What is the best bushcraft gear you can buy?
Below, we have compiled a bushcraft gear list detailing the top equipment that is currently on the market.
Unless you want to do the whole ‘
naked and marooned‘ approach, you will need to take some gear with you. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to create a list of what we would recommend kit wise.
As you will see, we haven’t gone for cheap rubbish here! We are firm believers in always buying the best you can afford.
Good kit will last you many years, even a lifetime, and is usually worth the extra few bucks.
You will end up with good quality gear, that is usually better to use – and if you ever want to sell it on, there is usually a market for the decent items.
This can’t always be said for some of the cheap rubbish that you see peddled out there.
Go for the best and build your kit up slowly. It will be worth it in the long run.
Anyway, on to the gear…
Trousers (Pants) Classic (but pricey) bushcraft trousers
If you want the best bushcraft trousers out there (or best pants if you’re over the pond), then the
Fjallraven Vidda Pro are one of the best options available.
There’s no shortage of people using these, but for a very good reason though…they’re solid trousers and made for the job.
Designed in Sweden, Fjallraven has an excellent reputation for quality – and if you go for these trousers you will not be disappointed.
VIDEO Fjallraven Vidda Pro video
They aren’t cheap and are by no means completely necessary, however, we consider it an investment worth making if you are serious about your gear and overall comfort.
USA | UK | CAN Backpack Karrimor SF Sabre 75 rucksack
You need something to carry all that kit in.
There are numerous rucksacks out there, with varying qualities and features.
Our opinion is that you want to keep it simple. You want a solid, hard-wearing pack. that will last for years and not let you down.
Our favourite is the
Karrimor SF Sabre 75.
For a daysack, this may be a little on the big side, but if you are out for an overnighter or multi-day trip, then it’s not hard to fill up a bag like this with all your kit.
Looking for a bit more of a rundown on bushcraft backpacks? Check out our article
here. Knife Morakniv Companion – this one needs a clean!
A fundamental tool in the field and therefore an
essential piece of equipment, your knife has a multitude of uses – which makes it a vital tool.
One of the most popular knives out there is the Morakniv Companion.
These just can’t be beaten for functionality and price.
Sure, you can spend a lot more and get a fancier knife – but you don’t need to!
One of these knives will do everything you want it to and more and will last a very long time.
And you won’t be crying if you ever lose it!
The only thing you need to decide is if you want to go for carbon or a stainless blade.
The carbon blade is easier to sharpen, but oxidises easier and needs more care to prevent it rusting.
The stainless blade is slightly harder to sharpen, but is lower maintenance and therefore probably the best option for all-round use.
Or, considering the price – why not get both!
USA | UK | CAN Firesteel Light My Fire ferro rod and striker
You need a reliable way of starting a fire, whether rain or shine!
There comes no more reliable than the trusty firesteel.
always work and don’t require any special storage, so are a great item to carry in your kit.
There are many different types available, you can even make your own by purchasing a
blank and then fashioning your own handle, from deer antler, etc.
However, for a ready to go option, the Light My Fire is a solid choice – from a trusted brand.
USA | UK | CAN Axe Granfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
If you are going to chop wood, you need a decent axe.
There comes no finer than Gransfors Bruks of Sweden.
Their Small Forest Axe is a great size for all-round camp activities.
It’s powerful enough to chop hefty logs while being compact enough to carry on your person – making it perfect for bushcraft purposes.
Each one of these axes is individually hand made, with the blacksmith’s initials stamped onto each one.
USA | UK | CAN Folding Saw
Carrying a folding saw is a great, portable way of sawing smaller branches around camp.
They are fairly small and super sharp when needed.
One of the most popular is the Bahco Laplander. They come in green and are tried and tested.
USA | UK | CAN Boots Hanwag Tatra Top GTX Boots
A good set of boots are essential for ankle support and comfort and another critical item on your bushcraft gear list.
If you are active around camp or hiking – you need some sturdy boots.
Investing in a good set from the start is money well spent.
Make sure you allow some time to wear them in though before going on any extended trips.
There are a few good makes, however, one of the notable ones is
Hanwag, with their Tatra Top GTX boot being extremely comfortable for all manner of outdoor activities.
If you do go for a set of these, make sure you get the wide option if you have medium-wide feet, as the standard fit is quite slim around the toe area.
USA | UK | CAN Socks A good set of socks is essential for your comfort
If you are wearing boots, you want a good set of socks.
The thin type that you might wear day to day, just ain’t gonna cut it.
Invest in a few good sets and your feet will thank you for it.
One of our favourites is the Thorlo KLT Hiking Socks.
