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Spunyarn
11-11-2008, 01:38
Hi there, I've been reading the forum now again for a little while, but I couldn't find the answers I was after so I thought I'd register so I could ask.
I am considering spending a night out in a forest later on this week. This is nothing big, I know, and nothing perhaps out of the ordinary for most of you guys on the forum, however you're the experts, so broadly, what I'm asking is, for somebody like me, am I being a bit silly by doing this when I've got relatively little experience of roughing it, or making a mountain out of a molehill?.
Basically, me and a mate are thinking of, (and have been for some time now), spending a night in a nearby woods. When I say nearby, I'm talking about 20 - 40 miles from I live.
Going out one morning, doing a bit of orienteering/ map reading,finding a good place to lye up for the night, setting a few snares, building a shelter, sleeping overnight, cooking and eating whatever we manage to catch overnight, the next morning, then perhaps doing a bit of a tab; (to non military types that's like a hike, but faster and with a bit of weight), back to wherever we leave the vehicle. It seems pretty simple and basic to me.
Niether of us are stupid, and we're both fairly outdoor savy I guess. To give you some idea, I used to be in the scouts and army cadet's when I was a kid. I'm currently in the TA, and the unit physical training instructor, so I would say I'm of a good level of physical fitness. I come from a military family, and my father is ex British special forces, so when I was a kid many a time he would take me up 'the hills' (brecon), and he and both my older brother (he's a mountain leader, endurance training leader, canoe instructor, and category systems (parachute) instructor), would teach me about fending for myself etc. I used to do a little bit of rock climbing, and have been taught, and taught others how to catch and skin/ cook rabbits. I get outdoors quite abit, been skiing a few times, done lots of outdoor hiking and can mapread and give first aid to a high standard. I have always wanted to spend more time outdoors 'roughing it' as opposed to camping. My friend is from a similar background, is in the regular army, and can also mapread and give first aid to a high standard. I would say we're more than capable of doing what I have planned; however I know that a fundemental consideration, of working with the outdoors is not to underestimate it, and certainly do not overestimate your own ability, so I'm definitely entering this one on the safer side of caution. I've done similar sort of stuff with the army, however on exercise, you know there's always quite a big safety net, however purposefully entering the sort of situation where you've got to fend for yourself for 48 hours, is potentially alot more dangerous.

We'd take basic kit with us, Mobile phones, good knives, maps & compasses, emergency survival equipment, basic first aid equipment, backup clothing, emergency shelter, emergency rations, etc. in case of emergency, but we'd be trying to use as little as we could. Trying to use nothing but a knife, flint and steel, a bit of string, and god's green earth to sustain us for our time in the wild.

Obviously I've an okay level of knowledge and ability for this kind of thing, however you guys on the forum are the experts on this sort of thing and so I'd be stupid if I didn't come and ask for you're knowledge and experience first. I want to be as prepared as possible safety wise, and I guess here is the place to come for honest knowledge and trustworthy bushcraft advice.
Thanks in anticipation,
Spunyarn

Spunyarn
11-11-2008, 01:40
Hi there, sorry to harp on, however on reading my post it may appear as though I'm being arogant about my experience and as though I'm telling you all that stuff because I've got something to prove. Apologies if it does, I just want to give you as detailed an idea as I can of mine and my partner's abilities so you don't underestimate, or (more importantly), don't overestimate our limits.
Cheers.

Shewie
11-11-2008, 01:59
I`d say you`ve probably got nothing to worry about Dan as you sound like your competent enough in the outdoors. Without getting into the legalities (which I don`t know enough about) of getting permission, lighting fires and laying snares etc, if you`re planning a night in a natural shelter I`d take a sleeping bag with you if it`s your first time.
You might be aswell to take basha incase it doesn`t go to plan. As long as you stay dry and warm you`ll be okay.
Most importantly get out there and give it a go, you`ll love it.

BOD
11-11-2008, 02:03
Why do two lads with your background and both in the forces although one is TA need advice for a night out?

