Modern bushcraft !?!

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Mar 19, 2011
North Somerset UK
Its a shame that the thread has fallen into the usual arguments. They generally do and I agree with others that are fed up with it. It isn't the fact that people have different ideas or thoughts, its the way that they are expressed which is un helpful, especially when they know what they are doing! That's why I for one post so little and read until it starts to get on my nerves and then move on. I expect people would say the same about me not expressing myself well at times, its probably the problem of communicating with a machine and not having tone of voice and body language to help get the meaning etc across. All part of being human I guess and using a system that is not perfect!


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Feb 20, 2007
Everything in its place and according to the individual's taste would seem reasonable. However for certain purposes there may well be a best choice or at least one that can be argued for using logic and experience. That two or more people may disagree is inevitable and it is great to see where their discussion and argument can take us. If debate is a problem for some then they should go back to posting that they have a new shiny knife. I have enjoyed this thread so far and it is of course impossible to offer definitive answers even to what is Bushcraft exactly let alone the level of modernity in kit that disqualifies anybody from being a bushcrafter. The extreme glamper may well spend their time in the woods foraging while the hairy dweller in a squirrel nest may not even notice a decent sunset or appreciate anything but a campfire and beer while claiming to be representing the true spirit of bushcraft.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
Back to the topic. If you consider bushcraft to be getting out into nature then gear is unimportant. You wear/take what you need/want/know how to use. Every gear has its positives and negatives, you need to learn to use the former and negate the latter. No gear is perfect.

If synthetic around fire then take care about sparks. If natural you have less to worry about fires. I bought the best merino wool boxers once when all the gear reviewers had jumped on the merino bandwagon. Wore them for months despite finding them useless. I got sick of getting wet through and all my synthetic gear drying in say 10 minutes only for my boxers not drying at all. Similar with my merino tops. You work hard and sweat it is very easy to overwhelm merino. It absorbs moisture into the fibres I believe up to a point then becomes saturated. It does not really wick. Of course it doesn't allow bacteria to thrive causing odour issues.

Ventile doesn't rustle. Never used it but to me it feels thick and stiff. Also seen one guy wearing double Ventile waterproof in prolonged rain. It looked totally uncomfortable but then my goretex pro shell would also be overwhelmed in similar conditions even with pit zips open.

Different activities benefit from different gear too. What you wear/carry depends on your activity and preference. I'm firmly synthetic because for my version of this hobby it works best...for me that is. If anyone tells me I'm wrong I'll ask for their evidence. I can back up my choice from probably 30 years experience on my gear journey to what I now have. I've tried different things, I've gt ad successes and failures in gear choice too. I've found good choices for me but still tried other choices with an open mind. You really should try that yourselves. You might find there are other ways as far as gear goes.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
One more point to the op...

Look at myog in USA. The meths can stoves, myog hobbo stoves, etc. All a mixing of old with new. Take Pepsi can stoves. They're old school trangia burners with a modern/alternative take to it. The white box stove is a classic of this new style of the old.

Also the caldera cone is another modern version of the older trangia cookset technology. Trail designs took their principle but lightened and optimized it right down to matching windshield to the pot to the burner type to the height of the pot support to ensure its base is in the best part of the flame. Trangia might have done it well but trail designs took it further. Even the can stove design chosen was one that worked better in lower oxygen atmosphere as is present in the cone after it has been burning for a bit.

Then there's the new woodburners like honey stove, wood gasifiers like bushcooker stove and others. All modern takes on older tech. Honey is at its basic level a means of containing a fire, but its still a fire when all said and done.

There's a new take on wilderness baking too. The myog, UL backpacking community in USA even have attachments to meths stoves to allow for a lightweight form of baking. Whilst some use dutch ovens others use these light types of stoves/ovens. If both work well then it's down to your own preference. Like with all new vs old choices (can be same four synthetic vs natural choices).


New Member
Feb 22, 2013
Similar with my merino tops. You work hard and sweat it is very easy to overwhelm merino. It absorbs moisture into the fibres I believe up to a point then becomes saturated. It does not really wick. Of course it doesn't allow bacteria to thrive causing odour issues.
Never had Merino wool, at least that I am aware of. But had plenty of wool base and mid layers and still use them.

But the main idea of wool is not that it will keep you dry, or wick away moisture. The idea is that even when it's wet it keeps around 70% of it's insulating capability. I.e it keeps you dry even when wet.
But wool takes it's time to dry to, and when wet it becomes even heavier than it already is. The thing with wool is that you accept that you are going to be wet anyway, so you use a base/mid layer that will still keep you warm when you are.

Modern materials is much better at wicking moisture out, they are lighter than wool also, and dry time is shorter. But they smell terrible from sweat, and lose much more of their insulating capabillity when they do get overwhelmed.

The debate is somewhat the same between down and syntehtics. When I was buying a new sleeping bag this winter, I was debating with myself if I should get a down or a syntehtic bag. Since I plan to use it laying under the nothing but the stars, and this is Northern Norway on the coast we get fairly wet winters, I chose a syntetic bags, as it's hollow fibers will retain some insulation power even when wet. While down collapses and becomes useless in that condition. The penalty is added weight and bulk for the synthetic bag...but I haul my winter kit on a pulk, so no problem...

And the pulk is definately modern with it's plastic material. I did look at an old school wooden pulk from the Norwegian army. But the pulk alone weighs 17 kilos empty, so a 2,5 kilo plastic paris Expedition pulk it was. My old school, heavy winter gear is heavy enough.

What to use must be up to each of us. We all have to walk our own hike.
A blend of modern materials and more traditional stuff is my approach.
Last friday my brother in law and I went camping at my permission. As we drove up there I took natural materials ( alao as a warm up for my boone challenge). I took swedish rescue bag. Two wool blankets a poncho. Big canvas tarp. Wool shirt etc. Weighed in at more than my toddler weighs. But it was a great night out (I'll even get round to writing it up today tomorrow or the next day)
I could of used modern kit if I'd felt inclined.
And if or when we walk to campsite I do favour modern materials. If only because they tend to pack down into smaller packages.

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006


Silver Trader
Feb 20, 2012
Wow this post went a bit mad!!! Cheers guys I have lots to work on with this article now, I will let you know where it is posted if anyone cares or is interested, but reading this I guess lots of people won't agree!!! Thanks again