Friday, 20 April 2012

The Importance Of Testing New Kit, Ideas And Theories

I think we could all hold our hands up at some point during our bushcrafting learning curve to rushing out with a new piece of kit, an idea or theory. Only to find that we weren't 100% sure how to use it, it wasn't suitable for the job or the idea was just never going to work.

Which is why it is so important to test new kit, before you take it out into the field. There is nothing worse than travelling several miles or hiking onto the moors or into deep woodland, only to find that you don't really know how you should set up your tarp or hammock.

You may be sheltering from driving rain and decide to warm yourself up with a brew, but have left the instructions for your new gas stove at home and don't know how to work it.

These are all things you may encounter, if you haven't tested your kit first. You may think, "I don't need to try this new stove out, I've had one before"... But it may be faulty, even if it's brand new. It has been known for new kit to be faulty and need returning, so test your kit.

And the same goes for new ideas or theories. I think it's great when people post new ideas or videos on Youtube. The amount of new techniques I have picked up for common bushcraft skills is huge and people are always coming up with innovative ideas and theories.

But you can rest assured that these people didn't just think "Oh, Ive got an idea on how to use a bow drill in a slightly different way". They will have tried it out in their back garden first, numerous times. And once they had mastered it, then they would shoot the video, tell the world and use the new skill when next out in the field, knowing it would work.

I, for example had come up with an idea to create a budget water filtration system. It came to me in a flash of inspiration whilst cleaning out my fish tank and I thought Iwas onto a winner.

I collected all the components I needed and excitedly starting putting them together to create my new water filter.

Once complete, I could of thought "Brilliant, my water filtration problems are solved", popped it into my rucksack, ready for my next outing into the hills.

However, I did of course test it first, by going over the road to my local woodland and finding some dirty water to trial it out. I was quietly confident that it would clean the water to some degree, but wasn't sure to what extent.

You can see the results in my video below :

Since submitting this video to my Youtube Channel, I have received several comments on how I could improve the filter. I'll be honest, I was a little surprised at the level of interest in this video and I now feel I must go back to the drawing board and improve on my design.

For something as important as water filtration, I doubt anyone would trust a homemade device and not test it before going out into the field, but the concept should always be adhered to for any new kit, ideas or theories.

Make a point of familiarising yourself with any new kit you purchase. Enjoy trying it out in the comfort of your garden. Not only will you be getting familiar with how best to setup or use the new kit, it will also increase the efficiency on how quick you can setup your stove or tarp etc. in harsh conditions.

When its chucking it down with rain and blowing a gail, the last thing you want to be doing is reading through soggy instruction manuals.

So, Enjoy your new kit, make sure you familiarise yourself with it and trial any new ideas or theories, before using them out in the field.

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