Mike Ameling
11-11-2008, 02:10
Sounds like you have more training and gear to head out with than many people here have had. Yes, one does need to be ... cautious ... when heading out for a couple days. But your "safety net" sounds like it will be well within reach if needed.

The big part is to keep your head/bearings, and realize what might become a problem before it does. The rest is just ... gaining experience. The "not knowing" part is the worst. But afterwards there is that "shared trevail" feeling with your buddy. Knowing what you can get through, and how well you can get through it, has a wonderful comforting feeling in the back of your mind.

I've spent several weekends in the Fall at Hunt-or-Starve gatherings. If you cant' shoot/catch/find it during those couple days, then you don't eat. It does have a way of ... sharpening ... your mind and attention. Of course, we also did this with late 1700's clothing/gear. That has its own extra ... limitations and adaptations to work with. But we --- lived through it, and now have a bunch more stories to tell.

I've also headed out into the pasture to watch the full moon in January - with temps down to 20 below zero (F) - with just an insulated coveral, pack boots, and a wool blanket. That air is sure crisp, while watching the valley below and the vapor coming off of the creek. Sometimes I'll light a small fire, but usually not. I usually just stay back there for a couple hours, but sometimes I'll doze off till dawn. But I also know my limits by doing such things. And my "backup" is just a few hundred yards walk back to the house. The experience and knowledge gained is worth it.

So it sounds like you have things well in hand and planned. Enjoy your experience. Just keep an eye on your personal limitations. And remember - you can always opt-out at any time it becomes necessary. That little thought helps a lot.

Just a few humble rambling thoughts to share. Take them as such.

Mikey - that grumpy ol' German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands

p.s. Some people plan for too long/far of an outing for their first time. Those can too easily turn into an ... endurance ... mission. Something just to survive. Do the short/quick jaunts - until you get more experience.

Spunyarn
11-11-2008, 02:23
BOD, well advice is always helpful, and theres nothing to lose by asking for tips from those who are more experienced than me and my buddy.
Military roughing it, and doing it in the wild are two quite different beasts. Obviously the both require the same basic qualities, the ability to stay switched on and focused when the chips are down and you're p1ss wet through etc. However working on military training areas is quite different to living off the common land. For example, something Shewie has already made me aware of is finding out if sleeping out, lighting fires etc is allowed where I am considering going. It's this kind of area where I lack experience, and therefore am most in need of advice.

Thanks Mike, really appreciate your input and advice, and I'll bear what you've said in mind.

BOD
11-11-2008, 02:30
Okay. Point taken.

I'd just endorse what Mike has said. Make lots of trips out and often rather than a big challenge seldom

Toddy
11-11-2008, 08:48
Sounds excellent :approve: and that you are more than capable, but have you thought of the time of year we're in ?

We're just about up to two thirds darkness every day. On an overcast night that's a lot of time to spend in the gloom.

Sleeping for more than eight of those hours isn't common, that still leaves eight hours dark and awake.

Maybe think about getting where you intend to be in good time to make shelter and fire, and gather enough to see you through the night.

atb,
Toddy

hen
11-11-2008, 09:18
morning spun yarn,

if I've accurately read your post, then it sounds as though you're way more qualified than I am to spend a night out. Your caution is sensible though.

I've just got back from a weeks semi-wild camping (I did take food with me!) and the biggest thing was getting camp organised before 16:30, when it gets dark - a bit earlier in dense forest I would assume. Prioritising jobs that need to be done while it's still light and leaving jobs that can be done with a headtorch (or whatever) turned into a skill in itself. Early mornings where essential.

The weather at night has been atrocious, so I would recommend being aware of how you are going to keep as dry as possible. I always have a basic emergency plan in mind too, relevant to where I'm staying. Never had to use it, but I have a feeling I would appreciate the forethought if I had to.

Bottom line for me, when I've gone out on one nighters, is that I might get hungry, wet and cold, but it's only for one night so I can take it. Character building some might say. When it's like that I keep busy. I don't sleep as much as I do when I'm all tucked up safe at home so there's a lot of time to kill in the dark. Carving, basket weaving or night critter watching are my favourite pastimes.

