1. Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back! (feel a bit like 'Charlie says'!)
2. Always keep your knifes / axes as sharp as possible – a sharp tool is a safe tool!
3. Gaffer tape has more uses than you can think of – always carry a ‘strip’ – wrap it round a water bottle or something you will take anyway instead of lugging a roll
4. A length of para-cord or similar strong line will often come in handy
5. If it is essential, always carry a spare!!!
6. If you use AAA or AA battery’s for torches etc, switch to lithium versions – they last longer and are not so affected by the cold
7. NEVER rely solely on one piece of kit!!! – when you REALLY need it it will break / you will loose it etc
8. Always carry a first aid kit! – After all we pride ourselves in how sharp our knives are……….. – think about the term ‘surgically sharp’
9. 35mm film and the new APS film canisters make great small containers for herbs, spices, matches etc - If you use the clear ones you can see what is inside too!
10. Remember the rule of threes! – you can live 3 Minutes without air, 3 hours without adequate shelter in winter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food! (Approximately of course!) remember this and you have the priority’s you need to address to survive.
11. OK this isn't a survival tip I'm afraid is something very little, but have found when carving fine detail in wood it helps to sand using an emery board cut to a point (or whatever shape helps best).
12. Sleep dry and walk wet (clothing wise)
13. Only take items you will need (no frisbees, lawn tennis equipment etc)
14. Always carry water and check the map for likely water sources during your trip.
15. Change your clothing when you FIRST think of it (Too hot or too cold)
16. Take two torches and use only one.
17. Use dried whitener for brews (tastes the same as milk to me
18. Leave ALL packaging at home (no waste, no fuss)
19. Don't pee where you sleep.
20. Stay out of sight
21. Don't panic!
22. Always have a brew-kit handy.
23. Don't forget the bog roll
24. Always pass your knife, handle first and blade up
25. Make as much of you kit dual purpose as possible then you can carry less
26. Try not to use sharps after dark and never mix them with alcohol ( I did not good don’t do it )
27. Keep your water bottle as full as you can top it up at every opportunity and never refuse anyone a drink.
28. Never take your boots off until you are sure you don’t have any further to walk that day.
29. Keep your water proof, any additional layers and your lunch at the top of your pack.
30. When you’re looking for a campsite in the woods check all the surrounding trees are alive and then look up and check for dead, part broken or hung up fallen branches.
31. Keep your fire lighting equipment and a little tinder in a water proof bag/wrapper about your person Some where then if you loose everything you’ll still be able to light a fire.
32. Know your limits and don’t push too hard it will all end in tears.
33. Don’t Panic think things through stay clam and make clear decisions.
34. try and set camp before dark
35. Take a good book, can have many uses not just a way to past time
36. Never pee up stream from your water supply
37. Use A dry bag in wet climates or when crossing lots of water
38. Listen to locals (they normally are in the Know)
39. Study the area before you go, less surprises
40. Start the fire before you need it, because you never know what is coming
41. Learn how to use your kit before you go
42. It is never a failure to turn back and go home early.
43. NEVER pitch under a big old tree, in particular Beech. They drop the biggest limbs
44. Allow time to look.
45. Remember which direction you will be going in come the morning.
46. At this time of year, remember to NEVER eat yellow snow...
47. Pack your rucksack with the stuff you need most at the top or most accessible
48. Always replace everything back into the same pockets (then you know where it is or isn't as the case maybe)
49. Remember to repair your gear and maintain it as soon as possible!
50. Before you leave, always ask the other half if you've forgotten anything.
51. When blowing a coal from fire drill in a tinder bundel to flame remember to move it away from you face with and down to your side every time you take in a breath
52. If carving when sitting always lean forward so that work piece and knife are in clear space and there is no risk of the knife makeing contact with the legs
53. Never leave you sleeping bag in its stuff sack when you get home
54. Cut a 2ft length of Elder, hollow it out, use to blow into the heart of the fire.
55. Pick your companions wisely. Went canoeing last summer with someone who had to "meditate" every time there was a task at hand. Guy was so lazy he'd poop in his sleeping bag and kick it out with his foot.
56. Take a couple of carrier bags along, to carry out any litter you find
57. This is probably a bit of an old one but in my 10cm Billy as well as a tuna can stove I stuff it with 00000 fine wire wool. This make a great tinder and even work when wet ( just squeeze it out first) with a firesteel. It get very hot and is even better if you have some lard or fat. just strike, blow and the fat will flame. - You can also use it to finish off spoons etc ... and ...urr...clean your Billy
58. Always carry a small sewing kit you never know when you might split a seam or tair a hole in something.
59. Make double sure your meths burner is out before you fill it up !!!!!!!
60. Know the country code and use it.
61. Not all rights of way on OS maps exist any more they change if a landowner tells you there's no right of way don't argue find another way round.
62. A yard/metre of muslin, - It has many, many, fine uses as packs quite small. Here are just a few: Use it as a filter, Cooking in it e.g. tie your veg or meet in it and boil or steam or use it to make paneer, Carry stuff in it, Melt snow in it, Its a sling, Its a bandage, Its a scarf, Its a shemagh, Its socks (Russain wrap around type), Its a towel/handkerchief etc. - Its dirt cheap. When it get to dirty or to many catches turn it into charcloth and buy another yard
63. always have pen pencil and paper in you map case
64. Avoid picking spots/scabs & the like with your fingers.....impetigo spreads everywhere.
65. When making debris shelters never skimp on roofing materials to keep you dry, cutting corners will only serve to get you wet when you least expect it.
