Sunday, 17 July 2011


I thought it would be a good idea to collate my findings under one roof on my blog. I hope you find it useful when searching for bushcraft hammocks as their doesn't seem to be one collection of the vast range out there!

DD Hammocks
 Possibly one of the most popular brands in the U.K is DD Hammocks. Very rugged and versatile.

Their Travel Hammock comes with 2 zips (one either side of mosquito net) allowing quick entry / exit either side of the hammock and also allows you to tie the mosquito net up above you, out of the way, when not needed.

As before, this hammock has fine mosquito netting which keeps out all insects (including the dreaded British midge). Entry is via one of two side zips each with two double-sided zippers.

Features include two waterproof base layers so if needed (no trees) it can be set up on the ground as a basic bivi/tent, see pictures. The hammock also features two small internal pockets which are great for storing a torch, phone etc as well as three velcro patches between the two layers to help keep a thermarest/pad in place if cold weather camping. Now comes with an extra 2m elastic cord to create a ridge line inside the hammock to hold lightweight gear such as glasses etc.

You also have the option to lie out in the open (without mosi net) - simply tie the hammock up with the mosi net underneath the hammock.

With the waterproof floor this hammock can be used anywhere and along with our Tarp is the ultimate lightweight camping system! Please note that as the floor is waterproof it (the floor) is not very breathable - if you'd prefer a more breathable hammock please choose thier Frontline (the same design but without waterproof base).

Possibly Americas most popular hammock. Hennessy Hammocks have a size and weight for every purpose, a complete line of specialty hammocks, including jungle hammocks, winter hammocks, and hammock accessories. All Hennessy Hammocks include attached mosquito netting, detachable rain fly, support ropes, stuff sack with set up Instructions on back and complimentary tree huggers to protect the of the bark of trees.

The main feature of the American Hennessy is the bottom entrance system. Unlike the side entrance of usual hammocks, the Hennessy has a bottom entrance.

It is a great camping hammock or backpacking hammock. It is light, waterproof, mosquito-proof, comfortable, strong, simple, and will last a long time, and if you don't need a mosquito net, then just flip it over and sleep on the other side. The Expedition Hammock is designed for backpacking and hot conditions. It is light and breathable to keep you cool. It comes with dark mosquito netting (easier to see out of), inside pocket, inside hanging loops, and bright fluorescent orange stuff bag. The Jungle Hammock is designed for extreme wet jungle conditions. It is made from heavy duty nylon, longer, waterproof and camouflage. It is their most comfortable and most popular hammock. The Camping Hammock is the a very affordable mosquito hammock.. The NoNet Hammock is for normal camping. All designs come with a double layer bottom for added strength and to allow you to slide in an insulation pad for cold weather camping.

Clarks have a wide range of hammocks available for all types of weather. They are very versatile and extremely well made for all weather conditions.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


Here is a list of materials that can possibly be used as tinder to start a fire. The list is compiled by members of the Bushcraftuk forum website. Please note that I or the Bushcraftuk forum take any responsibility for methods used while attempting to starting a fire from these methods!... some are almost comical!

1: Cotton
2: Birch bark
3: Dried grass
4: Charcloth
5: Tin of Maya dust
6: Horseshoe fungus
7: Old mans beard (fungus)
8: Old mans belly button fluff
9: Reed mace seed
10: Honeysuckle bark
11: Twigs that are pencil lead thick
12: Rose bay willow herb down
13: Thisel down
14: Dry clevers (sticky willy)
15: Birch poplypore
16: Cherry bark
17: Western red ceeder bark
18: Dry Bracken (Pteridium)
19: Bog cotton flowers
20: Tumble drier fluff
21. Hardwood shavings
22. Bulrush heads (Reed Mace)
23. Stringybark Bark
24. Paperbark bark
25. Cotton Wool Balls
26. Magnesium Shavings
27. Alchohol Jelly
28. Tindercard
29. Tampons
30. Fluff shaved off your cotton clothing with a sharp knife
31. Petroleum jelly (Vasaline)
32. Birds nests
33. Newspaper
34. Wasps nests
35. Pine bark scraped fine
36. Pine knot scraped fine
37. Clematis bark
38. T-light candle
39. Tyres
40. Strips of rubber
41. Gunpowder
42. Antiseptic Handgel
43. Duct tape
44. Petrol
45. Pine resin
46. Potassium Pangamate and Sugar
47. Jean Cloth Scrapings/Fluff
48. Fish tail palm fluff
49. Dandelion down
50. Thistle down
51. Pottassium permanganate and glycerine/anti freeze in newspaper
52. Gun oil
52. Cooking oil/fat
53. Quavers Crisps
54. Prawn Crackers and Pringles
55. Brazil nuts
56. Chaga
57. Wood Punk
58. Steel wool (with a battery)
59. Fatwood
60. Peanuts
61: Hair
62: Withe rot
63: Cramp balls (fungus)
64: Deodorant
65: Artist's Conk
66: Aerosols
67: Dry owl pellets
68: Dry bracken
69: Cigarette filters
70. Sheep wool
71. Inner Cedar bark
72: Metho

