A basic,affordable bush kit for under $100.00.
I have been looking at the issue of a low cost decent kit set up for
some time,and recent discussions about gear for younger members has
made me organize some of my material.
An earlier thread on my homemade hammock,using a sheet, is located
The sheet was about $14.00, and a sleeping pad was about $10.00.The
iron rings and paracord to bind the ends were another $4.00, and the
rope to sling it about $2.00.
Total cost for this was about $ 30.00.
A wool blanket, Italian military , was about $12.00, and is all that
is needed for most of the spring, summer and fall. (This was one of
the infamous CTD blankets, strong with moth ball odor. A few days of
sunning cured most of the odor.)
I recently made a lightweight tarp, using another cotton sheet and
silicone water proofing spray. The sheet ($14.00), Silicone Spray
($8.00). Tie clamps (4/ $2.00) and paracord ($1.00) came to about
$ 25.00 total.
(An even cheaper alternative is one of the infamous blue plastic tarps
from the hardware store-currently about $5.00 for an 8x10'. These are
going to be heavier and noisier, but more completly waterproof, at
least while new.)
A water bottle I made from a 2 liter soda bottle, using a paracord
sling , effective cost zero.
A soda can lantern with a couple of candles provides a bit of after
dark light source. (Zero$)
A food bag from the surplus store was $1.00, and can carry the
baggies with flour, rice, oatmeal, jerky,and corn flour. It also
has a baggie with tea bags, instant coffee, bouillon cubes, salt,
pepper, and sugar. This is an easy overnight to 3 day food supply.
I have a coffee can billy for boiling water, and use it to contain
ziplock with matches, cotton balls, a char tin with char cloth, and
a pair of cheap channell lock pliers from the pawn shop, used as a
pot holder handle. A carved spoon and kuksa and a tin cup scavenged
from the kitchen with a fork complete the culinary gear. (Allow
$2.00 for the pliers.)
(A coffee can stove, or an alcohol stove made from a soda can could
be added for cooking where campfires are limited or wood unavailable.)
A Mora knife - about $10-11.00 is the main camp tool needed.
Currently I have a Swiss pattern camo poncho, cost about $6.00 when
bought, but is now up to about $12.00,at CTD.
Food Bag/Pliers-----$ 3.00
This is not a luxury rig, but I think it covers about all the basic
needs for a decent camp experience.
Add appropriate winter clothing, a sleeping bag, and an ax or heavy
chopper, and it would handle most all weather in my region. Colder
climates would need more for winter camping, but for 2/3 of the year,
this is a useable camp set up.
It can all be rolled up in the hammock and blanket to make a blanket
roll for carrying, with the water bottle slung over the other
[Note:This was rolled to go in the back of the blazer- shorter and fatter than a carry roll.]
Even allowing for the cost of the food items taken from kitchen
supplies, this is about a $100.00 investment. Nicer gear is great,
but if you have a budget limit, this should help in getting to go
I have tried to limit this to items that I thought were important to
a basic camp. I have tried not to get into the myriad of neat project
ideas that _can_ be made, when the basics are covered.
Now, knowing this group, I am sure there will be some good wrinkles
brought forward that I did not think of. Lets all work on making this
thread a resource for this kind of low cost useable equipment, for
making sure no one misses the fun due to lack of ready cash.
[Edited to add: The sheets, blanket, etc can often be found at a Goodwill
or second hand shop cheaper than what I show here. Look around for
bargains and salvage/ scavengable materials, and you could do a lot more
with less. This setup takes _very_ little skill- no sewing, advanced metal
work, etc. Even I could do it <g>. ]