The Bushcrafting Bag of Yesteryear
With all the high-speed tactical bags on the market its easy to assume that these are the norm for the average backpacker and bushcrafter. You must remember that long ago there was no bag on the market that was riddled with MOLLE webbing. Pioneers would carry different types of bags, but many would also carry a haversack.
The American pioneer did not have a place for a morale patch on his bag! They were not that interested in self-expression through patches on bags. Instead, they were interested in surviving the winter and the next time the Natives came rolling over the hill in numbers.
Our motivations have changed a bit, to say the least. These days we are more interested in the next "selfie" than the potential threats of things like starvation, disease, and tomahawks. It’s a good life! Nothing wrong with that.
With the incredible variety of backpacks and bags on the market, why would a bushcrafter carry a haversack? What is the point of having one of these on hand and what can it do for you at your DIY bushcraft camp?
Who Needs a Haversack?
The haversack is something that has gone out of style in some ways and comes back in many others. When you look at a sling bag that is worn at the hip of a businessman, well, you are looking at the base design of a haversack.
What the haversack presents, more than anything, is quick access. This is not a bag with tons of organization for storing pens and paper clips. Your haversack is a simple bag that is designed to do loads of things in the woods, jungles, and wilds of the world.
We are focusing on the DIY bushcraft camp in this article so it is important that we touch on that. While people like hikers, reenactors and explorer would benefit from a haversack, this product is really made for the modern bushcrafter.
When putting together your own DIY bushcraft camp, you need some options.
Building a DIY bushcraft camp is about as fun as it gets. You are subject to all sorts of things and you quickly understand the benefit of all these skills and tools that you carry. These bushcraft camps should be semi-permanent and you should take some time to plan them out.
Your haversack will be responsible for so much of your bushcraft camp that you will hardly believe it! We are going to look at 8 things you can use your haversack for at your own DIY Bushcraft Camp.
8 Haversack Uses at your DIY Bushcraft Camp
STORE A SURVIVAL KIT
If you are hiking into land where you would like to build your DIY bushcraft camp you are likely going to be carrying more than just your haversack. That is not to say that you need to, but most people will have a larger pack with some other items inside.
If you have a larger pack, the haversack can act as a survival kit that can help you safely explore the areas around your camp.
You might be looking for things like wood, saplings, rocks, water, or maybe even set up a few traps. If these activities take you far from camp you should certainly carry a small haversack.
Inside of your haversack, you can store the survival basics to assure you get back to camp. You want to have access to the 5 C’s at the very least. The 5 C's Haversack Kit by Pathfinder is already preassembled for your convenience and includes:
- Cutting Tool
What many people don’t understand is that even the best woodsman gets turned around. From time to time anyone can get lost in the massive expanses of woods in the nation. When that happens, you might have to backtrack for a mile, or you might run out of light and have to set up a simple camp.
If you created that survival kit in your haversack or bought Self Reliance Outfitters’ Oil Skin Haversack with the 5 C’s included you will have the gear to help you head back to camp. Rather than hiking in the dark or sleeping under a tree.
GATHER FUEL FOR YOUR CAMP
When you build your own DIY bushcraft camp, you are going to need wood. You are going to need wood of various lengths and thicknesses. From saplings to mature trees, there is value in all of them.
One of the biggest burdens is going to be fuel for your fire. Fires eat through wood fuel and you are going to expend a lot if you are at camp for days. Sure, you could use a belt or some cordage to bind wood fuel for your fire and make it easier to carry.
A good oil skin haversack is going to give you the ability to carry more wood. The haversack can have the opening flipped up and the wood piled in.
While you need not abandon other methods of gathering wood, this can be an addition.
Half the fun of your DIY bushcraft camp is to explore beyond its limits. You are building a base camp that you can return to for shelter, cooking, and some leisure. From this base camp, you will undoubtedly head out for exploration.
Maybe you head up to the highest peaks or perhaps you head into the valley for a swim or some fishing.
No matter what your motivation, you get out into the woods to do a bit of exploration. That is great! Its what more of us need in our lives, we need to be exploring.
The modern American need to get lost to find their way. Our paths are so predetermined its sick and very boring. The allure of the base camp and bushcraft camp are real.
When you have a reliable haversack you have the ability to set out onto the trail and carry the items you need either to take advantage of where you are going. Things like trapping supplies, fishing gear, cameras can all be carried in an oil skin haversack.
They will be well protected from things like rain in your sack, as well. These are variables every explorer needs to consider.
