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by Society of the Spectacle Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:52 pm

Its Another Outside Weekend

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How often do you sleep outside, and if you had the choice to sleep outside, and the necessary skills, would you.

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Its Another Outside Weekend

Post by assassin on Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:14 am

Its another outside weekend and I am not alone, basically I have set up a shelter and hammock in my woods and have been joined by several neighbours, and believe me it is often the best sleep you will ever get, if you want to try it its easier than you think.

My fly sheet is a 12' X 10' tarpaulin and this is set up between two trees by tying up the ridge line and keeping it taught, the tarpaulin is then thrown over the ridge line and each side is pegged down to form a V shape and this keeps all the water off, and yes it has rained up here; with a basic shelter set up to give shelter from the elements the next thing is the hammock as I like some comforts and this is a 10' X 8' tarpaulin which is folded in half, another rope is fed from one tree, through the fold in the tarpaulin, around the other tree, back through the eyelets in the other half of the tarpaulin and back around the first tree and tensioned.

With a flysheet and hammock installed it is time for some heat, after walking around the woods I cut some small dead branches off a couple of trees and they were cut to length, they were split using my hunting knife by hitting it with one of these small pieces of wood to split them in half, lengthways, and several feather sticks were made by rubbing the knife down them sto shave small and thin slivers of wood which curl up, but dont cut them right off the end of the branch, keep cutting to form a bundle of feathers and cut the last one right to the bottom to cut it off the stick. Kindling was gathered by snapping the very ends off of several pine trees and snapping these pieces into very small lengths and it is very easy to gather a lot of kindling very quickly this way, and with many split branches I had my fuel for my fire.

Why do you split your wood? a fairly regular question, and why do you use pine or similar woods, the answer is simple, if you collect wood while its raining or wet the outside is wet, if you split it the insides are dry and pine and similar species are heavily loaded with resin which burns well and gets a fire going quickly. With feather sticks you shave the inside of the wood which is dry, but you do shave some of the outside of the wood but with the majority of the wood being internal wood which is dry it quickly dries the wet outer.

With my fuel collected and prepared its time to build a raft or base for the fire which is done by laying a couple of thick sticks parallel to each other with a gap between them, you then lay several thinner sticks across them to form a fire base which is off the floor and can draw air from under the fire, the feathers were laid on the base and lit using my fire steel which is basically a ferro rod in one half, and a striker steel in the other half, you place the ferro rod into the feathers and rub the striker down it, this causes several white hot sparks to land on the feather sticks. Two strikes and a feather stick was lit, this was turned over to light it all and placed on the bed, ofter feather sticks were added and lit and the kindling was placed straight on to of it to allow the flames to dry the kindling, within 3 minutes it was well alight and the thin, split branches were added to form a tee pee shape to allow them to catch light, and once they were all lit and burning the objective is achieved.

The objective is very simply to create a bed of glowing embers and the better your bed of embers is, the easier to cook and re-ignite another fire is as you simply add more material and gently blow the embers to heat the added timber, dry it if necessary, and let it catch light and burn.

many people do not use a fire platform, but I would always advocate building one as it allows a fire to breathe from below and is necessary if the ground is wet or has ice and snow on it as freshly split wood placed directly onto the ground draws up the moisture and is very difficult to light, and as a fire takes hold it drops downwards onto your timber platform which also dries and ignites to create a good bed of embers.


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Re: Its Another Outside Weekend

Post by Waffle on Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:54 pm

This is an inspirational post Assassin, unfortunately I don't meet the criteria for the survey. I have the skills to sleep outside, but don't. Its something i'd love to do more of.

It had been sometime since I had been camping until mid last year. I took my then 2 1/2 year old daughter to a community craft camp. There were about 30 people adults and children. The organisers run a forest school which my daughter has the privilege of attending. The camp was orientated around the children learning with nature. There were craft opportunities for adults, foraging, wood carving, molten metal work, weaving...... It was aimless, no one knew the time and directions of when to change from what one was doing, i.e if lunch was ready was singled by a horn. Food was all vegetarian organic produce cooked by our on site chef. The location was perfect, camping in a field, with adjacent woodlands and a lake with rowing boats just in the valley, which me and my daughter were out in every morning at 6 am, mist rising off the lake trout jumping, dawn chorus.... Man it was soon replenishing, 4 days 3 nights and U felt like a new person, I had the energy and spirit as to what I remember when I was 13 years old. The people were amazing, the mentors had trained in the states with natives, in the evenings we had circle time, all around the fire people were playing the flutes, fiddles bongos, whilst singing hypnotic tribal chants. What an experience, one I've always wanted and will never forget. The great thing was I went for my daughter to have the experience and ended up have the experience of a lifetime.

You are 100% right it is the best night sleep you will ever have, doing it for a few days on the trot makes you a new person. No interference from all the abnormal frequencies surrounding us and waking up naturally in line with your circadian rhythm is something I keep telling myself must do more of. Maybe your post will encourage me to do this.

Thanks for sharing this experience. Food, Water and Shelter and you can be the happiest person alive.

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Re: Its Another Outside Weekend

Post by assassin on Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:48 am

Go and do it Waffle, even if you have a line post in your garden and another point to anchor too, many of my neighbours do it in their gardens in summer using just a hammock.

As you may know, I dont sleep a lot anyway, but going to bed when you are ready, then getting up when you wake up is great, you sleep because you want or need too and the quality of sleep you get means you dont need to listen to experts telling you that you need 8 hours, just listen to your body makes more sense.

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Re: Its Another Outside Weekend

Post by landlubber on Mon May 01, 2017 2:12 pm

There is no big deal about sleeping outside, because all you need in order to do a spot of Wild or Stealth camping is a Tarp or tent, depending upon the time of the year, a hammock if you cannot sleep on the ground, a good sleeping bag, even in a hammock you'll still need a sleeping bag and mat plus a reflective sheet to keep the cold or damp at bay and a bug net to keep those biting insects away from you, though there are several natural means using fungi or a fire to help achieve this aim.
I did sleep rough about 50 odd years ago for 6 months and actually sleeping wasn't a problem for me as long as I slept on my local common at the time. Affording the basic equipment is not a problem and I'm about to buy myself a DD tarp this coming week and a wood/gas stove. I'd prefer a hammock rather than a tent. I have some friends who do this regularly and would love to see me doing it too, so I may just give in as long as I can get my partner to join me...the signs are promising. At present, I just go out walking several times a week as a photographer visit the local canals, trails, river valleys, old railway walks, woodlands and dales. My back pack weighs 7/8 kgs, and my partner's is about 5 kgs, so carrying more could be a problem for both of us. Ah well, time to quit complaining and buy myself a donkey. Very Happy

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Re: Its Another Outside Weekend

Post by assassin on Tue May 02, 2017 1:53 am

Do it, I use a heavyweight tarp for off roading and I like a hammock; you dont need a bug net and I have a waterproof sleeping bag and nothing else.

Lightweight tarp 0.5-0.7Kg, hammock the same, lightweight parachute cord very little.

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