Bushcraft gear list: 3 days of winter camping in Denmark

posted in: Bushcraft, Equipment, Gear, Knowledge | 0

UPDATED:

I often thought about how little gear you can bring and still stay comfortable in Scandinavia during winter. I’m not talking -30° C here but maybe temperatures between freezing point and -10° C. After all I’m in the southern part of Scandinavia.

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This winter I have decided to do some testing. My friend and I are going winter camping and we have access to a private forest where we can chop down trees if needed, so my plan is to build a natural shelter with a fire and a reflector next to it to stay warm. The question is how much – or little – gear will I need to stay comfortable?

My aim is to do with as little gear as possible while still staying safe and somewhat comfortable. I’m planning on bringing nothing but a wool blanket to sleep on/in, so I will need to wear some really warm clothes and I will definitely need to get a fire going.

Despite going for the minimal amount of gear I am planning on bringing a head lamp and a cooking pot since this is not a survival trip after all – I hope. If you followed me here at undepend.com or on twitter you will know that I have prepared some beef jerky to bring for food as well. And I will also bring some water unless it is going to be snow.

If you comment, also please have in mind that this is not my ideal list. I love natural materials such as wool, skin, fur and leather. I will replace the synthetic parts of my garments over time but for now this is what I have. If I could choose I would wear wadmal pants instead of my BDU pants,  wool underwear instead of my synthetic Helly Hansen underwear and fur or wool mittens instead of ski mittens. (This guy has got it right in my opinion)

Anyway here is my bushcraft winter gear list. Please let me hear your thoughts and improvement ideas.

Clothes (From the inside out):
(1) Short underpants
(2) Helly Hansen long sleeve baselayer top
(3) Helly Hansen long baselayer pants
(4) Long woolen underpants
(5) 2 pairs of wool socks
(6) Green Fisherman Waffle knit wool sweater
(7) Marlboro wool shirt
(8) North Face thermal vest
(9) Norwegian wool sweater – maybe just as an extra
(10) BDU pants
(11) Austrian Mountain M65 jacket – My review here.
(12) Wool scarf
(13) Bucket hat to wear over my Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap.
(14) Lowe Alpine Mountain cap
(15) La Crosse Ridgetop Pac boots
(16) Black gloves
(17) Ski mittens
(18) Leather belt
(19) Enzo Trapper knife
(20) Gränsfors Bruks wildlife Hatchet

In my backpack:
(21) Water container – 5 liter
(22) Paracord
(23) Climbing rope – 5 mm
(24) 2 pack straps
(25) Firesteel
(26) Matches
(27) Head lamp
(28) Metal cup
(29) I left out the cooking pot and added some dry tinder instead
(30) First aid kit
(31) Swedish Officer’s 100% Wool blanket (Not the one shown here)
Money
Mobile phone
(32) Toothbrush/paste
(33) Small piece of soap
Toilet paper

Food supplies:
Water – 5 liter
Beef Jerky – 350 g.
2 snickers bars

My new jacket for winter bushcraft:

posted in: Bushcraft, Equipment, Gear, Uncategorized | 0

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The Austrian Mountain M65 jacket. Here’s why I chose it.

When it comes to bushcraft activities, you can forget about down. First of all you need a jacket that is sturdy. It should be able to withstand embers from the fireplace hitting you, it should be able to withstand you walking into or lying on top of branches and it should maintain it’s function even if it get’s dirty.

The Austrian Mountain Jacket M65 was used by the Austrian mountain troops in the Alps where, most of the time, the weather is cold, wet and windy. Just like here in Denmark.

Cotton kills.
The Austrian Mountain Jacket M65 is made from a cotton polyester blend. Yes cotton. Why did I choose a cotton jacket? “Cotton kills” you say. That is true if all you’re wearing is cotton and it hasn’t been treated in any way. Then cotton will leave you with hypothermia. This jacket will work as an outer layer to protect against the wind and rain and has already been surface treated to be highly water and wind resistant. I’m curious to test how well it works though. Otherwise I will have to wax it I guess. The reason why I chose cotton is that it is heavy duty regarding the functions I mentioned above, it is wind and water resistant and it is easy to fix if needed.

There is no such thing as waterproof clothing.
Let’s face it. If you’re in the rain for a longer period of time, you’re going to get wet no matter what. Whether from the outside or from the inside. The trick is to layer up in wool to stay warm and enjoy the water coming at you.

Modern materials such as Gore-Tex will loose it’s capablities if it gets dirty and leave you wet and cold. If you accidentally rip a hole in it, it is hard to fix. With this jacket you can just stitch it back together.

