What's your favourite trick, cheat or adaptation?

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There are loads of "favourite kit" threads but how about the oddball things like little tricks that you've worked out or gadgets you've made yourself to make a job easier.

For example I use wood ash for cleaning my cooking pot instead of carrying washing up liquid.

I also carry a short piece of tube to use as a blow poker, a pencil sharper to make shavings for fire lighting and turn old plastic milk bottles into candle lanterns.

So what's your favourite trick, cheat or adaptation?
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Dec 15, 2005
I use short pieces of hazel rod, split down the middle and used as clothes pegs on the tarp ridgeline, especially when I've taken a swim in the canoe :rolleyes:

And I always cheat with a bbq firelighter when using my hobo or honey stove, it's nice to fluff up a piece of birch bark but usually I can't be bothered and go for the easy option.

There's plenty of cheats and shortcuts so I'll think on


On a new journey
Aug 29, 2007
good question wayland

now then my favourite cheat or trick is: if you are out on alight weight camp and you take the crusader cooking system and you have a metal lid

my tip is instead of taking a frying pan use the lid up turned.

also use the bottle as a hot water bottler if its cold


John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
I use the stubs of church candles (given to me by the authorities at my church I hasten to add) mixed with sawdust and sanding dust to act as firelighters. I use Egg Custard tart casings as moulds.
A handful of river sand/gravel/coarse mud makes a good pot scourer, as do Horsetails, if you are not by a river.
Good thread again Wayland. How about, off the top of my head, my two pence worth..

1:Twist two pieces of paracord together to make a washing line. Corners of items can be jammed in the twists without the need for clothes pegs.

2: Boil water to purify it just before bed, pour into a Sig (or similar) bottle, then drop it in a thick sock as a hot water bottle on cold nights. Clean cold water ready for breakfast (can also wrap hot stones from the heath in newspaper)

3: Small piece of non-slip rubber mat stuffed in with DC4, does way with needing to secure it with small nails, when sharpening in the field

4: Carry an old roll up hangable toiletries bag with camp bits and pieces in. Can be hung from hammock line or a branch and all your small bits and bobs are handy, organised and off the floor.

5: Cinefoil as a wind break for a stove.

6: On damp days collect tinder through out the day in trouser pockets. Will be dry by the evening.

7: Juniper boughs are great for smoking fish and meat.

8: In winter use a few cornifer / spruce boughs outside the tent as a doormat.

9: Don't use your flash light all the time. On many nights if you let your eyes adapt properly, you'll find you don't need that searchlight for many simple tasks.

10: A largish leather man type tool, can be used both as a priest to dispatch small fish, and as pliers, to de-hook and release others. No need for separate kit items

11: Take time out to just slow down, look listen, smell, and just enjoy the moment.

Well, no rocket science there! Might think of something else.


Jun 26, 2008
Prevent blisters when breaking boots in by liberally applying vaseline to your feet before putting on your socks.

The only cause of blisters is friction, eliminate friction and there you have it.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
I carry a small pair of vice-grips. Usefull for pretty much all the plier needs of a multitool, and also as "third hand" and vice type applications. I learn this from one of Lars Fälts books.

I often carry a piece (about 35x25 cm) of 3 mm birch plywood. Used as a cutting board, winter support under Trangia stoves and warm pots, fanning fires, writing support, etc, etc. Takes very litte space in the pack (slide it in along the "back" side). A friend cut a round chunk that fit inside his Trangia, very handy. These are quite common in Swedish scouting and simmilar groupings. I also have a smaller piece (15x10 or so) that is a mini-cutting board, sometimes carried instead of the full size one.

When cooking over an open fire I often carry a pair of all leather work gloves, to be used to protect my hands when lifting hot pots. If I expect to do serious open fire cooking I carry unlined welding gloves.

For open fire use I carry pothooks, made from two "fish-hook" shaped branched sticks, joined into an angular S-shape with a scarf joint and a lashing, With some hemp cordage I can adjust the height over the fire instantly (how many wraps around the top end), and even use the end of the cord to lash up a quick tripod.

When in a sleeping bag and when using a small headlamp (e.g. tikka, zipka) I either have it as a stylish necklace or around my wrist (for the zipka) when I sleep. No more digging around madly for it in the dark when something needs fixing (and the battery pack stays warm).

For cell phones one can have a small fabric bag slung around the neck, essential in winter if you want the battery to stay alive.

In winter in pit stype shelters or quinzies I often place my boots with the openings inside each other in order to keep snow out.

Sewn in loops of paracord inside everry pocket.

Metal matchsafes are very good needle cases that will last a lifetime of outdoor use. More compact -- but not as sturdy -- ones can be made from the cases you buy leads for automatic pencils in. Or small plastic test tubes (15 ml ultracentrifuge tubes with a screw top lid work well).

Spices are carried in 50 ml urine sample tubes (unused in case you are silly enought to ned to ask). They are liquid proof and quite sturdy, I've made a "bandolier" style organizer fro them out of some webbing and 25 mm wide elastic. Buy a score and carry the ones you feel like.


Full Member
Mar 16, 2008
Bungee cords :)

yes I know they can take your eye out but they put a tarp up seconds and tie my rucksack to a buggy with wheels (another great cheat this one has wheels big and sturdy enough to go through the woods with.) I also hang one up as a washing line, or dangle one hook free and hang my cups and pans to it., and ive strung them up and put me lanterns on them before. Genius devices.


Aug 23, 2009
Making lanterns out of beer cans left by thoughtless people out in the woods.

Utilising litter in any way that benefits me, really - I quite often have the urge to make good use of the things that the everyday folk leave behind (insert wombles theme tune here)


Dec 2, 2006
I'm a very light sleeper and use blue tack for ear plugs when camping. It's cheap and works better than the foam ones and lasts for ages. I once stayed in a noisy hotel in Italy and, in desperation, used chewing gum as ear plugs. I spent about a week extricating it from my ears. Amazing how such a little goes such a long way.
I use superglue to fix minor cuts on my hands.To speed the process up I use an accelerator which is basically a felt tip pen with a chemical that is applied prior to the glue and allows the super glue to set in about 5 seconds which is great for closing minor wounds.
Any zips on your clothing that don't have a pull tab, tie on a loop of of 1 or 2mm cord - that way you can open and close all your pockets (inside and out) without needing to remove gloves or with cold fingers that have lost some dexterity.

Carry a shemagh/keffiyeh at all times. They are one of the most adaptable things I own.
Neck pillow (it takes a particular fold to work properly but once you've got it it's not too far off the proper inflatable ones), bag, hobo-style bag-on-a-stick, towel, scarf, hat, hood, full head wrap, sun shade, sit mat... I'm sure there's a couple more I'm forgetting too. Strangely, with all those uses (and I've used mine for all but the hobo one) I've never needed to use it for 2 things at once... I still think I'll get another just in case though.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Any zips on your clothing that don't have a pull tab, tie on a loop of of 1 or 2mm cord - that way you can open and close all your pockets (inside and out) without needing to remove gloves or with cold fingers that have lost some dexterity.
Essential in the arctic. Either make the loops big enough for the thumb of your heaviest mittens, or 5 cm extentions ending with a lump you can grab (e.g. monkeys fist) agound wearing your mittens

Carry a shemagh/keffiyeh at all times.
I use mine as a mosquito net over the opening of the sleeping bag.