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Wednesday, August 2, 2017


  The other day I had a class with some traditional campers including primitive skills, so at one point we decided to take a close look at what each one carried in their respective packs., One by one they revealed the gear, mostly very standard stuff, then it was my turn. As I laid out my gear there were a lot of wow and oh really, what’s that good for?

 First here is a list of what I had that day; Zip lock ties, tin foil package, plastic zip baggies large size, a plastic pilots canteen, contractor bags 5 of them. a few lite utility knives, my Vechawk , some clear contractor bags, 2 net hammocks, one 8x10 plastic tarp, 2 machetes, a large knife, Cold Steel Trail Master, my Kephart knife, a poncho, 2 plastic bottles, plastic ties ,3 bics, 2 military net laundry bags, saran wrap, matches, glue, tacks, flint and steel, tinder, one dry wall saw, 2 sets of arrowcards,  bungee cords, a set of  pruners, space blankets, 2 thin wool blankets, several wire snares, my trusty coffee can with a bale attached. Several birthday candles the kind that won’t blow out, Dried fruit, chia seeds, trail mix of my making , jerky, 2 or 3 tins of sardines , 2 tins of spam, tums, spices, coffee, Leatherman tool, spoon and fork, a wool knit hat, head lamp. I don’t think I’m forgetting anything. I explained with this gear I’m good to go, although I might add a few other pieces of clothing depending on the weather. I can go for a week with these items. I carry most of the gear with a set of Ribz, some on my belt some stuffed in a pocket, and some in a shoulder bag if I need it. I try not to use a pack anymore at all. The Ribz are kind of goofy looking to my mind but they work really well. 

 It was decided that we would set up our camp. As it went I had my shelter and fire set up and was laid out in my hammock while everyone else was still setting up, plus my coffee was brewing. I walked around the site and helped a few of the guys set up, they were a bit taken back as I’m known for my traditional gear and primitive skill set. However, at my age, I want more than light, I want really easy and fast and comfort so I am always on the lookout for ways to make my load lighter and better than quick. A tip of my hat to my good friend Mike Gapp for many of the ideas and gear suggestions over the years, a few of the ideas are mine if I stole them from someone, sorry I don’t recall.. 

In fact many of the tools and ideas are just the same old tricks and skills set to a different drummer, meaning it’s just a different set of tools used the same way as the traditional and the primitive. The primitive world is tied together. I’m just using different tools to do the tying, like the ziplock ties and I do not have to make my own cordage, done deal. 

 I am not saying to drop it all in favor of this gear. When it wears out and breaks you will need to resupply. With the primitive skill set you have the foundation to keep going. What the gear does, that I’m talking about, is like a slingshot into the bush that will get you going faster and allow a flexible system to get out of the area with almost no trace. If they find a piece of plastic they will not know what it is for or if it is yours.  

So what this comes down to is your camping gear is at the 99 cent store for the most part. Before you go off saying that I’m full of it try it. Just try it in your backyard where your next-door neighbor already knows you are nutz. If you cannot figure out how to use the gear post the question here and I will try and explain it to you. Like anything that seems to different the learning curve can be a bit confusing but only for a minute.


Dude McLean