Overnighter with the lad

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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
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Due to half term break I sorted an overnight at an almost local woodland. My rucksack looked overloaded but didn't actually weigh very much. I took enough stuff to make life enjoyable for the lad, with enough food to keep us full. My lad was excited from the night before so he up and dressed before I was!

The weather said 80% chance of rain so we made sure the waterproofs were packed before jumping into the van. It was the first time I had been to this woodland so when we got there we had a good walk around. The woodland is used by a local bushcraft group and there were a few permanent shelters spread throughout the woodland. We were the only people there, so we did have it to ourselves which was perfect. The lad enjoyed checking out all the shelters. Some were pole lean-to shelters, a parachute group shelter and a fair few builders tarp configurations. Once we had been round them all, we walked deeper into the trees to find our own quiet spot. Eventually we came across a nice spot and I got to setting up the tarp first. Rain was threatening so I wanted cover if we needed it. The lad gave me a hand and after a while our shelter was up.

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It was time for lunch. I set up my Lixada wood stove and got water on for a coffee. The lad helped himself to water. He had a chocolate bar and some crisps, I had an oat bar a small bit of chocolate. I've been impressed with my Lixada stove, its taken a beating for over a year and its still going strong. Time for a brew!

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Once lunch was finished, we went for another explore of the woodland. I was slightly surprised to come across a guy in his own permanent set up. He looked super comfy and was enjoying his own lunch, so after a quick hello, we left him alone and didn't see him at all for the remainder of our stay. While we were exploring, the lad asked me to make him a bow and arrow set. He asked me about my pocket knife, so I took the time to show him it and explain how to handle a knife safely.

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Bow and arrow set materials collected it was back to the camp to do some carving..... After over an hour of shooting the little bow and with rain beginning to fall, we retreated to the tent for a little relax. We chatted for quite a while, until the rain abated.

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Once the rain stopped and we were suitably rested, we both put our boots back on and went out to collect wood for the fire. We would use it to boil water, cook our dinner and keep us warm into the evening. I had collected birch bark strips earlier in the day, which I lit with my ferro rod. I stacked the fire up and let it get hot.

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I used a 16cm zebra billy can to boil water for brews and also for the mashed potatoes. I set up a classic pot hanger with my SWC Woodlore which was good practice of my knife skills.

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I got dinner on....

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I had bacon, eggs and mash, the lad had sausage and mash. I highly recommend Idahoan Instant Bacon and Cheese mash. We scoffed the lot!

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After dinner I spent time slowly building the fire up for the evening while the lad fired his bow and slayed dragons. Before long it was dark and the warmth of the fire drew us in.

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We made hot chocolate and suppered on some more chocolate. Chatting away by the fire, it was nice to enjoy the quiet. We listened to owls, a deer barking somewhere off in the woods and heard the sound of wood being snapped, the other guy was also prepping for the night.....

About 8.30 and with the lad yawning, he got into his thermals and got to nesting for the night. I closed in the fire so that everything would be burned away in the morning, before following him into the tent. Top dad tip.... download a film onto your phone, just in case..... the lad watched a bit of Minions while I watched the fire.

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We drifted off to sleep. I only woke once in the night. Too much coffee before bed required use of 'The Nalgene Toilet'. You may wince, but it sure beats getting out of the warmth of the tent in the dark to pee..... (the bottle is screwed tight and kept in the vestibule, don't worry!)

I woke at about 6.30. It was still dark and the lad was snoring away. I got dressed by red torch light and went out to get my breakfast on. I had prepared wood for the Lixada stove the night before. A squirt of Firegel and away it went. I got the water on. Breakfast was instant oats with golden syrup and coffee. I sat in silence while I ate. The rain was pattering on the tarp but I kept the chill off with a down jacket.

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Eventually, about 7.30 the lad got up and dressed. He breakfasted on cereal.

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Once we had full bellies we explored for a bit before deciding it was time to pack up and go home. A fantastic night in the woods, not one complaint from the lad the entire time. We will be back!

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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,365
2,136
McBride, BC
Fresh air has been inhaled, the dragons have been dispatched, night music with rain on the tarp.
Really nice trip report and images. Makes me hungry.
Thank you.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,218
986
Lancashire
Great report. I've got a nearly 8 year old but haven't got round to taking him out for an overnighter? This year was supposed to be the time and march saw me getting ready for a late April start when the weather is better in the lakes. Then shutdown!! It'll be next year now.

How old is your son btw. Was that his first overnighter? If not what age did he first do a wild camp?
 
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Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
864
681
42
UK
Great report. I've got a nearly 8 year old but haven't got round to taking him out for an overnighter? This year was supposed to be the time and march saw me getting ready for a late April start when the weather is better in the lakes. Then shutdown!! It'll be next year now.

How old is your son btw. Was that his first overnighter? If not what age did he first do a wild camp?
He is 7. Started camping with him when he was 3. He loves it.

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Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,218
986
Lancashire
We started camping in campsites at 3 months. March 2014 in the White Dales of the Peak District. We had the Grandparents in their caravan or motorhome in the same site for babysitting duties if needed. We woke up on the saturday morning after the first night to a load of snow and more coming down. You often remember those sorts of nights.

We have not wild camped but we have cycle toured with full camping kit from 4 1/2 years. It is amazing what kids can do if it is normal to do that sort of activity. Our son was cycling 40+ miles at 5 1/2 years with a couple of paniers of toys and light stuff. I just wish we had wildcamped in the lakes before this year and COVID. It was something I said we would do for about 2 or 3 years but never got around to doing it. It is great that your lad has grown up doing it from 3 years old.
 

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