A Night In The Woods

by Paul Kirtley

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Click on the four arrows bottom right for full screen view. Click on “HD” to stream the full 1080p high definition version. This may be choppy unless you have a fast connection. Try it and see. If it works, it’ll look awesome. If it doesn’t work so well, you can always toggle it back to standard definition by clicking on “HD” again. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

An “Overnighter”

I’m often asked about bushcraft skills and camp set ups for heading into the woods for a weekend.

Quite a few readers of this blog – and viewers of my YouTube channel – have asked for articles/videos regarding skills to help with getting out into the woods overnight – sometimes for the first time. It’s great so many are keen to get out amongst nature…

I remember my first “overnighter”. I definitely took too much gear and got things wrong. There were many things to think about and it turned out to be a real adventure.

Nowadays, heading to the woods for a night is a pure pleasure. It’s fun. It’s comfortable. It’s too short.

Once you get your kit and your skills sorted, heading out to the woods is a great way to unwind, relax and get away from it all.

The film “A Night In The Woods” is a how-to video with a difference. It’s a 50 minute fly-on-the wall documentary, filmed in in high definition. It follows two friends – Henry and Paul – as they head to the woods for the weekend.

In doing so, they utilise a range of everyday bushcraft skills, which all outdoors people would benefit from.

I thought about making a few YouTube “how-to” videos of me explaining a few important elements of successfully spending a night out in the woods but then my vision grew bigger. My thoughts turned to taking you out to the woods for the weekend with Henry and Paul setting an example for budding outdoorists to follow. It was fun to film and I hope you enjoy the video. Let me know what you think via the comments below.

If you know others who would enjoy watching “A Night In The Woods”, or benefit from the links below, then please share this page with them. Plus it will help me out if you can post a link on your favourite social media sites. I’m proud of this film and it would be great if as many people as possible could see it. Thanks for your help!

Learn More About The Bushcraft & Camping Skills Featured In This Video:

Below are links to articles on this site, articles on my bushcraft school Frontier Bushcraft’s blog and videos on my YouTube channel, all of which will help you with the various techniques and knowledge employed in the above video.

Fire-Lighting

How To Light A Campfire With One Match

How To Create Really Big Sparks With A Swedish FireSteel (YouTube)

How To Use A Knife To Remove Tree Bark (FB Blog)

How To Light Birch Bark With A Spark (YouTube)

Leave No Trace

How To Leave No Trace Of Your Campfire

Water Purification

Water Purification: The Five Contaminants You Need To Know About

How To Use A Millbank Bag: 6 Easy Steps

Does Boiling Make Water Safe To Drink? (YouTube)

Wild Foods and Foraging

Water mint, Mentha aquatica

A wide range of other articles on wild foods and foraging can be found by clicking here.

Tarps, Knots and Cordage

How To Tie An Evenk Hitch (YouTube)

How To Tie A Taut Tarp Hitch (YouTube)

How To Tie An Adjustible Guyline Hitch (YouTube)

How To Hank Cordage (YouTube)

Hang ‘Em High: Tips For Getting Organised Under Your Tarp (FB Blog)

Gear and Packing

A Bushcraft Camping Outfit – Equipment For Living In The Woods

Bushcraft On A Budget: All The Gear You Need For Less Than Β£100 (FB Blog)

How To Pack Your Bushcraft Camping Outfit Into A Rucksack

How To Pack Enough Food For A Week Into A PLCE Sidepocket

Now you’ve watched the movie, clicked the links, read the articles and watched the YouTube videos, get out and use it! Let me and other readers know about your overnight camping experiences in the comments below…

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Paul Kirtley is an award-winning professional bushcraft instructor. He is passionate about nature and wilderness travel. In addition to writing this blog Paul owns and runs Frontier Bushcraft, a wilderness bushcraft school, offering bushcraft courses and wilderness expeditions.

 

{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

Cal B

What a well made, thoughtful episode. I’m always impressed with how Paul and his team put together short films to show how to live comfortably in the outdoors. Keep them coming!

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Paul Kirtley

Thanks Cal πŸ™‚

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AC

The videography was good, the mystery location was very nice. Showing their gear more closely would have been a bonus. My only actual complaint is the repetitive music (repetitive music is annoying because it is repetitive music is annoying because it is repetitive . . . .).

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Paul Kirtley

Hi there AC, thanks for your comments. Unfortunately for you I seem to be more of a fan of the Moebius strip than you πŸ˜‰

Not to appear too flippant, though, your criticism is noted. Thanks for the feedback.

Warm regards,

Paul

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WJLacey

Hey Paul!

You’ve really nailed it here! I’m glad you decided to go this route rather than filming individual tutorials for Youtube, it’s made it really unique.

I must say. the quality of the video is astounding, I’ve often experimented with filming in the past and have tried to get the clarity of what you have here rather unsuccessfully.

I used Premier Pro and sometimes After Effects for a bit of title editing etc. What settings did you end up using for the bitrate, and was this filmed on your D800?

I’m really interested in finding out?

Thanks! and Well done!!

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Wes,

Yes, we did try to do something a little different here.

Thanks for your appreciation of the quality as well as the content. Yes it was filmed on my D800.

