Primitive Camping Essentials 10 Things to Take Into the Woods When You Dont Want to Take Anything .pdf
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Primitive Camping Essentials – 10 Things to Take Into the
Woods When You Don’t Want to Take Anything
May 18, 2018
Primitive Camping Essentials
Camping used to be America’s pastime and it has recently seen a resurgence with more of an
inclination to really get away, leave the car behind, and head into the backwoods. If this
appeals to you, either as leisure or practice, pack your bag and let’s go. But first, a few words
on primitive camping essentials to make your time safe and enjoyable. Let’s get started!
Everyone seems to have their own theory on the 10 camping essentials but a lot of what a
person chooses will be based on their skills and comfort level. For this list, I think it better to
deal with tasks than tools in most cases. One tool can do many tasks so understanding the
task at hand will allow us to pick the most versatile tool for the job.
The Gransfors Bruk Hatchet is our favorite for backwoods trekking.
Pretty much the number on everyone’s list are the tools that make doing most tasks outdoors
possible. These are your processing tools for wood, rope, animals, cloth or anything else. The
knife should be tailored to your skills and needs whether that is a small pocket knife or a larger
fixed blade. If you may need to process larger pieces of wood, take a folding saw and small
This Chill Gorilla Hammock Underquilt is great for hammock camping in cold weather!
Shelter is really a system more than an item and will need to serve the purposes of keeping
you out of the elements and regulating your temperature. Tents are commonplace options but
a hammock setup or just a tarp will work to keep you dry. To regulate temperature, your first
barrier is your clothing but you should add a sleeping bag or go old school with a good wool
Fire is a life-saver in most situations!
For overnights in the outdoors, fire may be a necessity. Not only to help keep you warm but
also to boil water and cook any food you may have. Go with a simple Bic Lighter or heavy-duty
weather-proof matches and some sort of ready dry tinder. Learn how to lay a fire and be
efficient in lighting it.
Water should be one of your primary concerns.
I think of water as a system just like shelter, no one item is really going to do everything I want.
Take a good quality, durable container. I prefer steel but hard plastics like HDPE are good
choices if you never put the container in a fire. Boiling water will purify it as well as any other
method but I prefer to take a small water filter like the Sawyer Mini any time I go into the
woods. Water is heavy so I rarely carry more than my immediate needs.
A roll of Gorilla Tape is great if you’re willing to move away from the primitive side a little.
Taking some sort of lashing and binding material will go a long way in making things easier for
you. I like a small diameter cord with decent strength. Paracord is commonly used and cheap
but I have grown to prefer a braided line like throw line used by Arborists. Take some duct
tape, I use Gorilla brand, for use in bindings, bandages, repairs, and a variety of other tasks.
We believe the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp is the best on the market.
Even if you don’t plan to be out after dark, take a light. They weigh little but can be a lifesaver if
you get stuck out later than you planned. I prefer handheld lights but headlamps are
convenient and work well. Keep a couple of changes of batteries in your pack just in case.
Traditional navigation skills.
Map & Compass
Whether you are going somewhere you are familiar with or not, take a map and compass. If
you are good at map reading, simply memorizing a few key directions may be enough but for
the weight, a small map won’t be an inconvenience and can be used as tinder if you need it.
Please get a good quality compass! I have seen the cheap compasses from big box stores be
off as much as 15 degrees! If you are an occasional woodsman, I recommend the Eyeskey
Waterproof Multifunctional Compass but a more full-featured compass may be better if you
spend a lot of time outdoors.
Now that’s primitive!
First Aid Kit
I don’t know why more people don’t focus on this item. It’s often left out of a pack to ‘save
weight’ or some other ridiculous reason. Put together a good first aid kit and learn how to use
it. Your life or the life of someone else may depend on it!
Take a look at our bug out bag article to see what we recommend as a basic first aid kit.
The Viper Shoulder Pack is a strong contender.
I save this for last because every choice you made above will decide the best method for
carrying your gear. We are still in a market where rucksacks are cheap and will do the job well!
If you are looking for more comfort, many name brand packs will work exceptionally. If your kit
is small, even a shoulder bag or haversack will be enough. Pick something with extra room just
to avoid packing headaches.
A strong skill set weighs nothing!
Knowledge weighs nothing and is the most essential primitive camping essential! The best
knife, first aid kit, or map will do you no good if you don’t know how to use them. Books abound
with great advice, I like the Mountaineers Outdoor Basics series. Look for a place that offers
quality training and take some classes that will not only provide you with some useful skills but
with a like-minded community.
This is just another take on primitive camping essentials that has proved valuable over many
nights spent in the woods and one unfortunate slip with an axe. Feel free to add or take away
as fits your skill, knowledge, and environment. The more you know, the less you carry so make
learning your priority!
Primitive camping essentials are something that many of us have lost. If you feel the need to
go primitive camping, you should probably ease into it! Don’t just walk into the woods with a
knife and a hatchet and expect things to go well.
Be sure to check out our other preparedness articles!
Also, make sure you read our article, Top 10 Primitive Skills Most People Have Lost to Time.