Doing it on foot – a guest blog

We’re lucky enough at Pegs and Pitches to have many returning campers. Some have been coming for years and we really do love to see the familiar names and faces. Simon and Heather in particular have been camping at Beech Estate Campsite for some time and even visited us five times in the last season! So when it comes to camping and camping kit, we’d say they’re pretty expert on the subject.

Simon and Heather only camp with what they can carry on their backs and often get asked lots of questions about how they do it and the camping kit they use. This back to basics style of camping isn’t for everyone, but for those with an interest in bushcraft and camping through each season, their handy blog could really come in useful.

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DOING IT ON FOOT: a bushcraft-style approach to camping

Bushcraft camping kit - our first windbreak

Basic philosophy:

We adore camping at the Beech Estate. It is peaceful, beautiful, simple and de-stressing. But, as neither of us drive, we can only take what we can carry on our backs. Counter-intuitively, this has proved tremendously liberating for our camping adventures. Our camping kit enables us to extend the scope and ambition of our trips for comfortable, extended duration camps from early Spring through to late Autumn. So, if you would like to reduce your carbon footprint, repurpose natural sustainable items using a few simple tools to enhance your comfort, and improve your physical and cognitive fitness, then here’s how we do it.

Our principles:
  1. Make something to improve your pitch.
  2. Leave no trace. When you no longer need a structure, disassemble it and return the natural materials to where you found them.
  3. Where possible take pieces of camping kit that have dual uses.
  4. For essential camping kit, work on the basis that ‘two is one and one is none’ to allow for failure/loss etc.
Our gear:
The bag:

90l Virtus Mark 3 rucksack. As current British army issue, it’s the most well-designed, rugged and user-friendly backpack we have found. Plus, it only weighs 2.6kg.

The tents:

Our main tents are the Cardova 1 by the Danish company Grand Canyon. The Cardova 1 is popular in Europe but rare in the UK. It has a 3000 HH, stands 110cm tall and weighs 2.2kg. The original plan was for us both to have our own tent but, after a close encounter with deer one night, we use one for sleeping and one for stores. Our winter tent is a Force 10 Erebus 3+. We also carry an Andes lightweight tarpaulin to set up a shelter or to protect the firepit from rain.

Sleep system:

We each have a Snugpack travelpak2 sleeping bag, an inflatable mat and pillow by Free Symbol (Wild Earth offer an equivalent) and an efficient thermal reflective undermat by Grand Canyon (Yellowstone have an alternative). For cooler camps we add a wobbly, sorry woobie / army poncho liner as a blanket for extra warmth.


Our Lesfit folding camp stools weigh 250g each and work well for our ageing knees. We added a folding table this year. The stools fit inside the rucksack.The table is carried externally with one of the tents. We stash a small foam kneeling pad in one rucksack.


We each carry a candling kit comprising a tent light, a 200 lumen Petzl tikka headlamp, a handheld torch, spare batteries and tealights for our bushcraft lamps.

Fire kit and fuel:

One of us carries the fire kit, the other carries the fuel. The fire kit contains: three cigarette lighters with an additional one in the other rucksack, waterproofed matches, two ferro rods, a few firelighters, half-a-dozen non-applicator tampons (unravel them to make fantastic fire-starters with no petrol smell!), and a
pocket Spitfire bellows to breathe life into errant fires. We take 3x200ml bioethanol gel packs (eg Firedragon or Vango) and at least 16 hexamine tablets – one tablet boils water for half a pint of tea.


With one 2-quart billy can, we each have a set of mess tins, knife/fork/spoon unit, a firedragon stove and several sheets of tin foil. Between us, we also carry a can opener, a teabag squeezer (as tongs for the bacon) and washing up stuff. Our 1-quart GI canteens are our water carriers, doubling as hot-water-bottles. The 1 pint canteen cup can be used on the stoves or fire. We bring one Jolmo stove, a cheap grill rack and a water-to-go bottle that filters water from any source.


Nightwear in waterproof stuffsacks, a complete change of clothes plus extra socks, a fleece, thermal base layer, waterproofs, a packable lightweight padded jacket and an MFH poncho apiece.


We both carry a 125ft reel of Atwood Microcord in a high-vis colour to use for a clothes line, the tarp, etc.


We take a small wash kit and a Bodhi large microfibre towel each.


For bushcrafting, we each have a Mora companion 860mg knife which also does duty in the camp kitchen. We carry a Fiskars X7 axe to process firewood along with a mini Lansky knife/axe sharpener.


We put together 1lb per person per day food packs that comprise hot drinks, snacks and three meals a day. Our favourite dehydrated meals are the MX3 Adventure Foods (cheaper than most and used in French military rations). Our menu is supplemented by local purchase of fresh milk, bread, eggs, and bacon. Did I mention beer? That’s for Simon!


Repair kit, a book each, a compass and local OS map, powerbanks to recharge an ipod, two phones and an e-cigarette, first aid camping kit including personal meds and an Israeli bandage apiece in case of unimaginable axe-related trauma, a washcloth to dry wet flysheets/protect the tarp from sharp poles etc and two drawstring gymbags as waterproof daysacks for offsite adventuring.

Total weight per person:

38lb. Cost at the time of purchase: approx. £500 per person

Carrying one rucksack apiece into camp gives you an immense sense of satisfaction. Are you up for the challenge?

Heather & Simon
Disclaimer: We are agenda-free. Links are given for further information only, not for our personal profit. We have purchased all our kit from our own resources at the best prices we could find.

For your chance to try out camping in the beautiful 600 acre woodland of Beech Estate Campsite in Sussex, just click book now at the top of the page to check availability


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Coronavirus Update

Based on Government guidance we have opened both Beech Estate and Wild Boar Wood Campsites on July 4th, 2020. *** Please note any new bookings made after July 6th, 2020 until further notice, that are unable to commence due to Government guidance regarding COVID-19, will be offered credit notes for 18 months. This applies to booking made directly on our website only. ***