Budget Bushcraft

I recently spent a few hours at my local branches of Bunnings Hardware Store, Hunting And Fishing (H & F) and Kiwi Disposals Army Surplus. I wanted to price a low cost bushcraft kit. I did not want cheapo rubbish that would fail outdoors so I looked for a balance of quality and pricing.

A barrier to getting outdoors can be cost. But do we have to pay as much as we think? My aim here was to find what is readily available at affordable prices. This list does not cover everything and should be adjusted for personal preferences. Prices have been rounded up by 5 to 10 cents.

 

Dave Canterbury’s 10 C’s Of Survival was the basis of my shopping list. I adapted and broadened The 10 C’s to better cover my bushcraft needs. If I can fill most of the items on the list I will have most of what I need for my Bushcraft Kit. Below is what I found, where I found it and how much it cost.

 

The 10 C’s:

Combustion, Cutting, Cover, Cordage, Container, Cotton, Compass, Cargo Tape, Canvas Needle, Candle.

 

COMBUSTION: A way to produce flame.

6 pack of waterproof matches $6 to $7. Keep in a plastic bag. Find At H & F.

Samba Fire Lighters 36 Cubes $2.15. For starting wood fires. Find At Bunnings.

CUTTING: Knife. Axe or Saw. Sharpening Tools

Folding Saw $8. Ok for light work. Find At Bunnings

Sand Paper $1.00 to $2.80 per sheet. Wrap around a Painters Stir Stick and use for knife sharpening. Find At Bunnings

Bahco SB 2444 $18.50 This knife is actually a Mora Clipper with a stainless steel blade. What a score! And for under 20 bucks! The SS blade is razor sharp and offers great corrosion resistance for New Zealand’s damp rain forests. Find At Bunnings

COVER: A shelter to sleep under, water and wind proof (Similar in size to an NZ Army Half Shelter 2.7 x 1.8 meters). Sleeping Mat. Sleeping Bag/Blanket. Rain Coat/Poncho. Clothing.

Polytuf Green Heavy Duty Tarp 2.4 x 3.0 meters $26.70. Find At Bunnings

Polytuf Blue Medium Duty Tarp 2.4 x 3.0 meters $10.80. Find At Bunnings. Both have eyelets for tying cordage. My choice would be the Blue Med Duty Tarp. It appeared plenty tough for the bush and was about half the weight and price of the Green one.

Sleeping Mat $16 to $20. Padding and warmth to sleep on. Find At H & F, Kiwi Disposals.

Italian Army Blanket 80% Wool $50.00. Find At Kiwi Disposals.

Rain Coat & Pants $20.00 per set. PVC Coated Polyester. Find At Bunnings.

Thinsulate Beanie $9.95. Find At Bunnings.

Thinsulate Gloves $9.95 pair. You can sweat a little in these but they will keep you comfy and warm. Find At Bunnings.

Boot Socks 50% Wool, 50% Acrylic/Nylon $9.95 pair. Find At Bunnings.

Ex-Army Shirts $16.00. 80% Wool, Brand New. Another fantastic score. Find At Kiwi Disp

CORDAGE: For tying out the Cover, tying things to the back pack, fishing etc.

Zenith Nylon 3mm x 10meters $5.10. Find At Bunnings

Zenith Poly 3mm x 30meters $3.95. Find At Bunnings. Nylon is very strong but my choice would be the Poly 3mm. It is 3 times longer and cheaper. Polyester is strong enough for most needs, UV resistant and does not absorb water like nylon does. Don’t confuse Polyester with Polypropylene. Polypropylene breaks down in U.V. and generally sucks.

 

CONTAINER: Something to hold water in. Cooking container. Cutlery

1.5 litre full bottles of water. Find At Supermarkets. They are clear plastic so you can see the water level and any sediment when you refill.

Stainless Steel Mug Large $9.95. For cooking food, and boiling water. Find At H&F.

Knife, Fork and Spoon from your kitchen draw.

Glad Zip Lock Bags Find At Super markets. Various sizes to keep everything dry. Use for leftover food and keeping things dry. I use Sandwich Size the most.

Large Rubbish Bag to line the back pack or carry bag. Find At Supermarkets. 

These matches are not water proof so are kept in a plastic bag.

Hunting And Fishing stainless steel mugs can hold a 450gm can of food and be placed directly on the coals to cook.

The stainless steel fry pan was $5 at an op shop.

Add in a can opener, cutlery and some dishwash liquid.

COTTON: Ideally 90cm x 90cm, cotton fabric. Acts as a bandana, making char cloth, a bandage, towel, sweat rag etc.

Cut up a bed sheet, pillow case, towel etc. Two Dollar Shops and Supermarket checkouts sell smaller cotton bandanas.

 

COMPASS:

$35 to $95. A good selection available at Hunting & Fishing.

 

CARGO TAPE: (Duct Tape). To repair shelter and equipment, sutures for wounds etc.

