines and to adjust the tension on my tar ridge line. Some people go for the common taut-line hitch but from years of use I prefer the adjustable hitch because it holds better and is easier to tie.

 

Clove hitch. The clove hitch knot is a knot also used to tie up guylines. This knot can be made adjustable as well so you can make slight adjustments to how your tent or tarp sits even after its tied off.

 

Bowline. The running bowline knot is a greta knot for tying paracord to trees or tying off branches. Easy to tie and easy to undue after a weight load this knot some be one of your more used knots on camp day.

 

Figure eight on a bight. If you are looking for reliable loop knot for the end of your paracord or somewhere up the line a bit then you should really know how to tie a figure eight knot. Simple to tie once you get the hang of it, this is a very handy knot for camping and bushcraft alike.

 

Stopper knots. The overhand and double overhand are great knots for tying off one end of a length of paracord when you want to lock the line in place.

 

Jam knot. The jam knot is a great knot it you want to tie off a bundle of branches or tree limbs when you are building your shelter. Popular in Bushcraft this knot is a simple knot but has many great uses.

 

Lark’s head or cow hitch. I use this knot frequently when I’m doing work with paracord.  I use it to tie my knife lanyard onto my belt or to tie support lines to the end of my hammock.

 

Sheet bend. The sheet bend knot is used to tie cord or rope of different diameters together. If you need additional strength in the knot use the double sheet knot. Just remember that the thinnest line is always fed through the bite of the larger rope.


So why do you need paracord in you pack when you are out and about. Lets look into some of the many uses first and then check out the knot tying guide below to see how to put this into practice.

Tarp Shelter with Paracord

camping tarp usesFirst up is slinging a tarp to make a basic camp or shelter. As you know keeping out of the elements in a survival situation is critical to well, your survival. Having a tarp and a length of paracord is enough to build a basic shelter to keep you and your kit dry.

The shelter can be put together in a matter of minutes but can really be a life saver. Sling a length of paracord between two trees, pull it taut, throw the tarp over the top, tie it down and thats it. A simple shelter that would do you for a night in the bush.

The taut-line hitch knot will be good enough to secure your paracord for the ridge line of your tarp and you can adjust it to remove any sagging.

You can find more information on Tarp shelters and the use of tarps when camping on this post.

How to tie a ridgeline for your tarp

One of the most common uses of paracord when bushcrafting or camping is when you need a ridegline for your tarp. Quite a simple setup and this video explains it all for you.

 

First thing we always do when we decide where to setup camp is to rig up our tarp. It gives you a focal point for the rest of your camp and keeps you gear dry in the event of a sudden rain shower.

Essential Items required for bushcraft tarp setup

First up you need some reliable paracord to rig up your ridgeline and tie offs for your tarp.

There are any amount of brands and styles available online.

We use this one all the time that we picked up on Amazon. Great quality and a nice price as well. A 50 foot lenght will cost you about six dollars and thats it.

paracord planet type paracord

You are also going to need to invest in a good sturdy tarp. Again you have any amount to choose from.

 

Lightweight is best in our opinion because we like to travel light and they compact right down into a very small space inside your pack.

Remember when you are loading up your pack to keep the paracord and tarp right near the top as this is the first thing you are going to use when you hit the camp spot.

 

We recommend this one and found it on Amazon for about 70 dollars. Overall a great tarp and its treated so rain resistant.

a frame tarp shelter

Paracord Survival Bracelet

Friendly Swede Survival BraceletA handy way to make sure you always have some paracord handy is to get yourself a paracord survival bracelet. This will mean you always have some available and you never know when you might need it.

This one comes complete with a fire starter and about 17ft of paracord. Enough to do quite a few things in a survival situation.

It also has a small knife as part of the setup so its definitely not for kids.

It is made by The Friendly Swede and as always with this brand the quality is top notch. Makes a great gift for somebody – once you get yourself one first…

How to tie popular Paracord knots

How to tie an Overhand knot

The first knot we are going to look at is probably one of the most common knots used not just in camping and bushcraft but for everyday use. Its called the overhand knot and has a great array of uses.