The final film was encoded as a 1080p Quicktime movie using the H.264 codec, multi pass. The bit-rate was set to max out at 15,000 Kb/s which gave it plenty of headroom. The final file size was just under 4GB.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Paul

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steven mullinax

Wow !
Talk about a perfect morning . I awoke to find this new video from my favorite outdoorsman and my God daughter brought me Starbucks in bed to watch it with. Thank you again Mr. Kirtley for sharing your knowledge .
Steven

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Grant Darbey

Hi Paul, Great video, very well made and put together. Were the two guys off on a massive yomp after this, appear to be carrying massive bergans and both full.

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Iacobus

Hi Paul, this was a superb video and really does show what it’s all about. It’s a very primal feeling, sharing an evening around a campfire with friends and just enjoying the moment. A lot of folk I know just don’t get it, why I’d prefer to be under a tarp than in a fancy hotel or the like. Sure those things have their place but the experience of being out in the open truly does soothe the soul.

Thanks.

Jim.

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Craig

Great video Paul, quality and content. Beautiful location, envious. A good reminder of the value of simplicity and basics. Gud music, tho wudv been nice to hear some natural sounds amongst ‘nothingness’. Thanks for this video, truly appreciated.

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Chris Davis

Super sorry Paul, just could not get through it, the music was WAY too intrusive for me, and felt ( to me) at odds with the subject, and dare I say it, nature!
Love your work tho sir, thanks for continuing to put this stuff out there for us.

Best.

Chris.

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Alan Linee

Thankyou for taking the time to make this short film, I thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to the narration and the music.
Really smart way to cover lots of skills and connect up your existing in depth tuition from the blog, well done, keep up the great work, I shall share this with some like-minded friends..
Alan.

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Leena

Enjoyed it. Good video. Sends home all the skills taught or discussed on blog.
Music…is a personal thing…for me , I enjoyed it.
I ve tried sleeping in bivvy bag , tarp, tent…and me poor feet like it warm.
I’ve decided the best option is a 4 wheeler with adjoining tent …it’s prob just me!

Regards
Leena.

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Gareth

This is going straight on to the scout leaders Facebook page , I’ll have to organise an evening so the scouts can watch it too. Another excellent video!

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Paul Kirtley

Thanks Gareth. I hope they get a lot out of it.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Phil

Great vid and idea! I appreciate so much this type of bushcraft demonstration. Nothing can beat a visual aid as this for teaching necessary skills in the bush! Great concept! Thanks so much for all the effort I know that went into making this vid! I will use this vid for my backpacking group to watch and learn from. Again many thanks.

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Paul Kirtley

Thanks Phil!

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lynn

Paul,
could you provide the bivy sack the gentleman was using in the video? Doesn’t look like the typical military gore tex type bivy, looks much thinner and lighter.

Great video quality, it was nice to see a couple guys out camping. Not cutting up a bunch of trees making debris shelters and feather sticks and showing a bunch of gear rather than the good time and using skills needed for the trip. I think people are focussing to much on the mucic and not the message…..
thanks in advance.

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Matt Howell

Hi Paul

This was beautifully shot, but the music was too much. The appeal of these videos, is to hear the sound of the woodland, as well as to see it. I couldn’t get through it, it was way over the top.

Regards

Matt

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Paul Kirtley

Thanks for your feedback Matt. It is appreciated.

I agree it would be lovely to have the video filled with natural sounds but unfortunately the reality of filming in much of the UK is that there is a tonne of background noise pollution which is picked up by the microphones. We were on a limited budget and did not have the time to wait until all was quiet in order to get the perfect take. We had a few days to film and that was it. I hope in future we will have more time available (or a quieter setting) for filming other videos.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Ann Nicholls

It is Great to see what my Son Paul does when I hear from his wife that he has gone to the woods AGAIN. I have been to some shows with him and watched him do the Fire by Friction demo’s which are brilliant but to see what it’s really like is great, I can see why he enjoys it so much. Regards Ann

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Ann,

I’m really happy you were able to see this.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Wolfram

Hey there Paul,
thumbs up for this very nice video! Go on with such stuff, I like it!
Greetings from Munich,
Wolfram

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Paul Kirtley

Thanks for your support Wolfram! πŸ™‚

Warm regards,

Paul

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Ken McNamara

Hi Paul…!
Thanks for another great video which has rekindled my urge to get back out again before
the winter really kicks in…! πŸ™‚ ..i was having my own brekkie while watching the guys have theirs
and was just wondering do you have any “natural” tips for cleaning out messy cookware..! especially,
..ahemm.. after burnt porridge perhaps..? πŸ˜‰
The guitar-music when Henry was cleaning up camp was particularly nice. Is this Moebius strip also..??
Regards,
ken

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Ken,

Thanks for your positive feedback on the video. I’m delighted it has reigniting a spark in you to get out again. The mild autumnal weather we have had is certainly quite conducive to it…

As for natural tips for cleaning pots – sand or sandy soil works well as a scourer. Ash from your fire mixed into greasy pots makes a primitive form of soap. You can also obtain saponins from numerous leaves, notably horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, chickweed and most usefully (as it is common and widespread) silver birch or another of it’s betulaceae family members.

