Bushcraft On a Budget

Camping gear, survival gear or bushcraft gear can be very expensive. This can be a big obstacle if you have interest in experiencing or starting with bushcraft or camping. Often cheap means rubbish but not always! In this article I want to share with you some stuff that I’ve found that delivers good performance for a very good price.


So Let’s start with the basics. What do you need to start bushcrafting? In my opinion a good starters set should give you a comfortable weekend in the outdoors with dry not too cold weather. When you’re starting out you shouldn’t push yourself too hard with facing the environment. So the absolute basics should be; A way to sleep and cook. This requires a sleeping bag, a knife, a cooking pot, a way to make fire (and cook) and of course…. a knife!

The Knife

This one is easy for me. The absolute best entry level knife I can recommend is the Mora companion.
The Mora Companion is available in 2 versions; Carbon and stainless. Stainless is more suitable for those who live in a wet or damp climate. The carbon version offers a little more flexibility and edge retention but can rust pretty fast. Both sharpen very easily. They are excellent carving and field kitchen knives but can also take some stress like batonning some knot-less kindling.
You can get one here: http://bit.ly/DBKMoraDLT |€13,-|$15,95|

Keeping your Knife Sharp

When you own a knife you need a way to keep it sharp! We get a ton of questions about cheap ways to sharpen a knife. The Japanese water stone set we use is easily over $700,-  but there are cheaper ways to get your knives properly sharp. I always recommend the Fallkniven DC-4 stone. It’s a field stone on which we actually learned how to sharpen. It’s small but with it’s diamond and ceramic side it has the capabilities to sharpen any type of steel to a shaving sharp edge. Finish with a leather strop and you are done. The finish might not be as nice as that of a water stone but it’s definitely a lot more affordable.
You can get one here: http://bit.ly/DBK-DC4 |€19,95|$29,95|

Fire and Cooking

Fire is important for both staying warm, have a good time but also to cook your food. There are 2 options to cook your food. You either use a stove or cook directly on a fire.
A fireplace is magical and has intrigued people for thousands of years even today in modern society it’s still magical too look at. My favourite way to make a fire is with a ‘firesteel‘. A firesteel will always work, even in very wet conditions it will still spark. What I love about a firesteel is that it’s not too hard but still pushes you to do some bushcraft and gain some common fire making knowledge before you can light a proper fire. After igniting a featherstick or some tinder using the firesteel you slowly need to build up the fire. it still feels a bit like an accomplishment.
Firesteels come in different sizes but also very different price classes. In my experience with many different firesteels I found the cheap Chinese firesteels to be the best. They are a bit softer than the more expensive which causes them to produce larger and longer burning sparks. They wear a bit faster but you can buy a few of them for the price of a single more expensive one. This firesteel does an awesome job for me: http://bit.ly/DBKFireStarter |€4,50|$5,50|
If you’re creative you can also make your own!: http://bit.ly/DBK-DIYFirestreel

The easy way is to use a gas stove. I never thought I needed one but still wanted to try them. I ended up buying a very cheap stove from China. As I said at the start of this post… cheap is not always bad and this stove was one of those lucky finds. I have used it for 3 years, it has been to Sweden, Norway and many other glamping trips and it has never failed me! I even bought a second one just because it is so cheap. This stove even has it’s own ignition for when you don’t have a spare lighter.  I have never had to clean it yet as well. The only thing I noted is that the parts got a little more flimsy over the years. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/DBK-Stove  |€6,97|$8,49|

Camping or bushcraft without food is called either survival or dying… and I guess you’re not aiming for that. So what do you need? I’d say you need at least a billy can/cooking pot and a spork. You might not make the most fancy meals in a billy can but it makes you innovative. Somehow food always tasted good while enjoying the outdoors.
In the above video we use a cooking pot that’s very light weight and offers a drinking cub / something to eat from and a pot large enough for a nice single person meal. It’s excellent to use on the gas stove but less suitable to put directly on the fire. It has some rubber materials that could melt. Also, aluminium can also melt if it gets too hot!
Check it out: http://bit.ly/DBK-CookingPot  |€10,45|$12,61|
This ‘spork’ (spoon/fork) will help you gobble all your food up: http://bit.ly/DBK-Spork |€3,07|$3,61|

Nighty Night… A comfortable way to sleep!