Please feel free to comment, and message me if you find any other methods/materials!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

General Outdoor Cutting & Tool Safety

Here is a document compiled by members of the Bushcraftuk comunity forum regarding General Outdoor Cutting Tool Safety. It does not in anyway mean to preach correct ways of doing certain things, but highlights some of the day to day happenings that may cause friction between individuals, and raises some issues that some people may have with how people conduct themselves. Its aim is to try and create a better harmony and peace around camp while out bushcrafting with others. It is for you to use common sense and is in no way a document, on how to conduct yourselves. I or the Bushcraft community take no responsibility for you actions when using tools.

General Outdoor Cutting Tool Safety.
  • Before using any cutting tool make sure you know where your first aid kit is and how to use it.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the work you are doing. Stout boots and no loose dangling clothing is a good start.
  • Inspect the tool for damage or loose parts. Do not use a damaged or loose tool without repairing it properly first.
  • Use cutting tools in a well lit area. Avoid using cutting tools after dark or after drinking alcohol, plan to do all chopping of firewood in daylight.
  • If you drop your cutting tool, let it fall – do not attempt to catch it.
  • Do not fool around, run or move through rough ground with an exposed cutting tool.
  • Never throw a cutting tool to anyone. When passing an open or exposed cutting tool to another person, hold it by the back of the blade with the cutting edge away from your hand. Place the handle of the tool in the other person’s hand. Make sure they have a firm hold before you release your grip.
  • When putting a cutting tool down, make sure the blade is in a safe position if you or any other person were to accidentally fall upon it.
  • If you are going to leave the tool, put it in a sheath, fit a blade cover or fold it up safely. Never assume other people know it is there.
  • If there are any children or non responsible people around do not leave a cutting tool where it can be easily picked up.
  • Do not dig cutting tools into the ground or leave them stuck into wood.
  • Do not throw a cutting tool into trees or the ground.
  • Use a cutting tool in the correct way and always use the correct tool for the job.
  • Keep your cutting tools clean and if they are not Stainless steel keep them oiled and free from rust.
  • A sharp tool is often considered to be a safer tool because less force needs to be applied to cut with. However a sharp tool can also cause a deeper injury if it slips or is misused.
  • Learn how to sharpen your tools correctly and safely.

Knife Safety
  • Only unfold your knife or remove it from its scabbard when you are going to use it. When you have completed your task, put it back in its scabbard or fold it up keeping your fingers away from the folding blade path as you do so.
  • Hold the handle firmly, keeping your fingers away from the cutting edge of the blade. If it is a folding knife, always be aware of the folding blade path even if the blade is supposed to lock open. Such locks have been known to fail.
  • Always try to cut away from your body, face and hands. Before making a cut look at the direction the blade can move in when the cut is completed or if the blade slips. Make sure your fingers, or any other parts of your body, are not in that path.
  • Even if you are only cutting part way into something, always consider what will happen if the blade slips all the way through what you are cutting. Do not rest the item on part of your body.

Axe Safety
  • When using an axe or other chopping tool, check your working area by slowly turning around with the tool in your outstretched hand to make sure there is nothing inside your work area that can be harmed or cause your swing to be deflected. Repeat this check over your head and in the follow through area as well. Your safety area should be twice this radius to allow for flying chips etc. If possible cordon off this area.
  • Use a wooden block at about thigh height under the item you are chopping, this makes the axe more effective and safer. If the block is smaller kneel down to adjust your height.
  • Make sure your body is not in the path of the axe or in any place the axe could be deflected towards.
  • Hold the axe firmly so that it cannot slip or bounce out of your hand while chopping.
  • If you are splitting or chopping something that requires holding in place, make sure your hands, feet or other body parts are well away from the cutting area. If necessary use a small stick to hold the item instead of your hand.
  • Pay careful attention to the position of the item being chopped and the impact point. Will hitting the item cause it to pivot like a see saw? This is a common cause of injury.

