Category Archives: Backpacking

Backpacking to Woodhall Spa



Early in the day I had to share the path with a huge number and variety of snails.

Bardney Lock
Bardney Lock


I found a quiet corner just off the path for a substantial lunch – in a cold wind and light drizzle. The poor weather did not continue, it brightened up by the time I reached Kirkstead Bridge.

Southrey public art

Water Rail Way



Coffee when camping

Woodhall Spa Campsite
Gone – Woodhall Spa Campsite

Sunday morning was sunny and bright. I had breakfast with fresh coffee by the lake. Packing away is easy when carrying all the gear, I do not have much with me so it does not take long to pack up.

Ostler’s Plantation

Early morning light

New cooking kit photo – new Alpkit gear

I have added some new Alpkit gear to my lightweight backpacking and camping cook set.

backpacking cooking kit - new Alpkit gear - a titanium mug with a lid and a titanium folding spoon

I have a busy weekend of paperwork for Octagon.

Alpkit gear

However I am going camping in Scotland for Easter – so I took some time off to sort my backpacking cooking kit and make a new annotated photo for the website.

The main changes this year are the new bits of Alpkit kit – a titanium mug with a lid and a titanium folding spoon. This is a bit of kit that when added to the micro sized Alpkit Kraku stove makes a real minimalist cook set.

Alpkit is a great UK company, producing great gear at a reasonable price – we should support them.

Water treatment methods and their effectiveness

Whilst browsing Pinterest this morning I found a excellent document published by the USA government organisation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about water treatment methods. This is a particularly useful, one page pdf description about the ways to treat water when wild camping and their effectiveness against various water borne pathogens.

Water treatment methods

CDC A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment Methods and Sanitation for Backcountry & Travel Use click here to go to the CDC page

a guide for individuals intending to use untreated or poorly treated water as a drinking source

Link to the CDC page – A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment and Sanitation for Backcountry & Travel Use.

More about water – Backpacking water,  bottles and bladders

Camp Coffee

How do I make camp coffee?

Camp coffee – I was asked last night, had I got a recommendation for a “camping gadget” for making fresh camp coffee when hiking or camping? I do have one, but my answer was unexpected. My friend was expecting me to recommend something from GSI or some other ultralight gear manufacturer. Instead I suggested a plastic tea strainer.

Making camp coffee in my Crusader Mug

Here is a photo from a trip to Wales – fresh camp coffee whilst camping on the Welsh coast. I am dripping the coffee into some milk that I have already heated in my steel British Army Crusader mug.

The coffee filter

I use the tea strainer as a coffee filter. It is not as fine as commercial filters but it does a good job – but there will be a few grounds in the final brew.

It is very lightweight, simple to use and pack. It is also far cheaper than the commercial camp/backpacking coffee makers.

I chose a strainer with a plastic mesh because it is easier to pack, as it can be crushed, and it has a finer mesh than the metal models.

How I make camp coffee

I make my camp coffee in two ways:

Make in the pot method

I measure the grounds into cold water and then bring the mixture to almost the boil, stirring occasionally. I leave the coffee to stand for three or four minutes before gently pouring it into a mug through the strainer. I am careful not to stir up the grounds once they have settled. With this method I can make more than one serving of coffee and can make a stronger brew if I want.

Drip method

I pack the coffee into the strainer to cover the mesh and press it down firmly with the back of a spoon. I drip/slowly pour through, nearly boiling water. The strainer holds enough grounds to make one mug of coffee.

This method makes less washing up so is my favourite when wild camping.

Making camp coffee in my MSR titanium mug on the summit of The Old Man of Coniston
Early morning coffee on the summit of The Old Man of Coniston – read the full story here.

My “coffee maker” is an essential part of my backpacking and camping cooking gear and I use it on most trips. I bought mine a few years ago and it cost 20p at the time. Asda and The Range sell suitable tea strainers, today, at about 50p. I’d recommend anyone to try one out before spending more money on a coffee gadget.

There are other coffee makers on the market!

Jeremy and I saw this portable coffee maker when we were in Truro last year. Click this link to read the blog post.

