Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bushcraft On A Budget - You Don't Have To Spend A Fortune

Learn How You Can Enjoy Bushcraft On A Budget And Avoid Spending A Fortune On All The Must Have Outdoor Kit

When I was a kid playing in the woods, all you needed was a pocket knife and a bit of string. Which allowed me to whittle pieces of wood, slice apples found on our travels and the string meant we could make a bow to play Robin Hood or build a simple shelter (Or den as we called them). And if you were lucky enough to find a match (yes, just one) we had fire too !

Nowadays, with the invention of the trendy word "Bushcraft", it has opened a whole new stream of must have kit, required when venturing any further than the end of your driveway.

Pocket knife, bushcraft knife, spoon carving knife, saw, folding saw, wire saw, hatchet, axe, tarp, poncho, bivi-bag, meths stove, gas stove, solid fuel stove, survival kit, firesteel, gas firelighter, rucksack, backpack, gps,torch, head torch, hammock...

You get the idea...

Getting out into the outdoors, whether it be to observe the wildlife, learn about fungi or foraging, is a great activity to get involved with. And having the appropriate kit to enhance your experience (i.e...Making sure you are comfortable whilst outdoors) is always a sensible aspect to consider.

But purchasing all this kit, can be expensive if you are buying it all brand new. So what I did was to watch several videos on Youtube related to bushcraft, to learn what kit I thought I might require.

Online Auction Site Bargains

And once I had a short list of things to look for, I then went onto the well known auction site and started searching for the kit. But don't just buy the first thing you see. Do your research and watch how much the items are selling for. Before long you will start to get an idea for what certain things are selling for and what you are comfortable paying for.

If you are clever and see when items are finishing on the auction sites, you may be able to snap up some bargains. Some people who list their items for selling are inexperienced and have their items finishing in the middle of the night. These are the items to keep your eye on, as there will be far few people bidding at this time.

Car Boot And Jumble Sales (Yard Sales)

Another place to search for kit is car boot sales and jumble sales. These are a fantastic place to build up your kit, as you have the benefit of being able to physically pick up the item and have a good look at it, before grabbing yourself a bargain... One mans trash is another mans treasure !

Army Surplus Stores

An alternative source of kit, although not quite as cheap, but still good value are Army Surplus Stores. Here you are more often than not guaranteed to be obtaining quality kit, that you know is going to be up to the job and not fall to bits after your first outing. The prices are not as flexible as you are not actually bartering for items. They are simply sold at affordable prices compared to brand new from the traditional high street shops.

However, Are Exceptions...

This doesn't mean to say totally discount the high street stores, as there can be bargains to be had. Just keep your eye out...

Once you have built up some budget bushcraft kit, there is nothing to stop you replacing it with newer kit further down the line (Should you need to of course). Some people just like having the newest kit on the market and that's fine, its your money at the end of the day. But everyone's budgets are different.

I am a great believer in getting good kit for bargain prices and the majority of my kit has been bought from online auction sites. On occasions I have splashed out (No more than £25.00 though... !) and bought a piece of kit I know is of good quality and perfect for what I need. (Again, doing my research first on Youtube)

I will leave you with this short video, which demonstrates what kit you can build up on a tight budget...


  1. Check "completed listings" on eBay for final prices (auctions). Lots of "bushcrafters" are into the latest gadgets/kit-fads so perfectly good kit often sells very cheap!

    The "5x Cs of Bushcraft" (essentials):

    1) CUTTING
    2) CORDAGE

    You won't really need much and it doesn't have to cost much.

    1) I recommend Opinel No9 knife - an inexpensive folder sold at angling shops. Mora "Clipper" Frost knife, fixed blade. Inexpensive excellent basic standards. (I use nothing else other than a £3.50 folding garden saw and - sometimes - a "Golok" machete.

    2) Garden hemp twine - double it, if it's not strong enough. Genuine "paracord" is not so easy to find. Shop sold "paracord" rarely ever is the genuine article. Opt for genuine "550 Cord": genuine paracord has a breaking strain of ~500lb and 550 cord, 550lb. Before you pay for over-priced fake parachute cord, ask yourself: do I really need it?

    3) I used '58 Poncho, Aussie and '95 Pattern Shelter Sheets during my military service. You can buy '95 Shelter Sheets (best) at low prices on eBay - if you don't mind camouflage!

    4) Fire-lighting kit. Can be a pack of matches, ideally a ferro rod with a fag lighter as backup. Add cotton wool and a candle to your firelighting kit.

    5) Water carrier and/or cooking pot. Best use '58 Waterbottle with '95 Mug (aka BCB mug).

    Add to this a sleeping bag. Bin bags laid out beneath the sleeping bag can keep you damp-free. Leaves piled in or underneath help insulate you.

    Buy the cheapest usable kit then upgrade piecemeal as your needs and pocket dictate!

    Sorted. :-)

    1. Wow, great feedback. Thank you for taking the time to reply to this comment. I agree, there is so much surplus kit being sold off on auction sites, when really you don't need much to get out there and enjoy yourself. Thanks again AW

  2. Great write up and its good to know that this can be done on a budget. Lets be honest, the people who initially developed the skills didn't have access to fancy bits of kit and GPS units (or even fancy compasses for that matter) they used the lay of the land and items which were found there. In terms of a knife, I have a little Opinel No 8 Knife like this - its perfect for the majority of tasks I never need doing and never carry anything bigger unless I am going on multiday treks / wildcamps where I may need to catch / kill some food.