Saw Safety
  • Make sure the item being cut is held firmly so that it cannot move down, forward or back.
  • Make sure your body is not in the path of the saw blade.
  • Position the item being cut so that the cut will tend to open up rather than close on the blade causing it to bind. Lubricating the blade with wax or oil will help prevent this.
  • Work out how and where the cut item will fall. Do not cut anything that could fall on you or others. Always remember that a branch or tree under tension is like a spring ready to snap free. Think how dangerous a spring trap is.
  • Starting a saw cut is the most dangerous point. Make sure your hand or other body parts are not in a position to be cut if the blade skips or jumps from its position. Do not guide the saw blade with your finger. If possible keep your hands and fingers behind the saw blade.

BUSHCRAFT KIT: Starting out for a Bush Meet

Here is a list of kit you should need, or may possibly need for an organised Bushcraft meet when getting started. There are many items where you will find yourself saying, 'I wish I had that', or 'I wish I'd remembered to bring that', but that will come in time, developing along with your experience. This is a brief guide to those starting out, who require a quick 'heads-up' on what is expected/required to taking to that first meet.

Bushcraft meets are an organised event, where bushcrafters can come along and meet other like minded people. Either for a day visit, or usually over a weekend. They can range in sites, from Scout camps to privatly hired woodland. Its main purpose is to meet others who share similar interests, chillout, and generally relax and have a good time swapping thoughts and ideas in an organised environment. They are not bushcraft courses! If you wish to join one, many can be found at the Bushcraftuk forum meets page.

Day Visit:
(Minimum Requirements)
  • Warm and appropriate Clothing  (temperatures may drop and weather conditions may change, also consider appropriate outdoor footwear)
  • Cup/Mug
  • Tea/Coffee (sugar, milk)
  • Water carrying devise (at least 1 litre)
  • Subs (money to pay for your day visit)
  • Waterproofs (if you wish to venture outside if its raining, bring appropriate waterproof clothing, or you may possibly be stuck under your communal set-up all day!)
  • Food for Lunch and snacks.
  • Cooking Pot/devises (depending on what and how you are cooking, bring appropriate cooking equipment as the only usual communal item is an open fire)
  • Chair (if you don't want to stand around or try to find a makeshift seat)

1 or 2 Night Overstay:
(Minimum Requirements)
  • Tent or Tarp or Hammock/Tarp (waterproof groundsheet maybe required)
  • Sleeping Bag (correct seasonal type for expected minimum temperatures)
  • Warm and appropriate Clothing (temperatures may drop and weather conditions may change, also consider appropriate outdoor footwear)
  • Cup/Mug
  • Tea/Coffee (sugar, milk)
  • Water carrying devise (at least 2 litres)
  • Food for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (optional snacks)
  • Cooking Pot/devises (depending on what and how you are cooking, bring appropriate cooking equipment as the only usual communal item is an open fire)
  • Subs (money to pay for your days/Overnights visit)
  • Waterproofs (if you wish to venture outside if its raining, bring appropriate waterproof clothing, or you may possibly be stuck under your sleeping set-up all day!)
  • Chair (if you don't want to stand around or try to find a makeshift seat)
  • Saw/Axe (if you wish to share the heat of a communal fire, participation in collecting and cutting wood is a requirement of social exercise and etiquette!)
  • Head Torch (for finding you way if you want to walk around at night)
  • Knife (for general purpose activities and whittling if that's your thing)

Please note:
BORROWING KIT: It is very bad form to use anyone else's kit, no matter how inexpensive it may seem, unless you have there express permission to do so first. Even though in the past they may of allowed you to use something, it is always polite to ask every time, as over use can drain on an individuals resources, and patience. The Bushcrafting community are generally very friendly and welcoming, but kit takes a long time to acquire, and a long time to earn. Certain items may even have a sentimental quality/value to the individual. Take a view that the more you ask to use something, the higher up you list of required kit that item ascends, and possibly requires purchasing for your next meet.

