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Time vs Weight
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Ankar Sheng
(Whiskyjack) - MLife

Locale: The Canadian Shield
Time vs Weight on 06/09/2010 14:12:48 MDT Print View

There's an article titled "Everything weighs something", but this isn't true, one thing we can take with us in the bush that doesnt weigh anything at all is knowledge.

When shopping for new gear we often consider how many $ per ounce saved to judge the efficiency of the purchase, but have you ever considered time as a factor?

With "leave no trace" trekking and todays focus on gear a lot of useful bushcraft skills that can replace gear are ignored. They weigh nothing, but their penalty is time.

A lot of people carry some combination of stove/pot stand/windscreen. I carry none of these, instead I cook on the camp fire and make an adjustable pot hanger for my billy can.

Time: 5 minutes. Weight saved, dunno, never owned a stove lol.

When cooking fish, instead of using a grill or a pan you can just put them on a stick over the fire, or what I like to is lay a bed of damp sphagnum moss over a hot coals, put my fish on that, then put another layer of moss on. That way I can keep fishing without having to tend to my meal while it cooks.

When I go hike in the Canadian Shield I don't bother bringing toilet paper. Sphagnum moss works even better, it's moist and slightly antiseptic. It gets my butt cleaner and is more hygienic.

Time: 2 seconds to bend over and pick some up. Weight saved: ~2 oz.

Tinder. In my neck of the woods birch bark is abundant, and while there are many other excellent alternatives it's my first choice. It's easier to light than pine needles, much easier to gather than fatwood, and unlike dry grass or old mans beard it's weather proof. You can dunk it under water, shake it off then light it.

Time: None, I just grab a lose piece off a tree on my way into camp. Weight saved: negligible.

Wild foods can potentially save you quite a bit of weight. I'm not a fan of relying on it, but I love to supplement my grub with forage. Aside from the seasonal delicacies there's often staples. I'm quite partial to the roots of cattails (aka bull rushes, reedmace), the green shoots are supposed to be quite good too. Instead of bringing tea bags I simply enjoy the indigenous "labrador tea".

A bed can be fashioned out of spruce bows & moss. I've had to do this one time when I was ill prepared for the night time temperatures on a late October hike. I don't recommend it though, aside from the amount of time it takes it requires a lot of green branches.

Of course there are countless other natural alternatives, but these ones I've found are the best trade off.

What bushcraft techniques do you guys employ in your travels?

Edited by Whiskyjack on 06/09/2010 16:13:42 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Bushcraft on 06/12/2010 17:02:29 MDT Print View

I don't like to cook over a fire because I don't like to build a fire and I don't like how my pot gets all sticky. I live in Southern California and there are times of the year when fires are prohibited. I don't normally backpack during those times, but a lot of the time when I'm out there it seems like everything would catch on fire in an instant. I've gotten used to not having a fire and prefer it now. However, I have on occasion brought my old pot and cooked over a fire.

Other than the occasional cook fire and once in a while tossing some miners lettuce into my meal, I don't do anything considered bushcraft. Oh wait, I do go without TP but I use white sage or grass instead of moss since there is no moss around here.

I am considering weaving a sleeping bad out of tule or cattails, but I haven't tried that yet.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Time vs. Weight on 06/12/2010 17:53:26 MDT Print View

You've saved around 7 ounces with your fire cooking system.

Bushcraft skills I use:

weather forecasting
wiping my butt with leaves
starting a fire
building snow shelters

I also weave my own tarp out of grass, snare my own food, and fashion moccasins out of the skins of normal UL backpackers I encounter on the trail.

Edited by chadnsc on 06/12/2010 18:12:57 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Time vs. Weight on 06/12/2010 19:58:14 MDT Print View

> fashion moccasins out of the skins of normal UL backpackers I encounter

You don't use up their packs and tarps and quilts???
Or the yummy food they might be carrying?
What an anti-environmental waste!


Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Time vs. Weight on 06/13/2010 09:15:11 MDT Print View

No,no. I show up on the trail with just the clothes on my back and my skinin' knife. My initial skin to out weight is so incredibly low it boggles the mind. I use everything I find.

Dutch Anderson
(Silveradodutchman) - F

Locale: Central Florida
Re: Time vs Weight on 06/13/2010 20:58:14 MDT Print View

So where does your bushcraft fit in with "leave no trace"

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Time vs Weight" on 06/13/2010 21:36:04 MDT Print View

"So where does your bushcraft fit in with "leave no trace""

where would bushcraft skills not fit in to LNT?

Edited by edude on 06/13/2010 21:38:07 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: "Time vs Weight" on 06/13/2010 21:57:58 MDT Print View

Aside from fashioning beds from branches (a rightfully outdated practice in most high-impact areas), all you're talking about is cooking over a woodfire, roasting fish on sticks, using natural tinder, and going TP-less.

Sounds a lot like backpacking!

Edited by xnomanx on 06/13/2010 21:58:33 MDT.