Military Connections?

Military Connections in Bushcraft

  • Ex/current services and proud of the contribution wartime experiences have made to bush lore

    Votes: 178 31.6%
  • Never served, but take great interest in the information and useful kit available from the military

    Votes: 217 38.5%
  • Acknowledge a connection but try to avoid 'looking military'

    Votes: 103 18.3%
  • Think bushcraft should be distanced from the military wherever possible

    Votes: 65 11.5%

  • Total voters

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
not military as such but i was in the Officer Training Corps for a year. so essentially TA.

the training was certainly useful but my outdoorsy stuff come from a lifetime of doing that kind of thing.

i use a lot of military kit simply because it is a lot better than other kit available and usually a lot cheaper too. i particularly like my £15 bergan. it is by far the best and most reliable bit of kit i have. - just a shame its so big other wise i would use it for everything.
Last edited:


Aug 13, 2009
No way, my dad did his national service became an NCO and tried to run the family as if he was still in the army.

That being said it was he who introduced me to army surplus and for a long time I used to joke that the local surplus stores was my tailor. However I have turned away from that style because of it's negative connotations never mind it's practicality and above all cheapness.

At one time I did actually harbour notions of joining the services, the RAF appealed to me, but then I don't have the eyesight for it, same as a civilian pilot, oh well.


Full Member
Sep 4, 2009
uk mainly in the Midlands though
OK here my military record!!!!!! and other stuff.....

Still serving after 16 years, and at present working on Salisbury Plain. prior to that did 3 1/2 years in the TA as a recce trooper. did school cadets for 6 years. Also did cubs, Scouts and Ventures since a very tender age.....but really got into the outdoor way of life from my dad when we used to go walking out in the countryside, I loved to climb trees and everything else at a younger age and run around outside, I knew I wanted to join something within the military from about 5 and did so.

As for my kit it is a bit of both some military some civilian I do not like to wear DPM whilst out and about. Military kit can be hard wearing but sometimes its not the best, or appropriate to use. I get ideas from all over the place and have several projects under way and many more planned from things I have seen and read especially here.

I have attended quite a few different courses over the years, but most were military survival courses and you can see some similarities is some skills but there are a lot of differences to, especially in what to use and when.

I have only recent been to my first moot which opened my eyes about how much similarity there is to bushcrafting and survival I could easily see the differences to. After the meet I would say Bushcrafting is living in comfort with nature where as survival is just getting by :)

Thanks to Twodogs, Wayland, Mesquite, Addo, MartinK9, Woodspirits, Muddy Boots, Sasquatch and all the rest

And by the way got jerry-can fire done now and its perfect :)


Apr 4, 2009
No never served time, or is that a different thing!

Spent some time at college doing a HNC back at the turn of the last century with some Navy and RAF lads, majority were a great bunch.

Other than that, dad served in the Paras and Chindits in Burma in WWII, thats about as close as I got.

Never been good at taking orders either, so not a good idea!


Dec 19, 2007
A little ditty about ill fitting military kit mentioned earlier in the thread.

Back in the mid 90s I was on an operational submarine based in Scotland. MOD had decided that it was time to carry out a 're-sizing' exercise for the purposes of getting future procurement of uniforms right. They chose to run the exercise at Faslane. Basically every ten years or so they remeasure a representative sample of servicemen to recalibrate standard military sizes on the basis that as a species we are changing through time - average blokes in 1940s were a lot smaller/thinner than they are now.

Each submarine was asked to pick out ten blokes at random and send them inboard to have extensive measurements taken in order to provide representative information for the data pool. Ultimately this was to be fed through to clothing manufacturers for their production runs. But.... being sick b'tards with a sense of humour each boat picked out ten of its finest freaks of nature who duly lolloped up the jetty - the fat, scrawny, misshapen nuckledragging hunchbacked and down right ugly filled the hall like Quasimodos family at a wedding.

So if you are freezing your bits off in Kandahar cos you can't seem to tuck your shirt in sorry - it seemed funny to us at the time. ;-)


Nov 30, 2009
Joined the Army as a REME Apprentice January 1967. Trade was Airframes and Engines. Left as a Sergeant in May 1980 having found out that machines don't like me. Immediately joined Lincolnshire Police only to find that people don't like me. Was duped into becoming an adult instructor in the ACF and commissioned. Ran the local detachment for six years before work just became too hectic. Just as well I left as kids don't like me either.



Feb 23, 2006
Cant see what all the fuss is about...never been in the forces, but get paid bugger all to trudge all over some of the most remote parts of Scotland looking at how deep peat is in all weathers. What does pss me off is the weekend walkers kitted out head to toe in goretex gucci sparkling like diamonds in the rough!!!
Bushcraft has for me anyway saved my life on a couple of occasions when shelter, fire and water were the things that just wasn't availble in the shop, you know the one on the remote moors where you can buy just about anything... yeh onto the military kit, does it really matter if I buy a goretex DPM jacket for £40 instead of a RAB/NF/Berg/etc for hundreds of beer tokens? who cares? I get a bit Pssd off when I read on posts that maybe people see me as a wannabee/fanatic cos i wear DPM when working on the hills, get a grip!!! it should be about what does the job for the person concerned. Who goes to moots and sniggers and snears at other peoples kit?, dont think they would last too long before being fed to the hungry squirrels. Rant over, merry xmas


Nov 14, 2009
Motherwell, Scotland, UK
Joined the Army as a REME Apprentice January 1967. Trade was Airframes and Engines. Left as a Sergeant in May 1980 having found out that machines don't like me. Immediately joined Lincolnshire Police only to find that people don't like me. Was duped into becoming an adult instructor in the ACF and commissioned. Ran the local detachment for six years before work just became too hectic. Just as well I left as kids don't like me either.

