Monday, 7 January 2013

Homemade Bushcraft & Backpacking Kit Using Recycled Rubbish

If You Are Just Starting Out In Bushcraft, Don't Have Any Disposable Income For Buying New Kit Or Just Want To Make Some Cheap And Lightweight Backpacking Gear, I Can't Think Of Anything More Rewarding Than Making Your Own Homemade Bushcraft Gear Out Of Things You Would Normally Throw Away
I don't know about you, but I always get a good sense of satisfaction when I cobble something together out of old odd and ends, that would otherwise be trashed. And in today's climate, if you can recycle anything into something re-usable, it has to be a positive thing, right ?
So what exactly can we make out of our old food tins, pop or soda cans and cardboard drinks containers ?

The first item that springs to mind and one that I have used on numerous occasions is the humble bean tin. This readily available piece of rubbish can be modified to suit many a bushcraft situation. Whether it be a small billy can for boiling water, a simple hobo stove or meths style alcohol burner. All of which could be used together as a budget diy cook set.

Another commonly used item of rubbish, that we simply throw in the bin once the contents have been consumed is a pop, soda or beer can. These are great for making cheap (very cheap) and lightweight alcohol stoves, ideal for brewing up when out on the trial. They hold just enough meths (Denatured alcohol) for a good rolling boil on a decent size billy can or suitable cup, like the BCB Crusader mug. Popcan stoves are really easy to make and there are many video tutorials on how to do this. I remember the first one I ever made and the satisfaction I got from filling it up with fuel, lighting it and boiling my first pan of water. These make a great backpacking stove, due to their weight and size and can be used in conjunction with all manner of kit you may already have.

So you've got your bean tin billy can and popcan fuel burner. All you need now is a windshield/pot stand for your burner to sit in and billy can to sit on. It's possible to place a suitable billy can directly on top of the popcan stove. But I decided to make my own multi-use potstand, which could also be used to take heat gel or hand cleanser, which also makes a good source of fuel for your burner. I made this using an old tuna can and some stiff wire, to create some retractable arms.

The beauty of this little cook set, that we have put together for little or no money, is the fact that it all fits conveniently inside one another, creating a small and compact unit. And that's the great thing about making your own bushcraft kit out of recycled rubbish. You can pick and choose what items you want to use to create your diy gear, depending on size or shape. If one type of tin can doesn't fit in with your setup, chuck it away, have another rummage in the bin until you find one that does.
Cardboard drinks or juice cartons are another great source of trash that can be recycled into cups or water carriers. And the clever thing about cardboard packaging is that it can be flattened when not full of liquid, taking up less room in your pack. Also, they are much lighter than any plastic or stainless steel water bottle you may have.
I realise that this application of a cup/water carrier isnt as robust as the plastic or stainless containers, but they do work (See Video Demo Below), cost nothing and may get you out of a tricky situation. Water can be vital in a survival situation so any means of collecting it is a bonus.

So, there we have it... A few ideas to get you rummaging around in your dustbins at home, to gather enough recyclable items together, enabling you to make your own homemade diy bushcraft gear.If you are looking to make lightweight stoves or associated kit for backpacking, here are a few other budget bushcraft ideas you may want to try :
Budget Bushcraft Collapsible Water Bottle
DIY Trangia Burner Potstand
How To Make A Bushcraft Candle - Insect Repellent Version
DIY Meths Burner Potstand

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