INTERMEDIATE BUSHCRAFT GEAR
I personally think that as your bushcraft progresses, so does your knowledge of nature and how you can utilise it more to your advantage. This means that technically as your skills and knowledge develop, the less gear you need to carry on you. However, as this section is based on what I would feel is an "intermediate" level of Bushcraft, there are certain items in your kit that you may wish to upgrade. As an intermediate, you are probably starting to look at doing solo overnight camps and perhaps multiple day camps in the wild. It is important that you have adequate gear to make this a more comfortable experience. Some items may remain the same, in fact, you could be a complete expert at Bushcraft and not have to use any gear at all. But as stated in the previous "beginner" page, this section of the website is more focused on your "budget" and not just your skills set. The following "upgrades" may not be available on Amazon as some are quite specialist.
By now I am guessing that you have a sound knowledge of basic knife skills. You will have used your knife frequently and whilst the knife has served you incredibly well, you might start thinking about upgrading it to something a little more specific to your needs. Remember, a knife really is just a sharp piece of metal, it's how you use it that is important. However, if you have been using a basic Mora knife, you might be looking at upgrading to a Bushcraft knife with a wood handle (or scales). These wood handles are often patterned, and intricately shaped. The blade itself might be made of a more expensive material, and the knife might have the addition of fibre liners and detailed file-work etc. For me a good knife upgrade without breaking the bank is the TBS Boar, or the Lars Falt Casstrom Knife. Both knives are fairly similar in design. Full metal tang, 3.5mm/4mm blade thickness, Bohler K720 Steel (02 Steel), although there is the option of a stainless steel TBS knife. Both knives have a scandi-grind too. They both retail at a similar price. HOWEVER, Mora have now stepped up to the full tang knife market, and have released their full tang carbon (or stainless steel) Mora Garberg. This is certainly one of the best quality knives you can get for the price. It's hardcore heavy duty and durable, yet can still do the intricate Bushcraft tasks with that scandi grind. It won't put you out of pocket too much too!
MORA GARBERG (UK)
MORA GARBERG (US)
TBS BOAR (Only available on TBS Website - Click Image)
CASSTROM BUSHCRAFT KNIFE (US)
If you are looking at upgrading your beginner knife, you're probably looking at upgrading your small hatchet/axe. Generally speaking, bushcrafters favour the scandinavian axes such as Gransfors Bruks, Hultafors, Husqvarna etc. But there are other good US and German axe companies out there too. It really is just a case of personal preference and what you need it for. Probably the best and most-renowned axes out there are Gransfors Bruks. With the Small Forest Axe probably being the most popular. However, as I have said previously, it all depends on what you are needing an axe for. If you are not felling trees or you are just looking to do small tasks then a hatchet is better suited. I personally still use a hatchet most of the time, even on multiple overnighters. I like the fact that it is compact and less burdensome. Either way, the Gransfors Small Forest Axe is certainly an upgrade, however, it does come with a more expensive price tag. The Hultafors Small Forest Axe is very similar to the Gransfors Small Forest Axe.
HULTAFORS OUTDOOR SMALL FOREST AXE (UK)
GRANSFORS BRUKS SMALL FOREST AXE (US)
At this point you probably have arms like Popeye. Whilst the small folding Bahco Laplander saw is great for beginners, it really doesn't cut it when it comes to cold weather overnighters where you need plenty of firewood. It's probably time for an upgrade! But you don't necessarily need to get yourself a bigger saw. You just need something that is compact, strong and has sharp, durable teeth. In this case you can't really go wrong with Silky Saws. The Silky Gomboy is probably the most suited to Bushcraft and travelling light etc.
SILKY GOMBOY (UK)
SILKY GOMBOY (US)
By now you might be looking into doing overnighters or multiple day trips. Whilst the basic tarps are useful, over time they deteriorate as they are general tarps and not bushcraft specific tarps. For years I have used a DD 3x3 metre tarp. I genuinely believe in DD as a brand. They make top quality tarps and hammocks and these two combine really well. I don't just string the tarp above my hammock, sometimes I will go out into the woods and make a shelter/tent from the tarp. They are incredibly versatile, compact and useful pieces of kit for bushcraft.
DD 3x3 METRE TARP (UK)
DD 3x3 METRE TARP (US)
If you are not a fan of doing overnighters on the forest floor, then you might want to try hammock camping. People have a love/hate relationship with hammocks. Some people will always use a hammock, as it really helps their back. But others hate them, as it actually does the opposite! Either way, the benefit of hammock camping is that you can setup a level place to pitch even on the steepest of slopes. However, the disadvantage is that you need to be in an area where there are trees.... Personally I use the frontline hammock by DD, as it has a mosquito net built into it, which is great for the summer months. Below are a few links to the one that I use in my videos.
DD FRONTLINE HAMMOCK (UK)
DD FRONTLINE HAMMOCK (US)
Backpacks are very much a personal thing. There are so many on the market and it really is down to what suits your needs. However, the upgrade in backpack now, is not so much for quality and cost, but more for size. At this stage I imagine that you are starting to do some overnighters, perhaps multiple day trips. For this you will need a bigger backpack to carry more gear, especially in winter. I personally use anything from a 40L-60L backpack for overnighters. Mostly just a 40L suits me fine. Again, it depends on the type of trip that you are doing and what gear you are planning to bring with you.
SNUGPAK STAMINA 40L PACK (UK)
SNUGPAK ENDURANCE 40L PACK (US)
Whilst paracord is great for most tasks, in my opinion it is not the best cordage out there. I think the best all-round cordage is bank line, although the downside is that it's more expensive. It good for making traps, holding large weights and it knots really well.
If you are considering doing overnighters, or perhaps getting out in the woods in the winter months when it gets dark early, then you'll need a headlamp in your kit. I personally use the Thrunite TH20 and have done for years. It's a high quality and compact headlamp. I like the simplicity of it. It has a max output of 520 Lumens, has a built in SOS signalling mode and weighs just 96 grams. You can adjust the brightness too, to save battery.
I regularly use a billy can to boil water and cook with. The 10cm Zebra billy is my go to for this task as it is small and compact, and being made of good quality stainless steel it is built to last. You can cook all manner of food in it, from rice and pasta, to soups and stews. I've even poached an egg in one by putting it in the small tin lid that sits just on top of the billy can. It's a great piece of kit that should last you a lifetime.
10CM ZEBRA BILLY (UK)
10CM ZEBRA BILLY (US)
Remember, you can still get by on cheap bushcraft gear. You really don't have to spend much money. I am merely showing you some of the gear that I have used and how I have upgraded it as my skill set has progressed. I am also being considerate of those of you who are on a budget. You can build up the quality of your gear over time, it does not have to happen overnight. The next section focuses on advanced gear. Now I say advanced gear, but really it is focusing on the high end gear that is built to last. Much of it is similar to the intermediate level, but the items are very Bushcraft specific and generally better quality.