Yes, the guitar music was a loop. I’m afraid I don’t know the composer/musician. The information was not supplied when I purchased the tracks.

Warm regards,

Paul

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oldtimer

I am a great admirer of your skills and the quality of your dissemination of them. This could be a great video to introduce newcomers and to explain to others what we get out of a night out in the woods and is well up to the high standards that you set yourself.

However, I think you have been too reticent in voicing over explanations of what the guys are doing. For example, the clearing up of the fire in the morning was a well done and important sequence that would have benefitted from an explanation. I could also have picked other examples. I suspect a fear of “teaching grandmother to suck eggs”, but many of your viewers will be novices and need explanations of what some of us will take for granted. Another advantage of more voice-over would be less of the intrusive musak, which seems to have been pinched from an automated telephone answering machine and really doesn’t suit the visual setting! It isn’t so much a matter of of taste but appropriateness.

What did those guys have in those huge rucksacks besides what we saw them using?

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Anthony,

Thanks for your comments. I think applied to this video in isolation, your points would be absolutely correct. But if you look under the video there are a host of links to articles and videos with tens of thousands of words of further explanation of what is being applied in this video.

For example, here is a tutorial on the method of campfire clearing up which was applied in the above video:

http://paulkirtley.co.uk/2011/how-to-leave-no-trace-of-your-campfire/

We’ve largely already covered all of this material before. Here we are just putting it together into a coherent whole…

Warm regards,

Paul

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massimo martinoli

ciao paul , il video Γ¨ stato bellissimo , e tecnicamente molto valido , ci fΓ  notare l’essenziale delle cose , senza portarsi dietro molto materiale che a volte Γ¨ superfluo , anche praticando spesso la vita all’aria aperta , ogni volta c’Γ¨ sempre da imparare , ti ringrazio vivamente per le emozioni che ci donate sempre .w il bushcraft con stima . saluti cordiali . ciao paul .max

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jon

Hmmm…. Not overly impressed by the apparent lack of regard for the trees. cutting living stems just for pegs, an obscene amount of kindling for a tiny fire, cord that’s far too thin to be pulled tight around such thin barked and young stands…….

Bushcraft isn’t just about camping in the woods, it should be about living ‘with’ the woods.

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Jon,

Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your concern for the woods.

Rest assured, I have the utmost respect for trees and all of nature.

Tying a span of cord between two trees – of any trunk diameter – will inevitably leave a trace of the contact.

I can tell you this is true for any diameter of cord which might be used to suspend tarps, from 2 or 3mm line on light weight tarps through 9mm abseil rope used for heavy canvas kitchen taps. You cannot tension a tarp between two trees without marking or polishing the bark which comes into contact with the cordage.

I don’t know of any empirical study of the effects on tree health of different diameters of tarp cordage (do you?)

What I do know, however, is that having spent many hundreds of nights sleeping under tarps, many of them with thin cordage as depicted in the video, as well as having taught literally thousands of students to put up tarps in this manner using tarps with varying diameters of cordage, in areas of woodland we come back to year after year, I have not once seen a tree whose health has been damaged by such usage.

Moreover, from one year to the next it’s remarkable how little trace is left at all, even in areas which are relatively heavily used.

To address your point about quantities of kindling and your emotive use of the word “obscene”, I would in the first instance direct you to the “How To Light A Fire With One Match” article, which is linked to below the video. Second, I would point out it is not just I who advocate substantial amounts of kinding in order to ensure first time success with establishing a fire, other authorities such as Mors Kochanski do so. See the colour pictures in his Bushcraft manual for the bundle sizes he espouses.

In terms of cutting green materials and, in particular longer lengths, it is worth bearing in mind several things

First, one must differentiate between species here. Clearly slow-growing or rare species such as yew, oak or even rown must be separated from fast-growingΒ Β common and widespread species such as sycamore or silver birch.

Further you must consider that some species such as hazel – one of the species used in the video – benefit from coppicing. Indeed, in the area where this video was filmed, hazel and other species have been coppiced for centuries.

You must also consider that where there are multiple shoots, either growing as part of the same stand or stool, or within close proximity to each other, all competing for light, that not all of them will survive anyway. This is particularly true of pioneer species such as birch.

Moreover, the area in which the camp was set has a significant population of deer and, a result many saplings are damaged by browsing. The effect on the birches in particular is to create stands of tall, thin trees, many of which will (and do) die off before maturity as they are out competed.

What is disrespectful of the trees and the woods as a whole is not that you enter the woods and make use of the resources in a limited, considered and sustainable way but that you lack a thorough understanding of the species there, their differences, their life cycles and how they interact which enables you to do so.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Bastiaan Kuijt

Hi Paul,
Your reply to which I type this (re kindling and green wood use) is thoughtful and convincing, it provides a lot of useful information that would have been very fitting as commentary notes for your voice over.

Thank you for your efforts to teach us on bushcraft and for taking the risk in experimenting with the form in which you bring it. Also, discussing it out here in public deserves respect in my opinion.
I agree with previous commenters that the music is out place, at least way to loud, and seems to cover up the fact that the pace of the video is a bit slow (which is not a bad thing per se).

