Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gear List Part 2, by bmatt, an American Bushcrafter in Finland

Today in the News:  bmatt returns.  Forgive my selfishness for not posting this sooner, I was really hung up on his axe articles.  As usual, more awesomeness from bmatt!

Link of the Day:

Gear List Part 2, by bmatt, an American Bushcrafter in Finland

In Part 1 , I talked about the base layer of gear I always have with me on outdoor outings, regardless of whether it’s for a few hours or a week-long trip. Conditions permitting, I may also add a sleeping bag and bivy bag to this setup for a quick and simple overnighter. This time, I’m going to cover the additional items I bring to make camp life more comfortable and enjoyable (while expanding my capabilities at the same time) for most trips lasting one or more nights. First, here it is all packed up in and on a Swedish army surplus rucksack (gear in Part 1 not included) with a few extra items filling up the rucksack to show how it looks when packed:

The additional items I bring essentially fall into five categories: shelter, sleeping, cooking, hygiene/miscellaneous and seasonal. These items will vary to some degree based on the weather and where I’ll be going, but for the most part I always bring most of these items.

For shelter, I either use a tipi-like tent called a lavvu, which is semi-permanent and remains at my main campsite, or a tent consisting of two German army rubberized ponchos, a plastic ground sheet, light-weight poles, guy lines and tent stakes. What I like about the two ponchos is that they are very versatile and can be set up in countless different ways, even separately if need be. My favorite configuration is the classic A-frame.

For sleeping, I use either one or two sleeping bags (depending on the season). One is a more modern type, and the other is a Swiss military surplus bag from the 70s. The bag or bags are placed inside an Italian military surplus bivy bag, which keeps them from absorbing moisture from the ground and protects against rain if I’m not using any other shelter. The last shelter item is a thin sleeping pad. I will often make a browse bed and place this sleeping pad on top, doubled over.



Next up are my cooking implements. My cook kit contains a frying pan, kettle, pot, fire grill, spatula, can opener, metal spoon, plastic spoon, wooden cup, plastic folding cup, pocket cooker folding wood stove, plate, salt/pepper mix, olive oil, scrub brush, dish soap, a dry bag for food and some plastic bags for trash etc.

In my hygiene/miscellaneous bag, I have a paracord clothesline, repair tape, toilet paper, extra matches and a toiletry kit.

Now for the seasonal items. In cold weather, I’ll bring my black padded leather gloves. In cool weather, it’s the thin, leather-palmed gloves. During mosquito and deer ked seasons, I will bring either a cap with netting attached, or a full net shirt which covers my entire top half, including neck and head. Anybody who thinks these net items are for sissies needs to spend some time up here. In the same picture as these items, you can see the two sitting pads I always have with me. These are great for keeping your keester warm and dry and are especially welcome on hard/rocky ground.

For most of the year, I will wear rubber boots rather than hiking boots, because they keep out the snow and water really well. Several pair of thick socks keep my feet nicely warm in winter in these boots. I only wear regular hiking boots from May to September or so.

For hiking in deep snow, I’ll bring my good, old snowshoes.

In the winter, I’ll sometimes bring my 10” Fiskars sliding saw to buck larger logs.

In addition to the items above, I also bring appropriate clothing, food, cell phone etc. If I’ll be doing some fishing or other activities, I’ll bring that gear along as well. In all, my backpack and shoulder bag from Part 1 weigh about 25 pounds. This does not include my knives, axe, belt pouch, food or extra clothes.
My kit continues to evolve a little here and there over time, and I think it will never stay exactly the same for long. That makes it fun. :) Hope some of you found this series useful. Feel free to ask any questions you have or make comments down below.


  1. Who knew? A bag from the 70s is still worth using! Just out of curiosity, how old is the rucksack?

  2. I'm pretty sure the rucksack is from the 60s or earlier. I have heard mention that this type is from the 40s, but I'm just not sure.


  3. Hi!
    Nice set up! I was planning something like that for my next year vacations.
    The backpack is like the swiss rubberized rucksack?
    Marcelo from Argentina

  4. "70's"? They were manufactured from 1939 to sometime in the 60's: with only the most minor, nearly imperceptible, changes - from beginning, to end of production.

  5. What brand is your hiking boots? They look great.