The load out- a guide and example (pic heavy)

  • Hey Guest, We've had to cancel our 2020 Summer BushMoot PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 9, 2008
Hi all,

I've decided to write a thread about putting together your personal load out. As an example I've used my personal load out. I would never claim for this guide to be law, my load out is at times extravagant and unnecessary, it is however what works for me. Most importantly it is a basis for which a complete beginner could base their load out around.

My load out is based around the unpredictability of camping in Great Britain. We often do not know the fire rules, the availability of trees or even fresh drinking water. I therefore pack with this in mind, making me sure I am ready for most situations.

The titles for the sections have been taken from the book BUSHCRAFT by Ray Mears. What inspired me to write this guide was this section from the book:

" You may find it daunting to put together an outfit, even if you have a list of equipment complied by an expert...
1. Something to carry your outfit in

This is my Pack the Lowe Alpine Sting. It is also known as the "Dutch patrol pack". It has two detachable side pockets and also an extra pouch that I added to the front using the MOLLE attachments. All in all this has a capacity of around 70L which is more than enough for any outing I need, and gives ample space for spare clothes and food for the trip.

This is a picture of the adjustable back system, for me this is essential if you intend to do any amount of walking. For a while I used an army surplus PLCE Bergen. It was too large for me and uncomfortable, I'm far happier with this one. Always choose a pack which suits your needs. Too big is probably better than too small, however only marginally so as if there is too much spare space, you may be tempted to fill it with unnecessary items.

2. Something to sleep under

Personally I sleep under a tarp, that's because I like being fairly close to the woods and nature, and the tarp allows me to take all this in. Many people prefer to use tents which is of course their choice. For some climates a tent is a must, they also offer more privacy than a tarp.

Mine is a DD standard tarp, just the right size for me; whether I'm on the ground or in my hammock.

Depending on my length of trip I may also take another smaller tarp for my living area. This allows me to store food and also dry (or keep dry) firewood, if in an area where making a natural shelter is unacceptable.

3. Something to sleep in

To me the sleeping bag is the most important piece of equipment. If I have a poor night sleep I can feel miserable and demoralized, a good night sleep and it allows me to really enjoy myself.

My preference is down, as it is light and packs down relatively small as well. I keep mine in a dry sack as it is important to note that wet down is ineffective, a consideration you must take into account depending on your climate of travel.

Mine is a mountain equipment classic 500.

and here in dry bag

The other two items I "sleep in" are my Hammock or my Bivvy bag.

The hammock is a love it or hate it convenience. I love them however I can never be sure of finding a pitch spot, also they can be slightly less effective in stormy conditions as they don't allow you to adopt the fetal position!!

Anyway mine is a nomad tropical XXL hammock.

The bivvy bag is a great piece of equipment as, in good weather, it can exclude the need for any sort of cover. It's also a useful item for floor dwellers with down sleeping bags as it keeps their bags dry and effective.

and here rolled up

4. Something to sleep on

A simple topic this one but very important. Without something to separate you from the ground, your heat will be absorbed by the ground and not used to warm you. I've slept without any insulation and it made for a very, very uncomfortable night.

My preference is for the classic sleeping mat. They're inexpensive and lightweight. The other option of course is a self inflating mattress, I tried them and never really got on with them but again it's an "each to their own thing".

5. Navigational equipment

This is an interesting topic as it is fairly dependent on what type of trip you are taking. Camping 50 yards away from a car park or other people doesn't require a sextant or any other gizmo!! If I could afford a GPS I'd probably buy one but I never really find them necessary, I seem to get by! I also have my phone with me which thinking about it actually could provide GPS in an emergency situation.

I use a standard Silva compass, and a button compass for emergencies.

