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Thread: Backpack Question

  1. #1
    Hobo Night_Rose's Avatar
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    Backpack Question

    help!!!
    I don't know what to buy first, the tent/tarp etc or the backpack
    can one of you kind people give me a clue

    i kind of think, that, if i was buying a house, i'd buy the house first then the stuff to go in it, but i'm not sure with bushcrafting
    also i'm only 5 foot 1, so that might be a problem??

  2. #2
    Natural Born Bushcrafter saxonaxe's Avatar
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    If you have no experience of backpacks at all Rose, can I just point out that they are available in different sizes. I don't mean capacity 25..35..60 litres etc: I mean Long back, short back or in some an intermediate fitting. If at 5' 1" you get a long back version, when loaded it will be bumping on your bum when you walk and will soon get uncomfortable over any distance. Can I suggest you go into a sports shop, Millets will do, it doesn't have to be a posh mountaineer supplies shop, and try on packs of different lengths and find one that 'fits' you.
    Then it comes down to personal needs, for me a 35 litre pack easily carries all I need for a 24 hour stay in the woods. Sleeping bag, tarp, food, mat etc: For longer trips I use a big full size military bergan of 100 litres + I work on the theory that I'd rather have a big bag and have room to spare in it than have to have things dangling off the outside of the bag. Empty space remaining in the bag doesn't weigh anything..
    My advice would be to buy a bag that feels comfortable when you try it on, remembering what I said about length and buy a bag bigger in capacity than you think you might need because until you get experience of just what you really need on a trip...not what you think you might need...you will be glad of the extra carrying capacity. You can streamline your gear later..

  3. #3
    Trapper Ichneumon's Avatar
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    The most important piece of bushcraft kit is a knife. For a beginner I would suggest a Mora Clipper, which will cost you about a tenner and is a first-class piece of kit. With a knife you can practice all manner of bushcraft skills in your garden and won't need to go anywhere or need anything else.

    Tent, tarp or backpack? That depends on many factors, including what you plan to do. You'll also need a sleeping bag, and a hammock could be on your wishlist. Whatever you plan to put in it you'll need some kind of backpack. Even if you haven't got any other kit you'll need it just to put your spare clothes, a butty and some water in. Personally I avoid ex-military bergans, they tend to be heavy and uncomfortable. Then we come to the question of size. Once again it depends what you want to do, a ramble in the woods could just need a small 15 litre bag, an overnighter would need 45 litres or more. My own favourite is the Highlander Pro-Force Trooper series. They come in a range of sizes and have an ABS (adjustable back system) to suit all sizes and heights.

    You'll also need suitable footwear - the list is endless.
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  4. #4
    Ranger Ehecatl's Avatar
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    You may need to decide whether you opt for a tent or tarp/hammock accomodation. When packaged a tent is generally as small in length as the folded poles will allow whereas the tarp/hammock are likely to be smaller in length. This may have a bearing on the pack you ultimately opt for. If you've not used a hammock before I'd suggest seeing if you can try one (from a friendly forum member!) for a night. For me there was no going back once I'd tried a hammock - I find it too comfy! I suspect you'll find as many different opinions here as there are members and we're all right in our views as we've found what works for us as individuals.

    Enjoy,

    M@
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  5. #5
    Hobo Night_Rose's Avatar
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    Thanks guys...

    I have a sleeping bag but it's a bit bulky(snugpak elite> I use for summer camping with my brother and he has a car so easy to carry) and now I have a bivvy> army gortex one someone gave me. I'll head off to millets next week and try out the backpacks, for comfort, I can always get equipment to suit the backpack. I've been surfing the web for reviews for women with tiny frames and there isn't much choice but to go less than 70L. Would that size bag be enough to go for a week? i wouldn't mind in summer to hop around the south coast camping when on my hols for up to a week if its feesable.

  6. #6
    Moderator jus_young's Avatar
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    Had problems getting my daughter a pack that would fit her shorter back but found that female specific Berghaus are very good. Definitely worth a go but you may need to try Cotswold Outdoor

  7. #7
    Natural Born Bushcrafter saxonaxe's Avatar
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    If you are camping in summer in an area (like the South Coast) where it's easy to re-supply every day or two which in turn means you will not have to carry a weeks food rations, a 70 litre bag should be quite big enough, in fact you'll have room to spare...
    Cold weather clothing, thermals, heavy duty waterproofs etc: tend to be bulky and take up room, suitable summer kit does not. If you are not wild camping all the time it may mean you will be using a small tent as hammocking is not always feasible at campsites. A tarp between walking poles, ground mat and bivvy bag are an option or a lightweight tent. Don't worry about tent poles restricting stowage in the backpack, do what I do, the tent inner and outers roll up very small and go in the bag, the poles fold down get lashed together and secure to the outside of your pack. Some packs have ice axe straps which will do the job for tent poles easily.
    I'm not really a Bushcrafter but I do spend a fair bit of time backpacking or camping in woodland and I have done so for quite a few years now and I have to say my gear still alters slightly from time to time, so your first trip will be different from your fifth. You'll learn what has more than one use and what is not really necessary to haul around. For instance, a towel, a warm hat, a pad to sit on and a pillow. Forget all those, just buy yourself a proper military Shemagh and you've got a head cover, towel, folded up a cushion and with your day jacket rolled in it, a pillow. One item for four..
    Anyway you've got a few months to sort your kit out and that's half the fun of it anyway...careful though otherwise you'll need a spare room or two if you get carried away..(Says the bloke with four Bergans)...

  8. #8
    Samuel Hearne happybonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night_Rose View Post
    Thanks guys...

    I have a sleeping bag but it's a bit bulky(snugpak elite> I
    If you put "sleeping bag compression straps" into a Google search, you'll see things with webbing straps and they'll compress your Snugpak for you
    or
    http://www.snugpak.com/outdoor/compr...f-sack-uk-made
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  9. #9
    Tribal Elder Humakt's Avatar
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    Yeah, this is a hard question to answer, since it really does depend.
    You don't want to go too small (although a good small - <35L - bag is very useful for just days out) but don't go too big either (yeah, as others have said, you don't have to fill up a big bag. But big bags weigh and if you're not going to use that extra space you are still lugging unnecessary weight).

    Aim for a 65/70L bag. You will find that's what 90% of us use.

    Even better go for something where the bag has detachable side pouches (like the Karrimor Sabre 45 - but there are other bags that do the same). That way you have a main bag at 45L capacity. You can add two 10L side pouches (often referred to as PLCE pouches) to bump total size to 65L, but you can also buy a separate yoke for attaching just the two side pouches giving you a small bag for days out. Three-in-one!

    Bags like the Sabre 45 with pouches are quite prolific, so you should be able to pick one up second hand at a good price. Brand new (without the pouches) you can get them from £80-£100 if you shop around (wouldn't surprise me if you could pick them up even cheaper). For the PLCE pouches and yoke you can either buy new ones (don't know how much they would be - wouldn't expect much more than £15 each) or go to a local army surplus store and get them for just a couple of quid (but they will almost certainly be in DPM camo since the plain green ones are few and far between).

    If you go down this route you will not go wrong, but that's not to say there aren't better options for your needs. But based on what you've said, and I imagine it's the kind of thing that most of do, for what you are planning the above option would work fine. It's worked fine for the majority of us. Once you've been out a bit more and know what it is you want to do/like doing then maybe you can look for something else. But that Karrimor Sabre will always be useful since it's a good bag and can be used for holidays/citybreaks/weekends away, etc, as well. So it won't be a waste of money.
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