Lightweight Summer Bushcraft/Hiking Kit?

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forest_girl

Forager
Nov 29, 2016
105
2
Edinburgh
Hi all, I know all of you like different comfort levels so I'll get a few wildly different answers, but I was wondering what the minimum you'd comfortably take hiking on a summer overnight/couple of nights, and your preferred method of carrying such gear?

I started really getting into bushcraft last autumn and have been camping all winter, so my kit and pack are all very winter orientated. This is my current pack:

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This setup, complete with titanium stove for hot tenting has a 10-15kg base weight and keeps me comfortable around -5 to 5C, but its overkill for anything warmer and its quite a heavy pack. I like to hike a fair bit before making camp and enjoy it much more if I can be nimble.

I know for summer i'll leave the stove behind, I might replace it with one of those really small folding fireboxes as I hike in scotland where fires directly on peat ground is a no no. I will definitely take knife axe and saw with me, as they are a big part of why I get out into the woods in the first place.

I am thinking about switching to a tarp system, but my seek outside tipi is so light (1kg without stove) that I potentially wouldn't really save any weight there. Is a bivvy essential when sleeping under a tarp? As that would make the difference in weight. as I do a lot of multi day hikes in scotland, I would like my summer kit to be capable of handling plenty of rain.

Carrying wise, I have an LK35 pack, which I might use. I love my big frame pack but its a bit bulky especially for bushwhacking and this might be a good smaller summer alternative.

I'm also feeling quite inspired by the youtuber Susanne Williams, who does ultralight bushcraft and hiking in alpine areas. She uses a belt and bedroll system (as explained/used in these two videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGs16Ei3yjw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzYanerhMnY ) and it seems to render her quite nimble when hiking, much more than a pack, which has got me seriously considering that meths as an option. My only issues is she doesn't seem to carry a lot of food with her, I like to eat well in the bush.

Sorry I'm rambling! Basically, opinions and experience of using bedrolls and belt kits/small packs in summer? minimum kit I could get away with for comfortable light hiking AND relatively comfortable camping?
 
Last edited:
Sep 16, 2013
472
163
Rochester, Kent
I find that you can really shrink down your kit in the summer and I have in the past been able to get everything into a 30ltr rucksack. I'm planning to do an overnighter in the next few weeks where I keep things basic and lightweight (will post a trip report as and when I do).

You obviously don't need to pack so much warm gear so that's a huge saving in weight and bulk. I swap out my warm 3 season sleeping bag for a lightweight Snugpak Jungle Blanket which has a water resistant outer and packs down nice and small (about the size of a nalgene bottle). Bivi bag is optional if sleeping under a tarp, some like the extra protection/warmth and some hate the fact that they can cause condensation. I'm not overly fond of them but they are handy in the colder months.

In terms of tarps, I use a Terra Nova 7x5ft tarp and find this gives you ample room for a solo trip, it's lightweight (approx 350g) and packs down small sitting nicely at the top of the pack. If you wish for more admin area and anticipate wetter weather then a 3x3m tarp is much better. DD produce a very good superlight 3x3m tarp which is only 450g.

If ground dwelling, I like to use some kind of groundsheet such as a survial bag or IPK sheet which is cut down to a kind of roll mat size. On top of that I use a 3/4 lenght multimat sleeping mat. This too is relatively light (approx 500g) and packs small (nalgene bottle size!)

For cooking; If I want to have a fire and am on a solo trip then I absolutely love my little honey stove. Approx 300g, it packs flat and takes up very little space in the pack, it also has an adapter so that you can use in conjunction with a trangia burner. Some people moan about putting it together but I've never found that to be a huge drama, the technique is pretty straight forward. My choice of pots and pans sometimes depends on what I'm cooking. Sometimes an army canteen cup will suffice if I'm just boiling water and/or warming throuh a meal (a tin of chilli and a bag of nachos is a favourite!!). This works well as it nests with a water bottle and stows away nicely. On other occasions I might take a small frying pan or MSR Stowaway pot but this is unlikely if I'm trying to stick to basics.