6. Something to cook over

I've quite happily cooked over nothing but an open fire for a fair few days however, as I previously stated it is hard to guarantee the legality of an open fire in Britain so for back up I take a Trangia burner and (very recently) a honey stove (before I used a hex burner). This is good for me as it takes up very little space and most importantly I enjoy using it. It is also functional as it allows the use of a wood burning stove which can give the glow of a real fire without using too much material or breaking too many rules.

Here is the burner and stove set up with burner

7. Something to cook in

Probably the hardest thing to substitute for a natural alternative is the cooking pot. They're also a relatively inexpensive piece of kit. I've used billy cans made from biscuit jars and the like however recently I've upgraded to something a little more versatile.

I use two items; a Tatonka 1.6l billy (which is a large capacity for one person). I also use a gelert kettle because I'm a bit OCD about boiling water in an actual kettle, I also find it gives a lovely homely feeling to a camp.

Shown here is everything unpacked, also included is my millbank bag which is part of my water purification system (a must if you are taking water from an unknown source).

8. Something to carry water in

Nice easy section this! If there is no water source where you are staying you must take some , simple! I use two water bottles and have improvised by filling a dry bag with water (holds about 10L) reasons for this are self explanatory so I won't go into it. It's also not a section where much consideration needs to be taken over selection.

Top left is Dutch water bottle, bottom left is British water bottle and on the right is a dry bag.

9. A mug

A big mug is useful as, if packing light, you've got a boil in the bag pot and also a drinking utensil in one pot. I use a Dutch army mug that goes with my bottle.

The black stuff on the edges is insulation tape to stop you burning your lips when hot.

10. Eating utensils

The advantage of plastic is that it doesn't scratch pots when cooking and is light, however I've tried eating a lovely steak with a spork, it didn't really work! I take a KFS set and a spork because they don't weigh a lot and they make my life easier!

11. Medical kit

Hopefully something you will never have to use but a must all the same. I use a small pre made first aid kit and also carry two first field dressings just in case something went horribly wrong when using the axe! Keep it on your belt, that way you won't leave it behind when you most need it. remember a first aid kit doesn't just have to be for emergencies, in mine I have savlon and blister plasters to make my life a bit more comfortable.

From Left to right:
Top row: antiseptic wipes and long length of plaster
Middle row: Gauze, scissors and savlon
Bottom row: Bandage, safety pins and blister plasters

12. Illumination at night

Well it's nice to be able to see is it not?!

Convention seems to be to carry at least one night lighting item. Certainly an item that has become very popular with the bushcrafting fraternity is the head torch. They're not that expensive anymore and they allow you to get on with other tasks with no hindrance, particularly useful if you intend to cook, read or enter a hammock after dark!

I also carry a maglite as it has candle mode which I can use as a lamp, and a little lED dongle for hanging on my tarp so I can find my camp at night if needs be.

My head torch is a Petzl and it has never let me down, cost me £15 off ebay.

13. Wash kit

I always carry a pretty full wash kit because I'm a bit of a clean freak! I suppose the utter minimum is a tooth brush and paste plus a bar of soap. The rest is luxury but there's nothing wrong with making life comfortable for yourself.

From left to right: razor, shaving oil, shower gel/soap, tissues, tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant.
Bottom line: Mirror and tick removal kit.

Possibles- odds and ends to make life comfortable

O.k so in this section I've just included the rest of the stuff in my bag.

Top is laplander saw.
Next is gransfors small forest axe
Bottom line L to R: Knife, "modern fire pouch", dragons breath fire pouch, sharpening set and leatherman Core.

The "modern fire pouch", which is also known as the "It's natures time of the month and doesn't want to play pouch". Contains some things I can use to start a fire or light a stove. All fires must start with something dry so I use a tin sealed with vaseline crammed full of wax impregnated paper which I'm mad about. The paper lights from a spark and burns long enough for damp twigs to dry out and catch.
Also in the pouch is a firesteel, some matches for the Trangia and, for when life really sucks, a turbo flame lighter.

In the dragons breath kit is a flint and steel and some tinder, a completely unnecessary item but it's so much fun to use that I have to take it.

