Armchair Bushcraft

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
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McBride, BC
Let's see how things go for me in the next while.
Need surgery, hope they don't chew up too much of my left hind leg tomorrow.

Splicing really smartens up a boat or a camp. If you can tie shoe laces, you're over qualified.
I got rusty and bought Dawson(?) a superlative British text to use as a refresher.
 

Keith_Beef

Native
Sep 9, 2003
1,331
237
51
Yvelines, north-west of Paris, France.
I admit that I was staying away from this thread, thinking that it was going to be a rant about people who type more than they carve and who surf more than they walk.

I don't get out as much as I would like, SWMBO is not at all into camping. She likes a walk through the countryside or along the cliffs, but is a bit too partial to her comfort... but she doesn't begrudge me time spent doing my own stuff, and this year I did a three day, 125km horse ride to the Equirando gathering... six days away, with three nights under canvas. This was my first camping trip in years, and I realise that I took far more clothing than I needed. I think I've been bitten again by the camping bug and need to spend a few more nights out. I can see the appeal of steampunk glamping, but without a suitable vehicle (Fred Dibner's traction engine and trailer spring to mind), I just couldn't do it.

Right now, I'm away in the country with practically the whole family: wife, our two kids, my mother and my late brother's two kids who are eight and five. In a couple of days, there will be one of the wife's cousins turning up with her husband and their two youngest kids who must be around 14 and 10... the house will be cramped, so I'll set up two 4-man tents in the garden, and give the two smallest their first night under canvas. Another day, I'll take them for a wander up the lane and up through the woods. I'll take some fishing hooks and line with me; I'll cut some hazel poles and we'll see if we can catch some tiddlers. We'll gather a few apples on the way, and take a leisurely time of it, and maybe next year spend a night up at the neighbour's farm, camping, like I did with my son when he was about six or seven.

In the meantime, I'm going to get a piece of 3/8" square mild steel bar, build up my charcoal forge, and see what I can bang out.
 
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Woody girl

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Mar 31, 2018
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Exmoor
I do a lot of foraging this time of year. I make cordials jams chutneys and all sorts of other tasty morsels. My dryer works overtime with fruit leather and dried berries and herbs. Although I'm indoors, to me it's still bushcraft as without those bushes to gather from I'd be doing something else. I try to do something bushcrafty most days. Easy enough in the summer but more difficult for me when cold and wet.
I don't think you have to be in the woods to do bushcraft (tho it is my preferred option)
To me it's more a way of life which encompasses many different skills and fosters a mindset of being able to cope and adapt and improvise in any situation. It fosters an awareness that most people nowadays just don't have.. noses buried in their phones as they walk around, or earphones in and "plugged out" of the world around them.
Armchair bushcraft to me is being sat in a comfy recliner with a book about nature (present read .... walks in the wild , a guide through the forest by Peter wohlleben ) as yet untouched but begging a cosy night in by the woodburner. It will have to wait a bit though as I'm too busy .
I tried to stay awake last night to watch the perseid meteor show... but I fell asleep and missed it. Serve me right for trying to watch from my bed instead of the garden... but I was tired and it was raining..... :)
I wonder if sitting in my armchair while knitting some alpaca wool socks or fingerless mitts for use with my kit qualifies as armchair bushcraft?
 
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Keith_Beef

Native
Sep 9, 2003
1,331
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Yvelines, north-west of Paris, France.
That's the perfect way to introduce kids to the outdoors Keith.

Sorry about the "clickbait" title but it does seem to have served the purpose.

The horse trek sounds great as well.
The three days of riding to the meet-up was with nights in B&B accommodation, with a support vehicle carting our gear and what we needed for the horses, and the support vehicle driver set up picnic table and benches for us... quite glampish, overall, though we riders had to water and feed the horses morning, noon and night.

Some of it was physically demanding (a horse wants around 40L of water per day... lugged in jerry cans a couple of hundred metres from the standpipe). And some was a little bit "gnarly and technical" as my mountain bike friends would say... when the hiking trail passes through a village and includes a 150 metres along a 2 metre wide jennel between houses, with a barrier at the bottom end to stop kids riding dirt bikes through it.
 