Thanks, Bastiaan

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Bastiaan,

Thanks for your considered comments and thoughts. I much appreciate it. And yes, I should perhaps make time to cover some of these points separately and in more detail in another video or article.

All the best,

Paul

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jon

Hi Paul, thanks for the reply.

Re the cord. using small diameter cord will mean a concentration of the weight and tension into a small area. I doubt very much if any studies have been done to provide the evidence you seek either way. However, the lack or thereof of peer reviewed evidence doesn’t negate the basic physics as above. In other words a kG applied over a large surface area doesn’t crush or penetrate whereas the same force applied over a small area does. This is how knives cut and nails pierce. or a cheese wire cuts whereas a climbing sling will not.

Re cutting Green wood.. I’m very aware of copping and other management of woodlands, being the owner and custodian of native broadleaf woods. While I have no doubt that your activities actually firm part of the management of that area, the same doesn’t apply to all bushcraft activities. As an award winning instructor, you can be sure those starting out on the hobby will mimic your actions without realisation or knowledge of the possible impact they may cause by their actions. Stems taken as part of active copping management is way yet different than that undertaken by the unconsciously incompetent.

Re excessive amounts of kindling. Mors’ teachings don’t necessarily translate to our country. He is from a heavily forested and sparsely populated country. We live in a sparsely forested and densely populated country. We should practice and teach to only take minimal resources. “Just enough to meet our need” and bear in mind none of us actually ‘need’ that wood at all. However our diminishing flora and fauna do need that wood for their very survival. In my woods no wood is burnt at all other than the rhodendron of which I have many many cubic metres to keep my guests and I with cooking and amenity fire for years to come. When that is exhausted my short rotation Hazel and willow coppice will take its place. Coppice that is being grown on a wayleaves ‘ride’ so cannot offer anything to the task benefit of the ecology anyway.

All i ask is that we and especially those that others will mimic, teach by example that we are guests in the wild rather than consumers of it.

Assuming we wish to preserve such places for generations to come

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jon

Excuse typos and spurious extra words. On my phone with dodgy autocorrect :/

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jon

Pps. Have to revisit the b issue of small cord as some readers may confuse visible damage with the invisible damage caused to the phloem or inner bark that carries sap from the leaves to the rest of the tree. Just as you can cut a banana inside it’s peel without cutting the peel. so could you effectively ring bark a tree without seeing much visible. The risk would seem higher on thin barked or immature trees.

Again, I wouldn’t dispute the sensitivity in your practices but I have seen inexperienced bushcraft erstwhile making square lashings on young trees and leaving this in place for weeks or many months

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Paul Kirtley

Yes, fair point and leaving solid lashings in place on a live tree for any length of time is not to be condoned.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Jon,

Thanks for your reply too. I can’t argue with the basic physics of pressure = force/area even if I do have a maths degree πŸ™‚ There is also an element of friction when you tighten a tarp line, as it moves across the surface of the bark. I’m thinking out loud here but I’m sure the diameter of the cord and the material it is made from (even the roughness of the weave) have an impact on the friction between the cord and the bark. Friction will be greater with greater contact between thicker cord and the bark. I have no idea what the optimal combination is. All I know is that over the past years of using the same bivvy sites repeatedly – in some cases, even the same trees repeatedly – that we have not killed any trees by attaching tarps to them.

Jon, I can’t argue with your desire to care for our woodlands here in the UK and your point regarding Mors is also a good one. However, even though the above video was filmed in the UK, it is not aimed exclusively at people in the UK. Indeed, it does not specifically reference the UK in the film.

Of course it is obvious to those who recognise the country that the video was recorded in the UK.

What will not be apparent, though, is that only 31% of the people who have ever visited this site are in the UK. Nearly 70% of the historic readership of this blog are outside of the UK, with 50% of my readership in the USA and Canada. This year it’s running at 36% UK readership.

Moreover, when I teach wilderness skills in the UK, I do so from the perspective of a) having needed to rely on many of these skills in wild and remote areas myself, combined with the consideration that b) I have no idea where my students may find themselves in years to come, in places where they also need to rely on the skills I and my team have taught them.

This is something I have written about before over on the Frontier Bushcraft blog:

Firelighting: Why We Teach It The Way We Do

We have a responsibility to our clients to provide them with skills which will serve them well when they really need to rely on them.

You are absolutely right that we also have a responsibility to teach people to take only what they need. I abhor waste. Indeed, it is my experience that people – specifically men rather than women – want to have much bigger fires than we allow them to have on our courses and trips. I almost had an outright argument with an Australian type-A personality executive earlier this year, who insisted that the fires we were allowing them were “crap” and that “in Australia we have much bigger fires than this”. I persisted and he eventually got the message.

This was an unusual case, though, and most people are not as ignorant and get it pretty quickly. As remarked by Michael elsewhere on this thread, we make a point of insisting that our students take care of the woods around them. Plus given how scrupulously we make our students tidy up after any camp, they are in no confusion about the benefits to them and to their surroundings of being efficient in their practices and use of natural resources.

I’ve also noticed that after I have spent some days teaching a group about the uses of the trees and plants around them, they are so, so much more respectful of those species. This applies particularly to wild food resources. While at the beginning of a course people will blithely walk across patches of useful understorey plants, by the time they know the value of them all, they are skirting around and fastidiously avoiding trampling plants underfoot.

