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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay this occurred to me as lots of folks, including me, have been mentioning that you need to learn more bushcraft skills to be able to lighten your load. So I created this thread so that we may be able to identify all the items that we do not need to carry around with us, as we replace them with knowledge/bushcraft.

Tell us what items we can replace or no longer need with what skills will remove this dependency.

I carry a lighter load, mostly because I have learned to do without or to make due with something else. Dual purpose has a place here to. If you can reduce your inventory from two to one, then do tell and explain any knowledge needed for all to achieve a lighter pack.

Please direct all tips and comments to reducing weight or inventory. Thanks
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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I think no matter what, there are certian essential things we need. Knowing how to make them in the wild is essential. However, Bushcrafting as a way to lighten your load may not be possible. The reason is that primitive items are generally much heavier than their modern counter parts. So once you make them, and it's time to move on, you have a much more enormous weight to carry.

In addition, it's just not field expedient to constantly make everyhting you need at every stop. So I look at it like this:

Say you are going out long term. Your light weight modern gear is to get you to where you are going, and get set up primitively. Then it all gets packed up and sheltered from the elements. That way it's protected and ready for the next time you have to travel.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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This. We didn't survive millions of years being comfortable, someone somewhere is living off anything they can find, with no modernized items. If they can do it why can't we?
The truth of the matter, is that we can. We just can't have lighter packs with primitive stuff.

Think about it, a primitive made ceramic bowl is NOT going to be lighter than a Titanium cook set...even though the use may be almost the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The truth of the matter, is that we can. We just can't have lighter packs with primitive stuff.

Think about it, a primitive made ceramic bowl is NOT going to be lighter than a Titanium cook set...even though the use may be almost the same.
I'm not arguing to carry primitive things, that will always be a personal choice. What I am seeking is to determine what we may be able to drop from our packs and rely on bushcraft knowledge.

One thing I have started doing is create a journal and pull all the snippets of information from books and other resources to store in my journal instead of carrying 4 books, I carry one journal. Then I can also add to it as I learn more things.

But swapping a tent for an axe to build a shelter rather than carry it is ones personal choice, and may not belong here. But there are lots of other things a person can learn so that they do not have to carry items to do similar tasks. One example would be tent stakes, you could craft your own probably just as easy, so why carry them if you know how to craft them?
 

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Numquam Succumbe
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The skills list is going to be ecosystem dependent, which means what one guy uses for a bowl in the desert is gonna be different than what another guy uses for a bowl in the woods.

I live in a subtropical forest, and I ditch my shovel and use a stick with the end sharpened up instead. :) BOOM! 1.5 extra pounds freed! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The skills list is going to be ecosystem dependent, which means what one guy uses for a bowl in the desert is gonna be different than what another guy uses for a bowl in the woods.

I live in a subtropical forest, and I ditch my shovel and use a stick with the end sharpened up instead. :) BOOM! 1.5 extra pounds freed! :thumb:
AND that could work in the dessert, mountains, plains, forest, jungle, and everywhere.

Though I traded my shovel for an antler tine about 6-8" called a digging stick. I also kept the point on the tine and use this for flint knapping. Dual purpose and 8 oz total.
 

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Numquam Succumbe
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AND that could work in the dessert, mountains, plains, forest, jungle, and everywhere.

Though I traded my shovel for an antler tine about 6-8" called a digging stick. I also kept the point on the tine and use this for flint knapping. Dual purpose and 8 oz total.
Yeah dood! Bones are HELLA multipurpose! I swear on my life that a shoulderblade works well as a shovel, plate, and a hatchet! LOL!
 

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remember the 5 c's, cover, water container, combustion, cutting, cordage
then try to use skills to cut the amount of supplies needed down
 

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My leathermins tool has a serated blade, a straight blade and a wood saw. Thats prity well all the cutting tools I need if weight is a consideration. So many on here talk about how many knives they carry, pluse asorted hatchets matchettes etc. Learn how to keep knives sharp and either carry a small stone or learn how to sharpen a knife on stuff you can find, like a flat rock and stroping on your boot. If I had to I could butcher a cow with my leathermans as well as cut down a reasonable size tree, but realistically when do you ever reall need to cut large peices of timber?
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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I'm not arguing to carry primitive things, that will always be a personal choice. What I am seeking is to determine what we may be able to drop from our packs and rely on bushcraft knowledge.