Mike has given good advice.

Enjoy yourself!

hen

hen
11-11-2008, 09:35
sorry, just read your other post about what might be termed 'etiquette'.

I go out of my way to leave a place as I found it. Keep in mind that you have to disguise your fire when you leave before you even start it. That way you can organise it in such a way that it makes it easier for you to cover it over when you're ready to leave (after scattering any larger scorched bits of wood). I then get some brashing and woosh it over where I've lain to mask my sleeping footprint. I always, always, take down any natural shelter I've built and scatter it.

These might be seen as over the top for some, but it gets my goat when I see old shelters and fires in woods. Wild camping is better when there isn't the detritus of other people around, and that doesn't just mean sweetie wrappers!

sapper1
11-11-2008, 10:53
Welcome to the forum mate.
My advice would be to try a day trip first,Once you are happy that you can send all day in comfort with plenty of hot food and keeping youself dry and warm then go for a night out.
As long as you are warm,comfortable and dry you'll be okay.
To break my son into sleeping outside we first slept in the garden as if things went wrong the saftey net was only a few feet away. If you do it this way you will soon be in a position to sleep out anywhere as you've had the practise.Hope this helps.

nigeltm
11-11-2008, 16:13
Hi Spunyarn,

Given your experience I agree with the others that you are more than qualified in the basic skills. I think your biggest challenge is not physical but procedural/mental.

It sounds like you are used to working in an environment where there is support close at hand at all times and the excercises are organised and controlled. If the the smelly stuff hits the fan you have a complete support structure in place to get you out. Now you will be on your own with the civvie emergency services in support. That can make a big difference in how you look at your situation and may need a change in approach. You'll pretty much be on your own out there, which can take some getting used to!

Something you don't mention in your post (but doesn't mean you aren't including) is whether or not you are informing a friend/family what you are doing and where you are going. If things go bad and you can't walk yourselves out and you have dropped your phone in a river (suggestion, always keep them in waterproof bags, I learned the hard way! :) )is someone comming to look for you?

Enjoy your weekend and welcome.

Nigel.

Spunyarn
11-11-2008, 17:43
Thanks for the advice everyone. It's really helpful, and because of my military (almost looked-after), way of thinking, you've raised a couple of points which I would have overlooked, so cheers.
Yeh, I havn't mentioned the idea to any of my family yet, but if I go through with it then I will. Leave them a time and place to rendevouz at the next day if I'm not at home by a certain time. Make sure they know where I'm going, how long for etc. I'd like to think they'd come looking if I wasn't home after a week, but I've got my doubts! lol
Anyway thanks so far guys.

bothyman
11-11-2008, 17:46
For some ideas what to take try here (http://www.aktrekking.com/beyondSpec/index.html)

How far are you going from civilisation ?? :confused:

Don't bother with the mobilephone that spoils the fun or switch it off and tell folk you will contact them.
There is nothing worse than someone trying to contact you just as you are enjoying the solitude.



Don't turn obstacles into barriers ;)

Nagual
11-11-2008, 18:00
Hey Spunyard,

You'll have no difficulties in doing what you've posted. I've found the biggest difference between doing it for yourself and doing when 'ordered' to is all the prep you need to do, when doing it for yourself. You'll no doubt know the PPPPPPP's which works wonders when applied. Just take some time out and make sure you've told someone what your up to etc.your planned route(s) ETD and ETA. Best advice, though is just to chill out, relax and have fun while your out there. Tabbing? When you don't have to? Crazy.. lol


Nag.

crazydave
11-11-2008, 18:31
just go out and get used to it same as wetting out first time on exercise. you'll be lucky to catch anything so take a rat pack just in case or suitable food. never any point in roughing it too much when its not necessary

if your used to a night on webbing then take that as rucksacks just cant compete and its good practise - provided of course you have a cq whos happy for you to take your kit out. basha up and enjoy the wilds without being told to stand to at 5am :)

scoops_uk
11-11-2008, 18:50
Military roughing it, and doing it in the wild are two quite different beasts. Obviously the both require the same basic qualities, the ability to stay switched on and focused when the chips are down and you're p1ss wet through etc.