COMMUNAL ITEMS: Communal items may or may not be at hand on some sites. Please ask the organiser of a meet beforehand what the site provides, regarding shelters, fires, toilet and wash facilities, water and first aid points.

PARKING: Parking and access to a site may also be limited so ask before you leave.

FEES: There is usually a fee for attending a meet, be it a day visit or an over night stay. This is usually a small sum to cover the costs of site maintenance. eg. toilet paper, site/parking maintenance, water etc. This cost does not include a tidy up service, so please place any rubbish in bins that may be provided, or take it home with you on departure.

Here is a document compiled by members of the Bushcraftuk comunity forum regarding Common Sense and Basic Good Manners around camp. Bushcraft Etiquette

BUSHCRAFT ETIQUETTE: Common Sense and Basic Good Manners

Here is a document compiled by members of the Bushcraftuk comunity forum regarding Common Sense and Basic Good Manners around camp. It does not in anyway mean to preach correct ways of doing certain things, but highlights some of the day to day happenings that may cause friction between individuals, and raises some issues that some people may have with how people conduct themselves. Its aim is to try and create a better harmony and peace around camp while out bushcrafting with others.

Please feel free to message me on any other issues you find are not highlighted here.

  • Never shine your light into someone's camp and never shine your light into someones eyes. 
  • When someone wants to enter another's camp, they ask before approaching and when they have been asked to the fire, lanterns and flash lights should be turned off, prior to entering the camp.
  • The person who starts the fire owns the fire.
  • Never burn plastic and other rubbish in the fire, someone might want to cook over it later.
  • Never borrow peoples tools without permission.
  • If you are going to brew up it would be courteous to see if anyone else fancies a drink too.
  • No leaving knives and axes on the ground.
  • Consider where you go for the "natural stuff", keep well away from living areas and water sources.
  • If washing cooking gear in a standing water source, like a lake or stream, do not empty the dirty water and old food etc. back into the water.
  • "If you have a fire, add some ash and water to your pan.
  1. Ash + water = alkali + gritty silica
  2. Alkali + fat = soap
  3. Soap + gritty silica + slight scrub = clean pan.
  4. When you have washed the pan pour the water into the fireplace, this area has already been affected by the alkali.
  5. Rinse with water and again pour it into the fireplace.
  6. On the next rinse you can pour the water away elsewhere but not into the water source.
  • The cook should never have to fetch firewood or water. If you have time to spare offer your services to the cook, washing up, peeling potatoes etc
  • When food is cooking on the fire do not heap on firewood without making the cook aware of what you are doing.
  • If it’s your turn to cook wash your hands and clean your fingernails.
  • If you need to clear your throat it should be done away from the general camp.
  • Stale clothing and body odour are as difficult to stand in the bush as anywhere else. Your bush skills are poorly developed if you do not know how to return to civilisation as clean as you left it.
  • Do not step over food.
  • Do not put rubbish into the fire whilst food is cooking or people are eating.
  • Do not leave dirty (or clean) dishes under foot. if washing your own dishes is camp custom take care of this chore immediately, generally it is excusable to do away with most eating utensils and even to eat with the fingers, however do not handle someone else’s food with your hands.
  • Pay particular attention to the corners of your eyes and mouth when washing, after eating ensure there is no food on your face.
  • Do not ask to borrow someone’s private knife, axe or saw. If a job needs doing and you do not have the required tool, ask the owner to do it for you.
  • When on the trail if the branches from the person in front are slapping you in the face, it’s your own fault, don’t follow so closely.
  • When visitors happen upon your camp, it is the custom to at least offer tea.
  • If you are a loud snorer, or prone to considerable flatulence you should have the good manners to set up your own camp an appropriate distance away.
  • Cleanliness and neatness of persons are desirable quirks.
  • Good manners dictate that all vulgarity, mishaps, blunders and accidents on the part of others be let off without comment with a philosophical indifference.
  • If you have children, try to keep them under some semblance of control.
  • If you do use a flash light (torch) at a campfire at least aim the beam to the ground out of everybody’s eyes, turn it off at the first occasion. Bring along a bag of marshmallows for all to use.
  • Don’t untie someone’s hammock when they're sleeping, no matter how funny it seems.
  • A small torch or a candle lantern is all that is really needed to navigate bad terrain in the dark. 
  • If you have a searchlight or a super bright gas lantern is it really needed to get yourself to the campfire?
  • I would say though that olive green or black guy lines stretched out across a pathway do need either flags or marker lights if you do not expect someone to demolish your camp in the dark.
  • Don’t drive goats into the other team's camp when out on a competition.
  • It’s better to use the established fire circle and leave it tidy for the next party. 
  • Of course, if you're making a fresh one you should clean it up.
  • In any situation, anyone should feel able to calmly and politely express concern at the unsafe behaviour of others, if you see someone swinging an axe in a way that is going to injure them or a kid taking a canoe out on the water alone and with no PFD you should say something…Don't make someone uncomfortable about looking out for your safety.
  • If you want to wash yourself or your kit then collect enough water and take it somewhere that others won’t have to walk through after you've finished.
  • People playing loud music either recorded or live, through a ghetto blaster is a big no no.
  • Enjoy the outdoors and respect your surroundings.
Have fun!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Ancient Ridgeway Hike - April 2011

