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Daniel Boone Challange with Suffolk Group 20th -21st September

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Arriving home on Sunday, I unpacked my kit and divided it into the things I would take again and those that I would leave at home or not use at all. The worst piece of equipment I had was the Swedish WWII backpack. It sits nicely around the waist, but its narrow leather shoulder straps cut into my skin even over a woollen jumper. To be fair, the leather is old and despite being waxed it is still hard. Next time it is staying at home.

I liked the haversack and having some basic kit in it that was easily accessible, such as a fire-lighting kit, carving tools, cordage, snacks, emergency food, dry kindling and note book. Having a haversack mean I can easily leave my backpack behind when trekking or foraging and still have the essentials with me at all times. I can also carry anything I collect on the trail in it. The haversack will become part of my standard equipment and one of the first winter projects will be to make an 18th century replica. While the one I have at the moment is very useful, I do not like its army look.

I was impressed with the woollen blankets, though the nights were not cold enough to properly test them. The combination of bivvy and blanket did not work very well. There was no enough space in the bivy to wrap myself into the blanket properly, so the first night I had cold spots and kept waking up. The second night I slept on top of the bivvy wrapped into two blankets. There were no cold spots and it was warm. For the next Boonie I am planning to sew up one of the blankets so that it can easily slide into the bivvy and I stay bundled in it all night, while the second blanket will be for additional warmth if needed.

I enjoyed using natural string instead of paracord. Its is cheap, strong and biodegradable. There is no need to burn the edges when cut to stop fraying like the paracord. From now on I will use natural string only.

I liked carrying an axe, though I did not use it very much during the Challange. From my experience, for short stays outdoors or when on the trail there is no need for an axe. In the woods there is plenty of free-standing wood for fire and in most places cutting greenwood is not allowed anyway. Generally I use an axe when camping for longer and need it to split logs, chop wood or for carving. At the Bonnie I used it for rough carving my spoon. Would I take my axe again? Sure, I do like my axe

I liked having my kit packed in calico sacks I made instead of modern waterproof bags. They are cheap to make and versatile. I was a bit worried that they were not waterproof enough and was not sure whether they would keep my kit dry in heavy rain. What nonsence. I will definitively use these bags more often and make some from leather for things I need to keep really dry.

My Italian army poncho and the black army jacket were definitively the ugliest part of my clothing, and they are going to be sold. They will be replaced with clothing made from more traditional materials. I also need to work on my other clothing too

The most impressive part of my kit was the Market Wallet I made with the help of my wife, where I kept my vegetables, fruit and other food. It is easy to carry laid across the backpack, on the shoulder or around the neck, and I could hang it over a branch when camping. Being made from cotton, it is breathable and i keeps food well ventilated. I might use it to go to the market when buying fruit and veg. Who knows, maybe it will become fashionable again

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  1. Harvestman's Avatar
    Nice report. I've yet to try the Boone challenge, but yours sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.
  2. Andor's Avatar
    Very welcome Harvestman!
  3. Dark Horse Dave's Avatar
    It's always a useful exercise to do this sort of analysis and pack accordingly next time - but axes are definitely cool aren't they?

    Good report - thanks.

    Kind regards,

  4. Andor's Avatar
    You are welcome Dark Horse Dave!
  5. tree beard's Avatar
    Thanks for taking the time to write that Andor, I enjoyed reading it.