They provide great cushioning and will help keep your feet warm in colder conditions – while still wicking away sweat when your feet get warmer.
US | UK | CAN Tarp A good tarp will help keep you and your kit dry
If you are staying outside you will probably want a shelter of some sort.
One of the most versatile is a good quality tarp system. They can be used in a multitude of ways and will keep the worst of the rain (or sun) off you.
You can go larger for groups etc, but a good standard size for personal use is 3 x 3 metres.
One of the best is the
DD Tarp 3 x 3.
US | UK | CAN Meths burner Trangia alcohol burner
If you want a low-tech, reliable stove, then a meths burner may be a good fit for you.
They are super simple and just work.
The two contenders are the Trangia and the Esbit burner. The Esbit is slightly more user-friendly than the Trangia as it has a small handle to operate the simmer ring.
However, the Trangia is slightly better built and is, therefore, our burner of choice.
Get the full rundown on bushcraft stoves
US | UK | CAN Paracord Paracord is an essential item for your kit bag
Paracord is just one of the things that you need in your kit. Its uses are almost limitless.
If you do buy some, don’t buy the cheap stuff, it will only let you down.
Go for real paracord, which is made in the USA by Government approved suppliers.
This is the only way you can guarantee you’re getting the real thing.
You want their commercial-spec or their mil-spec. The mil-spec will cost more but is the exact same cord that the US military get.
The same manufacturers commercial-spec will usually be equally as good strength and material wise.
So in general, the commercial is the one to go for, as it balances quality with a sensible price.
Make sure it is USA made though. We have more on this in our article
For the UK we recommend
Clutha Paracord, which is 100% genuine – USA made cord.
For the US and Canada, Tough-Grid cord is your best bet.
US | UK | CAN Bivvy bag Using a bivvy bag is a great way to help keep you and your kit dry
Using a bivvy bag is a great idea if you are sleeping out. They provide you with some extra protection from the elements, increasing your chances of a good night’s sleep.
They can, of course, be used on their own, with your sleeping bag inside, using the bivvy as your sole outer protection.
This is great for sleeping out under the stars, in good conditions.
They are also great when used in conjunction with a tarp or basha – which is the preferred method if you are expecting rain or snow.
This can be done straight on the ground, or in a hammock setup.
You may even want to use one inside a tent, affording you a bit extra warmth when needed.
Most are breathable and waterproof, but the quality does vary.
British Army Bivvy Bag
One of our favourites is the no-nonsense, British Army Gore-tex bivvy bag that is pictured above.
As with most equipment designed for the military, these are solidly made with fully taped seams and a drawstring hood section.
They are heavy compared to others, but this is made up for by the excellent, bomb-proof quality that they afford.
They will last you for years.
There is no zip on these, so you have to slide in and out, but on a plus point, this means there is less to go wrong.
As they are made with Gore-tex, they are relatively breathable, while still providing a good degree of all round water protection.
They are designed to be used underneath a tarp as the hood does not completely cover you, but you can sleep out in them on their own if the weather is dry.
If it does start to rain though, you can always roll over and sleep on your front if necessary.
The only problem is that these bags are not easy to come across these days, especially new.
If you can get one though, we would recommend them for a heavy-duty bag.
Due to the sourcing problem, we will recommend another which is more widely available, this being the Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag.
Snugpak Special Forces Bivvi Bag
These are not Gore-tex, but do incorporate Snugpak’s
Paratex Dry Fabric, which is designed to do a similar thing, in that it allows moisture from your body to escape, while not letting any outside moisture in.
They feature a central zip, which helps with getting in and out of them, as well as being very lightweight and packable.
Some users find that they get a condensation build-up in these bags, but this will depend on the conditions and sleeping bag used etc.
They are ultimately, a well-made bivvy bag for a reasonable price – that you can actually get hold of!
US | UK | CAN Sleeping mat Thermarest Sleeping mat
A sleeping mat, although not completely essential, is a great way to aid a good nights sleep.
They generally come in 2 forms. One being the standard foam type that rolls up into a tube otherwise known as a roll mat.
The other type is the inflatable, which has become much more popular over the last few years, as the technology has improved.
The inflatable type allows you to carry a mattress in a relatively small package and then inflate to a usable size very quickly when needed.
One of our favourites is the Thermalite ProLite Plus which we have reviewed previously
It is lightweight and packs into a small stuff sack, so will not take up much room – but still gives you some decent padding during sleep.
USA | UK | CAN Hammock Image: DD Hammocks
A hammock is a great way of sleeping off ground, keeping you away from the cold floor as well as any bugs or other creatures that might be crawling around camp.
They take a bit of getting used to at first, but once you learn how to sleep in them they are a great way to camp out, assuming you have something to tie them to of course.