A camping trip is not complete with at least one overnight. In my opinion the best way to experience outdoor camping is in a hammock. I find it both the most enjoyable and comfortable way to sleep outside (as long as the temperature is right). Nothing beats waking up with fresh air blowing in your face and chirping birds aiming to take a shit in your yawning mouth. My favourite hammock is the ticket to the moon but China makes a pretty good knock off. It’s almost as comfortable as the ticket to the moon just a little less sturdy. The price on the other hand is incredible. Don’t be fooled though as the name it a 2 person hammock. It actually only fits one.
You can buy one using this link: http://bit.ly/DBK-Hammock |€13,62|$16,59|

We actually have an old video on this hammock! Enjoy.

I also suggest you get a tarp to cover you from the rain. we personally use a DD 3×3 tarp which has worked fine for years now. There are many more budget friendly tarps but I haven’t tried any of them so I’ll leave this buy suggestion empty.

What I can recommend is an affordable sleeping bag. This is something you don’t want to save too much money on. I bought my sleeping bag in my poor student days when I was 16 but have enjoyed it until this day. We use the M90 sleeping bag which was used by the Dutch army until a few years back. You can still find them in many army surplus stores for around €40,- to €100,- depending on if you only get the sleeping bag or a set with compression bag and gore-tex outer layer. I personally use the set. The Gore-tex outer layer adds a few degrees to the minimum comfortable temperature. The M90 is extremely comfortable… so comfortable that getting up is the hardest thing you do that day.. The only real downside to this bag is that it’s bulky and heavy for a sleeping bag. This makes it unsuitable for backpacking.
You can get them here: http://bit.ly/DBK-M90 |€52,50|$63,-| (Sleeping bag only)

Finding your way in the Dark

There are a thousand flashlight brands in the world. Most of them these days are generic (all from the same factory but different logo). In  western countries these flashlights are often sold for high prices and labelled as ‘Military grade flashlight’. They are most of the time made in China. This is not per se a bad thing if you know what you’re buying. You can get some extremely good and cheap flashlights that perform on the same level as a Fenix although the quality check would of course be less. Flashlights are very handy to find your way in the dark, help you get found and even for self defence. In my years reviewing stuff I have tested quite a few Chinese flashlights. This one I consider a good bang for the buck!: http://bit.ly/DBK-Flashlight |€28,76|$33,83|

Some extra’s to make live more easy!

Here are some extra items that I find handy to use around the camp.

Paracord: Actually more a must have than something extra… however, paracord is strong cord with inner strings to make it super strong. real paracord (550 Paracord) is tested to hold 550 LBS. A cord like that can be used to hang your hammock, hang your tarp, built shelter, replace shoelaces, help you with friction fire and what not. The possibilities are endless. I get my paracord here: https://www.paracord.nl 

Carabiner: These small S-carabiners are  very handy to hang your stuff on above your hammock (flashlight, cookingpot, food, your pack etc.): http://bit.ly/DBK-Carabiner |€1,07|$1,27|
Or maybe you prefer regular carabiners?: http://bit.ly/DBK-Regularcarbines |€4,56|$5,36|

Emergency Blankets: These can be both handy for reflecting heat from the fire, covering you from rain and keeping you warm in an emergency situation. They are part of most of my kits just so I always have some kind of backup.: http://bit.ly/DBK-Emergency |€1,84|$2,16|

Pill / small USB container: If you have to take pills often or if you like to carry a USB drive with your information on it a watertight container might be useful: http://bit.ly/DBK-PillContainer|€1,45|$1,71|


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