Survival is all about a good cup of tea

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Aug 25, 2006
Joshua said:
I remember hearing an odd story about survival as taught to the RCMP. The story goes that each man was given a small paper bag and a teabag and told that if he gets lost, the first thing he should do is brew up a cup of tea. The idea was that going through the motions of making a cup of tea would do two things; one, it would force them to take some time to think about their situation. Two, it would provide something familiar and comforting. I don't have any clue if the story is true but it follows the same idea.

I assume this is the boil up in a paper bag trick :)

now I know it works but have often wondered how you drink it out of the bag ?


May 16, 2005
SE london
Wow what a good read!
Stop and think. The old adage holds true for so many things but forcing yourself to do it another. The brew kit is a great idea with so many benefits as you outlined.
Funnily enough i was at a north meet last year and Razorstrop was showing me how to do friction fire lighting with the bow drill. I managed to get some sort of eber which was smoking. Razorstrop then told me to leave it and go and make a brew whilst it catches. Ok, not litteraly but so many people are in a hurry to get the coal to the timber that they don't give it time to catch properly.
Also when i was in the army and we came across a problem the instructer used to say " stand back and roll a fag ", not as healthy but it forced you to stop, calm down and slowly think about the situation.
Realy impressed with that brew kit aswell, and for a fiver. Just about to order one ( did anyone find a pouch? ) once i find something else on the site to justify the postage :D As you do. :rolleyes:


New Member
Apr 28, 2005
out there
Nice one stu, one of the best things Ive read for ages.
Reminds me alot of the Army. I drunk so much tea back then I must have been in shed loads of sticky situations!... still alive though, so guess it works.
Thanks again.
May 25, 2006
Beautiful teaching!

A small tidbit of Aboriginal life that I was raised with.

My grandfather (mentor), is not a native. But his mentors growing up both were of the Ojibway nation. Anyways, he once went hunting with a small group of Northern Saulteur Ojibway. A couple of non-natives were also with them.

Every hour, no matter where they were, the Ojibways would stop, and make a small fire, and brew tea (packaged or wild, depended on what they had at the time). They would each drink at least a litre of tea and then put out the fire, continuing on their journey. The non-natives (excluding my native raised grandfather), did not drink the tea or any water. They just stood around and chatted, smoking a cigarrette, or looking for moose.

Within 4 hours the non natives were spent, and the Ojibways (and my grandfather), were still with wind. As the day wore on, they kept on with their walk, keeping pace just as they had 12 hours earlier when they started. While the non natives had to turn back.

The Ojibway told my grandfather that is was the tea, that kept them strong.
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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Stupidity is a good foundation for the types of experiences that can lead to valuable learning.

Today I scored highly in the stupidity stakes.

I went to a small patch of forest, which I have never been to before, to familiarize myself for this coming weekend when myself and some others are putting 140 girl guides through their navigation and orienteering tests.

I got there at mid day and started in along a vague trail marked by old Hash paper (no not the stuff you smoke but the venerable Hash House Harriers). After an hour or so of plodding up and down hills, I had not come out and seemed to be going in deeper and had the thought that I should backtrack, but I carried on, driven less by machismo than laziness, as I was sure that it was just another 10 minutes more. Having just had the dengue fever I wasn’t feeling overly robust. Meanwhile the litre of water I had brought was diminishing. Being lazy and complacent, I had left my Camelbak with its 3 litres in the car, as I thought this walk would soon be over. I was stopping every 30 minutes to recover for 5.

Of course, as any native American, Dayak or Australian aboriginal would tell you the problem was that I had not treated the small patch of forest with respect. It has roads on 4 sides – its only a couple of hundred hectares at most, not like the real endless jungle (and which I would treat with the utmost respect because it scares me). (Edit: Actually It is 900 acres I have now learnt)

Of course this casual attitude is going to get me into trouble. That small forest is the remnant of a 130 million year old rainforest with all the spiritual and physical power that goes with great age.

When I came across a long slippery traverse with a 45 + degree slope, the penny finally dropped. It might not be fun to backtrack for 2 hours but I couldn’t gamble on it being another 10 minutes. Hash trails can be a few hours for walkers and meander all over (I should have known that) and in any case I had already left the hash trail for a vaguer one.

I had made a number of mistakes, not turning back, not cutting a stick and getting more tired, starting with little water, no food and getting anxious about being delayed (anxious about the bollocking the missus would deliver if I picked her up late from work ).

I went straight for water and found this little stream where I filled up my 1.5 litre bottle and this small plastic bottle I scavenged. The stream came highly recommended. Pond skaters, fish and frogs – what better endorsement for mineral water than that? Popped in some iodine for flavour as well

Cut myself a stick (good thing the parang was in my back pack- I hadn’t checked) and started plodding back up and down the slopes. Thought of getting a palm heart to eat for lunch but dropped the idea as I had not brought gloves and the thorns were discouraging. Kept thinking how silly I had been and stopped to put myself into the proper state of respect for the forest.

I started gathering a little bundle of tinder, kindling and wood, , which I wrapped up in a creeper till I decided to stop to brew myself a Stuart Goring special survival cup of tea.