I wanted a long jacket.
This jacket is quite long. The disadvantage being that it can be difficult to access the pockets in your pants and your knife. But since it is so long, you can just wear your belt on the outside of it, giving you very easy access to your knife and axe. Also it has four big front pockets for other things you might need to access easily.

The advantage of it being so long however is that it gives you more protection against the wind. And you also get extra protection from any cold surface you may be sitting on. This jacket also has two strings that you can tighten to prevent air from entering from below. One at the bottom and one right above the two bottom pockets.

The zipper is very sturdy and since it starts higher up the jacket is easy to move around in. Furthermore the jacket is very roomy, leaving plenty of space for layering up underneath it. and it has a light hood stoved away in the collar.

 

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Saltwater Saturday.

posted in: Fishing, Wild food | 0

Last time I went fishing with my youngest son aged 5 he caught a fine 4 kg. Pike in freshwater, but today he wanted to do something else. So we headed to the Harbour where the Tuborg Breweries were founded. The brewery has moved it’s location many years ago, but the lighthouses on the piers shaped as Tuborg beer bottles are still standing.

It was nice and mild day, and after the first five minutes a small cod took our green Toby Rocket. Unfortunately that was the only one we saw today. It was still a great day though.

 

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Predicting thunder by looking into the water at the beach?

posted in: Bushcraft, Knowledge, skills, Survival | 0

– a story from my childhood

It was a clear sunny day when my mom took me to the beach many years ago. I was about 8 years old I believe and all I thought about, was playing in the sand and swimming.

My mom was standing in the edge of the water when this old lady comes up to us. “It’s going to be thunder” she tells my mom. “Look into the water” she continued. “When the bottom swirls up like this, and the water becomes turbid, it’s going to be thunder”.

We looked into the water and it was indeed turbid, as if someone had just walked through it and swirled up the sand from the bottom. Except no one had.

I don’t know how the lady saw us, but I remember talking to my mom about her like she was a bit crazy. It was a clear blue sky, there wasn’t a wind and the sun was shining. Nothing, and I mean nothing indicated that the weather was about to change. We swept it away as an indifference and stayed at the beach for a little less than an hour or so.

Thunder
We drove back to our house which was about 5 minutes away from the beach. My mom went to make us some late lunch, when the impossible happened; a thunder in the distance! We looked at each other with disbelief. And then there was another one. The lady was right. Our view on the her had put us to shame. And since then we talked about her with admiration instead.

Since then I have actually experienced it myself. One time swallows were also flying low and it was much more obvious, looking at the sky, that the weather was about to change. And the water was turbid.

Have you heard of this?
I wonder however, has anyone else heard of this? Please comment or email me if you have. I have looked, but I haven’t been able to find anything about it on the internet yet. Maybe it’s a local thing? Or maybe I’m seeing something that isn’t there? In that case the lady was crazy, and it was all a lucky strike. If I’m right however, maybe you should try looking into the water the next time you’re on a sandy beach.

 

Sailing the fjord of Viking king Harald Bluetooth

posted in: Bushcraft, Fishing, Knowledge, Survival, Wild food | 0

Some pics from our fyke net fishing trip at Roskilde fjord this weekend.

Roskilde fjord is probably best known for it’s association with the Vikings. From here the longships took off on trips to distant parts of the world in order to both trade and plunder. This weekend was less dramatic. I took my sons to visit my uncle who is a fyke net fisher. He was going to haul the nets, so we arranged to go with him. A great experience for the kids and a nostalgic trip for me, since I used to do this with my grandfather when I was young. In spite of a very rainy day, the weather was great. 16° C and hardly any wind. The catch wasn’t impressive. A few flunders, some European eelpouts and a couple of fine eels – oh and tons of crabs. You can eat them but there’s hardly any meat on them. Some people use them to cook soup on however. It was a great day

 

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Mushrooms, snakes and cattails

posted in: Bushcraft, Knowledge, skills, Survival, Wild food | 0

Just another day in the woods. No camping out for once.

This Sunday we had a great, sunny autumn day in the local wood foraging for mushrooms and, as you can see, some cattails. Although we only collected a few seed heads to use later for fire lighting. We didn’t harvest any of them for eating.

We also came across two non-poisonous Grass Snakes. The first one escaped into a hole in the ground really fast. The second one however kept it’s ground and allowed me to take a few pics of it. No, we didn’t attempt to hunt and eat it :) It’s also a protected species here btw.