You are correct that we live in a relatively crowded country. I should make the point, though, that like almost all first world nations, 80% of this population lives in urban and suburban settings, not in the countryside.

Many people have little connection with the countryside. I know – I see them on our courses week in and week out. But many want to know more and their reaction when introduced to new aspects of the natural world is, almost without exception, one of fascination. As mentioned above, by learning the value of the species in the woods, they learn the value of the woods as a whole.

I think in the UK we need to strike a balance between allowing access/use of woodlands and preservation/improvement of habitats. If we don’t allow people to access and enjoy our woodlands, over time they will cease to connect with them at all and will cease to value them at all. When the majority of the population no longer values our woods and hedgerows, we will be in a sorry place.

I very much want to preserve what we have for future generations – both in terms of our woodlands as well as responsibly-applied woodcraft and camping skills. I see this as part and parcel of what I do for a living. And I must say, having worked on many estates, alongside activities such as commercial forestry, coppicing, pheasant shoots, fishing syndicates, equestrian activities, four wheel driving, cross country running events and glamping, what we do has a miniscule impact in comparison.

I’m very satisfied that the practices we follow have as little impact on the environment as possible while arming our clients with useable real-world skills on which they can rely, which in turn provides a solid motivation to value the natural resources and the wider environment which supports them.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Tanner

It’s just my opinion BUT I think you ruined a wonderful video by adding all of that monotonous music! I couldn’t get past the 10 min. mark!
I am only speaking for myself but I would much rather hear just the sounds of nature or even your footsteps through the bush.
Perhaps next time.
Thanks!

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Shane

Great video, really enjoyed watching !! Great setting and great video clarity & editing !! Thanks for sharing !!!

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Eric Yaffey

Very useful. Pitched just right for me. Thanks Paul, Henry, Paul!
Eric

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Gearoid

Great video Paul, beautifully shot. It takes a lot of time ,effort and planning to make a video like this and I think you captured a typical night in the woods perfectly. I don’t think you billed it as the be all and end all of bushcraft, so I don’t get the criticism. Thanks for taking the time to do this, it certainly helps explain to those who are new or may be interested in bushcraft, of what a typical night in the woods involves. Well done!

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Paul Kirtley

Thanks Gearoid, it’s nice that someone who appreciates what goes into making a video like this has taken the time to comment. Much appreciated.

It’s certainly not meant to be the be-all and end-all, just a way of inspiring and helping people who have some concerns about spending the night out.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Adrian

Hi Paul,
Nice video, I have to agree with Jon though that cutting green Birch for pegs and fuel does seem unnecessary, I could see plenty of fuel on the ground and hung up. Maybe there were other factors that we couldn’t see as we weren’t there. It obviously had been raining.
still I enjoyed looking for resources as I watched.
All the best Adrian

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Adrian,

Thanks for your comments. I’ve addressed much of this in other replies elsewhere on this thread.

With respect to picking wood off the ground for fuel, this is the single most difficult bad habit I have to break in most of my students. Wood lying on the ground in areas where you gain benefit from having a fire – particularly in the UK – is inevitably damp. If it’s been there any length of time, it will be partially rotten, which makes it poor fuel as well as being home to all sorts of creatures from active woodlice to dormant pupae.

As you say hung up is good. Dead, dry and standing are the watchwords for obtaining good fuel for your fire.

All the best,

Paul

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Gordon Fall

Excellent video Paul for beginners and anyone interested in bushcraft like me

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Windy

Paranoia check πŸ™‚

That’s exactly what it is and what it shall hearafter be referred too.

Windy

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Paul Nicholls

Hi Everyone. A couple of you have asked what was in the rucksacks we were carrying, so I thought I’d give you my Kit list:
Rucksack, Karrimor Sabre 75 with side pouches.
Hilleberg XP10 tarp.
Thermarest.
Snug Pak Elite4 sleeping bag.
Bivvybag Ex Army.
Spare pair of clothes
Washkit.
Toilet kit.
Millbank bag.
Zebra billy can 14cm.
Metal mug and spoon.
Water bottle.
Waterproof jacket and trousers.
Silky60 saw.
Gransfors bruk small forest Axe.
Approx 20ft Paracord.
Head torch & spare batteries.
Map & Compass.

On my belt ;
First Aid Kit.
Ben Orford knife.
Fireflash & DC3 knife sharpener.

In my pockets;
A pocket knife.
Notebook & pencil.
Approx 3-5ft Paracord.
Box of matches & some Birch bark.

Hope this helps.
PS, I’m only 5ft 5 so any rucksack looks huge on me !!! πŸ™‚

All the best

Paul

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Leena

Can I ask – possibly a very daft question…

The metal mug used in this video is usually a ex- military one. I thought this was chosen because it fits in well with the
water bottle and helps with packing. I know it can be used to boil water and it does this pretty fast on limited resources. Are there are any other reasons for using this mug?

