Shopping in London?

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fenix

Tenderfoot
Jul 8, 2008
83
39
Kent
Indeed. I loved stopping in and browsing around when I was in that area. To be honest, I had thought Paramo had moved further away, outside the convenient tube network, but I checked the map and it is very doable in the same day, just not so easy for a quick look in.

While I love my Paramo gear, they are expensive and really only do clothes. For someone starting out their gear can be a steep investment.
All my bits came from the 2nd sales that they did near to Nikwax factory. Think that's all moved onto ebay now.
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
5,830
904
Bedfordshire
It is kind of an odd question, to ask about shops for bushcraft gear in London. I rather doubt that most people on here have got all that much of their gear from bricks and mortar shops, much less shops that are selected for being present in a particular town or city. Sure, I have a local camping shop that is pretty good (Bourne End - The Complete Outdoors), but it isn't a bushcraft focused store, and I have bought only boots, jackets, some dry bags and odds and ends there. I think by far the more usual pattern is that people buy one or two things in each store, maybe a few more from dedicated stores and mail order (like The Bushcraft Store, Heinnie, Military 1st and the like), and from each other, or from stands at shows. Shows tend to concentrate relevant and interesting retailers far more than a city does.

I tend to think there is a danger in starting out and going to a small number of physical shops with anything like the idea that you want to get kitted out. It is so easy to wind up buying too much, too many gizmos, or accepting a poor item because that is what that store has. Poor may be poor quality, or just heavy, or not best fit for that particular buyer.
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,355
551
Canada
This thread's weird. There are tons and tons and tons of outdoor shops in London. I don't live there so much now, but I used to enjoy wet wednesday morning jaunts to Silvermans, or even just to Snow and Rock. Cotswold, Blacks, North Face, Mountain Warehouse, EllisBrigham all there. Someone told me there's an Arcteryx branch there .. though I don't know where. Most have presence in central London. Lots in Covent Garden. If you don't mind a jaunt there's Decathalons
 

Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,706
637
Berlin
@C_Claycomb

I recommended to Wushuplayer via PM a Solognac clothing system I use myself since several years in all weather conditions and a list of offers from Endicotts which I mostly use since several years too. Additional a DD camouflage 3x3m tarp, which is offered here in the forum and the 65 ltr Karrimor rucksack from here for 3 seasons use.

I also recommended him several civil high quality items like Victorinox Compact, TBS 750ml mug with bail handle, Pathfinder Bushpot and so on, because cooking is his hobby.

After he got that together, he can go with the nearly completely packed rucksack to shops in London which offer here in the forum to his questions recommended items like gas stove and so on and look what fits well together and in his side pouches and main compartment of the rucksack.

I totally agree with you, that beginners who go into outdoor shops without getting help from experianced people usually come out off the shops with a lot of pretty expensive often heavy and bulky stuff which doesn't work well together, doesn't fit in the rucksack and isn't made to carry it on hiking tours and to use it for real bushcraft stile traditional wild camping or expeditions.

Bad sellers sell to beginners all and everything they are interested in with a smile on the face. For the seller it's good if the beginner comes several times later in order to try to get his stuff working well together. So the seller can sell nearly the same stuff usually three times to the same person and makes round about the same amount of money as if he would have sold in one rush a well together working high end expedition equipment, which a beginner usually would not buy the first time.

Beginners usually loose a lot of money by buying an idiotic nonsense equipment which is horrible to use.

I usually recommend to beginners to copy 100% the packing list of an experianced bushcrafter, to be sure, that the equipment system works well together.

That's why I use to write down complete packing lists in internet forums or recommend to collect step by step nearly 100% of a like that together issued personal equipment of the own army in good conditions, to be sure that the stuff fits well together and the beginner gets a good value for his money. Later he can modify it to his personal needs, if he wants to, after he got the necessary experiances to do it.

Like that the beginner gets usually a a bit heavy but especially in civil use very long lasting relatively cheap equipment which forgives beginner's usual faults.

Beginners usually are young and strong enough to carry that stuff.

