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At Howl Bushcraft we provide an insight into the Natural world, opening up a vast array of natural resources and knowledge. We teach practical skills in a friendly and pragmatic way, skills that actually get used while outdoors. In this way we hope to enable you to act on your interests and take those first steps into the greatest of adventures. The confidence gained from knowing you carry fire in your muscles and mind will change your outlook on the world, suddenly the wilderness will seem full of allies. 

We promote the utmost respect for the environment, the ability to pass unnoticed through the woods brings with it a deeper understanding of the wilderness, and our part in it. It is this philosophy which forms the very core of our work.

The Start of a Canoeing Adventure

Howl Bushcraft Blog

The Start of a Canoeing Adventure

Jamie Dakota

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Always the student of Nature, I've decided this year to increase my experience in canoeing... from not much to some! I also thought it might to useful to log my progress this year to see what it is I learn. Here, then, is my first attempt at a day pack for a two day trip I have coming up. Based largely on what I'd pack for hiking bag, with the addition of a 'ditch kit' for when (not if) I fall in the Loch. So, what's in my pack:

  1. Tenth Wonder 3x3m tarp and extra paracord: Kept in the day pack to create a dry space for lunch stops. See my other article for my favourite way to set this up here. This will also double as part of my sleep system.
  2. Waterproof Jacket: A constant companion when outdoors, here I'll be taking a Swanndri Tundra fleece as it's also very warm.
  3. Ditch Kit: Containing the vital personal respite gear should I fall into cold water. My Keela Belay jacket is a firm favourite here, it packs down small but provides an incredibly warm and protective layer even when wet. Also in the ditch kit is a woolly hat, gloves, merino Buff and merino baselayer top along with a chocolate bar. The idea being that I can quickly change into warm dry clothing after an unexpected swim, while I recharge and regroup.
  4. Sam-splint as part of my first aid kit.
  5. Survival Bivi Bag: Always in my rucksack, these are invaluable in many situations from emergency overnight camping to search and rescue.
  6. Brew Kit: Classic Crusader mug, bottle and lid in a pouch with my spoon and small dry bag of tea and coffee.
  7. Possibles Pouch: Something of a micro survival kit, based in part on the ever knowledgeable and inspirational articles by Paul Kirtley. 
  8. First Aid Kit: I'll write an article at some point detailing exactly what I carry in here, my advice here will be to build your own so that you can select what you feel you need. Store bought first aid kits rarely have everything, and never in the right proportions.
  9. Personal Care items: sun cream, insect repellant, lip balm and a dry bag of toilet tissue and wet wipes. These all go in the very top of my rucksack with a back up lighter.
  10. Knife and Saw: It's worth noting here that whilst I usually favour a carbon steel knife, the constant exposure to water will quickly start to tarnish the blade. Taking a stainless steel knife would be sensible. However, I intend on leaving my knife in the rucksack during the day to rely on my pocket knife until we make camp at the end of the day. A folding saw will most likely spend most of the day on my belt for rescue situations, alongside a stainless rescue knife on my PFD.
  11. Water bag to be paired with...
  12. MSR water filter: I'll use these two top up my drinking water through the day.
  13. Klean Canteen Flask: I'll fill this with boiling water in the morning as we set off, using it to quickly make a hot drink at lunch (or case of a need to re-warm after a swim). This way the kettles we'll be using as a group can come to boil while we eat, topping up the flask before setting out again. This system saves time and queuing for hot water at lunch.
  14. Binoculars: my personal luxury item
  15. Waterproof head-torch and spare batteries in a dry bag. Vital gear even if you plan to be back before dark.
  16. Waterproof trouser: These will more than likely be worn during the day unless the weather is very good.

So that's my day kit which gets packed comfortably in a 45 litre rucksack, I'll do a post trip review to see if any adjustments were needed en route. On my person I'll also be carrying my most fundamental equipment for survival...perhaps there's an article there too.

Thank you for reading, please feel free to comment if you have any questions or suggestions.