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Paul Nicholls

Hi Leena
Yes you’re right,the water bottles do fit inside the mugs. Henry and I have different style mugs and water bottles but that’s just down to personal preference.
The main reasons for having a Stainless steel mug is that you can boil water and cook food in them. They are very robust too. I’ve had my mug for 6yrs and its still going strong. Stainless steel wont taint the food or water and is easy to keep clean.
Hope this answers your question
All the best
Paul

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Cal B

Paul,

being 5ft 5in tall myself, i know that feeling ref the size of your rucksack!

happy new year!!

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Paul Kirtley

πŸ™‚

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Paul Nicholls

Oh ! and of course, Food!! πŸ˜‰

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Michael

Oh dear. Followers can be critical folks. Moreover, award-winning bushcraft experts are of course measured with particular high standards. πŸ™‚

I like the video very much and I am very thankful for the effort.

I can understand Paul’s choice to use background music to avoid disturbing noise of wind, airplanes, etc. The alternative would be artificial studio sound of singing birds, roaring deers, howling wolves, singing whales… You get the idea. Especially I like the acoustic guitar at the very beginning. For me the loudness was also ok, otherwise, I would just have reduced the volume of my speakers.

The beautiful close-up shots of the plants are great. It would be an added pleasure if they were accompanied by an unobtrusive text of the respective plant id. What species are the berries Paul is foreaging on at 06:05? Could it be black currant (ribes nigrum)?

I could agree with Jon that internet videos possibly can bear a risk that folks get things wrong. Whereas there is a risk that the bushcraft novice oversees that Henry and Paul considered certain facts and made an educated choice, it is apparent to the experienced eye that the sweet chestnut used for the pegs has been taken from a coppice of competing saplings, the birch used for firewood was a dead standing tree (note the cracking noise when it is broken over the knee and, after all, it makes no sense to fell green firewood for immediate use), the kindling for the fire were dead dry sticks still attached to the tree and the hazel saplings for the pot hangers have been taken from an uprooted tree which will probably die off sooner or later.

All those things might not be obvious to the beginner so it might help to have more commenting voice-over. I agree here with oldtimer and Bastiaan, especially, since the excellent explanations are a particular strength of Paul’s other videos.

I can also confirm that Paul and his colleagues from frontier bushcraft have the utmost respect for nature and always act in a sustainable manner. I lived with them for a week in probably the same or similar woods in East Sussex and they even ask you to collect deadwood for the fire from further apart not to barren the land if you stay in a spot for more than one day.

As for the ridgeline of the tarp I use 5 or 7 mm cordage and I never noticed any harm to a tree even when I used the same trees time and again in my favourite area. It seems the bark can tolerate the few kg of drawing weight of a tarp distributed on two points. However, being a big guy and now the proud owner of a comfortable silky tickettothemoon hammock I use band material and additionally two old patches of carpet to prevent any possible damage when I suspend my hammock.

Again, it was a great pleasure to enjoy the film. Thank you, Paul, for your precious time and please keep them coming. Also thanks to the other commenters. It’s always good to have a lively discussion and the possibility to learn new aspects and different ways of doing old habits.

The only thing I struggled with was the fact that my setup seems not to allow to pause the video or to scroll the timeline. When I tried this I got an error message “Sorry, issue with playback” and had to start all over again which can be a bit unnerving when I am half through the video for the second or third time. πŸ™‚

Warm regards from Austria
Michael

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Paul Kirtley

Thank you Michael. As ever, you are very perceptive, particularly with respect to why we made the choices we made in producing this video.

I would also add that this was filmed on virtually zero budget. Consequently we did not have time for multiple takes. The biggest detrimental effect this has is with respect to background noise. Modern microphones set at a sensitivity to record bird song, also pick up an awful lot of unwanted noise pollution – cars and motorbikes on country lanes, tractors in the fields, helicopters, planes, trains, etc, even when they are far in the distance.

Two years ago, we filmed some how-to videos not far from here and it took us many hours to achieve only minutes of footage with no unwanted background noises. We had to stop frequently. This then caused problems with continuity of presentation as well as lighting. Filming the above video in a similar fashion was not an option. So, I resorted to more music rather than not make the video at all.

I do, however, take on board the points requesting more voiceover commentary as well as labels/subtitles. These are something I have employed extensively in my online tree and plant identification course (available again at the end of the year for 2015 intake).

The aim of the above video was meant to be as much inspirational as educational and I did not want to weigh it down excessively with many, many details which might put off the beginner/novice. I wanted to remove barriers, rather than create them. For example, there is much unnecessary detail relating to equipment on a plethora of videos on YouTube. Beginners get bogged down with what to buy rather than with just getting out there and spending the night out. Hence, there was no explanation of the kit in the video (there are other articles and videos on this site which do this anyway).

I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with playback. When you hover your mouse cursor over the video, do the playback controls become visible? Or are you on a mobile device?

Thanks again for your comments Michael.

Warm regards,

Paul

P.S. The berries picked by Paul were indeed Ribes nigrum.

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Phil

Hello.

It was a very pleasant video to watch and it made one feel as though he were there. I enjoyed watching the setup and the cooking. The location looks wonderful.

I have to ask though, were you bothered by biting insects? I’ve recently made myself a spray which supposedly keeps bugs at bay. I put some on, whereas my wife didn’t and nether of us had been bitten. I was a little disappointed!

