Living in the bush Infantry style part 1
Ok guys. This will be a series of posts about living in the bush I really thought was common knowledge. Apparently it has been lost to time because I see posts online asking how to do this or that, and what gear to bring where.
This is not that hard, but its not camping at the Hyatt either.
It breaks down to some very basic subjects
In all 3 areas you need a way to heat water. Why do you need to heat water to sleep you ask? Because a hot drink right before bed raises your core temp and allows falling asleep faster. Just don’t caffeine yourself to the point of insomnia.
So lets look at options for heating water
First look at containers and associated gear.
You need a pot, can or something to hold enough water to use for drinking, heating rations and washing. I’ve used a 32 oz Juice can, a coffee can , and a couple different sized pots with bailed handles. Canteen cups, and similar are the same idea.
I will stay with the idea you have a source of water available and you are able to filter or purify it before introducing it to your container. I will go into why in a minute.
If you haven’t read about my choice of filters and why I chose it go here
If you are in an area where you get water from melting snow, you of course need a larger pot than where I live. If you are melting snow, you must place the pot near your heat source, not directly on it, until a small amount of water forms in the bottom of the pot.
If you don’t, the pot will burn, your water will eventually taste like burned popcorn from the heat not transferring to the the snow efficiently and melting it. Snow is a great insulator, add or make sure there is at least some water under the snow to transfer heat and melt it.
A pot larger than you think you need is much better than too small. You dont have to fill it to heat enough for a cup of coffee. Its more efficient to heat a larger amount than 2 cups full of smaller .
In related common sense tips here, do not attempt to heat water in a double wall insulated mug like the Snow peak mug.
It wont work, trust me.
Before you choose your container, you have to decide what your techniques for eating will be. Yes, there are really different ways to eat in the bush.
The least desirable is to dump your food into your pot and heat. Open a can or pouch and have at it. That’s all good, but remember you have to wash your pot with something after. Doing dishes in the bush is a PITA. You need to heat water, again, then scrub the pot out. Not very efficient at all, and a good way to get food poisoning if you don’t get the pot clean.
If you are starting with raw foods this might be the only option, use at last resort.
If you are using or may use canned goods, you need a pot large enough the cans will fit in. Do not open the can, just fill the pot with water, drop in the can and boil the water. The can will heat very effectively and you can fish it out when its ready. It doesn’t take very long to work. Some like to use the water for a hot drink after heating the can, I don’t. I will use it to wash my spoon and cup after if needed.
A variation-heat water first, dump enough in your cup for your hot drink, then add the can to the hot water-don’t open it.
Remove the labels before heating, so you don’t have a mess of wet paper in your pot
The list of advantages in this method are obvious and are why I lean towards canned goods.
The first, you can use any container which will hold water to do it as long as you wipe off the water, before opening the can after heating. Draining a radiator works for this. Yes, it does, and using an oil sump to hold the hot water works to drain the radiator into.
Is is smart? Nope, but it works. Clean off the can before you open it, is an absolute here. Or keep the water level level below the lip of the can and use care opening it with your P-38.
Don’t allow water to get on the top, and don’t get any in the food. Common sense, and care rules here.
Another advantage- you have to move quickly? Kick over the pot, grab the unopened can and drop in a pocket, then grab your pot and move.
You can heat more than 1 item in the same pot, don’t open the cans until warm and you can pack in as many as will fit. A small group can save time and effort doing it this way. This saves water as well.
DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO BOIL DRY- the cans will explode. I know this as a fact, so take my word here. It is like putting an un opened can in a fire. Bad idea.
There are small single serve meals in aluminum containers, have a foam exterior and a pull top, which fit perfectly in a 32 oz juice can both to carry and heat. Drop 1 in the can, fill with water and heat. Works great, its fast and just like a regular can don’t let it boil dry.
You can also heat canned goods by opening the lid partially to make a handle, and place the can near, not on, a heat source.
MRE type meals can be heated in both these ways, either in hot water or careful application of a heat source. A dash board heater or engine compartment of a vehicle works well, but you have to watch it so it doesn’t burst. Of course if they come with heaters this is a non issue.
Heat water, dump in the pouch and eat out of the pouch, use the leftover water for a hot drink and to wash your spoon.
Advantage- this is easy. Fast and efficient. Downsides are, once there’s water in the pouch, moving is not easy without spilling.
If you buy in bulk they are cheaper as well. And lighter so more can be carried over time in a pack or bag.
Water and adding contaminated water to your container
This should be a no brainer.
Don’t add dirty water to your containers you heat food in. Filter it first, then if you need to boil it do it after.
In this same category is don’t use the rag you wash yourself with in the same pot as water you eat. Pour water on the rag, don’t dip it.
Common sense but easy to make a mistake.
There are a few methods obviously.
The first is build a fire. Get it going and heat your water. I don’t like this particular method in most cases, its not very fast and it leaves a large foot print if you are trying to be tactical. I hate that word but it describes the situation well.
These are pretty easy to carry, very light weight. Don’t bother buying specific fuels for them. HEAT at the local gas station is pure alcohol, just get a few bottles of that and call it good.
Disadvantages- its burning or it isn’t. Not a lot of control of the flame, and you have to carry fuel. Get over it, they work.
Heat Tab Burners- These are pretty awesome stoves , there are a pile of different models. What amounts to just a pan to hold the heat tab and pot supports. Ultra light and easy. Heat tabs are great fire starters as well when your hands are shaking.
Biggest hitch to these? You have to keep buying heat tabs and they aren’t always easy to find.
Multi Fuel Stoves- The CADILLAC of multi liquid fuel stoves is also the stove in my emergency go to war bag
The MSR-XGK EX
Stop looking for stoves and get on with life, done!!!
I deployed 3 times with one of these and its still going. Ive used it for over 25 years. I’ve bought the spare parts kit and rebuilt it from the stock XGK purchased 25 years ago, and its still the best thing in a multi fuel stove. No it didn’t need rebuilding, but after a few times into the deployment world you kind of want things to work. Hence the rebuild for my own mental well being.
Pre heating the atomizer- read the instructions dummy, you can have an accident with this one. Its not a stove for a girly boy, grow a pair before getting near it. In fact, being near it might grow you a pair just being there.
The T levels in you should go up just looking at the pictures, it is so awesome.
In your squad, if everyone carries a 1 qt bottle of fuel, you can siphon it from anything burning petroleum, you are set for most operations. A quart of gasoline will run it for easily a week heating water for a group. They run great and I love mine.
Gas stoves-These are simple and light. Downsides are you have to carry a fuel canister that is pressurized gas. But if all in your group carry 1 you are set for a decent length of time out off the pavement. There really isn’t a lot to these, screw them on the fuel bottle and pull the igniter lever.
Other types- These are combinations. You can burn solid fuel like sticks as well as heat tabs. I don’t like them as much as the other types because they get hot, need assembly every time you want to use them, don’t break down fast for moving and aren’t self contained for long term.
Keeping Clean-Being nasty is not an attribute. Skin conditions, rashes, just general pain from chafing and ruck sores from webbing and packs are not fun at all. I used to carry a rag, but I learned if you buy the cheap, unscented, unmedicated wet wipes and splash some warm water on them, you can take a decent field bath. Powder your feet, and any areas that chafe or get rashes.
Life is truly good when nothing hurts, at least the things preventable.
This has turned into a long post, so I will leave the Sleeping portion to part 2
This is The Quiet Survivalists guide to Living in the Bush Infantry style part 1