The sharpening kit consists of three items:

From Left to Right:

Cut down 1000 grit water stone, strop with buffing compund and a falkniven DC3.

The water stone is mainly used for the axe but on a short trip the strop gets the most use as it just touches up the edge.

I think it's important to carry something to sharpen your tools with, especially since it weighs so little in this size. A sharp tool is a safer than a blunt tool at the end of the day.

Last luxury item is a chopping board. a complete luxury but very useful. It's wafer thin and flexible, slides down the back of the pack and weighs next to nothing. It just seems intelligent to have somewhere sterile and clean to prep food, and since it weighs nothing I might as well!

O.k well that concludes my guide and the somewhat show and tell of my kit. Remember kit choice is a very personal thing, never let anyone tell you they have what's best for you, however take a look at others and see if it provides some inspiration.

Also it is important to note that this kit was collected over a period of time, after working out what's best for me, it may not be what's best for you. However what I hope is that it is a skeleton base for a beginner to base their kit around, and of outside interest to those with their own load out already.

Enjoy yourself and have fun.

Last edited:


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 9, 2008
A very good guide...thanks for taking the time.

What type of food do you take along? Fresh or boil in the bag?

It depends on the trip to be honest, however where possible I try and take fresh or at least what I would consider "proper" food, bacon etc tends to keep fairly well. I have used boil in the bag rat packs and they're fine but it gets a little boring after a while. I'm particularly fond of the look what we found chillie and their rabbit in champagne sauce. Again though for me part of the fun is the cooking!
Great guide this Will
wish there had been one of these lurking about when i started buying kit i would of saved a fortune :)
interesting that you take a kettle i have toyed with the idea but never done it myself but i think i might give it a go.
do you find packing the billy an issue as i have one and find it a bit bulky.
also just wondered if you pack spare clothing as you dont seem to have listed it?


Aug 16, 2010
Always interesting to see other peoples kit Will, thanks. You seem to be well set up.

What weight do you reckon?

How about the "extras"... spare batteries, repair kit, phone, maps, wet weather gear...etc...etc

I seem to be able to get my basic kit weight down ok but blow it by the time I add all the "other" bits.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 9, 2008
Not sure how heavy it is to be honest but I'm used to carrying heavy loads (this one is certainly lighter than my old one!)

Didn't address clothing because it's just too variable, however 9/10 I pack a gortex army jacket just in case!

The Big Lebowski

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 11, 2010
Sunny Wales!
Just found this and thanks to the OP! :)

The only thing i dont have from above is a secondary tarp, chopping board and kettle... and for the sake of the weight, they are now on the list!

Cheers for that, TBL.


Sep 16, 2008
east yorkshire
Good thread Will. I like your approach and well written and informative for new and old alike.

And its nice to be nosey and see what others carry !!!!

Thanks for taking the time to write it up.



Need to contact Admin...
Mar 31, 2009


May 9, 2010
North Norfolk, GB
cheers for the write up! do you put your hammock, tarp, bivi etc in your side pouches?? the reason i ask is i am a floor dweller and put my sleeping sytem in the side pouches of my bergen. im soon to be a tree dweller and was wondering if my xmas prezzie hammock & tarp would fit. many thanks...


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 9, 2008
cheers for the write up! do you put your hammock, tarp, bivi etc in your side pouches?? the reason i ask is i am a floor dweller and put my sleeping sytem in the side pouches of my bergen. im soon to be a tree dweller and was wondering if my xmas prezzie hammock & tarp would fit. many thanks...
Hard to say mate, really hard to say too many variables! Mine does for two principle reasons, firstly my side pouches are mahousive, only a tadge smaller than the PLCE ones, the other reason is that my sleeping bag (by far and away the largest component of the sleeping system) packs down very small as it's down! I would say it all hinges on how big your kip bag is, going to be trial and error I think!