Thank you all for taking the time to put this together, and hope to see another one soon.

Take care

Phil

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Phil,

Thanks for your comments on the video. It’s good to know you enjoyed it.

We were not bothered in any significant way by biting insects. There were a few mosquitoes around but nothing at all to worry about.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Brynley

Hi guys great video but i must comment on the fire lighting it made me laugh when paul was blowing one side and then the other guy started to blow the other side did paul ” lose his eye brows ” i still find that a bit funny,but it was still well made and i found it very interesting. i have still to do my first overnight in the woods, i cant wait many thank for the 20 free videos best regards

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Brynley,

Glad the video made you smile as well as being useful.

I hope you wring lots of info out of the 20 free vids too.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Liam Gadd

Fantastic video!

Well worth the watch, I am spending this weekend out under the tarp again and this has just got me really in the mood for it!

Thanks Paul.
Thanks also to Henry and Paul for their part in this vid.

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Paul Kirtley

Thanks Liam. Hope you had a good camp out.

Keep in touch.

Paul

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Jimmy

Hi there, great viedo as always keep them coming. Also where is the woodland there in and is it privately owned because I am currently looking for a large woodland to do some bushcraft and hunting in

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for your feedback on the video. Glad you liked it.

Most of the area we filmed this is privately owned.

Warm regards,

Paul

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Martin

Have watched the overnight film a couple of times now, and what I can say is thanks Paul I really enjoyed it, for me it’s nice to see what others do and how they do it, solutions and ideas. The music was fine didn’t really take much notice of it. I can understand what people were saying about the amount of green wood being cut where dead standing might have worked but it’s horses for courses, if it’s being responsibly then what’s the issue.
A great insight to an overnighter, more please.
Thanks

Martin

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Pierluigi Tucci

Well done Paul, very usefull video as usual….
Just learned an easier way to hanging pot over the fire with one stick only, thanks!!

Thanks for sharing these beautiful experiences with us.

Best regards

Pierluigi Tucci

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Sean Makin

Excellent video Paul.

I especially liked the way you included the trusty Millbank Bag which is something I feel is often overlooked in these days of “off the shelf” tech.

Thanks!

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Martin Price

A thoroughly enjoyable and well conceived video.

Thank you for taking so much trouble to create and share such a professional production.

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Steven

Greetings Mr. Kirtley.
I was wondering what size billy cans those were, the 12 or 14 ?
Also thank you for taking the time to make this video,its very enjoyable.

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Steven,

I’m glad you enjoyed the video.

The pots are 14cm Zebra billy cans.

Warm regards,

Paul

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kevinP

Awesome vid, I am hammocking next week and this vid has made me rethink what to take. Thank you Paul. Superbly made and presented

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Shawn Halloran

Hi There, Paul,
Thanks for your wonderful video! I’m getting ready for my 3 night camping in the back woods with my dog, Asti. It showed me how simple it can be. I spent the winter getting ready for this adventure. It will be my first trip and of course I am bringing too much, but I am looking forward to learning what I really need and what is not so necessary. I will try the Billy can hangers, but I need more like a rack becausr I’ m making Greek beef stew, and spaghetti, and chapati. If you have any ideas for me, I would love to hear them. It’s time to pack! Thanks a bunch. Please keep doing great things. Hope to hear from you.
Warm regards,
Shawn

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kevin Piggott

Hi Paul,
just to say I used some of your tips over the weekend in cannock Chase me and a friend got the DD hammock and tarp out for a night.
would be interested in what to cook and how as noodles and rice don’t always go down well all in all we had a great time.
Keep the notes and tips coming.

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John

Excellent introductory video! There are a ton of things that can very easily be missed out on but have been pointed out in the video! Thank you Paul!

By the way, I noticed both the firesteel as well as the matches! Are there any valid reasons to take both?

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Paul Kirtley

Hi John,

Thanks for your thoughts on this video. I’m glad you appreciated the content. You’re very welcome!

As for your question regarding firesteel and matches – some materials are more easily ignited with matches but a box of matches are a very limited resource. There are very few fires in a box of matches. Firesteels on the other hand, last a lot longer but it is harder to light some materials with them than matches. So, if you can, it’s definitely worth carrying both for this reason alone, not to mention the fact that matches are much more affected by moisture than a firesteel and if you lose one, you still have the other. A really prudent approach would be to carry three different means of firelighting on your person.

I hope this helps clarify my thinking on the subject.

Warm regards,

Paul

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stephane

Hi Paul,
I subscribed a few months ago to your videos and enjoyed much of the informations I found in them.
Concerning this one I appreciate the work involved in realising it but found it too long. I think it could have been greatly reduced in length without losing informations.
As a professionnal mountain leader in the french alps I am also very surprised with the size of their backpack for a night out. Such a bag I use for a week long trek (food and shelter included). I always emphasize to my clients the importance of traveling light for lots of reasons ( comfort, safety in some cases) but we have a slightly different approach to backpacking.
Anyway I will enjoy watching your next videos I am sure.
Hope I will not offend you with these remarks
Stephane

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Paul Noble

hi Paul,

Great video, for someone just starting out in bushcraft, this sets a nice achievable goal. The simplicity with which your team make and break camp and the mindset with which they go about their work (gathering tinder on their walk & letting their morning fire burn down sufficiently to aid extinguishing) belies an experience and a routine that takes a lot of practice. I am looking forward to putting these skills into practice and I really appreciate this new format as your teaching medium as it brings together many skills sets simultaneously. Thank-you and great work!