Scotch Duct Tape 18meters $10 to $14.50. Various colours. Find At Bunnings.

 

CANVAS NEEDLE: (aka sail needle) for repairing packs, clothing, removing splinters.

A needle and thread from a sewing kit is ok for most of my jobs. Cargo/Duct Tape can do the bigger jobs.

 

CANDLE: A lighting device. I like to carry candles and a torch in the kit.

Eveready Dolphin Pico Torch $10.00. 5 hour battery life, small, waterproof. Find At The Warehouse.

Tea Light Citronella Candles 12pack $3.25. 3 hour burn time each. Insect Repellent. Find At Bunnings.

Carry bags picked up at The Salvation Army Op Shop for about $5 each. I will carry needle and thread for repairs if needed. 

A plastic rubbish bag in each gives me a haversack and light backpack that carry all my gear (except the foam sleeping pad) and keep it dry. 

MISCELLANIOUS

Garden Trowel $4 to $7. A small, lightweight device for digging a latrine or water drain trench around your Cover/Shelter. Find At Bunnings.

Small Camping Shovel $16.00. Find At Bunnings.

Ex-Army Mosquito Net $20.00. Small and light. Find At Kiwi Disposals.

Back Pack and Haversacks $10 to Hundreds of dollars. A big variety available. Most are ex-military or brand new. Find At Kiwi Disposals.

What is our fashion conscious bushcrafter modeling today?

K-Mart pants $20. Ex-army wool shirt $16. Wool beanie $2. 

The scarf is actually a wool/acrylic sleeveless vest I bought new from an op shop for $5. I unbuttoned it, rolled it up and wrapped it around the neck. I can wear it as a vest if I need an extra layer but it was not too cold this day.

COMMENTS

Other good places to shop are The Warehouse, K-Mart, Salvation Army Hospice stores. Wool sweaters and coats are very common at hospice shops as are cheap trousers, footwear and carry bags. Shopping around before buying can save a lot of money. The Dolphin Pico Torch sells for $15 at Bunnings then I found it for $10 at The Warehouse.

 

I hope some find this useful. Please respond with any ideas, alternatives, changes you would make.

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Shrafter
Comment by Dave on August 29, 2017 at 13:28

I have recently seen the knife at Mitre 10 stores.


Shrafter
Comment by David Jenkins on August 19, 2017 at 13:28

Goldpine also stock the bahco knife. If you happen to have a store nearby.


Newbie
Comment by Matthieu on August 18, 2017 at 14:02

Thank you for this guide really useful.

It seems the bahco knife is not sold anymore at bunnings bt you can find it at trade tools

http://tradetools.co.nz/products/6120950

Maybe adding a ground sheet ( 5$ tarp) might be good too especially when ground wet.

It also seems that H&F have the mora companion at 25$ (green and orange).


Shrafter
Comment by Kesate Iyasu on April 20, 2015 at 11:13

Also if you are looking for sail needles, which i have spent extensive time searching for, sometimes just maybe you might find it at sewing or arts crafts stores or if not look for a long thicker version of a needle, the biggest you can find and with a bit of pressure it will penetrate most things. Not real leather thou, might need a awl or nail of some sort


Shrafter
Comment by Kesate Iyasu on April 20, 2015 at 11:09

It's funny too because i follow Dave Canterburys 10 C'S as well, in particular his Bulletproof Bushcraft on a budget with a few added other multi use goodies. And cotton clothesline rope as both spare cordage and if needs be, char cloth


Shrafter
Comment by Vinícius Monteiro Bezerra on November 22, 2014 at 14:07

Wow! First of all, thank you for sharing this awesome finding. Under $20 Bahco in NZ! Secondly, your post is really good. It's helpful for beginners and also for experienced bushcrafters. Bushcraft items are difficult to be found in NZ, especially with good prices. 

Thank you so much for sharing! 


Shrafter
Comment by Dave on November 4, 2014 at 23:44

Thanks guys. The knife is not a full tang and the handle is plastic with a non slip grip. I have seen reviews where it has regularly been used for splitting wood by battoning. I think it would be fine for light battoning. Too much downward pressure on the handle while battoning the blade at the same time could possibly cause the tang to push itself through the handle. I have seen this happen on a video review. This is still a great knife though and worth having in any kit. Like any tool it has pros and cons.


Newbie
Comment by Wing Szeto on November 4, 2014 at 15:17

Thanks for this and the knife review Dave! I've always wanted to know how to get quality gear from local stores without busting the wallet! I'm seriously considering buying that knife - under $20! Almost too good to be true. Can it take wood carving/splitting and banging etc? I always thought a knife with a saw on the spine/back edge would be cool.


Admin
Comment by Ryan Johnson-Hunt on November 4, 2014 at 13:21
What an excellent write up, this will be incredibly helpful for any beginners and still very interesting to those of us with more experience. Thanks so much for sharing!

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