My 1st Ever Solo Over Night - Crewick State Forest, Ballarat

Markie D

Malcolm Douglas
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Hi guys,
this is my first thread ever on this forum.
I live in Ballarat Victoria.
This weekend i plan on heading out to the Creswick Forest for my first solo overnight trip. (Its close to me, less then 30mins from home)
I am planning on taking my mountain bike and back pack. My Missus is gunna drop me at the entrance to the forest Saturday morning and pick me up from the same point Sunday afternoon.
I am taking my back pack and i have a small luggage carrier on the back of my bike.
Being as it is summer and it has been quite hot, I was only planning on taking a tarp and my sleeping bag (its a -4 degree bag) for sleeping kit.
The purpose of the trip, is to begin to build a camp site i can return to.
I plan on building a small shelter with a roof, maybe a bench to sit on, a fire pit with reflector and a tripod for cooking.

I haven't done this before so i am worried about what gear i should be taking. I have made a list below. please let me know if there is something i have forgotten or something i haven't listed but should be taking for safety ect, or just for ease of building,
Also any tips or tricks would also be highly appreciated.

Pack/Gear:
Important stuff:
Water - 1 litre bottle on bike + 2 liters in bag + plus life straw. (i am within 500 meters of a small lake)
Food - all sorted (this part is ok, as i have packed for groups hikes in the past)
First Aid Kit - Bandages, antiseptic cream, band aids, needle and thread, water purification tabs and bite cream.
Phone - Reception is not bad out i the bush (telstra) phone will be turned off, but will be available for emergency
Clothes - Thermal jacket, long johns, extra socks. PLus what i am wearing when i go out there.
Compass and map - But tbh i know this forest very well.

Cooking:
Metal Cup with lid (sorta like a billy)
Small deep pan
Small wire grill.
spoon and fork mess kit

Sleeping kit:
Sleeping Bag
Overhead tarp for rain
ground cover tarp

Tools and Equipment:
Axe
Hatchet
Folding Fiskers Saw
6in fixed blade buck survival knife
Gerber Multitool complete with fire steel
20 mm auger drill
Small kit for bike (attached to bike)
Good torch for night and a head lamp
160 meters of thin nylon cord
20 meters telecom rope
4 x old empty dog food bags - use for shelter roof or walls ect.....

This above list is just the important stuff. If you can think of anything else please let me know.
Also eventually i plan on digging a hole and burying an old ammo box close to my campsite so i can store some stuff on site. Has anyone tried this before?
if so, was it successful? did you have any issues? Has anyone built a semi perm structure and returned back to it? I am interested to see if anyone tampers with what i build..... Please share your stories.

Thanks in advance.
Markie D

P.S. I plan on posting an update to this thread after the trip, so keep an eye out if you are interested to see how my first trip goes. Hoping i can grap some happy snaps too and maybe post them up here after the trip.
 
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Peter123

Les Stroud
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G'day Mark & welcome. I have done bicycle camping, with a self sufficient bush craft sort of theme. I also have literally mountains of equipment dotted around the bush. One of the huge advantages of having a bicycle out bush is not transportation but what you can turn that bicycle into when you are out there EG beltsander, generator, blower for a forget the list is almost endless. Is it a pine forest that your camping in, or a natural bush forest. You have to be aware of logging activity destroying your campsite. Don't carry anything on your back strap everything to the bike frame sweat is your enemy. Have a hub that you have a track cog screwed to One side, freewheel on the other side, & 1/8 chain to fit. Anyways have a great time
 

Outventures_WA

Malcolm Douglas
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G'day Markie, welcome aboard.

Are you planning on making a permanent or semi permanent structure?

Also, will you be having a fire? I'd caution against it at this time of the year, especially with the bushfire crises currently happening on that side of the country..
 