How to tie a double Overhand knot

Quite similar to the basic overhand knot the double overhand knot is just an additional pass through of the loose end through the knot. A great stopper knot and can come in handy when out in the field.

How to tie a figure eight knot

If you are looking for reliable loop knot for the end of your paracord or somewhere up the line a bit then you should really know how to tie a figure eight knot. Simple to tie once you get the hang of it, this is a very handy knot for camping and bushcraft alike.

How to tie a running bowline knot

The running bowline knot is a greta knot for tying paracord to trees or tying off branches. Easy to tie and easy to undue after a weight load this knot some be one of your more used knots on camp day.

How to tie a granny knot

When you want to make a single loop out of a length of Paracord or join two different piece together you should use a granny knot. Straightforward enough to tie, strong and won’t let you down.

How to tie a sheepshank knot

I often use the sheepshank knot when I want to shorten a length of paracord without cutting it. Takes a bit of getting used to but will save you ending up with loads of short pieces of useless cord. Don’t use it this knot if you are going to be putting a lot of load on as it will slip and let go.

How to tie a square knot

Often confused with a granny knot the square knot is really easy to tie and has a multiple of uses. But use it with caution. If your cord or ropes are different diameters, are wet or will come under heavy load then this knot will slip.

How to tie a bowline knot

Are you looking for a knot you can trust not to slip? A knot that will easily come untied after use no matter how much weight is put on it. The bowline knot is the most common working knot around the world and is useful in every situation where a rope is required.

How to tie a double sheet bend knot

The double sheet bend knot is ideal for tying ropes or cord of different diameters together. Popular in sailing this is a really strong and useful knot. Just remember that the thinnest line is always fed through the bite of the larger rope.

How to tie a sheet bend knot

The sheet bend knot is used to tie cord or rope of different diameters together. If you need additional strength in the knot use the double sheet knot. Just remember that the thinnest line is always fed through the bite of the larger rope.

How to tie a double carrick bend knot

Also known as the pretzel knot the double carrick bend knot is a great way to tie two pieces of cord together. This knot is often used in the construction of paracord bracelets so you should definitely know how to tie it.

camping, bushcraft and survival knots using paracord

OK now that you have geared up with some paracord you will need to understand how to put it to good use. Below is a very handy infographic from http://www.blackpointoutdoor.com/ that shows you the main knots you are going to be using when out camping or in a survival situation

 You have plenty of strength in the paracord itself especially if you went for the military grade cord so make sure the knots you use are up to scratch.

camping knots guide

10 great paracord bracelet projects

We grabbed a few videos from youtube on paracord projects you can make today with just a length of paracord, a lighter and a few miscellaneous bits and pieces. If you are looking for a great paracord tutorial on weaving paracord braid to buckles or handles, making a strap for your watch out of paracord braid or just want to try something different then check out the videos below and have a go yourself.

fishtail/switchback paracord bracelet

Single Strand Trilobite Buckle Watchband

Cloverfield Paracord Bracelet

Bones Bar Paracord Bracelet

Thin Blue Line Paracord Bracelet

Mated Solomon Bars Bracelet

Paracord Handle Wrap

Reflective Paracord Dog Leash

Tarp Shelters For Family Camping

use a tarp for camping

Tarp Shelters for camping

In this post, we address the most versatile item of kit on the campsite: The tarp.

The tarp is waterproof, opaque, and handy for absolutely everything. Need a sun-shade over the lunch table? Use a tarp. Pitched a tent? Tarp above, tarp below, you’re staying dry no matter how hard it rains. Forgot your tent? No biggie, the tarp is here to save you.

Tarp materials for camping

There are a bunch of different options when tarp shopping. Treated Canvas is the great-granddaddy of tarps. Moisture resistant, until it gets packed away, canvas is tough material that will last a long time. Make sure it’s absolutely dry before storing it. That might mean hanging it in the basement for a few days after getting home.

Poly tarps like this one are probably the most common. Woven polyethylene layers make for a durable, waterproof layer. Not readily susceptible to moisture like canvas, poly tarps are available in a multitude of patterns, colours and sizes. Good value and excellent protection, poly tarps are notoriously difficult to refold after using. They’re also quite noisy in the wind.