One thing I have started doing is create a journal and pull all the snippets of information from books and other resources to store in my journal instead of carrying 4 books, I carry one journal. Then I can also add to it as I learn more things.

But swapping a tent for an axe to build a shelter rather than carry it is ones personal choice, and may not belong here. But there are lots of other things a person can learn so that they do not have to carry items to do similar tasks. One example would be tent stakes, you could craft your own probably just as easy, so why carry them if you know how to craft them?
Ok, I see your point.
I guess me response is form the perspective that I have already dropped many things. My pack weight is mostly cloths for multiple seasons, and food. It's half the weigth actually.

The gear is 35 pounds. I *Could* ditch some stuff to lighten the load. However, then I would have to carry primitive alternatives...which would then be heavier.

For me, exchanging modern gear, for modern gear that is lighter, will lighten my load. For example, replacing my Lawson hammock tent for a 10X10 sheet of silicone impregnated nylon ripstop and 550 cord will get me from 4.4 pounds, down to a few OZ, I am sure.

Either way, I have to carry something in my pack till I get where I am going, and can build a proper primitive shelter.
OP Said,
Okay this occurred to me as lots of folks, including me, have been mentioning that you need to learn more bushcraft skills to be able to lighten your load.
 

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Obviously depending on how light you want to pack, and how long you will be out comes into play, but I also want to think about it in terms of calories and time spent to make. I have made a flint knife. It wasn't great, but it did cut. It also took me forever to make. I would not replace items that take too much time and force me to burn too many calories. When I am out in summer months, the insects are awful. Not bad: Awful. I have a small one person bivy that has a great net, and a rain fly. It weighs about the same as a tarp. Why would I not carry the small tent? I can stay out of the rain and elements with a man made shelter or a tarp, but bugs would carry me away.
I love the primative aspect that many of us are looking to use in a suvival situation, but there are still roles for some pieces of modern technology.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Obviously depending on how light you want to pack, and how long you will be out comes into play, but I also want to think about it in terms of calories and time spent to make. I have made a flint knife. It wasn't great, but it did cut. It also took me forever to make. I would not replace items that take too much time and force me to burn too many calories. When I am out in summer months, the insects are awful. Not bad: Awful. I have a small one person bivy that has a great net, and a rain fly. It weighs about the same as a tarp. Why would I not carry the small tent? I can stay out of the rain and elements with a man made shelter or a tarp, but bugs would carry me away.
I love the primative aspect that many of us are looking to use in a suvival situation, but there are still roles for some pieces of modern technology.
I think to go truly primitive, we need to have a small tribe, and enough land to be semi nomadic. When we move, we will be carrying a lot of weight, and be stopping to rest every few miles as we follow the game. Thats what primitive man did. There was no light pack for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
When I am out in summer months, the insects are awful. Not bad: Awful.
Okay I have been testing sassafras to combat mosquitoes and flies with great success. I started at the beginning of summer by collecting several large sassafras roots from healthy saplings. They grow so abundantly around me that a few yearlings will not be missed, but make sure they have a healthy size leaf to be sure the roots are mature enough.

Then once you harvested the roots dry them in a low temperature oven or dryer. Then shave the roots with a knife creating a pile of shavings and prepare approximately a quart of water. Place the water on the burner but do not bring to a rolling boil and steep the root shavings for 60 minutes. What we are trying to achieve is a strong sassafras tea. After the hour remove the shavings and continue to steep (not boil) the sassafras tea until it becomes very concentrated. I usually end up with about a quarter cup or so. Drink a table spoon of that extract each day for at least 3 days before going into the woods, the more the better.

This has proven to be extremely effective, as I have been on outings where my friends were getting swarmed with mosquitoes while I was enjoying the comforts of being in the woods without so much as hearing them buzz.