Stopped eventually on a west facing slope and enjoyed the anabatic breeze and brewed up a cuppa with a tea bag from the survival kit. No milk or sugar as I had forgotten to replenish stocks. I like a good smoky fire in the jungle as it keeps the mosquitoes away and I am a bit shy of them at the moment.

The tea was great and recharged me in a way water doesn’t. I usually brew a cup or two on a long walk but its funny how you don’t when you actually do need to stop and take stock of the situation, even after all that practice. I had a good think about why, despite everything I know, I had behaved like a hiker and not a bushcrafter! One of the things I usually do nowadays, is stop 50-metres after starting a walk. Sit down – go through my kit, check everything is there and put stuff away like car keys and mobile phone which I won’t need on the walk and then sit for 10 minutes and look and listen to the forest till I am composed and tuned in. Some call it respect others might be happier with saying you have to be mentally present

BUT I had forgotten to do it this time.

I lost the trail for a few minutes after the cup of tea but soon found my tracks again.

Just before leaving the forest, I had a quiet moment and thanked it. Once I had stopped behaving stupidly, it gave me the water and showed me the food and the way out. I usually keep the sticks I cut, but this time I returned it to the forest.


May 18, 2007
South London
A timely reminder that an unexpected adventure can be just round the next bend and that the advice on this board is always worth reading and for those of us involved with youth training a good source for campfire yarns.
I do hope you won't mind if I Plagarise this tale BOD.

Cheers Roy


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
A timely reminder that an unexpected adventure can be just round the next bend and that the advice on this board is always worth reading and for those of us involved with youth training a good source for campfire yarns.
I do hope you won't mind if I Plagarise this tale BOD.

Cheers Roy

Go for it. I'll be telling the Girl Guide rangers all about it on Saturday anyway

Matt Weir

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 22, 2006
Tyldesley, Lancashire.
This is a superb thread that I had not yet happened across despite it being stickie. Thanks to Stuart for the fantastic opening post, it really made me think. Thanks also to Bod for actually living and sharing the actual experience.


Jun 16, 2007
Ahhh... nothing beats a good cuppa! thanks for the advise, some useful tips in there.


Feb 15, 2005
Silkstone, Blighty!
I've done a similar thing and gone racing off before now, only to think "Oh dear, where am I?!!!" Not quite as daunting a place as a rain forest, but I saw some pheasant up Wharncliff craggs and ditched my bergen and told my dad and brother I was gonna go and see where they were heading off to and I'd be back in five minutes.

In the end, to cut a long story short, I ended up getting turned around and not knowing quite where I'd left them. They had all of my kit and could be no more than a few hundred metres away, but it was cold and damp and dusk! In an attempt to make myself look less of a fool, I didn't want to call out to them to aid in finding them but wanted to be able to find them by myself. After a quick meeting with Pan, I got a grip and started back in my last known heading from them.

After ten minutes, I came out into an opening and they were stood at the other side. I didn't tell them of my meeting with Pan, or tell them that I had geographically embarresed myself. To this day it serves as a reminder that pride can be a damaging and dangerous thing if you don't know when to stop and call for help. If I had carried on without finding them, God knows what could have happened!:eek:


Jul 9, 2007
Chaves, Portugal
First time posting here, just registered today. I have to say it was pleasure reading this. Really big pleasure. Nothing can beat the simple things of life. Very good. Nothing like going outdoors, making a small fire, preparing a good hot drink and enjoy the sounds of the outdoors. Love it. That is the good life.


My first post on here as well. What a superb article and interesting thread. Being fairly new to this game, and this site in particular, I'm struggling with some of the slang and abbreviations used here. As I own some woodland I think I need a brew kit for when I'm wondering around. However, having looked at the sites mentioned earlier I can't work out exactly what I need to go in it. OK, a teabag, but what about a stove? I've only found heximine stoves which look a bit big to carry on a belt. And what do you heat the water in?

If I was to carry a backpack then I wouldn't have a problem. But some of you must have huge belts to carry everything in your possibles pouch. :D

Could some kind soul provide an itemised list of what you would carry in your brew pouch.

Thanks, Graham


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
My situation is different as I can light open fires in most places I go.

So you will have to modify for where you are

1. Australian army mug (you can see it in my earlier posts)
2. Ziplock bag to hold 3-4 below
3. tea bags in foil (for freshness)
4. sugar and creamer sachets scrounged from cafe's, planes etc)
5. a disposable lighter
6. 12" of rubber inner tube wrapped around lighter (to start fire)

Ziplock bag goes in mug if not using waterbottle or in pocket / pouch if mug is on bottle.

I just pick up wood as I go. I guess a hexy burner is the cheapest thing you could get.

I do have tinder and a fire steel in the pouch as well.

Happy brewing


Snip> I've only found heximine stoves which look a bit big to carry on a belt.<Snip

Ditch the stove and wrap the hexi tablets individually in foil.

All you need then are three pebbles to stand your metal cup on, unwrap the tablet and burn it on the foil. When cup is boiled, blow out the tablet and re-wrap the remains.

I can usually get two boils from a good hexi tablet.

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