Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gear List, Part 1 - by bmatt, an American Bushcrafter in Finland

Today in the News:  First day back to work after two "snow" days in a row (we were actually closed due to cold weather).  We didn't get any snow to write home about out of the first storm, but they predicted an inch of snow today and we currently have two inches on the ground.  I should become a meteorologist.  Could mean a camp fire this weekend! :)

bmatt returns today with a great post on the gear that he carries in the bush!

Link of the Day: - this link will be important at the beginning of next week.  I'll be doing a wool coat review featuring four wool coats that I've owned, used and abused.

Gear List Part 1, by bmatt - an American Bushcrafter in Finland

This will be the first of two lists of the gear I use for bushcraft and camping. The items listed and shown below are what I bring on outings lasting from several hours to most of the day, regardless of the season. If I plan on camping one or more nights, I will also bring a backpack, shelter etc. in addition to these items. So I consider this gear to be my basic kit, which I always have, no matter what.

On my belt, I carry two knives (3" puukko and 6" leuku) and a belt pouch. The belt pouch contains twine, a flashlight, a compass, a firesteel, a whistle, a small fishing kit (sinkers, hooks and line), a knock-off Swiss card with a mirror, ruler, small knife, screwdriver, bottle opener, tweezers, toothpick and nail file.

On my belt, or in my hand, I carry my 26" bush axe.

On my shoulder I carry a Finnish army gas mask bag containing a German army poncho, a 400 mL/13.5 oz. pot, a small dry bag, a metal canteen, twine, paracord, a canvas pouch (which is used to hold several of the items listed here), a head flashlight, a space blanket, a sewing kit with large and small needles, a glowstick, a medical kit (gauze, pain killers, bandaids/plasters, ointment etc.), a bandanna, toilet paper, a piece of soap, a spoon, a pen, bug repellent, a compass, snare wire, lip balm, a sharpening stone, small plastic bags, tea, oatmeal and my leather "fire bag" containing a tea candle, matches, lighter, fatwood, cotton, tinder lichen and birch bark.

This might seem like a lot, but it packs up nice and small, and I can do a lot with it. In an emergency/survival situation, I could easily construct a natural shelter or use the poncho for shelter, build a fire, keep warm in the space blanket, strain and boil water to drink, have an emergency meal (oatmeal) and take care of minor wounds and such. So even though it's not intended for overnighters, I'm pretty sure I'd be able to make myself reasonably comfortable (i.e. not die, hehehe). I'm sure there are plenty of things I could leave out or add, but these are the things I have come to prefer to bring after about three years of "deliberation". ;)

In the second thread, I'll show what I also take on overnight trips (shelter and bedding, additional cooking/eating implements, some repair items and toiletries), as well as some seasonal items.

Thanks for the great post, bmatt.  It is great to be able to look at someone else's pack!

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel....out.


  1. Well thought out friend. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Looks like your pretty well set there. I think that's something a lot of "survivalists" forget. You can buy any kit you want or build one from everyone else's.. but you should only carry what works for you in your situation. You've definitely got a good head on your shoulders there. Approx. how much did this cost you?

  3. Thanks for the comments.

    TWT: My gear is an odd mish-mash of new, used, self-made and free items, so it's hard to put a price tag on it. Most of the items that I paid for were pretty cheap. The knives are the exception, though I would still call them mid-priced. I would estimate the amount I spent to be about 190 Euros if you include the knives, or 85 Euros if you don't include the knives. If you were to replace the knives with one Mora knife, that would make this kit about 90 Euros. The axe only cost about 25 Euros because I restored it myself.

    I'm quoting Euros instead of US dollars because I bought most of the stuff in Europe. For the most part, however, each item costs the equivalent number of dollars in the US (so the exchange rate doesn't really come into play). Point is, you could probably put together a kit like this for under 100 US dollars, or much less if you buy less-expensive stuff.


  4. Bmatt,

    Thank you, it's great to see not only kits put together from personal necessity, but ones that don't require a mortgage and you first born to pay for. Even 100 +/- on the knives isn't that bad compared to what you could pay for some.

  5. Well thought kit. I like the fact that man really Ddoes NOT have to drag a large,or even a medium pack in his bacl on a dayhike and in Matts kit theres a nicely thought pattern,allowing also to sleep in the bush in case man wants to or is forced to. It covers survival essential aspects more than well and as guys above mentioned,it is made on personal taste, experience and needs. This is The S-it that i love to see,consumer friendly outdoors kit writings. I mean that kit like this is pretty easy to gather up even for the beginner and for the ones with less budget to throw in the game. And yet,i dont doubt a second that the items would be likely to fail at all.

    Kit like Matts is one of those that obviously gets also USED. Its sad to see that the most shiniest and exotic bulletproof kit items collected in those hi-end packs usually are just for posing and bragging, and men dont actuallu use the kit so hard and often as kit in this case,IMO.

  6. Thanks for the kind words!


  7. Wow what a Great Information about World Day its very nice informative post. thanks for the post.
    Belt pouch