Non expensive kit

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Full Member
Jan 2, 2004
Manchester UK
I recommend Clas Ohlson for good inexpensive gear. . The only problem is they don't have an online shop, just the catalogue but the £2.50 moras and most of the other outdoor gear is good quality and inexpensive.


Jun 4, 2011
West Pennine Moors
Good thread. I'm just getting back into bushcraft after not sleeping outdoors since I was a late teen. The missus is quite keen to get out there too, but not as hobo as I used to do it (sleeping bag+bivi bag+cider) so I'm on the lookout for more "comfortable" alternatives. I guess it doesn't have to cost a fortune, but I could see how it might!


Jul 27, 2011
I have had good kit, the best money could buy at the time and it took me ages to get my kit together, but I lost it all due to a marriage break up, (that and £4k worth of Snap on tools). Now I am getting back into this stuff again, I notice the outdoor gear prices even higher than they were in the past, yet in the US things are affordable, which leaves me with the thought I am not going to buy into what is obviously a scam. So, for me, I source all of my gear second hand, I have become good at fleabay sniping, and with that my ethics have changed, for pre owned sits well with my ethics. Military surplus gear I use, I adapt and make some things and obtain other bits where I see it, be it Lidls, Wilkinsons, the charity shops, fleabay and junk shops. No, it is not starter gear for me, but perfectly adequate for my needs, if not, adapt it, customise it to my requirement, make it personal to me.

I am investing my time and money in learning skills, defunct skills from the past, so the idea being I can make or repair what I need when out in the boonies, that to me is bush craft and experience in frugal living which I take on into my normal life.
So much in there I agree with 100%

Having seen the stuff I used to manage quite adequately with when in HM forces, now as a civilian the price of some of the more 'Gucci' end of the range of kit in the UK scares me half to death. I'd be frightened to use it in case I damaged it.

These days I can do as well as I need to with second hand/perceived lower end of the spectrum/non £450 knife etc.

Not saying thats the approach that suits everybody, but it suits me. Like the other week i.e. I was just as warm in my old Alpha M65 combat jacket and liner as my mate was in his £250 wunderjacket.

Horses for courses I guess.


New Member
Mar 1, 2011
Fife, Scotland
This thread is awesome.

I don't go for "outdoor" clothing really i just wear my old work jeans, wool jumper, pair of boots etc Simply because i'm in Scotland not the arctic it doesn't get that cold but unlike the arctic it does get very wet so i spent bout 20 pound on waterproofs.

The rest of my stuff minus my knife cost around 70 pound, knife included it's roughly 120 pound.

Spent 3 months living outside from january to april with my gear and was comfy and happy.

My stuffs cheap but really can't go wrong.


New Member
Dec 16, 2010
I find that a good mix of gear helps me on my way, ive got a couple of fairly expensive (£30ish) berghaus microfleeces, that i combine with a crappy hoody ive had since i was about 20, i think it was about £10 from primark. You dont need to have amazingly expensive gear, its just that sometimes you need to pay for quality.
The first axe i bought was a gransfors and it was around £55. Now, ive got friends who skimped on their initial costs and have, over time, spent more money on worse quality items. Whereas my gransfors is as splendid as the day it arrived (with love and affection of course).

If someone is worried about blowing cash on things like clothes for bushcraft when theyre not entirely sure if theyll get their monies worth - why not just buy a couple of high quality/expensive things that you can sport around the city (fleeces, craghopper trousers.etc) and be used while camping. Then just protect the 'better' items with cheaper clothes. As long as you're layering you shouldnt have a problem! I never have really!

As far as tools go though, i spent a fair amount on my axe, good boots, good saw and a fairly good knife - and ive never looked back.

Dont spend money you've not got, but dont buy cheap just because its cheap

The wisest of them all, a mix makes the best sense. Quality waterproofs for me I hate getting soaked and sleeping wet!


Jan 16, 2011
Cairns, Australia
......What I did was empty the bottle, cut it up into little strips, and use the little strips as flourescent glow in the dark markers for my zips, my buttons, and things that I want to be able to find should I drop it in the dark / dusk.
They are so bright I have used them for all sorts of things.
That is sheer genius!!!