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Paul, I’m glad you found this useful and I’m also glad you recognise “the ease of long practice”, as my colleague Ray Goodwin would put it. Thanks for your feedback on the format too. Keep in touch and let me know how you progress with implementing these skills.

Warm regards,

Paul

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dOm

Hi Paul, good useful video for those starting out in nature, some very useful tips an tricks. Not as critical as some, but I agree with other posts that the music is not as it could be, but very hard to please all.!! There’s nothing at all wrong with some repetitive beats now and then, separates the wood men from the church mice ;0)
There is nothing wrong with your choice but maybe these can add or help with your next video project. Here is a few artists/albums for you to check out if you want, good ambient music to lay over videos. I’ve produced a few travel videos with tunes over the years and found these useful.
Artist then album,s.

Blue States-Nothing changes under the Sun
Zero 7-Simple Things, &, When it Falls
Dakini-Tribal Matrix
Bombay dub Orchestra-2006(not remixes)
Mountain High 2- various artists compilation cd

Could also consider some ambient elements of Simon Posford and Shpongle….

Should easily get enough from this for upto 2hrs
I used to live by David Lowe( in Malvern Hills) who did a lot of music for Ray Mears & BBC. These are the sort of tunes he’d use in the past but are they are still timeless ;0)
All the best, dOm

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Liam Gadd

Just revisited this video again as I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it again.
This video always makes me envious of the woodland area available to you and always spurs on my enthusiasm for the outdoors.
To a degree watching this video gives me a small dose of the peaceful feeling I get when I am out camping out like that.
It’s enough to satisfy my desire to be outdoors just enough to keep me sain for a time, of course being out there altogether is much more satisfying but this supplies a small dose of that satisfaction perfectly.

Thank you Paul, Paul and Henry for taking time to deliver this film to us!

Much appreciated!

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Frank

Hallo Paul.

Nice piece of work, like other vieuwers, i would say, change the music for something calm ,and add more explanation about what the guys are doing and why, i would like to know, how you handle bugs under a tarp, ( my places always seems infested with them ).
kind regards,

Frank

kind regards

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jack madden

Hello Paul
After some research on the internet it seems apparent it is very hard to find a secluded camp without having to go up north! i am currently living in Surrey and i was just wondering if you would be willing to share any wild camping spots that are within roughly one and a half hours drive from surrey, it would be greatly appreciated if you could possibly share these with me, if not don’t worry and thoroughly enjoying your blog.

kind regards
Jack

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Peter

Hi Paul. Where can I camp in the woods like this. What I mean is do I have to get permission from a governing body like the forestry commission or the local county council if I wanted to camp there the night.

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Paul Kirtley

Hi Peter,

Have a read of the following article on this site. You will find it useful…

http://paulkirtley.co.uk/2014/how-to-find-a-place-to-practice-bushcraft-skills-in-the-uk/

Warm regards,

Paul

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Tom

Wow! what a good film. I am a visual learner and a film like this really implants the skills shown into my head. Thank you Paul.
P.S. I like the music!

best regards,

Tom.

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Ross Tapp

Hi Paul,
Overall I thought the video was great, the only issue I had was around the 29:45 mark as they are trying to get the fire going to start the water boiling the one gentleman is blowing on the embers to get the fire going again, the other gentleman steps in and blows the flames right into the face of the first guy, very dangerous, one person should be doing each task to avoid such situations.
Love your articles, videos and e-mails, keep up the good work.

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Gary

Great Video Paul! However, not meant to disrespect – I was not comfortable listening to the inconsistent and random choice of background music being played – was a slight headache to my ears at times, LOL! The initial instrumental music being played at the start of the show (the first piece) was brilliant! Simply loved it… I thought similar other pieces like that were going to be played throughout the show; but the succeeding music that followed affected the consistent flow – and they were extremely different styles of uncanny pieces being played in contrast to the very first pleasant musical piece with that killer classical guitar solo… I hope this helps in contributing my suggestion for your future vids re the background audio. Just wanting to help with constructive criticism and not the opposite – I meant well… All the best Paul! I will always learn from your Bushcraft Wisdom… Cheers!

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Martin

Hi Paul thanks for the video as usual a very high standard. Sorry I do have 1 bit of feedback and it’s the music. I found it distracting and not easy to listen. I understand it must be very hard to find easy listening music that’s not got copyright coming out of the wazoo so I don’t wish to sound flippant or over critical.
Thanks again
Martin

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Paul Kirtley

Fair enough Martin. Music is a personal choice and it’s always going to be hard to suit everyone.

I did want to try to avoid the usual folksy North American guitar twang music, or something vaguely Celtic with a fiddle in it as both have become a bit of a bushcraft video cliche.

That said – as you rightly suppose – it’s hard to find good music for public use at a price that a production this size can afford.

Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback. I do appreciate it.

Warm regards,

Paul

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