66. The same goes for browse beds, the more effort you put in first time will pay back ten fold when you get a good nights sleep
67. When cutting Bracken for bedding, cut as much as you think you need...then double it
68. If carrying a mili-style water bottle fitting into a mug, pull a baggie over the mug, opening down. If you need a baggie, you have one. And until then, your mug stays clean.
69. Repel pests with vitamin B complex tablets. Eat, don't try to hit them! Fresh garlic works even better, but is a pest to eat end repels unpests just as well. Goes down fine with apples, though.
70. Keep your hands clean. They're great for picking up just about everything.
71. Learn to make do with what you have around you. Can you substitute anything in the vicinity for that much-needed piece of kit?
72. Read the pages in this forum.
73. Never creep up on a horse. For everything else, use your discretion.
74. I got a couple of extra side pouches to use inside my rucksack to keep things tidy. 1 for all dried and bagged food the other toilitries and all small stuff and my knives until at my destination also the harness to turn them into a day pack for side trips and wanders during the day.
75. Never tie up to or sleep under the biggest tree in the area. - (lightening!)
76. Likewise never trust a tree with fresh looking dirt at the base (the insects have usually shoveled it out of the rotten interior)
77. Never cut any tree thicker than your arm in bushcraft there is seldom a need and its dangerous as hell, I once did one and a half summersaults with a 65cc chainsaw in one hand ,entertaining but dodgy
78. Ash trees grow under immense tension and are probably responsible for more fatalities and injuries to professional tree surgeons than any other trees in the uk. at least(the back can split out as you make the felling cut ,right where your face is )
79. Always have some elastoplasts on your person.
80. Aspirins as well.
81. Standing dead wood is drier than fallen wood
82. Wood thats wet on the outside is usually dry inside if split
83. Cut the turfs before starting a fire (assuming you are allowed to where you are). Cover the fire with damp turfs at night (like a charcoal burner) and it'll be alight in the morning
84. Use the leftover fire dogs from last night and your firesteel to relight the fire in the morning!
85. When using the PLCE side pouches as a daysack I've threaded a 1 metre length of 4 mm shock-cord crossed between the four outside loops on each pouch secured with a cordlock to carry wet gear away from kit in the bag, also two smaller loops approx 4 inches each with a cordlock as walking pole carriers.
86. Just remember everything is useless if you have left it at home!
87. Always know where your torch is
88. Always have vodka in pack. (for its flammable / cleaning uses?)
89. carefully pick your spot for the night
90. Learn the night sky at any opportunity as it makes the nightscape feel much more familiar and welcoming
91. Don’t forget your hat
92. Bring foot powder when going out for a trip, a fresh pair of socks can feel great too
93. Always remember that skin is the best waterproof
94. Toilet roll takes years to bio degrade so burn it or remove it!
95. Start cold, i find there is nothing worse than stopping walking after 10 mins because I didn’t take the ranger shirt off and now I’m a big hot mess.
96. If you have seen Mr Mears do it on telly and it looks easy you had better hope you dont need to do it in a hurry.
97. The Basics of a long forced stay: - fire / shelter, water, food. Someone will correct me about the right sequence if I'm wrong.
98. I put my socks on inside out in my boots (both pairs) I used to get terrible blister from the seams until I did.
99. When you buy a new pare of boot ware them around the house as a pair of slippers for a week before you go on your first outing.
100. If you have an 01 carbon knife as soon as you get home from a trip out, clean your knife and give it an oil
101. If you make fishing line from nettle, lime or horse hair rub it with bees wax it will last much longer and the fibres will stay together.
102. Don’t leave your fire steel (ferocerium rod)any where near damp ness for a prolonged time it will turn into useless grey dust the best long term protection I have seen suggested is to protect any rod that will be in long term storage with a piece of electrical heat shrink insulation.
103. Make a note of the things you forgot or have learned on your trip on the inside of a book or scap of paper.
104. When going into the mountains only bring the water you need to get you up there, you can boil/purify more when you get up there or on the way, saves a lot of weight.
105. In wet or cold conditions dry birch bark on your trousers or other dry clothing and then store under your arm pit until lighting.
106. When you pack your bag write a kit list , then when you get home you can see what you used, what you didn't use and would never use and what you didn't use and really need to carry e.g. first aid kit. This way you can up date your list every time you go out. you should end up with a lite pack that contains all you need. - I lay my kit out and take a digital photo before I go and the amend a word document that i've used over and over again.
107. If you carry a knife, carry a first aid kit.
108. When things aren't going right, Stop and have a brew .
109. Those deodorising metal 'soap' bars really do work and they don't pollute the water supply.
110. Carry something that will clash violently with your surrounding such as a bright orange jacket... or NATO blue
111. Share knowledge freely but know when sharing becomes dictating and stop before hand.
112. There is no such thing as the ultimate "bushcraft grind" on a knife; if it's sharp and robust you've got a winner.
113. This is fun people, we don't do bushcraft to be all serious and moody, lighten up and enjoy your time in the woods.
114. Clean up after yourself if its your rubbish or not, don't be proud to pick someone else’s rubbish up...
115. Tracking is harder than it might look. Practice.
116. The more seriously you take yourself, the funnier you are to others.
117. Keep your backpack straps undone and loose when crossing a stream or river. Just in case you slip and fall, the pack won't drag you down.
118. As you can loose up to 75% of your body heat out the top of your head a hat is essential in cold weather.
119. Try and get some sort of grounding in the language of the area you are in, even if it's only please and thank you. The locals will appreciate your making the effort.
120. TELL ALL OF YOU COLLEAGUES IF YOU ALLERGY TO SOMTHING!
This was compiled by g4ghb (Graham)
More top tips will be added as they become available so watch this space......