Hiking a route I undertook 7 years ago, the Ancient Ridgeway is one of the oldest pathways in Europe. From Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire, to Avebury in Wiltshire, we travelled along a 50 mile section from Streetley on the River Thames, to Avebury. This time I was accompanied by Dale Smith, an Old travelling friend, and Kate my other half, who walked it for charity, and would be her first time out 'wild camping'!

 Dale (left), Kate and me.
 A spring in her step at the start!

 A few miles in and were all going strong!

A lizard on the trail!

 Spring in full bloom, a Horse Chestnut.

 Time for tea and biscuits!
A defaced Murial on an underpass of battling Celts! 

 A classic stretch of the wild Ridgeway path!

Unusual Beatles.

 An old mound called Scutchamer Knob!

A towering monument at Wantage!

 Cool chick Kate finding the walk very easy!

 Bluebells in bloom!

Day one's camping spot!

 The discovery of a nearby Youth Hostel was a welcoming break.. A £5 full English breakfast was had by all!

A beautiful building to rest and chat!

Day two brought more delights from nature. A walk around the ramparts of Segsbury Camp Hillfort!

A Kite on the thermals!

Approaching lunchtime on day two! Time for a breather!

One last push before lunch.. now we know there's an ice cream van waiting just 1 mile ahead!!

Hardly feeling the burn from the sun and the shoes!

Feeling the pain.. shoes off after discovering four blisters.. and only half way through!

Beautiful Beach trees.

Wayland Smithy Neolithic burial mound!

Chilling at the end of day two near Liddington Castle Hillfort!

Kate cooking up supper!

Day two camping spot!

Setting off on day three, spirits high with not far to go until the pub stop at mid-day!

Hairy caterpillar.

A magical section of footpath out in full spring bloom.

A huge variety of wild flowers on the trail.

Broom in flower.

Long open stretches of 'The Ridaway' path.

Coming down off of 'The Ridgeway', we stop for a lovely pub lunch at Ogbourne St. George.

Back up onto 'The Ridgeway' after our pub lunch at Ogbourne St. George, huge views behind us, and the last section of 'The Ridgeway' not far ahead. Onto Barbury Castle Hillfort.

Dale chilling out at Barbury Castle Hillfort. Sitting on top of the ramparts, he is like a warrior surveying all he has conquered!

Me and Kate chilling on the ramparts, pleased that the last corner has been reached. Just a short walk to our overnight camping spot, than a morning walk to Avebury!

Reading up on the ancient history of the Celts at Barbury Castle.

Our overnight spot in a spinney!

Sunset on our last night!


A brew for breakfast.

The last day we head South, while overlooking the valley of Avebury.

Trudging on, only a few more miles to go!

Avebury in sight! Whoooo!!

The final decent down to 'The Sanctuary'.. the end of 'The Ridgeway'.

A map showing a section of 'The Ridgeway' path.
'The Sanctuary' and the end point!

Pointing out the end point. 'The Sanctuary' is a neolithic wood henge within the Avebury world heritage site.

Kate at West Kennet burial mound, a neolithic chambered tomb.

Huge monolithic stones guard the entrance to the tomb.

Silbury hill, the largest man made ancient monument in Europe is also part of the world heritage site.

'The Avenue' runs for over a km from 'The Sanctuary' to Avebury stone circles.

The final destination of Avebury and their huge standing stones.

Avebury stone circles.