Sometimes I've camped and not wanted to have a fire, instead choosing to keep a low profile and observe nature. In this scenario I favour a trangia set-up. Either the Trangia triangle (with above mentioned pots) or the Trangia mini. I like using the trangia as it's nice and light, easy to use and, most importantly, it's quiet. I don't especially like how the gas stoves sound like rocket ships preparing to blast off!

In terms of tools, I typically leave the axe at home if I'm going basic. A saw and a knife usually gives me everything I need to prep wood for a small wood burner.

The one thing that always stays in my bag is the hammock chair - never leave home without it!

If I was you, I'd just lay out all your kit and determine what you can get away without using on an overnighter and give it a whirl. Enjoy!
 
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Bishop

Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
1,621
569
Inside the wire, Llanelli
:sun: If you are confident the weather is going to be good then as Barney said you can cut back on clothing & cover. Dropping down to poncho also sheds a lot of weight and you still have peace of mind in the event of rain day or night.

You don't strictly need a bivvy bag. Should the weather look grim just pitch the tarp/poncho lower and if you were canny enough to pack your sleeping bag in a bin liner before cramming it into a stuff sack then it can go over the bottom half of the bag. That way should you wriggle/slide out from under tarp whilst sleeping you hopefully stay dry.

Tip# knock a stick into ground by feet, this gives you an easy way to shove yourself back under cover

Base Weight
Banish that phrase lol, if you are carrying it then it gets counted!

This is loadout for my visit to the Brianne bothy last summer: 2nights/3days. 28 miles in glorious heat stroke weather.

Item
Weight
two season sleeping bag
1200g
Poundland hammock+ thin foam mat
422g
Spare clothes uPants,socks,t-shirt,thermal top
500g
Poncho
335g
Waterproof trousers
182g
favourite Tin Mug
97g
Poor Man's Grilliput stove (vegetable steamer)
350g
100ml meths (because sometimes you just want a quick brew)
105g
1L hip canteen+matching cup (including water)
1350g
Sawyer Water Filter
220g
First Aid Kit
250g
Wash Kit
350g
Tool Pack (Mora,Saw,Ferro-rod,cordage)
590g
Tech Pack (flashlight, cell-phone, camera, spare batteries)
300g
Rucksack 35L (got lighter ones but none as comfy as my Landtrekka)
1435g
Food for 2 days (assuming 2000Kc needed is 750g per day)
1500g
9.186kg
or roughly
20lbs
 

Highbinder

Full Member
Jul 11, 2010
1,257
2
Under a tree
Minimum?

Rab 400 diy quilt bag thing,
A standard CCF pad,
Poncho tarp
Alcohol stove (whitebox)
Ti mug
Mora 1 + either my GB401 or Bahco saw
Headtorch (ZL 18650)
Down jacket as a safe layer and to double as a pillow
FAK
Water filter integrated bottle (drinksafe)
All in my venerable golite rucksack

Probably only 4-5kg all in. Tripod, camera body and lenses adds another 2kg :/

I'd love to get myself a SMD lunar tarp tent for the bug protection.
 

forest_girl

Forager
Nov 29, 2016
105
2
Edinburgh
Interesting seeing lots of love for the poncho tarp - I've been considering one of those... Great too see everyones bare minimums.

I have a bug nest for my pyramid tent which might just about fit under a poncho tarp. Midges do almost make the Scottish summer unbearable. My sleeping bag has a built in bug net but more bug protection is definitely preferred.

Ive got a bit of time to put this together since nighttime temperatures up here are still hovering around 0C. At least in winter I could wear my warm suff hiking! At this time of year I need all the warm stuff for the evening but am down to a base layer when on the move so have to carry it all in my pack!

Also I imagine ultralight in some countries is easier than others... I've heard tell of places that will get a weeks sunny forecast with no chance of rain and it actually won't rain! Not even slightly!
 

Highbinder

Full Member
Jul 11, 2010
1,257
2
Under a tree
I first started using the poncho tarp when I lived in Spain. I found that 90% of the time it didn't rain, and when it did it usually came straight down (unlike Scotland). Saying that, I even got through a few Summer thunder storms without getting too wet.

Here in Scotland the situation is different, but so far I've been very happy with my pile+pertex or fleece+pertex layers and their ability to deal with moisture, so that I don't feel the need to pack a seperate waterproof. Poncho comes on when it's heavy, and if I get a little wet around the edges it's not a big deal.