Great thread as well, nice one Richard. Some interesting views and comments. I was meant to be doing some work on a presentation but been reading this instead.

For my 1/2 penny worth (as we are being inexpensive) I love my:
-army issue polycotton trousers - hard wearing, fast drying - cost £4
-mora clipper for under a tenner (lost one and had no qualms about buying a replacement - now Ive found the 1st one and have 2 :))
-Canvas gas mask bag which I rescued from a bin when helping my mate clear out his room
-German army mountain pack £16 (only worn once so far, but with my self inflating mat as the back support it is the comfiest thing I have put on my back, the mat was literally like memory foam!)
-Leather Ammo belt pouch £5 (already had a ray mears leather wet molded pouch as a christmas gift - this fits just as much for 1/12th the price!!!)
-Leather jacket that was here when I moved in - will soon become a number of pouches!
-small cammo belt pouch (got one in trade, bought another for £2.99 - perfect size for a good ouch pouch or survival tin)
-2oz tobacco tin - 10p at a car boot sale, got so excited I bought 5!
-Got a £7 torch in tesco - it was a reduced "tesco finest" torch, best Ive ever owned!
-Tesco Ultra-Lite down Sleeping bag £40 - with a silk or cotton liner its all you need for summer use and it packs down tiny
-Gelert solo 1 man tent £25
-Leather "john-tex" boots from a local surplus store/factory outlet type place back in Aberdeen - £25,extremely comfy, lasted ages, still live in the car boot as backups
-Polar-tech fleece - got a few free as they are plastered with brand name
-Casio watch £6-£10
If you want to you can find most of this stuff on google shopping by typing in its name

Having said all this, I'll also give my £100 worth, because their are some things that are just worth the money
-gransfors bruks small forest axe
-Ventile smock
erm, I'm going to add all the pricey knives Ive got here because...... because they are pretty :p... and functional of course

The Ratcatcher

Full Member
Apr 3, 2011
Manchester, UK
Having started off many years ago, when whatis now called Bushcraft was called "too skint to buy proper kit", I'm very careful not to spend more than I have to.
Ive got a good selection of kit from a couple of local surplus shops that I'm friendly with the owners, which is fine if you don't mind everything in green or camo.
I still use some home-made kit (a catering size baked bean tin fitted with a coat-hanger wire handle is ideal for boil in the bag meals for a family),and I only part with large amounts of cash for something if I'm sure it's good value.In the last 15 years, I've only paid more than £50 on two things, a Ventile jacket, and an Extrema Ratio utility knife, both of which get used regularly.


Oct 26, 2011
Derbyshire, UK
Personally I didnt like the Blue Castle work trousers, I found they are a tad too heavy, so they take a lot longer to dry. Having said that, Army lightweights are very good at what they do, and £5 a pair.

I have to second Tesco's Long Johns, excelent in the colder days. They also do some good socks, nice and padded, but made from Nylon/Polyester so wear through on the heal quite quickly(it could just be because I'm a tad heavy).


Jun 10, 2006
south wales
Mentioned this in another post but thought I put here too

Jet Boil? An affordable alternative is:-

One of these

and one of these

Will give much the same performance as the Jetboil but costs £25 - $37 for both delivered and a good budget for those who can't afford or are not prepared to buy the JB.

Its worth getting the propane/butane/isobutane cans of gas, same price but better performance certainly in cooler weather.

England Ram

Dec 5, 2011
This thread is very apt for me as I am just starting out into the world of Bushcraft and Survival.

After years of playing in woods when I was younger and not bothering about kit, now ive got older, and want to learn skills properly and be in a position to support the family in the environment if necessary, I want to do things better:)

cost is an issue if for nothing more than to keep the wife on my side!

I have realised I have several bits of kit that I have gathered over the years that are spot on.
like always buying top quality walikng boots,
having a sleeping bag by karrimoor that is a -50 all seasons one that I have always used, so these items are in the bag.
Even my old walking boots I wear for doing work round the house are perfect for being in the woods and getting trashed if im not walking for any long distance while I hone my skills.
I've always had NI gloves, and even though I am due a neew pair as I put mine through the wringer, my old ones will be spot on for bushcraft for the time being.
My tool kit already contains pull saws that perform better than most, although a laplander is on my list to get.
Always bought good quality socks.
Have under armour from playing golf and it keeps me warm walking round for 4 hours in the open and is a brill base layer in any colder environment.