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Wayland

Hárbarðr
I do a lot of foraging this time of year. I make cordials jams chutneys and all sorts of other tasty morsels. My dryer works overtime with fruit leather and dried berries and herbs. Although I'm indoors, to me it's still bushcraft as without those bushes to gather from I'd be doing something else. I try to do something bushcrafty most days. Easy enough in the summer but more difficult for me when cold and wet.
I don't think you have to be in the woods to do bushcraft (tho it is my preferred option)
To me it's more a way of life which encompasses many different skills and fosters a mindset of being able to cope and adapt and improvise in any situation. It fosters an awareness that most people nowadays just don't have.. noses buried in their phones as they walk around, or earphones in and "plugged out" of the world around them.
Armchair bushcraft to me is being sat in a comfy recliner with a book about nature (present read .... walks in the wild , a guide through the forest by Peter wohlleben ) as yet untouched but begging a cosy night in by the woodburner. It will have to wait a bit though as I'm too busy .
I tried to stay awake last night to watch the perseid meteor show... but I fell asleep and missed it. Serve me right for trying to watch from my bed instead of the garden... but I was tired and it was raining..... :)
I wonder if sitting in my armchair while knitting some alpaca wool socks or fingerless mitts for use with my kit qualifies as armchair bushcraft?
I think for me the craft side of it certainly takes a larger percentage of the time I dedicate to this and in fact most of my pastimes.

I found my way to this site looking to find how to do something crafty and although I forget what it was now, I do remember it was a post of Mary's ( Toddy ) that I found that told me how.

I rarely use the term "Bushcraft" myself, only when needing to distil it down for public consumption really, but I've described it a few times as a mindset that sees solutions in the outdoors rather than problems.

I don't think that mindset needs to be limited to the outdoors does it?
 

StJon

Nomad
May 25, 2006
490
3
57
Largs
I'm mid 50's and carry an extra bit of timber, but loved getting out this sumer, tarp tent, down bag and home made stove. Does take me longer to get up off the ground and if I thought it was to rain I'd stay home and season my cast iron frying pan. I don't wear the 'bushcraft uniform' as much but still draw on skills gains here and at meets. I'll always remember Wayland tell us gourse flowers taste yellow. Happy camping folks however we do it
 
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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
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[/QUOTE]How have you adapted to the march of time?[/QUOTE]




I've only just seen this thread. It's certainly got me thinking. I've always been an outdoor kinda guy. As a child I grew up on the edge of the Norfolk Broads. I had the coast to my front and the Broads to my back (give or take a few kilometers...). I spent a lot of my time mooching about. Happy in my own skin. The love of nature grew in me from an early age and was nurtured by my grandfather. He taught me how to live in the woods, on the beach, fish and shoot. Best of all he taught me to be confident in nature and to respect it. I had a great childhood.

As I grew up, I spent longer outdoors. But my equipment was always rather umm, basic? I started off with an old sleeping bag, your cheap halfords type and a German army rubberised poncho which my uncle used to use to cover his old motorbike with, but gifted to me one summer. That was my entire shelter kit. No slept mat, no bivvy bag.... my cook set was an army issue mess tin, the smaller one and my water bottle was a cheapo repro US Army one from a camp shop in town. I had a knife even at a young age. I started off with a Jack knife from my grandad. Clothing was whatever I walked out the door in. No fancy primaloft, no goretex. If it rained I used the poncho. If I was cold I lit a fire. I carried it all in a really cheap old green 'army style' rucksack. For food I always carried tomato soup in a can, chocolate and biscuits. I smile now even remembering..... . My mum and dad never had a problem allowing me out during school holidays. It became a routine to find a telephone box in a village and reverse the charges and let mum know I was ok.