Joined the REME in 1982 (82B)


On a new journey
May 5, 2008
I served 8 1/2 years in the Royal Engineers and spent a lot of time out and about being part of a field squadron. I still sleep on the floor under my basha/tarp when staying out for the night although i've swapped my sleepmat for a thermarest now : D

Mikey P

Full Member
Nov 22, 2003
Glasgow, Scotland
I retired in September this year and handed the vast majority of my clothes and equipment back in. Except for a few items that I had bought myself (battle vest, boots, Kiffy Zulu, holsters, etc) and kit they don't want back (boots, socks, most things that have been next to your skin), I still have a couple of things including my arctic and desert smocks.

I have to say, I keep my desert smock in my locker at uni as I usually bike in and it's good to have a spare layer available that I don't have to carry. I don't feel like I'm 'sticking out' when wandering around Glasgow as you see a lot of people in military-style and surplus clothing.

You see modern fashion jackets in all flavours of DPM and digicam so, from a distance, it's pretty hard to tell what is genuine. Rightly or wrongly, I feel slightly superior to the 'fashion' end as my jacket has a few stories to tell and still has many memories for me, as does my arctic smock.

So, as society has accepted military clothing prints and patterns and ex-issue clothing for fashion purposes , as long as I'm not dressed head-to-toe in military gear, I don't feel conspicuous - nor do I feel that I'm being disrespectful to my former colleagues in any way. I guess some of my old, well-used bits of gear have sentimental value to me and remind me of some of the things I achieved in my former career.

The military shaped my life in many ways, although I'm proud that I have never lost the ability to think for myself. I am a better person because of my service background but that does not make me better than anyone who has not served; nor does it make me a war-mongering automaton thug.

My service enhanced my interest in bushcraft amongst many other adventurous activities and also gave me opportunities to practice it, usually by virtue of where I was living rather than anything official.

I understand why some people would want to distance themselves from a 'military look' and I don't feel that that is disrespectful. I just hope that everyone enjoys their hobby/interest in their own way. Surplus clothing is often a cheap way to kit yourself out but there should be no 'inverse-snobbery' directed towards those who can afford more expensive clothing and equipment.


Dec 21, 2009
I have been in the military and tend to use ex military items, but i am not to keen on camo, i use sometimes a camo dutch daysack, but mosly with a neutral raincover.
I still have some army items i use, like a pocket knive canteens and cups i have in my different packs, i find them very usefull. You know those things are made to last,and can take some abuse, i want to relay on my gear .
I can only speak for myself if i say i don,t like to walk around in chestrigs , however i used one in the in the ardennes a few times on a twenty kilometer hike and found them very usefull in that sort of terrain, heavy work, but less sweathy on your back, and enough pockets for usefull things, extra canteens, poncho en smaller items. But like other gear, i take diferent things when hiking , canoeing or camping.
Last edited:


Can't stand the military. Associate bushcraft with resistance movements and foresters resisting tyrannical kings etc.


Dec 11, 2009
west yorkshire
Iv been looking through this site for around 12 months now and its amazing so many people share my intrest! Its a shame probably my first post has been to show disgust at that comment. Have some respect in mind when posting please.


Jul 29, 2009
My wife is anti military but didnt stop her marrying me. 12 years of service including two tours of bosnia and a brief spell in some mountains near india? ps we could learn a lot from each other that is civillians to military and vice versa. so dont go knocking the military or those that cant or wont serve. I always thought bushcraft or what ever you want to call it had a wide base of understanding, perhaps i was wrong. ps have a good new year to you all.


New Member
Dec 29, 2009
sitting under a tree
i did 5 years with the royal anglian (infantry) and we spent alot of time in the brecon beacons on various survival courses and my partner hated every moment of being an "army wife " , since leaving the army my interest in bushcraft has gotten so big she hates that aswell lol


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 18, 2009
Dark side of the Moon
considering how meany people have lost there lives this year in Afghanistan please show some respect....... every thing in life comes with a cost, the soldier just risks the ultimate cost. i have lost 3 friends in total who payed that cost. i dont do it for the queen i do it for my family and friends who i choose to protect.......

Nuf said...............

any way...

military or dpm camo equipment can bu used for sure. all i would recamend is to only use 1 piece of dpm ie jacket or trousers not both as you do tend to look a little silly walking down the road.

i use my smock (arctic windproof) from time to time and its awsome. the militart ponch is good to its only about £20-£25.

bits of kit i would recamend would be a buffalow jacket (fleece type wayterproof jacket) and a pair of lowa boots awsome waterproof good grips good in warm and cold weather and most important they last for years. my first pair is about 5-6 years old now.

happy new year to all and keep on bushcrafting.........CHRIS.......