And should they want to sell this equipment later, they usually will find customers for it easily, and the stuff can be sold for nearly the same price one invested.

Different to that a civil nonsense equipment looses immediately the value if it leaves the shop. One can throw it directly into the next public dustbin, where it usually belongs to.
 
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MikeeMiracle

Full Member
Aug 2, 2019
110
32
43
Northampton
If you don't mind wild camping and going just north of London then Broxbourne Woods is a nice place. I normally go to the Bencroft car park and go in from there. You get a lot of dog walkers but they are used to wild campers in there and usually wish you well on your stay. The only time they look even remotely surprised to see my heading in with my gear was when I went in freezing temps, they thought I as crazy.
 
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Woody girl

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 31, 2018
2,823
1,922
62
Exmoor
I started out "bushcrafting"with little more than basic camping gear.
You realy don't need to spend a lot of money on specialist bushcraft stuff untill you realy need to.
I've used a basic beginners mora knife for years and only this year bought something more robust and specialised costing loadsacash this year . This only because in lockdown I had saved a fair bit and it was instead of my usual birthday jaunt.
I've had the mora nearly 20 years!
Fjallraven trousers came to me second hand last year, untill then it was an old pair of army trousers.
Old army pans I've been using fine since the 70's and still going strong.
The only reason I'm upgrading anything is that I need lighter kit now I'm getting older but I still have great affection for my vintage kit.
I also have a homemade set up.
Charity shops have given me a full lightweight backpacking pan set for £3.50. For instance cost new £20.
You realy don't need to spend a fortune on gear. It's all a bit of a bandwagon thing nowadays in my opinion.. but there is nothing wrong in getting good basic stuff to start with.
A tarp and maybe hammock if that's your thing or a small tent. A zebra Billy can a mora knife and small saw .and a decent mat and sleeping bag a rucksack that fits you and your gear. Firelighting kit or a small stove and gas, waterproofs and warm jumper hat gloves and a first aid kit. that's all you need for an overnight
 
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MikeeMiracle

Full Member
Aug 2, 2019
110
32
43
Northampton
I don't think it's officially legal there, but I think the word "tolerated" is a touch on the strong side in this instance. Just talking from personal experience that I always get a smile and a hello from others I see there and have never had a hint of a "what do you think you are doing" look or comment. We even got recruited to help look for a missing dog one time as they thought it would smell our cooking and come to investigate.
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,355
551
Canada
Where in the area can I rent a canoe
Could try these


It in the east of London. So, the concept of scenic is a specialized one. Further upriver towards Reading and the upper reaches of the Thames, there are more opportunities. And you can always jest get a boat up to Hampton Court - nice early afternoon trip in the spring and autumn with a couple of beers and a walk round the palace and grounds
 
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Erbswurst

Native
Mar 5, 2018
1,706
637
Berlin
@Woody girl

As far as I see, the main problem nowadays isn't that people can't afford a used military canteen with nesting mug and appreciate the information that a usual plastic bottle from the supermarket with wide opening is a very good alternative too.

Nowadays beginners usually invest a lot of money in nonsense equipment that doesn't serve their needs, and the usually best recommendation to them is the info which stuff is good and cheap and which kind of stuff is meant for hiking and bushcraft and which isn't.
 

Woody girl

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 31, 2018
2,823
1,922
62
Exmoor
I agree that a beginner doesn't need all the expensive bells and whistles specialist bushcraft stuff. It's always expensive and you can always find cheaper options that work well.
The thing is we all become kit monkeys whether we want to or not in the end!
I've resisted it untill recently. My hammock was second hand over 10 years ago and that was fine for me untill I discovered dd tarps and hammocks.. then I wanted one of those .. then an under blanket.... then a better knife... then better pans... then better boots... etc etc.
Must say I'm proud that I resisted so long! :).
But to be honest some things did need to be upgraded or replaced due to wear and tear or weight issues, the last couple of years. Made sense to replace with more specialised gear. As bushcraft camping is my main way of camping now rather than on campsites as I once did.