Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Resigning You're Domestic Comforts.

Resigning You’re Domestic Comforts.

Today there are many items sold for camping & bushcraft that are just not necessary. They are created purely to make money for someone, probably not you. Bushcraft is trying to keep up with the Joneses, & many people have forgotten I think what woodscraft was once all about. Someone recently commented on my method of making camp, specifically on my bed of sticks, noting that I would be far less comfortable than someone using modern equipment.

When I am camping in cold weather or in the rain, I think myself fortunate & comfortable to be under shelter, up off the ground, & lying in front of a warm fire with food & a hot drink. I am not sitting or lying there thinking “well this is not as comfortable as being at home”. I lie in my shelter looking out at the wildness about me, listening to the sounds of nature, whether it be the rain or the soft fall of snow, or the many animal noises during the night & day. That for me is comfort. Do you think that a stick poking me from my stick bed poses a stressful situation for me under these conditions? Not at all, it is part of the experience. It is in fact part of what makes historical trekking so interesting.

Tell me, what is interesting about making one’s bed with a synthetic ground mat & a sleeping bag? Nothing, unless you get water running through your shelter, then it gets real interesting! Making camp the way I do gives me a strong sense of self-reliance & self sufficiency. I am carrying less, be it bulk or weight, and I am learning all the time. I have a choice sometimes between spending more time looking for a good selection of sticks or just gathering up what lays close to camp. I can collect bracken to make my bed more comfortable or I can make do. It is my choice.

So where am I going with this, what is my point? Well I guess my point is that if you don’t try new things, you won’t grow. If you say I am not going to try camping without my tent, ground sheet, sleeping pad & sleeping bag, then you are missing out on an experience, no matter how good or bad it is, you are missing out.

Yes I know, some people have bad backs, well I guess they had bad backs in the 18th century too. But that does not mean you can’t go camping, it does not mean that you need a special sleeping pad (unless of course we are talking about a real disability). Before you give up on the idea, think of a way you can make it work. I had a close friend who had a bad back & he carried two sheep skins with him. Of course he had to save weight by carrying less of something else, but it did not stop him from enjoying the experience, & he was using period materials.

I am not advocating that you should sit in the mud in the pouring rain like another writer did one time! I am simply saying that you should learn how to use what nature provides. No you may not be as comfortable as someone using a modern sleeping mat, but you will gain experience, you will gain knowledge. You will feel what it is like to have made something from nothing, you will have a primitive experience that is worth resigning you’re domestic comforts.


Murphyfish said...

Hi Keith,
Excellent post my friend, the 'bigger,faster hence better' approach to modern life (certainly not living) does indeed leaves us out of touch with where we came from and causes us, in my opinion, to miss out on the 'contact' and real experiences of living our lives.

Jeremiah du Comptoir Bushcraft said...

Hi Le Loup !

Nice post ! What I love best is that two people can feel the same when they get closer to nature and the way to get closer to her.

I love bushcraft, and I am well interested about new technology, but when it's time to talk about being as close as possible to mother nature, I think that "the old ways" are the best way to feel closer and true.

I'm still admiring of your style !



Karl said...

Hey Keith,

Nice post, I know exactly what you mean here, too many people put comfort over experiance, also to some the idea of foraging for your bedding, etc. goes against their instant gratification mindset that modern life teaches.

so I say, embrace the adventure and lessen the technology!



Jenny said...

What a difference expectations make.... a good life lesson there I think.

Also, I like your reflectors. I think I'll steal that idea. :p

Also.... do you keep water around the shelter? How? (The kettle hangin' there?)

Le Loup said...

Thank you all, glad you understood where I am coming from on this.

Jenny. I carry water in a leather costrel which hangs from my waist belt. The kettle is used to collect water as well as cooking & boiling water to purify.
Sometimes there is water close to hand, rock pools, pond, water holes.