Common puffball / Warted puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum).
Common puffball / Warted puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum).
Red Cracking Bolete (Boletus Chrysenteron).
Red Cracking Bolete (Boletus Chrysenteron).
Laccaria amethystina
Laccaria amethystina
Laccaria amethystina
Laccaria amethystina
Common puffball / Warted puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum).
Common puffball / Warted puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum).
Common puffball / Warted puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum).
Common puffball / Warted puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum).
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False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca).
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False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca).
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Bay bolete (Boletus badius).
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Non-venomous Grass Snake / Ringed Snake / Water Snake (Natrix natrix).
Non-venomous Grass Snake / Ringed Snake / Water Snake (Natrix natrix).
Non-venomous Grass Snake / Ringed Snake / Water Snake (Natrix natrix).
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Non-venomous Grass Snake / Ringed Snake / Water Snake (Natrix natrix).

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False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca).
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False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca).
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A small forest pond with dead wood and cattails.
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Cattail (Typha). You can use most parts of this plant. The roots can be cooked like potatoes, the young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked. And the seed heads are great for tinder.
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Cattail (Typha). You can use most parts of this plant. The roots can be cooked like potatoes, the young shoots can be eaten raw or cooked. And the seed heads are great for tinder.

Why I’m not a prepper – and 6 reasons why I might become one

posted in: Prepping, SHTF, Survival | 0

Why would you bother preparing for a SHTF situation in Scandinavia?

Let’s face it, Scandinavia is not exactly the most dangerous place on earth. Surely we have natural disasters, thunder storms, flooding and snow storms, but we don’t have hurricanes, tsunamis volcanoes and people in general don’t carry guns – or even knives for that matter. Earth quakes are extremely rare, so a real shtf scenario is not really in near sight if you ask me.

Power outage? Okay but we don’t have an arms culture like the US, so I don’t believe that a riot scenario like we saw during Hurricane Katrina is likely either. Another aspect that reduces risk during a shtf situation is that population density is very low. Even the cities are quite small compared to the rest of the world. Also people here are normally quite accustomed to both the climate and nature in general. And poverty is also not as extreme as it is in other places. Okay I bring warm clothes for whenever I drive my car long distance during winter and stuff like that, but other than that I don’t see the need for prepping.

So why would you prepare anyway?
Well first of all; the world is changing – fast! And the life we have come to take for granted, is not laid out for us anymore. So here are a few scenarios that I could think of as likely enough to maybe prepare for. Please comment if you can think of others.

1. War / Terrorist Attack:
Russia is rattling the saber again, the prospect of a new cold war is lurking. And the nuclear threat is all time present. Scandinavia’s growing military presence throughout the world has also led to several terrorist attacks being attempted on Scandinavian ground. These attempts are very likely to grow.

2. Government break down.
Scandinavians have become so accustomed to living in peace that they can’t even imagine that their societies could fall apart. They take democracy and peace for granted. But many extremists are waiting to get a shot at it. Both left and right wing extremists, religious extremists, but even more likely, it could be inequality in society leading to a breakdown. Although the Scandinavian countries have a fairly equal distribution of wealth, the gap between rich and poor is growing and so is the gap between the politicians and the population. People’s freedom is continuingly being limited with new laws and technology.

3. Disease outbreak
The possibility of virus outbreak like we are seeing in Africa these days is likely. The Ebola outbreak has the potential to spread throughout Europe actually. But other outbreaks are lurking, such as the antibiotic resistant bacteria MRSA that is growing in numbers in Denmark.

4. Solar flare – EMP
This is a subject that is being discussed vigorously in prepper forums around the world, and one that Scandinavians can’t consider themselves free from.

5. Asteroid collision
Like the solar flare – this is also something Scandinavians can’t consider themselves free from. However if it happened I’m wondering, could you really prepare for it?

6. Climate change
The recent 3 years have shown that the climate is changing fast in Scandinavia (too). We are seeing way more cloudbursts, flooding and more.

With all this in mind, here is my conclusion:
The likeliness of any of these scenarios becoming a threat to me is much lower than the risk of me being run down by a car on my way to work, the risk of our house being struck by a lightening or me being struck by an illness. And I don’t prepare for these scenarios either because it wouldn’t matter if I did. Just like I don’t believe I can really increase my odss of surviving by preparing for any of the 6 scenarios above. Half of them (1, 4 and 5) would be pointless preparing for. Atomic bombs today are much more powerful than they were years back, and 4 and especially 5 are likely to wipe out all life forever on planet Earth anyway. The other half (2, 3 and 6) are scenarios that are developing over time. So you don’t need to be stockpiling food and drinking water for those scenarios. You just need to know when to g.t.f.o.o.d.

Let me know your thoughts – until then I will stick with bushcrafting and survival skills :)

Bushcraft camping with my sons

posted in: Bushcraft, Knowledge, skills, Survival | 0
Had a great weekend camping bushcraft style and foraging the autumn forest with my two sons aged 5 and 7.