Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Activities on a Trek and Camp.

The activity starts of course with the trek itself, it is a good idea to include a small journal in your gear so you can keep a record of your trek and any changes to your gear that are needed. This can be done in camp when resting.
Keep an eye out along the trail for items that might be needed later. No point in using up your fire starting kindling if you can gather some fresh dry stuff along the way. Look out for plant tinders too.

When you get to your camp site it is time to set up your shelter and get your gear under cover. The type of shelter you make will depend on what is available.

It is always a good idea to make your bed so you are off the ground at night, summer or winter. If I am just camping over for a couple of nights in an oilcloth lean-to, then I make a bed of sticks and cover them with bracken or just throw my blanket on top of the sticks. If it is a more permanent camp, then it is a good idea to make the bed more permanent by using bush poles or logs.

Next you need to get a good supply of wood in for the fire. Stack it close to the shelter so you don't have to get up at night to stoke the fire. If you are camping alone you will probably want to make a fire place that will reflect warmth back into your shelter. This can be done by constructing a dry rock wall on three sides of your fire place.

In a camp where others need to share a cooking fire the fire will need to be more open.

It is always a good idea to wash/clean your kettle after a meal and before bedding down. Food smells in camp will attract certain wildlife, and too you don't want food drying hard in the kettle overnight. If you have a tin lined brass kettle like the one in this image, you do not want to have to scrub it out with sand or other abrasives.

If there is a fishing hole nearby it might pay you to drop a line in before dinner and see if you can't save those trail rations for later.

Cattail Pond in Wychwood Forest.

George Washington's fishing tackle.

This image from Diderot.

My own fishing tackle.

Again if you are on your own you may wish to take along some period reading material to read by the light of the fire at night. If you are like me though you will probably be content to sit with a hot drink and watch the flames of the fire play until you feel drowsy.

The next day after a good breakfast you may need to get some more firewood in whilst the weather is fine. Don't forget to store some kindling under your shelter in case it rains or snows in the night and your fire should go out. Put some heavier wood on the fire at night to help keep it going.

I don't hunt for sport, but occasionally hunt for meat for the table. This is always an option when you are out for several days or more.

When on Historical Treks it is always a good time to practice some of those primitive and period skills, such as tomahawk throwing, if you can find a suitable dead tree, or making survival traps. Cordage is always useful and a good activity when you just want to sit on a cold day in front of your fire. Cordage is useful for shelter construction, primitive traps, hanging game so you don't have to dress it on the ground, hanging your kettle over the fire and making primitive tools.
And in what seems like no time at all, the weekend is almost over, and it is time to make your way back home.

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