So, how have I adapted over time? I suppose my kit remains the same in relation to items, but the quality of the kit has changed. Sleeping bag has become a favoured Ajunglak 3 season, my tarps have changed over the years, but a DD 3x3 is the go to now. Small army mess tin has become a zebra 12cm.... and so it goes on. Yes, I three different types of sleeping bags now, two different cook pots, two types of bivvy bag..... but im still a ground dweller, I still go mooching about when I can. I love impromptu over nights and I'm a fan of the 'micro-adventure' for sure. A family and work won't allow for regular trips away. But I still get out every month for at least one night, every few months I'll be out for a long weekend. I'm still that kid at heart I suppose, mooching about.

Oh and I brought a campervan a few years ago. That really has opened up the world for us! We are regularly away in it. The kids love it. My kids are outdoor kids. I gently encourage it, without making my hobby their hobby. But they climb trees, go rock pooling, have dirty finger nails, know how to light fires, go fishing......



Sent from my SM-G903F using Tapatalk
 

Jeff Edwards

Full Member
Jul 9, 2018
13
7
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West Midlands
Everytime I see one of your posts Weyland I know it will be interesting, thought provoking and informative.
As you say overtime we as individuals develope and change and obviously age does tell.
I also have masses of gear to suite the varied and diverse way I and probably most have changed, amended, extended or sometimes ceased in my use of the great outdoors.
Over the years I have found not only my own health but that of those close to me the prime mover. Not all issues are cronic or long term. A broken hand may not disable you for life however a plaster caste would temporarily refrain most sensible people from kayaking. I did think it was a bit more durable when I started.
Of late my outdoor activities have severly restricted and I can think of nothing worse than repeating tales of distant memories which could only be made interesting by slumber. Prefferably the teller.

So if I may I will continue to read, enjoy and quietly learn from you lovely people.
 
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Wayland

Hárbarðr


I have just enjoyed a weekend out with a group of old friends that enjoy "Old School" camping and bushcraft and we were discussing the process of making memories.

We told some old stories again and trotted out a few new ones but we left with some new memories just as good as some of the old ones.

Things change but it's still worth getting out there as best you can.
 

crosslandkelly

A somewhat settled
Jun 9, 2009
23,472
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North West London
At 62 I now have a foot firmly in both Gary's Steamtent Co-operative camp and my own basic bushcraft camping. I love the retro look and outright comfort of the canvas patrol tent and all of the fixtures and fittings that go with it, but I also still enjoy hanging or ground dwelling under my DD tarp. Either way gets me out doors and enjoying myself.
Some pics of my different setups.
IMG_20170922_163122.jpg

IMG_20190524_174030.jpg

22308870_507810409577953_470385770568082646_n.jpg
 

Sundowner

Full Member
Jan 21, 2013
871
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Northumberland
What a grand subject for discussion!

I love canvas, wood, leather and steel as much as the next man and there's something special in using old, handmade, quality equipment. But...

...I'm now in my fifties with a much younger Spanish wife and our outings normally involve tramping the hills, forests and coasts of Galicia and Asturias. Because of this, I've discovered the benefits of lightweight gear. My cooking system is titanium and my knife is an M390/ Carbon fibre job that will last a week in wet weather with no maintenance (and the associated kit) required. The axe now stays at home in favour of a folding saw. One essential piece of kit is a lightweight, folding chair as ground/ log/ beach sitting no longer cuts it. I haven't yet gone 'ultralight' - my pack is 500 cordura - but the system is modular and I only take what I need depending on the type or duration of the outing.

I still have a ton of kit that fits the 'bushcraft' ideal - Canvas and leather pack, 01 steel Knessmuk knives, a GB SFA, a Woodlore clone, nesting steel billies, flint and steel, wool blankets etc - and it's kit that I would love to use more often if I was purely camping for camping's sake, but, more often than not, I'm experiencing the journey as well as the destination and my advancing years have definitely focussed on the weight side of things.

One 'luxury' (weight penalty) item I do take along is a Flexcut carving jack as I have a (frustratingly unrealised) ambition to be a great wood carver and it's a fine fireside activity.