Cheap kit I have picked up over the past few weeks are:-

Mess tins set £6 -Army surplus
gaiters £4 - Army surplus
Mora Companion knife £10- Army surplus
Mora 511 £5 - Army surplus
craghopper fleece lined trousers £20 - t k maxx
lightwieght quick drying combats £14 - mountain wearhouse
Water proof DPM trousers £5 - army surplus
Euro Hike framed 65 litre rucksack £8 - Ebay (picked up 2 other ones for a total of £12 for the family as well, both 65l framed)
large ruck sack liner £2 - ebay
Tactical assault vest £18 - ebay (I like these for small kit days rather than a back pack)
paracord belt £3 - self made:) (as you can see, I'm most proud of that)
snood £3 - ebay
fishing net 50p - car boot
fishing reel & line £2 - lidle
fire steel, lmf £7 - Milletts
cotton wool balls 40p - tesco
vaseleline 80p - tesco (amazing to see the difference in lenght of time a vaseline covered cotton wool ball burns for compared to not, also quite waterproof)
sanitary towels 10p - tesco
parra cord 150 feet £6 - army surplus
tea light candles £1 for millions - b & q
Army windproof smock £free - Dad (although to short and looking for a longer one)
Gelert pod rain jacket £12 - amazon
Food for free £3 - amazon
bivi bag £3- Don Amotts
Large Tarp £10 - Costco

Much more, but probably bored you by now:)
Now looking for a windproof fleece, smock, heavy duty shirt, and a machette(bad hand struggles with weight of an axe)


Jan 29, 2012
I'm on the fence with this one.....
Absolutely nothing wrong with "cheaper" kit, as long as it does the job but I do always think that when you can afford it and you can justify it then you should get the best you can.
I don't earn a huge amount, far from huge but i like nothing better than going shopping and buying a nice bit of kit, I brought a buffalo mountain shirt the other day, ill get a fair amount of usage out of it but there was nothing wrong with what I was wearing before, a couple of cheap base layers and a fleece but when I put it on it makes me feel good, and as much as that may sound weird, that's the way it is!
As I cycle a fair distance for work, no matter what the weather, I tend to sue a lot of the same gear for my other outdoor pursuits and because at half 4 in the morning, I want to be as comfortable as possible so I've gone for the best i can!
But to sum up, nothing wrong what so ever with the cheaper stuff, it all does the same!


Jan 29, 2012
I have just re read my post and it sounds like i walk around head to toe in gucci gear, i dont, far from it but the few bits that i have spent money on, ive made sure they are the best i can get at that time.
Just had to add that!


Feb 2, 2012
Or for just a couple more £ you can get the "original" made-in-China Optimus terra HE cookset on with their free super saver shipping. You get the exclusive green handles only if you go optimus/katadyn ;)


Full Member
Jan 28, 2012
taverham, thorpe marriott, norfolk
I can't help loving the system of barter and getting new kit is no exception.I made a wedding cake for a family connected to The North Face which we swapped for a 4 season down bag!
Also check "freecycle" in your area as folks literally give stuff away free that they no longer have use for.If you have skills try and swap them for some kit : I did a weeks garden labour for an old guy in town and he gave me a box of tools in return.It's also worth checking out Ebay for stuff that's going silly cheap because of poor descriptions ; more common than you think.You can buy and re-sell or trade up for the good stuff that will last you a long time ; I bought a lot of climbing helmets and harnesses and gradually converted them into some serious kit for example Msr Whisperlite stove with Titan cookset as a swap for two sets of helmet/harness - Arcteryx Bora 35 pack for another set.It just takes a bit of patience and you will get the kit you want without spending a fortune.
On the other hand I have spent enough over the years on various knives to finance a South American coup d'etat so probably saved nothing in the long run!!
theres a site called "goofbay" which picks out all the spelling errors and mistakes on ebay. its the stuff that sells cheapest cos its only viewed by the dyslexic and those who know about the site, now including you!