Silicone tarps like this one are newer and more flexible than their predecessors. Silicone impregnated nylon makes for a quiet, waterproof, easily packable tarp that has excellent durability and versatility.

camping tarp uses

 

But how big should this tarp be?

A great question! sized to your needs of course. A tarp that’s 20’x30’ doesn’t fit well on a small campsite where the trees are 10’ apart. Similarly, a 5’x7’ tarp won’t fully cover a 14-person tent. (more on tents here). Each campsite will have different objectives and needs. Have a variety of tarps on hand during the packing phase of a trip. When deciding on what to pack, consider these three basics:

1- dining shelter tarp

Eating in a dry, shaded area is more pleasant than in direct sun. Added bonus: stuff from the trees won’t fall into your food. Keep the cooking appliances well away from the tarp so it doesn’t melt.

2- over each tent

Even the best rain flies have their limits. Add a tarp for better rain and dew protection. Bonus: your tent won’t get as dirty or hot.

Pro Tip: In the rain, put the tarp up a few feet above the highest point of your tent. Then set up your tent under it. Tent stays dry through the whole process, and ends up exactly where it needs to be under the tarp.

 

3- inside each tent

The best way to keep a tent dry in the rain is to assume it will get wet. By putting the tarp inside on the floor, and folding the corners up (keep some clothespegs handy to keep it in place) water can run in and out as needed without getting the gear inside wet.

Depending on the weather, keeping firewood dry might be another priority for your tarps. Their use is limited only by your imagination.

The Trusty Tarp – It’s in the bag

Each tarp comes in a factory package. Ditch it as soon as possible. Put each tarp in a stuff sack with its own accessories:

 

Guylines are adjustable, and need to adapt to their surroundings. Braided poly rope (any kind will do, this is one example) will secure the tarp to a tree or pole, or to stakes in the ground. Bring lots. Don’t cut it if it can be avoided. Fewer pieces are better. Guyline tensioners like these keep the tension on to keep the tarp taught and avoid flapping.

 

Pegs keep the free-ends in the ground when not tying off to a tree. These are one example. Keep lots of pegs on hand. 6-8 per tarp is a good number.

 

By keeping a ‘kit’ for each tarp ready to go (mark the outside of the bag with the tarp material and size instead of unpacking it every time) it’s one item that doesn’t need a lot of thought in the haste of packing for a camping trip.

 

So now what?

 

Now that the size, material, accessories and locations are chosen, it’s time to set up a tarp. First rule: always set up a tarp with an angle. Moisture will build up on the top from dew or precipitation and it’s important to give that moisture somewhere to go. Put the ‘down’ edges of the tarp away from where people will gather, and downhill if needed. Face the ‘up’ edges into the prevailing wind if possible. Ideally, a ridge-line will keep the tarp taught. A ridgeline runs between two trees or poles. The tarp is folded over it (not always in half) to add tension. Tensioning the fabric in all directions will keep the wind noise and movement to a minimum.

 

For a tarp dining shelter, add a few inches above the tallest person in the group for hanging height.

 

When putting a tarp over a tent, consider the weather. In cool weather, the extra layer above will help trap warm air from the campers inside. Keep it close to the top of the tent (even sitting right on it) and stake the ends down low to the ground. In warm weather, allowing air to circulate between the tarp and tent will help keep it cooler. Get the tarp up as high as possible to shade the tent but not trap heat.

 

In the right climate, a tarp can take the place of a tent. A triangular tube with one end going to the ground makes a quick one-person tent (use your trekking pole or hiking staff at the high end to keep it upright). This will keep the inside mostly dry, but not free of bugs nor especially warm. A wind/sun shelter at the beach is another great use for a tarp. A 6 foot ish pole driven into the sand with guylines coming off in all directions and a tarp stretched against them will quickly provide shade and a little privacy, while blocking the wind.

 

The use of tarps is limited only by your imagination. By having the right size on hand with the right accessories, campers will be comfortable, dry and ready to play all day.