I love all things 'retro' and your set-up, Wayland, certainly provides some inspiration for when the back/ hips/ knees finally give up and I'm driving to sleep in the fresh air. It looks like my ideal man-cave in the woods.
The making of my new bedroll put me in mind of the jolly Swagman of old Australian ballad.



As a younger man I waltzed my Matilda all over. I hitch hiked and back packed my billy into the wild at every opportunity I had.

That developed over time into an interest in landscape photography and the load I was carrying steadily increased. Cameras, lenses and tripods were not lightweight, especially in the days before digital imaging.

Fortunately, those days also corresponded to the availability of a vehicle for getting me to the trail head but the distance I tramped certainly started to shorten.

I still sleep under canvas beneath the stars every chance I get but the realities of life and work now means the opportunity to do so are spread further and further apart.

I used to get out on living history camps pretty regularly over the sunnier seasons but sadly even those opportunities have now largely dried up.

Looking back today, brings me to the realisation that it has now been a good few years since I truly waltzed my Matilda anywhere at all.

The last time I actually stepped out towards a distant horizon with all my kit was now seven years ago and even then it was packed on a sled and not in a backpack.

It would appear that with the inevitable passage of time, I have become that most ridiculed of beasts, an armchair bushcrafter...



Granted, my armchair is now quite often a folding one and my roof is still frequently made of taut canvas. I use ancient skills and antiquated gear to manage my camp life and make, modify or mend my equipment but the nature of my outdoor life now bears little resemblance to my greener days.

I am certainly older and perhaps a little more eccentric but there is rarely a day that I do not enjoy a quiet moment or two planning my next outing. The difference is that outing is now more likely to be laden with equipment reminiscent of a nineteenth century expedition.

Occasionally I wonder if I should return to those worthy days of sleeping on a browse bed deep in the woods and as I lie on my comfortable mattress looking at the lamp lit canvas above me, I realise that these days I would need to check every inch of my body for ticks, my back would take a fortnight to forgive me and I would not be looking forward to a fine English breakfast made over an open fire.



Yes, my outdoor life has indeed changed but do I regret it? . . . . . .. . .Not one little bit.

How have you adapted to the march of time?
Afraid so!! Still packing a 100l rucksack, but now a 4x4 tarp, arctic issue sleeping bag, dd underblanket and the dd frontline hammock. All very bulky but still, the pace is getting slower and the walks in and out shorter. The dream however lingers on, or at least, DID until last Sunday my beloved informed me that we should now go an buy a campervan. Been checking fleabay, local dealers etc all week. Mind you, I'm hell bent to go on that winter overnighter whatever the physical cost will be!! A dream? Yes, perhaps! But it's worth having!!!
 
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Sundowner

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Jan 21, 2013
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Only two sets?!! I have the Landy set, the canoe set, the base camp in the woods set, the lightweight back backing set and now (though yet to be tried :)) the steam punk set :)

I've also changed my photography gear - I only take my DSLRs if I'm 'doing' photography and I have a small waterproof and shockproof compact for when I want to record my other activities. I found I wasn't getting my 'good' cameras out of the waterproof bag in the canoe or not taking them at all because of the weight.
Reading your post brought back the reason for going with a gopro :joyful:
 

RonW

Native
Nov 29, 2010
1,551
69
Dalarna Sweden
Hi Gary! And all the others!
It's been a while. How've you been?

I too would have thought a title/thread like that would create more fuss, but it looks as if the forum's pretty dead-ish.
My outdoor activity has come down to occasional daywalks in the woods with a daypack and nothing more. I just don't feel the need for anything fancy or big. Just wish I could do that with like minded folks, but I pretty much have given up on that too. Without facebook people pretty much forget about one's existence here.
And I don't care for all these semi-mandatory bushcraft-skills like carving, cordage making and the like. Plus I no longer can do a host of others. Since early this year I can no longer properly use my shoulders, elbows or right hand. At times I could not even hold and use a knife properly, let alone split wood.
As such even my "homestead" took a severe beating; no planting, no harvesting, no conservation, no wood splitting, nothing.