I think you're spot on there. In the civvy woods, you can relax a bit. There is no 'enemy' there's no 'mission' so you're free not to get soaked or to drive yourself on a 'tab' unless that is what you want to do. You can take a bit more time in camp to enjoy your surroundings and observe what's around you rather than see the experience as an obstacle to overcome. :D


the biggest thing was getting camp organised before 16:30, when it gets dark - a bit earlier in dense forest I would assume. Prioritising jobs that need to be done while it's still light and leaving jobs that can be done with a headtorch (or whatever) turned into a skill in itself.

That's great advice.

Scoops

HillBill
11-11-2008, 20:11
Sounds like an E&E exersize.

Mike Ameling
11-11-2008, 20:52
Another thought to keep in mind.

There is a balance to be made between that "miles covered" vs. "seeing the sights".

Some people get caught up in that mindset of covering lots and lots of miles. Well, that is fine for some applications. But you then miss a lot of the "sights" along the way - just to make sure you cover enough miles in the end.

I have several buddies like that. Their "mindset" is to cover 20 or 30 miles over a short weekend. Which means that you are moving all the time during the day. And no ... side trips to check out "interesting" things along the way. It's more important for them to brag about all the miles they have hiked. But I would rather talk about finding that little waterfall or interesting rock ledge/house. I prefer to investigate and learn an area instead of just quickly traveling through it.

So this is also something to think through and discuss with your buddy before you head out. You both need to know what you wish for your trip.

But also keep in mind the ... unexpected discovery. My buddies and I once discovered a small cave. It shot the rest of our planned trip. We spent the rest of the day exploring it and investigating the area. And we then camped there for the night. So our final hike out ended up being just retracing our route in. And we ALL enjoyed it immensely! The "discovery" was worth more than the original planned trip. And we've been back to that specific area several times since - and finding out much more about the area in the process.

So have fun. Enjoy the experience.

Mikey - that grumpy ol' German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands

p.s. And then there was that time we "discovered" an old half-crumbled log cabin out in the hills/woods. We spent hours figuring out and speculating how/why it was there and what other buildings had also been there. And then there is that old woolen mill foundation and mill race a little under a mile down the creek from me. Another adventure.

Sniper
14-11-2008, 01:40
My pennies worth is forget the snares and take some food with you instead, it'll keep you out of a legislation minefield I also doubt whether they would do much if anything towards feeding you. Take a poncho or tarp on the first outing, especially at this time of year, covering a lot of miles before reaching your site at this time of year drastically cuts down the daylight time you have to set up. Setting up a tarp gives good protection from the elements and can be done quickly giving you more time for site prep and collecting fuel for the fire which you will need in good quantities and best done in daylight. Take a good dossbag and lastly as someone mentioned this is not a mission or ops training this is fun, so take the time and reduce the pressure your putting on yourself, take the time to enjoy the experience instead of such a set tab & snooze mission. Take a camera and post up some pics and tell us all how you got on, being able to share these experiences add to the pleasure treat it as sex, something to be savoured and enjoyed, remembered and cherished and not as a job to be started, worked on, finished off, and rested from, till next task. Have a good experience mate enjoy it and you are well capable of a night in the woods no doubt about it.

crazydave
14-11-2008, 03:43
treat it like sex!! what married sex? quick 5 mins before going off to the fridge :)

I agree though, take a cover you would only get an hours walk before you have to start on a shelter and that would probably be a cold draughty one before it gets dark.

rik_uk3
14-11-2008, 15:06
You won't starve to death on an overnighter, may not catch anything either, one night is not a lot of time to hike, find a camp spot, set traps/snares, make camp, skin food, cook food etc. Take some food and water and enjoy your night. Definitely take a shelter of some kind as you don't want to waste a lot of time on your first trip building one from scratch, take a basha or cheap poly tarp.