Markie D

Malcolm Douglas
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G'day Mark & welcome. I have done bicycle camping, with a self sufficient bush craft sort of theme. I also have literally mountains of equipment dotted around the bush. One of the huge advantages of having a bicycle out bush is not transportation but what you can turn that bicycle into when you are out there EG beltsander, generator, blower for a forget the list is almost endless. Is it a pine forest that your camping in, or a natural bush forest. You have to be aware of logging activity destroying your campsite. Don't carry anything on your back strap everything to the bike frame sweat is your enemy. Have a hub that you have a track cog screwed to One side, freewheel on the other side, & 1/8 chain to fit. Anyways have a great time
Hi Peter,
Thanks for the information. the more the better.
Yeah i am camping in natural bush, I plan on following this small gully i know quite well. Even though it is my first solo night, i am very familiar with this area of bush land as i use it quite often for riding, prospecting, exploring. So i don't think i'll have a problem with logging or 4x4's around this area. the ride is only about an hour so i am hoping a backpack works, but i might have to look into attaching the gear to the bike, that sounds like a good idea. What sort of gear have you left out in the bush? and how do you hide/store it? and has it ever been tampered with?
 

Markie D

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G'day Markie, welcome aboard.

Are you planning on making a permanent or semi permanent structure?

Also, will you be having a fire? I'd caution against it at this time of the year, especially with the bushfire crises currently happening on that side of the country..
Hi Outventures,

Yeah i'm a little worried about the fire situation. It is a storm down here atm, so i am hoping conditions are ok, But i will definitely not be having fire if its dry out there.

I plan on building just a small semi permanent o begin with, And maybe leave a cheap tarp out there also,
I have about 5-6 large dog food bags, they are nice thick plastic. I plan on using these for the roof, then covering with leaves or something to make it blend in.
Not sure about walls yet, I'll probably just use a tarp for now. I think i'm gunna focus on the roof this trip then keep adding to it each trip.

I have a few ideas that i have seen on youtube ect. I was thinking of a building lean back type roof, about 2.5 x 2.5. But i am learning, and i have never attempted this before. So any structure ideas would be awesome.
 

Lee90

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Hi Markie,
I doubt you will need an axe. A saw and hatchet will be more than sufficient if it’s Eucalyptus trees. You won’t want to be hacking away with an axe on hardwood. To be honest I never need to use a hatchet or an axe unless i am working with Pine trees.

If your ammo box isn’t watertight I would be putting the contents into a sealed plastic bag first. Maybe an old plastic drum with a threaded lid would work better!?

The dog bags if you split and open them up, I would probably be using gaffer tape to seal the joints as rain water will run through the joints if they aren’t sealed and just overlapped.

It sounds like an exciting camping trip, good luck.

Cheers Lee
 

Peter123

Les Stroud
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I have clothing, blankets, knives, pots, lighters, first aid, money, and some other stuff hidden in caves around the bush. I have never had anything go missing but I don't put all my eggs in the one basket
 

Outventures_WA

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To be honest I'm not keen on the idea of dog food bags personally, to me it just seems too close to litter.. in an emergency survival situation then yeah use what's at hand but for something like this I reckon a dark green tarp would be preferable - something that is going to blend in and not look like rubbish.
Also, what's the deal with permissions? The only permanent or semi permanent shelters I have made have been on private land with the owners permission. It would suck to get in some sort of legal trouble so make sure you find out any relevant info.
 

Markie D

Malcolm Douglas
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Hi Markie,
I doubt you will need an axe. A saw and hatchet will be more than sufficient if it’s Eucalyptus trees. You won’t want to be hacking away with an axe on hardwood. To be honest I never need to use a hatchet or an axe unless i am working with Pine trees.

If your ammo box isn’t watertight I would be putting the contents into a sealed plastic bag first. Maybe an old plastic drum with a threaded lid would work better!?

The dog bags if you split and open them up, I would probably be using gaffer tape to seal the joints as rain water will run through the joints if they aren’t sealed and just overlapped.

It sounds like an exciting camping trip, good luck.

Cheers Lee
Cheers Lee,
I was just gunna overlap the bags, LOL. But i'll make sure to throw in some gaffa now. I think the ammo box is watertight, but i might do a test beforehand. Otherwise i do have a couple old tapperware containers i can use.
Yeah i don't normally take an axe. But i just purchased a gransfors bruks forest axe..... so tbh, i'm only taking it cause its a new toy hahaha.
 

