The Woodswalkers Bag

My Playground: Empty, yet Full of Opportunity, to the Horizon and Beyond

Living rurally, as I am currently fortunate to do, affords some great opportunities for the survival/resilience minded person. Foremost is that you can get out in nature and practice woodscraft and survival skills, while you’re still not far from home, thus being free to focus on learning and development. You may also be able to gather edibles, and do some hunting as the season allows, allowing for some financial offsets and tasty variety in your meals. The wilds and woods are a great resource, and having regular access to them is invaluable.
I’ve always been a walker, picking up and walking off into the hinter lands for however long I pleased with some regularity. Of late, I’ve been taking a lot of pleasure in late afternoon walks, sometimes less than a mile, sometimes more than. Always in a casual, meandering fashion. I typically take a .22 rifle, though occasionally a .22 pistol, and a few other possibles. Of course this necessitates a possibles bag. (For these short jaunts, a backpack is sometimes overkill and ruins the spirit of the endeavor; It also makes accessibility while still moving a bit problematic.)

I’ve come to a working solution with a surplus bag and small, often shifting, collection of items which are useful for a meander in the woods. The idea wasn’t to create some ultimate-survivor-bug-out-TEOTWAWKI-shoulder-bag. That is, frankly, stupid. This is not a bag for surviving out of, or for making longer treks or expeditions. Rather this is a bag to get out in the close-at-hand wilds while carrying a few things, for relaxation, learning and perhaps a bit of foraging.

Contents for a Recent Days Wander: Notebook, Ruger Single Six .22LR, Flashlight, Three Knives for Testing, Large Fire Kit & Tinder Samples to Test, Compass to Practice Use (Not Shown: Waterbottle, Trail mix, Camera).

One of the values of walking in the woods, when they are your woods, is that you can keep track of whats going on there-in. Animal habits, what is growing and what isn’t, and the general ecology of your area. If you are a forager or hunter, this is an incredibly good habit to be in. The value of observational opportunities in the wild cannot be overstated; If you are a survival skills practitioner (for fun or true need), you need to know the wilds. For example, observing animal habits; If you have no idea what various critters do, or why, and yet your survival plan includes snaring or trapping for food, you are hosed. Your survival plans and skills across the board will be much stronger for simply observing the wilds routinely. You will find yourself striking upon golden moments of insight, understanding and perhaps innovation that will never come in your house or on the commute.

We spend a lot of time on new, shiny, PALS-covered, gear here at BFE Labs, which is well and good, but there is a place for ratty old canvas slung over your shoulder with a few simple items. You probably already have everything you need to begin making a habit out of wandering in your neck of the woods, and won’t have to sacrifice any of your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd line kit to do it.
The habit of being out, just a little bit every day or a few times every week, does wonders for a person. It is mentally refreshing, and over time contributes to a more complete sense about the wilderness; That intangible something that some people just have. The practice also affords great opportunities for woodscraft practice, working on tracking skill, and hunting or foraging. There are so many reasons to just go walking, take a few items, and indulge in observation and play; Go find out for yourself!

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