Bushcraft is hard to define as a subject; but it is possible to see its influence in my life.
This influence can be seen in the decisions I take and my approach to everyday situations.
One of the ways the subject has helped me personally is with my organisation.
In preparation for my trip to South East Asia in February my kit was something I took care in organising.
Using a modular system to help me arrange my kit, I set about documenting the results. I'm sharing the images and lists in this article as a guide but please bear in mind the final packing list was tailored to the trip that I intended to make.
This article is a follow up to my Jungle Trekking in South East Asia article.
One of the governing factors to my packing for this trip was that we did not intend to spend the night out in the jungle, instead staying in villages and guest houses.
This allowed me to pack very light.
The bag I used on this trip was a Karrimor Sabre 45 without the side pockets. This bag is very light for its size, robust and top loading. With a capacity of 45 litres this pack is ideal for light weight travelling.
One tip for checking-in back-packs at the airport is to fasten and tighten up all the straps as neatly as you can. This helps to avoid the bag being damaged on the conveyor belt if the straps get caught. One way to tackle this problem is to have your bag wrapped in plastic at the airport.
- Clothes in a dry bag – a few T-Shirts, a long sleeve shirt, one pair of long trousers, two pairs of shorts, socks and boxers;
- Flip Flops – not essential but good for helping your feet dry out after a long day;
- Towel – A light-weight cotton towel, extremely versatile and as the Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy states, “A towel, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”
- Waterproof jacket – although my trip was during the dry season I took a rain shell just in case; it sat at the bottom of my bag the whole trip;
- Mug and water bottle – in the webbing case is a NATO mug and bottle, handy for carrying and boiling water, also in the pouch are some water purification tablets;
- First aid kit – CPR face shield attached to zip. For immunisations and prophylaxis, it is advisable to see your GP or local travel clinic before travelling to remote regions. The areas of Laos we travelled to have a high risk of Malaria and Dengue Fever;
- Mosquito net – most places we stayed had nets over the beds already, but a few did not and I was glad I brought this;
- Possibles kit – this kit is outlined below.
This possibles kit was put together with this particular trip in mind and proved very handy. Not every item was used but if I didn’t have them I’m sure I would have needed them at some point!
- Dry bag - A handy bag for keeping your kit both dry and organised in your back pack; this one is the XXS size. All of the kit in this photo fits in the bag;
- Head torch – Compact, light-weight head torch with a red filter that helps save your night vision; spare batteries are in the blue plastic pot;
- Paracord – Extremely strong and durable, paracord can be used for a multitude of purposes.
- Glow stick – This small glow stick can last for hours and be used to read at night or for signalling;
- Compass – Navigating in the jungle can be very hard without a compass. Visibility is low and the thick canopy blocks out the sun and stars, hampering any attempt at natural navigation;
- Mosquito head-net – Fine mesh; can be used for a variety of purposes;
- Whistle, firesteel, pen knife, tinder in a metal container; all on a loop of paracord;
- Plastic Ziploc bags – These bags are handy for a number of tasks including water purification and foraging;
- Fishing kit – I drilled out the centre of this fishing reel to keep tackle inside and capped it with Perspex on ether end;
- Water proof plastic pot – For those things you definitely don’t want to get wet, containing headache pills, water purification tablets, sewing kit and other small items.
Hygiene is very important to me when I’m out in the woods; in the tropics or back in the UK I try to keep myself and my kit as clean as possible. Everyone has their own criteria for choosing what to buy and pack. My personal take on this is that whatever I take should be as light and compact as possible while still fulfilling its intended use.
- Sun cream – Factor 15 for arms and legs;
- Sun block – Factor 50 for face and back of the neck;
- Tooth brush;
- Talcum powder - Great for looking after your feet, I have decanted it in to a smaller bottle to save weight;
- Alcohol free hand gel – again, this has been decanted to save weight;
- Soap – There are plenty of travel body washes and shampoos available on the high street but I prefer to just take a small bar of soap. Its lighter and does the same job;
- Mosquito repellent – invaluable part of any wash kit when in Malaria or Dengue Fever areas. The best way to avoid getting sick is not to get bitten in the first place;
- After bite – For when you do get bitten...
Having hiked in Asia before, I know that trail food is hard to find in most places. Above are the snacks I took with me for the two and half week trip for me and my girlfriend.
This was of course supplemented with all the delicious local fruit we could get our hands on. Laos, and Vietnam have strong French influences having been colonised in the past, so local bread is very well made and easy to find.
The problem with packing - particularly when you pack quickly, without thinking things through - is the just in case moment, you have all your kit in your room and you think, I’ll pop that in “just in case”.
To stop me doing this I generally go though my kit twice and take out everything that I can possibly do without.
As you can see from the image, all of the previously-mentioned kit fitted in this bag with plenty of room to spare, you can just see the top of the clothes dry-bag inside.
This left me with lots of room to bring back souvenirs and Vietnamese coffee!
Thanks for reading. As a small reward for getting all the way to the end of this article, I have included another image of the beautiful fishing traps that where so well received in the first article Jungle trekking in South East Asia. Enjoy!
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