If there are two of you I suggest four emergency tins of Stella each and some tea lights. When you've had the first can each, you can make a candle lantern from the empty ;)

OurJud
14-11-2008, 17:41
Sounds like you have more training and gear to head out with than many people here have had.

Indeed! If I'm prepared to sleep out in the woods - alone, I might add, then I can't see it being a problem for two people of your background. What's the worst that can happen? You get wet and spend a miserable night out.

I've no experience at all - 'cept a couple of nights 'tenting' (as the local man I met called it) on Bodmin moor, but as soon as I get my new tarp and hammock I'm out there!

sandbag47
14-11-2008, 18:31
Sounds like an E&E exersize.

with the amount of kit they are taking...no way:):);)

crazydave
14-11-2008, 23:03
I've no experience at all - 'cept a couple of nights 'tenting' (as the local man I met called it) on Bodmin moor, but as soon as I get my new tarp and hammock I'm out there!

dont remember many places to pitch up on saddleworth :eek:

OurJud
15-11-2008, 01:15
dont remember many places to pitch up on saddleworth :eek:

No no no. I have a wooded spot reserved :)

crazydave
15-11-2008, 01:31
strong trees I hope going by other threads and the amount of wind and rain you've had up there lately :)

OurJud
15-11-2008, 18:50
strong trees I hope going by other threads... :)

I'm not that feckin fat!

leon-1
15-11-2008, 20:52
I'm not that feckin fat!

Just a quick one mate, this is a family forum, I know it was probably said in jest and I know it's taken from father ted, but kids have no idea and I don't think their parents would appreciate it.

HillBill
15-11-2008, 21:06
with the amount of kit they are taking...no way:):);)

7 P's mate...From expierience

OurJud
17-11-2008, 02:43
Just a quick one mate, this is a family forum, I know it was probably said in jest and I know it's taken from father ted, but kids have no idea and I don't think their parents would appreciate it.

My apologies, leon. I'm afraid I don't have the cleanest mouth around, but message received and understood.

rik_uk3
17-11-2008, 05:13
Just a quick one mate, this is a family forum, I know it was probably said in jest and I know it's taken from father ted, but kids have no idea and I don't think their parents would appreciate it.

Another word we grown ups can't use, its getting a bit silly now

crazydave
17-11-2008, 06:13
when around kids I find and explosive exclamation if 'socks' or 'socking hell' works as it gets the right number of syllables out so makes you feel better and the kids find it funny :)

I understand it but it is a bit PC as it was a father tedism designed to be non offensive while getting the message across. at the time it was used more by my scouts than the original which cant be bad can it?

an old workmate used go into apoplexy when I threatened to use the N word on him (he was black) but the N word in my case was NANCY :)

rik_uk3
17-11-2008, 07:01
when around kids I find and explosive exclamation if 'socks' or 'socking hell' works as it gets the right number of syllables out so makes you feel better and the kids find it funny :)

I understand it but it is a bit PC as it was a father tedism designed to be non offensive while getting the message across. at the time it was used more by my scouts than the original which cant be bad can it?

an old workmate used go into apoplexy when I threatened to use the N word on him (he was black) but the N word in my case was NANCY :)

For years my lad used the term "Ice hole" in front of his mom and I. I don't know if Leon's response to the tedism was just a knee jerk or he meant it; I hope he had not thought it through because its OTT to say the least:rolleyes:

What other words can't we use, the 'H' word for chaps who bat for the other team so to speak, or the 'C' word for that thing sometimes packed in a survival tin to carry water but can also be used by mommy and daddy if they are not ready for the patter of tiny feet? Where does it end?

crazydave
17-11-2008, 07:08
so what you're saying is we need a thesaurus to help when discussing badgers and love socks then :)

rik_uk3
17-11-2008, 14:09
so what you're saying is we need a thesaurus to help when discussing badgers and love socks then :)

I am indeed you crazy duck you :)

nigeltm
28-11-2008, 22:03
Hi Spunyarn,

How did your bimble go?