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Quick overnighter to test some new gear out - WA

MJC88

Les Stroud
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Hey Bushcrafters,

So after getting a bit of new gear recently I've been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to test it out. Additionally, I wanted to try camping on foot and thus carrying all the gear I'll need in a pack (usually I camp with 4wd/swag/esky).Here in WA we've got a long weekend so I booked in a night away from the mrs, packed up my gear and headed off to my folks 100 acre property not far from home. Their property is primarily just untouched aussie bush with a few paddocks here and there. There's a clearing in the bush due to granite rock where I used to play as a kid, that was my destination for the night.

My pack, 75L Mountain Designs Gulliver, total weight was about 17kg.


Now leading up to this trip, I was looking up on different tarp setups and had practiced setting up an A frame style tarp in the backyard. What I overlooked was that at this location there are no trees to tie off against and thus create a ridge line. So I had to come up with something on the spot and use what resources I could find to support the tarp.



I setup the fire place using 3 rocks and christened my new 12cm Zebra billy I found at a local hardware store. Also discovered it is harder to cook snags with sticks than it looks. I ended up slicing them up in thirds and using the plate included with the billy as a frying pan, worked a treat!



Below is a pic of camp at night, I was using a cheap exercise mat, new TAS bivy with existing sleeping bag and cheap bunnings tarp as sleep/shelter system.



I always try to learn something on a trip, below is what I noted:

- You need to be able to improvise. I was set on setting up the way I had practiced at home including the knots etc. This was not an option so I had to think about it and use what was available.

- Don't take multiple tools that do the same thing. I had a Gerber multi-tool, Swiss Army knife, Cold Steel Bushman and a tomahawk. Next time I would take the multi-tool (used the pliers a lot with the billy) and the bushman. I used the axe a grand total of ONE time, and the bushman could have done the work. I also use the bushman to light the fire with rod. Having all these tools not only added to my weight, but more importantly lead to "clutter" around camp which I am not a fan of.

- Bring a cleaning sponge. I didn't pack anything to clean with. Using the billy for cooking and boiling duties made it less than ideal to work with. Cloth will also help with cleaning knife/cup/utensils.

- Keep firewood near you. That way I didn't have to get out of bed to stoke it.

- Keep firewood dry. Something I didn't do. The fire went out when I was sleeping, using damp wood in the morning made it a bit more difficult to start a new fire.

- Have a reliable source of dry tinder available. When I set the fire up initially during the day I used some dry grass that was nearby and some smaller dead twigs on the bushes nearby. In the morning, everything was damp. I took some lint from dryer, this ignited fine but didn't last all that long and couldn't get the kindling going. Fortunately, I had a cotton wool ball soaked in Vaseline wrapped up in aluminium foil pouch, this created a solid flame which burnt through the damp wood.

- Shemagh (new item) was very useful. Wrapped around neck during afternoon to protect from sun, used to help poor boiling water from billy, placed ontop of my jackets (pillow) to make it a bit nicer and also placed over head at night when it got cold. It reduced the chill but you can still see through it, handy for keeping an eye on the fire.

- Water. Make sure you carry enough, it's suprising how much you use even when it's not hot. Drinking, washing out cup/cleaning, boiling for dinner/tea/coffee, putting out fire, it all adds up. I think I had about 3L, that was just for me and only for a very short amount of time.

So overall was a good little trip with some lessons learnt, a good test for some new kit and getting a feeling for what it is like camping with just a pack. Checking the weather it got down to 5.5 degrees, so considering the fire went out I thought my sleeping setup did a good job too. Next time I will try to pack a bit smarter and reduce the overall weight.

Thanks for reading,

MJC
 

Thrud

Richard Proenneke
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Thanks for posting great pics and always very useful to learn from yours(and other people's mistakes) first time I met up with the WA crew for a meet I had a ton of kit, which has now been whittled down to trip-specific lists. This can be further reduced with communicating with others ( for non solo) outings, so that one axe, one skillet etc is taken. Caching water also helps, we've lugged a swimming pool up the top of Jumbuck!
For restarting or for damp wood, I'd recommend V3 pocket bellows. Brilliantly simple piece of kit.
 
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Wentworth

Bear Mears
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Looks like a nice spot there. Thanks for sharing with us, sounds like you've sorted out what works for you and what doesn't.
The only time my knives get used now is if I'm actually working on a carving project, salami and cheese not withstanding!
 

DJ*

Lofty Wiseman
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Nice one MGC88, good write up and good pics.... Learning is what it's all about, every where I go, every time I pack, every time I teach I learn something from some situation, someone, or something. It's what makes it fun... Always things to learn about shelter, location, kit, fire, cooking, etc. The trusty Shemag always finds a use wherever you are. Look forward to your next trip report and lessons. DJ
 

cityboy

Les Hiddins
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thanks for sharing the adventure and pic's..
everyone always goes through the experience of bring too much gear the first few times..
after a while you end up knowing what to bring and what works for you.. also check out the threads here some people have posted what they bring for overnighters.. will give you insite to what you pack..and go from there...

as for Water was there a water source near by ??? I find cooking\clean up I could almost go through 1ltr of water
 

Benny

Richard Proenneke
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Good work mate. Great lessons learned, only one way to learn them. Thanks for sharing.
 

MJC88

Les Stroud
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Thanks all for your comments, appreciate it. Cityboy, there is a little hole in the granite that collects water, but it doesn't flow and doesn't look that nice so I wouldn't trust it. A couple hundreds meters away there's a dam, but a couple hundred meters the other way is a house with a tap haha. I'm thinking about doing a multi-day hike in the future, maybe after Winter, so want to get an idea as to how much to carry for drinking and general camp duties.
 

MJC88

Les Stroud
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Had to google that, but yes I think you could be on the money there Thrud.

"One of the main sources of water for the Aboriginal people were ‘gnamma’ holes. These natural cavities are commonly found in hard rock, particularly granite outcrops, and as such act as natural water tanks, which are replenished from underground stores and rainwater run-off. Gnamma holes vary in shape and depth, and the small surface area of the hole helps to minimise evaporation."
http://museum.wa.gov.au/explore/wa-goldfields/water-arid-land/gnamma-holes

Should of taken a photo, will do next time I head out there.
 

DJ*

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The amount of water you may need varies upon your body type, age, fitness, food to be prepared and eaten, temperature, insulation, distances to be travelled and height gained, weight carried, altitude, and of course what water sources you can rely on. Your level of ablutions, and camp craft cleaning routines and cooking methods can also vary it greatly. A lot of it is like everything else trial and a bit of careful error. I always have on me no less than about 1L for any emergency, but otherwise it can vary from 2-5 depending upon when and where I am. Because of its weight though I do try to study and research maps, Intel, etc, carefully to pick out possible sources and rely on the Katadyn filter instead to get water on route and thus save weight. Water is always a big issue. DG
 

Redtail

Richard Proenneke
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Top spot there, MJC!

What locality - roughly?

Did you find it a bit damp under foot on that moss? I see you're on top of a bit of rock dome, so good drainage?

And brilliant weather over the weekend, too, eh!
 

MJC88

Les Stroud
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Property is about 15 minutes from Margs Redtail, and yes was great to get some sun in on the long weekend. Looks like a bit of weather is on its way though!
Moss wasn't too bad as it was dry when I set tarp up etc so bedding was good, I guess it added a bit of cushion too. But it was certainly moist in the morning and also quite fragile with my foot traffic around camp, got ripped up easy. Yeah the granite outcrop is slightly raised up so drainage good. Cheers guys.
 
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