In some ways Scotland is easy for lightweight, you have water everywhere for a start! In the med in the summer I'd sometimes be carrying 6 litres+ of water. That's when you start adding up the weight of your kit!
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
My theoretical Summer bag load out for a single night out is 1.3kg

Exped Cloudburst 25 - 280g
Evernew 1.5L - 36g
Platypus 0.5L bottle - 22g
AMK SOL Escape Bivvi - 250g
Paramo Torres jacket - 545g
Compass Pouch - 7g
Silva Expedition - 50g
Peztl E+lite - 27g
Svord Peasant Mini - 43.5g
EDC fire kit - 40.1g

This is relying on the bivvi bag for shelter, and using the Torres for warmth. If I wanted I could add my 200g Rab SilTarp 1.

Something I may try in coming weeks is:

Exped Synmat 7 UL - 486g
Mountain Hardware Lamina 35 - 1050g
Rab Silk liner - 128g
Exped pillow - 54g
Exped Schnozzel bag - 60g
Hunka Xl - 484g
Evernew 1.5L water bag - 36g

For 2.27kg. I think, if I've got the 3d tetris right, this all fits in my PLCE side pocket. Again if needed I can add the 200g tarp too.

I could make this lighter by using the SOL bivvi bag, and if I was to get the new Exped Hyperlite synmat. Oh, and if I had a down sleeping bag, well under 2kg is possible.

These all of course don't include cooking stuff, for an overnighter I'd be happy not cooking. If I was to need to cook, I'd add the Evernew Appalacian set (161g) and the evernew 400ml titanium mug (50g). But that would probably put me over the capacity of the side pocket.

All the above assumes my usual stand up kit (craghopper kiwi pro stretch trousers, RAB meco baselayer, Paramo Bentu fleece, Paramo Fuera ascent jacket).

If I could build a shelter, and build a fire, I'd like to try doing this with just a big wool blanket, a billy can, and a mug.

J
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Interesting seeing lots of love for the poncho tarp - I've been considering one of those... Great too see everyones bare minimums.

The big problem I have with the poncho tarp approach, having tried it using a German army Poncho is what happens when it's raining, and you want to go for a pee in the middle of the night? You can't take your shelter with you, so you're gonna have to get wet. Tried it once, got soaked watering a tree, bought a tarp...

J
 

wicca

Native
Oct 19, 2008
1,065
32
South Coast
" what happens when it's raining, and you want to go for a pee in the middle of the night? You can't take your shelter with you, so you're gonna have to get wet. Tried it once, got soaked "

At the beginning of time when the Gods were sorting out who got what, they looked far into the future and knew that one day the 2 litre plastic milk container would be invented. In their great wisdom they decided that the differences in their earlier designs between one type of human and another really didn't need changing and so the gift of using a Poncho to doss under and remain rain free was only given to one type of their new creations.......:lmao:
 

Alan 13~7

Settler
Oct 2, 2014
572
5
Prestwick, Scotland
Not for an overnight-er but this my light weight grab & go walking/hiking kitchen only & not including food, the S10 gas mask pack holds loads with room to spare

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34375314661_864a270ea3_n.jpg


including just left of center a full sized micro fiber towel, washing up liquid, pegs & washing line,

As I like Green tea & white coffee I have included green tea, coffee & coffee mate, a kettle & a wee Bialetti Moka Express coffeepot holds just enough for 1 descent cup.

The esbit triangle is smaller & lighter than the trangia triangle & the civvi burner fits without the need for a burner support ring & I also have the option of hexi solid fuel should I happen run out of Bio~ethanol.

Enough Bio~ethanol to last a fair few days, I know bio is not the most efficient fuel Gram for gram but I enjoy cooking with it & its cheep....

I absolutely detest Sporks So a Pot friendly Bamboo K.F.S. cutlery set & a also long reach metal spoon

I have tried to go lighter but my needs are many... & this kit suits my needs...

I'm still working on light weight shelter & sleep options.

