Was talking with a class yesterday and was asked– “What do I really need to go out and spend a night or two in the woods and not carry a bunch of stuff. I want to go bare minimum and learn to deal with harsh conditions.”
I always advise safety first- especially with those new to learning survival and bushcraft. This is why starting out on day trips and setting up a sit-spot or in our working language a comfort zone and spending four to eight hours learning different aspects of gear and gaining experience is best for beginners. Becoming proficient with fire, water procurement, learning what equipment and clothing you need and how to best use it, and building your mental toughness to endure various conditions will help the new guy (or gal) in the woods.
The basics are pretty simple and I will cover a bargain basement bushcraft set up later but for now what we teach in our survival training is:
- Something to cover and create a micro-climate like a tarp and sleeping bag or wool blankets
- Something to carry water in and to boil water for purification
- Something to cut wood, cordage, etc like a full tanged knife
- Something to get a fire going
- Something to tie up your tarp with
These items are the minimum to provide Food, Fire, Water, and Shelter. Everything else is for comfort and consumption.