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Friday, January 22, 2016

What do You Really Need?

What do You Really Need?
By: Dude McLean

We are overwhelmed by marketing, by well meaning friends, magazines, and the internet. What am I talking about? GEAR!

What you really need is no big deal and does not have to cost you a house payment.

Lets look at the basics, some you may already have it.

A pack, a knife, a cooking can, fire making stuff, canteen, food, shelter, a blanket/sleeping bag.

To get started I would start with some sort of a small pack, a knapsack should work just fine. They have been around for hundreds of years, you can find them pretty cheap, and I see them at yard sales all the time for a few bucks...I bought a Mule Camelback, brand new, for 3 dollars.

A knife would be nice. For me and many others the only folder I take into the field is a SAK (Swiss Army Knife).The Rucksak or the Outrider are my choices. They both have a locking blade and offer the longest saw of the SAK models.

Conventional wisdom says you need a fixed blade camp knife. I agree with that thinking, but you could do just fine with one of the SAK models.

A fixed blade should be as long as the width of your hand.

A decent fixed blade can cost anywhere from a low of 10 bucks to 100 bucks and up to the rarified air of many hundreds of bucks and even into the thousands; however, a great knife for the camp can be found at thrift stores and yard sales posing as butcher knives, knives, etc., and you can get'em for a buck. They will do just fine in camp use. That's a deal.

FIRE! Matches or a Bic lighter and you are in business. Ahh! but you should have at least three ways to start a fire,O.K., we have two. How about flint and steel and charcloth? A Doans mag bar? A flare?...You choose.

We have made fire for a few reasons. One is for warmth, and to see at night . The other is so we can cook our food, or at the least ,warm it up.

A coffee can answers just fine. Punch a hole on each side at the top attach a wire coat hanger for the bail , season the can and you are in "chef boy r Dudes" kitchen... Carry two if need be. The larger coffe can is close to a number 10 can, or a gallon, and it can be converted into a hobo stove for burning twigs.

Another way to make a twig stove is to get one of those throwaway aluminum cooking pans, add some metal cross bars and you have a stove.

If you want to go Hi-Tech on your stove, grab a soda can and make a Halcon alcohol stove. All of your cooking gear is free...How cool is that?

Water, In most places in the country you will want to carry water, so you need a canteen. two options are a plastic quart bottle works just fine, and a surplus store has military canteens at a cheap price (Many of them come with a cup , so you have another container thrown in , such a deal.)

Shelter, You may or may not need it. But lets look at this, you can make a debris hut, you know the one TBjr. invented ...ahem, sorry but some people think that is true. But to build one the correct way takes a bit of practice and the material to make one must be close by. It only costs your labour.

A few heavy duty contractor bags will work wellas a lean-to, or you you might go the light weight tarp route, they run 50 bucks and up.

Ah.. but you can buy those plastic tarps for 10 bucks and cut them and paste them to your desired shape.

A painters cloth dropcloth works well, as long as you can keep the cotton fairly tight it is rain resistant. You can water proof them as well..

Surplus stores have used military tents in all shapes and sizes..There are so many shapes it makes my brain hurt..You can also find these at yard sales and thrift stores.
A poncho will also work for a lean-to and I have done manytimes...It works, but I would rather have dedicated tarp for the purpose..

Sleep does matter and being comfy determines how well you sleep. Your bed can be a bunch of leaves , pine needles, or the like, all piled up for a nice mattress ( you stuff them in the contractors bag)... I have done this many many times and it is comfy...You can pile a bunch of leaves over you...

You might consider a wool blanket or a poly of some kind..Sleeping bags can found at yard sales and thrift stores. Test out some blankets or quilts as a part of your sleeping system. Always remember your clothes are your first shelter, and are a part of your sleeping system as well.

Eating Food

Prepackaged meals from the store are available. But they aint cheap. You can learn to prepare your own meals ahead of time. It wont cost you much. This info, in case you dont know how to go about, it is also found in the HoodMasters videos.
Dried foods go a long ways. Preparing your own foods is a whole article in and of itself, but you get the idea. When done properly you can have a feast for a week on the cheap and eating like a king.

This is down and Dirty Gear for your dirt time.It will all work just fine.


Most of this list is a one time cost.

Used knapsack 5.00
SAK, optional 35.00
used fixed blade 1.00
second fixed blade 1.00 buck
matches, water proof 2.00
Bic lighter 1.00
Doan mag bar 6.00
Flint and steel 12.00
Bow and drill 00.00
sparking rod...2.00
road flare 2.00
Coffee can 00.00
Halcon stove 00.00
Alcohol 4.00 bucks
Canteen , soda bottle 00.00


debris hut 00.00
Contractor plastic bags 6.00
painters drop cloth 20.00

Sleeping gear

leaves,pine needles 00.00
poly blanket 5.00
wool blanket 10 to 50


prepared meals from the store.for one day about 20
Prepared yourself 20, for a week.


If you have nothing suitable already, go haunt the thrift stores
used shirts, 3
pants 4 to 6
jacket 8

I have found brand new clothes with the original price still on them; 50 dollar pants for 4 bucks etc..Boots etc under clothes already have.

What does this add up to you ask?...about 107.00 bucks. If you throw in all the optional gear about 230 or so bucks...

At this point you have put together all of your gear. The cost will be about your food and the gas to get where you are going.

If you are knowledgable the cost for getting started can very small 30 bucks . You may already have a few things to add to the gear..That will save you And all of this gear is light weight to cool is that?...

At these prices almost everyone can afford to get out in the bush...No excuse that you do not have the gear...It aint ba contest to see who can spend the most or who has the latest gizmogeewhizbangdodahrazamatazz stuff...Get the HoodWoods videos to help you along the path...

I hope this is of some help to at least a few of you ...Thats my cactus and Im sticking to it...


  1. this is by no means a perfect list , much of it is okay and should get one to thinking a bit at the very least. I could list other items but then it gets lost in the list. just a little jab at yer brain to get one thinking a bit.


  2. I remember a lot of my first camping gear in BoyScouts was my dad's old gear from when he was in: metal mess kit and canteen, both with green cloth covers, and a wood-and-canvas cot. A lot of other stuff that was borrowed/given, like an Army ALICE pack from an uncle, later replaced by a much lighter frame backpack from an older Scout, and an old canvas and flannel sleeping bag from a neighbor, who was Scoutmaster from a different Troop. I think the only stuff we bought new was a sleeping bag (hunter's special, green nylon shell with green and brown flannel lining), a blue foam pad, and a folding nonstick frying pan later, after finding out that was the main cooking implement I was using, almost exclusively. My first gtound cloth was a used, vinyl shower curtain. Clothes were just what I already wore for school and play; the Scout uniforms were for meetings, tho other Troops wore them for any activities.

    My suggestion for finding cheaper, used SAKs and BoyScout knives, is flea markets and "trade days." Altho shopping online can find you a good deal too sometimes. As long as you can check them out beforehand, to make sure they're not too worn or broken, a used pocketknife will work great. Heck, this could be something else passed down, sharing a family tradition. (Save the old knives from the hipsters collecting them!)

    I think the best thing would be to practice the skills at home or in the backyard, before trying them first time in the wilds. Use that cookset in the kitchen: this might have saved me from a few hungry meals, as more eggs stuck to the pan than made it to my plate in my first months camping! Set up the gear in the yard, then pack it back up: I never could get everything as neatly put away going home as I did heading out.

  3. great comments and observations Mattexian thanks for taking the time to make an interesting post ..