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I need a lightweight tarp as tent is not too water proof
 
Last edited:

Highbinder

Full Member
Jul 11, 2010
1,257
2
Under a tree
The big problem I have with the poncho tarp approach, having tried it using a German army Poncho is what happens when it's raining, and you want to go for a pee in the middle of the night? You can't take your shelter with you, so you're gonna have to get wet. Tried it once, got soaked watering a tree, bought a tarp...

J

Honestly? Just pee from cover, or pee into something and empty it out later.

I wouldn't take a poncho tarp as my only protection if I knew beforehand the weather would be bad. Rather, it's for mild weather.

For example, I went out hiking yesterday for an overnighter. Forecast clear, so I didn't pack a tarp for the hammock, or a rain jacket for me. The poncho tarp went in the bag, never came out, but I was comfortable knowing it'd do a passable job in either role if the weather had turned.

I think it's important to look at it as part of a greater system - my mid layers handle mild rain, so the 5 minute window between using your poncho as your tarp and setting up the rest of camp where I might get wet ins't critically important.
 

forest_girl

Forager
Nov 29, 2016
105
2
Edinburgh
Honestly? Just pee from cover, or pee into something and empty it out later.

a very good solution... for half the population ;) ;)

I wouldn't take a poncho tarp as my only protection if I knew beforehand the weather would be bad. Rather, it's for mild weather.

I agree with the rest though, a true ultralight minimal trip isn't going to be taken in torrential rain. I wouldn't like to spend a night in heavy rain under a poncho tarp anyway, even without the issue of it being your only waterproof. Like you said, it's insurance. I too did an overnighter a few days ago, weather was clear skies for a few days so I left my rain coat at home. I was taking a novice out so we bought my tipi tent but you could have slept all night under the stars in just a sleeping bag, it was so dry there was barely any condensation in the morning!!

Good point about mid layers too. Ive got an old wool shirt that I've treated with lanolin and I'd be happy to pop out to pee or set up the tarp with that on in light rain. Additionally, if you are tarp camping, you're probably going to be under some trees, which will provide cover. If it was heavy rain, I would bring a rain coat, and probably wouldn't be sleeping under a tarp that small in the first place.


In sort of response to my original thoughts, I have bit the bullet and got myself a DD 3x3 tarp. It's not much lighter than my winter tent but the decision to get one was more based on wanting a more open shelter for summer use. I still might get hold of a poncho tarp a little later on as a just in case for trips when I know it will be clear skies.

Good to see everyones lightweight kit lists though, keep them coming!!
 

hughlle1

Nomad
Nov 4, 2015
297
7
London
a very good solution... for half the population ;) ;)

Shewee ;)

My casual trekking kit is generally rather minimalist, an alternative and more accurate description would be "lacking"


Any scandi grind bushcraft knife, plus a pocket knife and DC4 stone
1L water bottle and some purification tablets
Honey stove, firesteel, zippo, and a small tin of tinder (none of which I've found reason to use other than lighting a ciggy)
Pocket FAK
Small bundle of paracord
DD 3x3 tarp and a wool blanket
Bag of beef or salmon jerky and some satsumas

Fits inside any small daysack with room to spare. I know it is lacking many things, but I have my reasons.
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Honestly? Just pee from cover, or pee into something and empty it out later.

I wouldn't take a poncho tarp as my only protection if I knew beforehand the weather would be bad. Rather, it's for mild weather.

As someone in the 51% of the population that has limited aim when peeing that's not an option. I'd also rather not pee where I sleep, it can attract pests/predators not to mention smelling.
For example, I went out hiking yesterday for an overnighter. Forecast clear, so I didn't pack a tarp for the hammock, or a rain jacket for me. The poncho tarp went in the bag, never came out, but I was comfortable knowing it'd do a passable job in either role if the weather had turned.

I think it's important to look at it as part of a greater system - my mid layers handle mild rain, so the 5 minute window between using your poncho as your tarp and setting up the rest of camp where I might get wet ins't critically important.

I'll stick with a waterproof and a separate tarp, more versatile.

J
 

Johnnyboy1971

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 24, 2010
4,155
25
49
Yorkshire
This was my kit packed for a weekend trip a couple of months ago. 20litre pack with 6 litre add on pocket.
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