There is something in the extract that secretes with your sweat and I'm guessing mixes with your pheromones that repel the mosquitoes. This has proven to be so effective I had one of my Canadian friends try this with the same results. I am continuing to test this, as the other day I found where you can buy the sassafras extract in stores.

This is a concentrated blend so you only need to mix a tablespoon or two with a glass of ice water to enjoy. A couple of glasses of this each day will surely put those mosquitoes at bay on your next hunting or camping trip.

Try it for yourself and let me know. I just got my bottle of this stuff and will be testing when I finish my last batch of homemade extract.

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think to go truly primitive, we need to have a small tribe, and enough land to be semi nomadic. When we move, we will be carrying a lot of weight, and be stopping to rest every few miles as we follow the game. Thats what primitive man did. There was no light pack for them.
Nope, they carried everything they needed on their body. EDC by modern definition, and relied on a lot less than we think we need.

Technology can help us lighten our load, as long as we focus on what it is we need and then finding the technology to aid us, versus using technology for the sake of the cool factor and that everyone else has one so it must be in my pack as well. Pretty soon you are carrying a headlamp with 10 extra batteries, a charge controller, and solar panels. When all you really should be carrying is a small tin to make an oil lamp from tallow, or pine sap.

In some instances I know I would trade technology for reliability any day of the week, but the real trick is remaining practical and not assuming that because something is high tech it is ultimately better, when in fact the opposite is true.

I will happily trade anything that says Made In China with almost anything else.
 

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I think to go truly primitive, we need to have a small tribe, and enough land to be semi nomadic. When we move, we will be carrying a lot of weight, and be stopping to rest every few miles as we follow the game. Thats what primitive man did. There was no light pack for them.
The truth of the matter, is that we can. We just can't have lighter packs with primitive stuff.

Think about it, a primitive made ceramic bowl is NOT going to be lighter than a Titanium cook set...even though the use may be almost the same.
You have years and years of ancestors taking the same paths and living in the same areas and using the same gardens. They weren't carrying everything, they were caching it and coming back later (in many instances). They are not carrying everything with them on every move. It will change with each culture and area, of course, and there is a huge change in the way things work when they acquire horses.

Of course, as suggested, it is going to depend on the culture and the materials used and the challenges faced.

A lot of things don't take long to find or make, really. You would not carry around an entire flint knapping set with all your antlers and billets, that's crazy and weighs too much. Why not? Because who cares, they're rocks and bones, you can find similar ones anywhere and make your tools. You leave your favorite ones at camp or at ancestral knapping grounds. Unlike many of us who are bound to our steel knives and purchased sharpening stones.

They may or may not have been carrying canteens, but usually weren't boiling their water as they didn't have to. So light weight canteens are possible from birch or cedar or bamboo or gourds, or whatever was used in an area. More permanent shelters could be left to come back to and improved come the next season they are there.

Yes, having a tribe greatly would help in such a thing which is why being a solo-generalist trying to live primitively is difficult and the key is multipurpose items. Sure, you may not be able to convert all of your gear to primitive items and expect to be light weight, but if we begin to understand how they lived it can be much simpler. Getting to the level of being comfortable in the environment and leaving non essentials behind. Primitive peoples were usually not moving all the time as a backpacker does. They would setup camps, make their needs met, and then leave much of it behind while they moved to the next camp which probably had a lot of their old items.

When I was younger, my father told me a good story about bushcraft and primitive skills, I used to be a boxer so this made a lot of sense to me. he said "Boy, primitive living and bushcraft are a lot like boxing. When you're first starting and practicing, you have to take all the gear, put on all the equipment. And even then, you get beat up. When you start practicing more and getting better, you slowly start getting rid of the pads until next thing you know you just have your gloves (your essentials), you even start winning! But even though you are enjoying it and winning, you're still going to get hit. It's just now by the time you don't have any pads you've learned a lot better how to deal with the punches and often how to fire back. That's a lot of what wilderness survival is"

I feel his story is quite fitting to any goals of primitive living or minimalism.
 
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