You can also carry some food and water on your journey in your haversack.
GATHERING WILD EDIBLES AND MEDICINAL PLANTS
There is a good chance that you will likely be looking to expand your bushcraft knowledge and skills while at your DIY Bushcraft camp. That could be through building the camp itself or it could be from doing things like foraging and tree identification.
Your understanding of wild plants and trees is vital to your bushcrafting experience. There are plants and trees that will feed you and there are plants and trees that will heal you.
Things like roots, nuts, fruits, and bark all need to be gathered in quantity. Having a reliable haversack for that is one of the best ways to forage. You can store a number of mesh satchels in that haversack or if you are collecting things like nuts or bark, you might just throw it right into the sack itself.
Don’t count on storing leaves and plants in your pockets or in your hands. Chances are you will need a bunch to process and use as medicine or even as food! Use your haversack as a “shopping bag” in nature.
SETTING YOUR TRAP LINE
Maybe you’ve come to this expanse of wilderness to set some traps. It could be that you have decided to run your first trap line and use your bushcraft camp as a base of operations for trapping. It’s a great way to stay close by.
Well, you are going to take a number of things out into the field with you. Hopefully, you have some lightweight DF-4 aluminum deadfall traps to set up around camp. No matter what you bring you are going to have a lot of area to cover.
Storing traps, bait and trapping tools in your haversack is a great way to get around and without a big pack on your back. You cannot carry a ton of traps in that sack, but you can carry enough to get a good start.
The haversack might just be your answer to setting a small trapline around base camp without stressing under the heavy ruck.
STORING TOOLS FOR QUICK ACCESS
The haversack doesn’t even need to leave your camp in order to be effective. In a bushcraft camp, you will likely have hooks, shelves, and other crafty bushcraft organization tools. You may look to gather your most important tools and shove them into your haversack when you are at camp.
Hanging that sack inside camp will assure you that you always know where your most important tools are located.
If you are filling your haversack with important tools, here are some that might interest you and you might want to have at an arm’s length.
- Folding Saw
- Woodsman’s Ax
This is just an example of the things you could store in your haversack so that you are ready to get back to work at a moment's notice. It will also keep you from leaving the ax out in the woods or the saw by the fire and spending time looking for these tools.
THE HAVERSACK KITCHEN
Cooking outdoors is truly a part of the experience. If you are setting up a bushcrafting camp than you better put some effort into cooking at camp. Forget about all that foil-wrapped granola. Invest in some cast iron or a good stainless steel bottle cooking kit.
Now, there are things like seasonings and ingredients that need a home if you are hiking into a location. A great use for your haversack is to stack It full of your bushcraft kitchen items. When you have these items separate, they are very easy to access.
Your kitchen can be assembled very fast this way and you can carry more of the stuff that makes food tasty and wonderful. Good olive oils, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes can be stored in small containers. You can carry containers for water and cooking in your sack, too!
Making cooking in the wild easy with the right mess kit stored in your haversack.
STORING YOUR LAYERS OF CLOTHING
In the cold weather, we must be very careful about our adventures in the wild. Things like submersion in water or just hypothermia from cold conditions pose a serious threat to life.
One of the most overlooked dangers in cold weather is perspiration. We bundle up with all our warmest clothes and about a mile into the hike we realize that, though it's cold, the midday sun has really warmed us up and maybe even made us hot!
As we begin to sweat our clothes and our bodies get wet. If we do not remove layers and start to cool down the wet clothing underneath can lead to hypothermia when the sun goes down and we stop moving. This is very dangerous.
Use your haversack as a means of storing your layers as you peel them off during the day. This quick access to storage assures you won’t get lazy. It is very tempting to just keep hiking and not go through the trouble of taking off layers and putting them in your backpack.
Spending time at a bushcraft camp that you sawed and chopped and whittled to perfection can be very fulfilling. It can also be very effective in limiting the things you need to carry on your adventure.
Now, when it comes to building that DIY bushcraft camp, you might not have thought about a haversack as a must-have item. Hopefully, after these examples of just how effective a well-oiled skin haversack can be in a wilderness environment, we have changed your mind on that.
The haversack gives you options and it gives you the ability to operate without that big pack on your back. This can be a difference-maker in survival.
Tools like the haversack are not the dream of some modern-day entrepreneur who have created a product they think the market needs. This is a time tested piece of craftsmanship that people used over the years to sustain themselves in the wilderness.