Two decent trees are ideal, but anything that will provide a strong anchor point will do.
The fact that they can be packed away into a small stuff sack or similar makes them a great addition to your portable sleeping system.
One of the best out there for the price is the DD frontline, which includes a bug net and has proven itself all over the globe.
USA | UK | CAN First aid kit A first aid kit is a must
It’s always sensible to carry a first aid kit with you in your pack and have it close by.
During bushcraft activities, you will be often be using knives, axes etc, as well as being around open flames.
Accidents can and do happen, so it’s best to be prepared for this, especially if you are a long way from medical assistance.
What you need to carry will depend on where you are going and what activities you intend to do once there.
A good option is to make one up yourself, which can then be tailored to your exact needs.
You may want to buy an off the shelf kit and then add to this as necessary.
There are plenty of these available at a good price. We have included links to some decent kits to start off with below.
USA | UK | CAN Water filter Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
Obtaining clean drinking water is a must. You do not want to be getting ill.
There are a number of options for purifying water, including boiling, sterilization and filtration.
Water purification tablets are one option, but they do leave a bit of a taste in the water. The
Katadyn tabl ets are one of the best if you do go down this route.
Boiling is another option but does require you to have a heat source, which is not something you are able to do – or have time for.
The modern water filters are one of the simplest and convenient options.
You can go for the bag type such as the
Platypus Gravityworks, which is a good choice for around camp, but if you want something a bit more portable, then the Sawyer mini below is a great choice. Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System
Sawyer Mini Filtration System is a multi-functional water filter that is lightweight and easy to carry.
It can be used with the squeeze pouch that is provided, with your own bottle or bag – or placed on your hydration bladder hose, to filter water on the go.
The filter unit can be cleaned out and reused, so should last you for a good while indeed.
The units are USA made and a great price for what you get.
USA | UK | CAN Water bottle The Nalgene is the best water bottle – bar none
You need water! It’s vital for your survival and general well-being.
To store it, you are going to want a bottle of some sort.
If you want a straight-up water bottle, then there is no finer than Nalgene bottles.
These are quite simply the best plastic bottles out there and we use ours daily.
Made in the USA, they come in narrow or wide mouth versions and are also BPA free.
We use and far prefer the narrow mouth 1 litre (33oz) everyday bottle, as they are far easier to drink from than the wider type.
Drinking from the wide ones usually ends up with you spilling water down the sides of your face as you drink.
Go for the narrow type if you are using the bottle purely for drinking.
If you buy one of these, you are unlikely to regret it.
They are bombproof and are everything that a water bottle should be – solid and no fuss.
USA | UK | CAN Dutch oven
If you are at camp for a while or have the ability to transport one, a dutch oven is a great option for your cooking needs.
Get the full lowdown on camp dutch ovens in our article
If you want the quick answer on the best one to get, then we recommend Lodge dutch ovens.
They are tried and tested and with a little care, will last you a lifetime.
USA | UK | CAN Binoculars Leica Trinovid HD binoculars
A good set of binoculars (sometimes known as binos) are a great asset to have with you.
They let you scan areas in the distance with ease and come into their own when wildlife spotting or during hunting activities.
It’s not just the size that matters!
The optics are the most important part of the binoculars, far more than the actual size of them.
A smaller, but higher-quality set, will let in far more light and be far sharper visually than a lower quality, larger set.
It, therefore, pays to invest in great optics, especially if you are using for hunting etc in low light conditions.
Binoculars are one of those items that you really notice the extra quality on, so it pays to spend a bit on them if image quality and light gathering matter to you.
In low light, such as dusk, a good set will pick out the animal or object long after a bad set will, which can make all the difference to your day or hunt.
Once you have decided on a good brand for optics,
then size plays into it.
Size selection will depend on whether you want an ultra-compact pair or are happy to lug around something a bit chunkier.
For a good all-round pair, that will work well in woodland and out on the open hill, a set of 8 x 42’s are a great choice.
There are a variety of good makes to choose from, including
Zeiss, Swarovski, Kahles, Steiner etc, all of which are a great choice.
Our current favourites are the Leica Trinovid HD 8×42, which are German made and top-quality.
Like the others, they cost a bit to purchase, but presuming you don’t lose them, should last you a lifetime.
USA | UK | CAN Summary
We hope this list gives you a good insight into what we feel are the best items to buy if you are looking for any of the above kit.
It is by no means exhaustive and we will be adding updates to this as time goes on.
It does, however, give you our position on what we recommend for each item. We hope you found it useful.
If you would like to let us know your favourites or something you would like included, please do so in the comments.
We would love to hear from you.