Markie D

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To be honest I'm not keen on the idea of dog food bags personally, to me it just seems too close to litter.. in an emergency survival situation then yeah use what's at hand but for something like this I reckon a dark green tarp would be preferable - something that is going to blend in and not look like rubbish.
Also, what's the deal with permissions? The only permanent or semi permanent shelters I have made have been on private land with the owners permission. It would suck to get in some sort of legal trouble so make sure you find out any relevant info.
Yeah i was thinking about the permission side of things. I will be visiting the shelter every couple of weeks at least, cause its just over 20 mins from home. and i am hoping eventually i can replace the roof with something natural like logs and clay to fill the gaps.. So i am hoping its not there for too long, but i totally agree, i am constantly cleaning up after others in the bush around here, the last thing i want to do is add to the problem.

But the way people treat the bush around here, burning out cars, dumping rubbish ect..... i think my little shelter is gunna be the least of their worries. But i would prefer it if i could keep it all natural products. so at least if it does get found they hopefully leave me alone.
 
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Markie D

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So a bit of an update........
With the current bush fires active around Victoria at the moment, I am changing the camping trip a little for safety reasons.
I am now thinking about going to another part of the forest that has better reception, so i can get live updates of the fires from the vic emergency phone app.
I will no longer be riding my Mountain Bike into the forest either. As a security measure, I will be taking my car instead. Just in case i have to leave the forest quickly.
I still plan on setting up a camp in a similar manner mentioned above. but depending on where i set up, i might pull the shelter down at the end of the trip, as i may not come back to that side of the forest..... We will see the location i find. (i have explored that end of the forest a little bit, But i don't know it as well as the original mentioned location)
 

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
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So a bit of an update........
With the current bush fires active around Victoria at the moment, I am changing the camping trip a little for safety reasons.
I am now thinking about going to another part of the forest that has better reception, so i can get live updates of the fires from the vic emergency phone app.
I will no longer be riding my Mountain Bike into the forest either. As a security measure, I will be taking my car instead. Just in case i have to leave the forest quickly.
I still plan on setting up a camp in a similar manner mentioned above. but depending on where i set up, i might pull the shelter down at the end of the trip, as i may not come back to that side of the forest..... We will see the location i find. (i have explored that end of the forest a little bit, But i don't know it as well as the original mentioned location)
Can I suggest keeping it temporary.
If you own the land, its fine to do as you wish, but given it is "public" land, I think we have responsibilty to follow the laws of the land,
to not "make a mess", and
if you leave anything in a public place, its likely to be visited be people who will mess it up !

Perhaps configure a couple of poles so you can quickly setup a tarp; form a fire pit area, store some firewood to the side where people won't fiddle with it.
Think of it as a "stealth camp", where you can bring in the things you need and you know what's there and what to expect.

I've setup a few branches here and there (no big deal if they get messed up), but I doubt anyone would notice I'd placed the things there.
If they get lost, no big deal. If they are still there, its nice for me ....
 

Markie D

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Yeah to be honest, Now that i have changed my location, i will be aiming to just find a nice open area, clear the floor of rubbish, build an A-frame out of fallen timber and just hang my tarp.
 

Randall

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If it is going to be a fairly regular location, a bucket. They're awesome. You'll be using it all the time, even for collecting things, carrying stuff, have a wash out of it, using it upside down as a makeshift table, putting little stuff in that you don't want to lose on the ground amongst the twigs and leaves. Carrying water back from that lake? A bucket with a lid? You can use the lid as a cutting board, lap table etc. Fairly easy to travel with; they weigh little and don't take up much space if you store stuff in them whilst moving. Get a dark green one and leave it hidden close by?
 
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Markie D

Malcolm Douglas
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If it is going to be a fairly regular location, a bucket. They're awesome. You'll be using it all the time, even for collecting things, carrying stuff, have a wash out of it, using it upside down as a makeshift table, putting little stuff in that you don't want to lose on the ground amongst the twigs and leaves. Carrying water back from that lake? A bucket with a lid? You can use the lid as a cutting board, lap table etc. Fairly easy to travel with; they weigh little and don't take up much space if you store stuff in them whilst moving. Get a dark green one and leave it hidden close by?
Great idea Randall. Looks like i'll be heading to bunnings after work.
 
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