So you're heading out into the bush (or as my oldest brother says "way out into the cabbage").
Maybe you're headed out fishing to catch some walleye, bass, or even pike? Or possibly scouting the back roads for small game like rabbits or chickens? Too small? maybe you're out for the big stuff and trying to spot a moose or deer? You could also be packing up the canoe to get away for a few days, or just a weekend, so Monday doesn't seem like a 4 letter word.
Anytime you go out into the bush, there are some pretty obvious choices for any outdoor trip. this is my top 10.
This is a topic my older brother could go on and on and on about. And he might.
“the knifeless man is a lifeless man.” is a Nordic proverb from the Faroe islands:
“knívleysur maður er lívleysur (maður)”
All three brothers cannot overstress the importance of a good knife. In Particular, THE ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOU. You do not need the $500 custom handmade ultimate tactical survival knife with the Damascus blade and rosewood handle with 24K gold spacers, but if that's what you have, great.
I have gone on many trips with my $7.99 folder in my pocket and a $12.99 fixed blade on my belt. these do great for the jobs around the campsite. cutting cordage, sharpening sticks, or even pencils, cleaning small game, and making tinder and firestarters. This is why the knife is #1 on this list
No, do not bring your Harley Davidson down the Bushcraft Highway. But you may want to bring a camp axe or a machete. Both have their pros and cons, and I lean toward the machete more than the axe. I usually end up bringing both anyways.
Like Scotty from Star Trek says "the right tool for the right job."
Your fixed-blade knife is likely great for brushing or cutting small limbs, so the heavy chopper comes in for things like splitting firewood, and felling trees (only if required).
Plain old-fashioned rope or twine. I have a bag with maybe 250 feet of blaze orange paracord stuffed inside. There used to be 300 feet, But cordage gets used up fast. Replacement shoelace? boom! need a lanyard for that whistle? there ya go! Need to tie down that load? No Problem! lashing together an emergency shelter? Got ya covered!
there are a thousand and one things you can do with a decent amount of rope. Just be sure to replenish it as it gets used up.
FIRST AID KIT
This one is a no-brainer. A basic kit to help with cuts and scratches, and of course, stop heavy bleeding you get to an emergency room.
And there's the catch … UNTIL you get to the emergency room. Depending on how far out into the cabbage you are going, you'll need to stock up on a few things.
Only 30 minutes out of town? A basic kit with adhesive bandages, some gauze wrap, dressing pads, and medical tape should do just fine. Going further off the beaten path? Might want to supplement with a triangular bandage or two, some topical antibiotics, and even some over-the-counter meds for good measure.
I would elaborate on the benefits of Imodium during a fishing trip, but that's another story.
No not the Stephen King movie, or the 1997 song by The Prodigy.
I mean a way to create fire, not just tinder or the little pre-made cubes that get your Barbeques started.
A Bic lighter, a pack of wooden matches, or a Ferro rod. preferably more than one of these will be in your kit, and hopefully at least one is waterproof.
Some new high-tech fire starters are even USB chargeable, using a hot filament rather than chemical fuel. I have tested some of these and found they fell short.
Mankind has enjoyed the benefits of fire for a long time, so don't deny yourself.
The simplest method for water purification is still boiling it (as foreshadowed by FIRESTARTER - no I did not plan that). Use a camp pot, your coffee pot, or a (clean) tin can if you have one handy. I have even boiled water in a glass bottle - because it was what I had
There are also purification tablets available at most sporting outlets. or special filters that you can pour your sourced water through.
Newer high-tech water bottles now have UV purification in the cap, which can decontaminate questionable water in a few minutes. Just remember to bring a USB power source with you too.
To avoid brand names, Grip tape will keep your Ducks or Gorillas from falling apart.
they can also mend ALMOST anything. Mend that rip in your rain poncho, keep your boot from falling apart for the day, and get one more night out of that ratty tent pole before it gets replaced.
they also work well for keeping dressings on serious cuts.
…or removing a left eyebrow when your brother is asleep.
I always have two variants. the Headlamp and a handheld version.
the handheld versions of most flashlights come with a belt clip or a wrist strap to help avoid dropping them. You can use these to hang your light where you need it most. the handheld versions are usually better suited to shining on someone else's work if they need. The headlamp may put you in their way.
Again, everything is moving to USB-chargeable devices...Maybe that should have been on the list too
Headlamps are better suited to personal tasks that you need both hands for, or to see where you are going in the dark.
…or outrunning your brother with a missing left eyebrow.
Yes, I still carry a compass with me, and yes I know how to use it. I suggest everyone learns how.
I can hear the "What about A GPS, or a phone App?" …sigh. If you must use your phone for everything then yes this will work most of the time. unless it gets broken, or the batteries die and won't charge, or your brother that's missing an eyebrow throws it in the lake while it is still in your back pocket.
I have tried a few apps that reportedly work without cell service or data, and yes some worked well, while others did not. Much like the fire starter, always have another backup method of doing something.
When I say emergency food, I mean something you can carry with you that is compact, lightweight and goes a long way. the kind you use when your Kraft Dinner has run out and you're stuck because the ATV/Boat/Truck won't start.
Try sitting in a remote air terminal for 8 hours, when its -35°C outside and your plane taking you home wont start. No 7-11 out here
I have always carried a pack or two of jerky, granola bars with fruit or nuts, and a few tea bags in my trail pack. I also have a few chicken or beef bullion cubes for when the crap hits the fan.
I am a Coffee drinker by choice, but Tea quenches your thirst, coffee just aggravates it. Plus I don't carry sugar or creamer. Tea is much better when its "straight up"
Other than the specific gear you'll need depending on what you plan is in the middle of nowhere and how you plan to get there, these would be standard items I would expect in any kit for the outdoors.
Hunting, Fishing, a week(end) at the cabin. I've always got a "GO BAG" loaded and ready to go.