Fresh Coffee Update

To make packing easier I have cut the handle down on the tea strainer – see the story here.

Fresh coffe - summer 2016
Breakfast in bed – Scotland August 2016

Walking and Camping

I am backpacking today from outside Horncastle to the Camping and Caravan Club site near Woodhall Spa.

It is not a very long walk so I have one or two bits of extra gear with me as the pack weight is not critical. I have a 10Ah power supply for my iphone as I plan to watch a couple of videos tonight. I have a Chicken Chow Mein microwave meal with me so I have packed my larger Alpkit MiTiMug to cook it in as well as bringing my smaller titanium mug/cook pot.

For a change the weather is perfect – so I have packed extra water and one of my bottles contains an electrolyte drink.

Star Wars Wild Camping trip to Black Combe – Lake District

Black Combe Wild Camping

This wild camping trip had been planned for months – the only issue was we chose the time over the Bank Holiday weekend when the weather was not splendid! However even with the wet, we had a great weekend.

Wild Camping Black Combe
The Lake District from Black Combe – click on the above image for a larger version

The route and site we chose for this camping trip was one I had checked out last January and it did not disappoint.

There was a suitable parking spot reasonably nearby – with a short walk from there to the start of the path, some care has to be taken as there is not footpath and the road is narrow. There is a car park at the actual start of the path, which is much safer for both the walker and the car driver, but unfortunately the local parish council prefers to see it empty overnight.

Wild Camping - Black Combe

The view on the way up.

Black Combe Wild Camping

The first look at the trig point on the summit of Black Combe.

Black Combe

We found an excellent area to camp, over from the trig point towards the edge of the summit.

Wild Camping Black Combe

From here we had great views across to the summits of the Lake District.

Wild Camping - Black Combe

Wild Camping

click on the above image for a larger version

However once we had taken some time to photograph the view and get a group shot at the trig point it started to spot with rain. This rain became heavier and the visibility dropped to a couple of hundred meters. We each retreated to our one man tents for the evening – conversation was then shouting at each other.

The visibility was no better at sunrise.

Food and Water

As I had to carry all my water up with me for this wild camping trip, I chose my menu so it needed no water in the preparation. All the water I had with me was used for drinks or hygiene. I had planned to take up 2l of water but at the last moment I added an extra 500ml bottle of water to which I added two SiS soluble electrolyte tablets. I am glad I did this as I used this drink on the way up. I made a much faster pace to the summit than the other two, with barely a stop and only one quick photo opportunity. They on the other hand took the much more sensible way up with plenty of rests and photo stops. When I got to the summit I was very hot and I needed the extra water/electrolyte drink.

For my evening meal I made spicy sardine sandwiches with the Warburtons Brown Sandwich Thins which was a great success, I shall use this bread again. It comes pre-sliced which is convenient but even better it resists the inevitable crushing that food suffers in the backpack. However my crackers and breakfast biscuits did not survive so well when Richard turned my pack upside down.

Alpkit Kraku Stove

I needed the wind shield for the stove because of the wind

Even in the flapping, windy conditions it was quite safe to boil water for my drinks in the porch of my MSR Hubba tent.

POP tarts and breakfast biscuits make an easy, filling breakfast with fresh coffee and tea. It is something I can prepare whilst still in my sleeping enjoying the view! The only thing to improve on my menu was the bacon bap Richard cooked and brought over to me in the morning, complete with Heinz tomato ketchup.

Two litres of water was enough for this trip – I had planned to have six hot drinks and some water for the walking. This worked out and included using a little water to clean my spoon, pocket knife, plastic mug and teeth. I also used KFC wipes and anti-bacterial hand cleaner for my hands and face.

Star Wars Day

After breakfast we packed away and left no trace of where we camped – inspecting the site carefully for wind blown litter or “lost” kit.

Heading back to the car on Star Wars Day – the visibility only improved once we were below 300m

Other posts about this wild camping trip:


Forest walk

Cream Tea


Backpacking gear I packed for the weekend

Food for the weekend