#AskPaulKirtley Episode 56 – Fire Reflectors, Sleep Rotation, Tarp Set-Ups & Kit Weight, Plants As Insect Repellents and Healing Agents

#AskPaulKirtley Episode 56 – Fire Reflectors, Sleep Rotation, Tarp Set-Ups & Kit Weight, Plants As Insect Repellents and Healing Agents

Paul Kirtley delivering AskPaulKirtley episode 56

In this episode of #AskPaulKirtley I answer questions about what plant can be used for midge repellent in the UK, processing horse’s hoof fungus, tarp set-ups, kit weights and load outs, sleep rotation for fire watches, the efficacy of Platago major as a healing agent vs yarrow, as well as having a bit of a rant about fire reflectors…

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Links For This Episode of #AskPaulKirtley

The Paul Kirtley Podcast

Bog Myrtle As Insect Repellent

How To Deal With Creepy Crawlies When Camping

Bog Myrtle Balm

The Frontier Bushcraft Blog

The Easy Way to Use Fomes Fomentarius as Tinder

A Bushcraft Camping Outfit – Equipment for Living in the Woods

How To Pack A Bushcraft Camping Outfit

Surviving A Winter’s Night in the Northern Forest: How To Build An Arctic Lean-To

Arctic Lean-To Revisited

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Leave me a comment below. Let me know what you think of this episode. I read every one.

But remember if you want to ask a question for a future episode, don’t do this in the comments below, do it in one of the ways explained HERE.

What Is #AskPaulKirtley?

#AskPaulKirtley is my Q&A video and podcast series that aims to answer your questions about bushcraft, survival skills and outdoor life.

The idea here is partly to take the strain off my email inbox and get answers out to people in a more timely fashion.

Rather than send an answer to just that one person, I’d like others to benefit from the answers too. So, just in the same way I’d previously write an email answer, here I’m going to speak the answer (which is much quicker than me typing out an answer, so I’ll get more questions answered as well as benefiting more people).

Click here to find out the different ways you can ask me a question.

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog:

The River Crake Canoe Caper

Lightening The Load pt 1 – Tarp & Bivvy Sleep Systems

Lightweight Tarp And Bivvy Set-Up

Do Tarps Keep You Dry In The Rain?


16 thoughts on “#AskPaulKirtley Episode 56 – Fire Reflectors, Sleep Rotation, Tarp Set-Ups & Kit Weight, Plants As Insect Repellents and Healing Agents

  1. Dear Paul,

    Do you ever run courses in the North West or even Yorkshire or the Lake District?

    I am considering attending a basic 2 day course with my son (age 14), but the South West is too far to travel.


    Paul Walmsley

    1. Hi Paul,

      At present, we only run our weekend courses at our Sussex site but we may extend to a northern venue too.

      Warm regards,


  2. Another great episode paul,thanks for answering my question.Had a great time on the elementary wilderness bushcraft coarse which you ran at frontier bushcraft.i highly recommend it to anyone that wants to excel at bushcraft skills.thanks again.

  3. You’ve made some really good points about fire and tarps. I still like to play around with various ideas with pitching a tarp, some better than others but none-the-less, my own take on it.
    Thanks again for an excellent Q & A episode.


  4. Hi Paul
    You make a lot of sense as usual. I really appreciated your in-put about keeping fires alight during sleep periods. As an older man I wake up a lot through the night so fire no issue. Yes drying wood and kindling/tender important on an on-going basis! Keep up the great work you do-appreciate the videos and photos of UK wild lands and flora.
    Kind Regards
    Jim Pacific NW

  5. Thank you for your comment about that stupid video wave about fire reflection walls! Of course a double lean to construction or a laavvu or Sami kotta offers a heated room. But a Garden Fence in such a distance is idiotic! The only reason can be to hide the fire. But the second lean to is faster done, especially if it is constructed in a V-angle with the closed side against the wind a good option.

    Your jacket interests me, the waffel structure looks light and warm under a cotton ore Goretex outer layer. Who is producing it?
    Best Regards

  6. Really enjoyed this podcast , very interesting and some good info. Good to have a rant now and again ..

  7. Firstly, your reaction to that jogger… My goodness, you crack me up… 😉

    This subject of the stupid garden fence (a fan of this terminology now as well) has made me wonder what your view might be on the method of hanging plastic sheeting (6mm thick) along the front of a shelter and weighting it down about two feet from the fire? Some people online (indeed, on Youtube ) have claimed it serves to draw heat into the shelter whilst keeping the smoke at bay. I have built two adjoined lean-tos with a nearly 90 degree angle between them, and have considered employing this “technique” to see if it works…

    I see that this particular Ask Paul piece is already somewhat dated, and I will be even more grateful if you manage to find this question and let me know where your line is drawn in the sand on this particular subject.

    Thank you for this and for your fantastic videos! I am now eagerly tracking my way backward through the archives. 😉

    1. Hi again Jennifer, I’m glad you like the attitude and the terminology. Quick question on the plastic sheeting – where are you going to get the sheeting from?

      As another point on putting plastic in between you and the fire to keep the smoke at bay, when the conditions are truly cold, the size of fire combined with how close you need to be to it in order to benefit from the radiant heat (NB inverse square law) would mean the plastic is likely to melt.

      Check the articles on this site on lean-tos in the boreal as well as long-log fires. I’m note sure how the plastic would fit into this equation when a lean-to and fire combo is really needed to be relied upon for outdoor safety/survival as opposed to playing around in the woods.

      That being said, have a play with it. I am a firm believer in being open minded and experimenting.

      Finally, depsite my somewhat rhetorical question about where the plastic sheet is going to come from, if you are going to pack plastic sheeting with you, perhaps consider building a Mors super-shelter, which is very efficient thermally.

      Hope this helps delineate some of my thinking.

      Warm regards,


      PS I hope I continue to crack you up in other episodes, even if they are dated 😉

  8. Thank you kindly, Paul! It seems I may never finish my cedar rail fence, as it’s becoming something of a “tradition,” if you will, to build a new shelter each year. Mors looks like a great idea for next year! 😉

    To answer your question, though somewhat rhetorical, I have vapour barrier remaining from home renovations… I hadn’t thought of it melting, but certainly planned to test it several times over before giving sleeping out a go. 😉

    I found the long log fire article last year, and will look for the lean-to articles as well. Our snow has been stolen from us by a recent warm front and rain, so I will prioritize making our fire pit larger before the ground freezes once more.

    Thank you again! It is doubtless I’ll find many more occasions to have a good laugh at some parts of your videos. I’m quite grateful that you don’t edit your personality out of them. 🙂

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