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Cool kit [or my 7 favourite most used outdoor items]

So I will begin by saying that I am definitely not sponsored by anyone so these opinions are my own and come from experience of being outside with groups or my family most days throughout the year in all weathers.

I don't have a giant budget so most of these items will be the best I can buy for the most reasonable price.

They are chosen for their versatility, most items are suitable for days trips, picnics or camping and microadventures for families or groups.

I have to do a lot of kit carrying and kit organisation. We often take everything we need to the site and unlike other outdoor groups we don't have an enormous set up of forest furniture or shelters waiting for us. So then after all that moving of kit and gear for whole classes or groups, when it's a family trip out I don't want to carry anything at all! This means that I have tried and tested lots of different approaches to taking as little as possible with us. I like to keep it minimal while still being pleasant and fun. There are definitely a couple more posts that could be written about the best camping kit or what's great on a microadventure or even cool kit that is just cool but not as essential or as affordable. This is a list written to help you get some basic stuff together that will be used in lots of different situations and get you out of your front door more often.

1. Kelly kettle or Storm Kettle

A super cool bit of kit that enables you to boil water for your brew or your lunch with whatever fuel you find around you [or on very wet days cheat a bit and take some with you]. This gives you the joy of lighting a small fire and the benefit of very quick boiling water. They are light and come with a bag to carry them in but would not really be great for back packing as they are quite large and would take up a lot of space in your pack. We often use these for drinks and food in our groups especially during wet weather. When a campfire might struggle to get going in the rain a kelly kettle means the fire is largely protected by the kettle. You can also buy extra additions so that you can cook a small quantity of food on top of the kettle or an added grill so that you can use the heat of the fire once the kettle has boiled. I have these extras and rarely use them. The attachment at the top makes the already top heavy kettle even more risky in my view but maybe useful for maximising the energy from one fire in certain situations. All children in my groups learn to use the kelly kettle. It does take practice though as there are key things to learn about how to use it safely.

2. Spork

Probably an outdoor essential. One item of cutlery is all you need. We go through a lot of sporks at home and in our groups. They are brillant but do tend to break and snap easily so now we use spork cases as well. You can even upgrade to a titanium spork if you are posh!

3. Hammock

So this is one of our favourite items for all occasions, days out, group sessions, adults, kids, good and bad weather, camping, microadventures or your garden. We use DD scout hammocks they are pretty basic, cheap and totally fine for most u.k. jobs that you need it for. Useful for off ground storage, sitting off of the ground on a walk or camping. You could upgrade in many different ways especially if you may require a bug net. Easy to put up, packs away easily in a small bag and fairly light. It is one of the items on the list that is practical and fun. We love them.

4. Brew kit

A really important addition to your all purpose kit. Morale in a bag! Mine is a dry bag with a waterproof tin containing tea bags of various kinds, hot chocolate and coffee sachets, sugar sachets and sometimes sachets or tiny cartons of uht milk. We have a Jet boil permanently in this kit but it could equally be a fold away primus or other small gas powered stove. There are also a couple of mugs and cups for the people you know you may need to cater for. Great for all occasions again, camping, groups sessions and keeping staff happy, family walks or days out, and I think, a microadventure essential.

5. Jet Boil

A seriously cool bit of kit. I love this. I use it in all situations usually as part of the brew kit but it's also become an essential on our microadventures for cooking some simple breakfast. It's basically a very small, compact system for boiling water rapidly. It doesn't always boil as quickly as it claims due to varied conditions but that's just nit picking to be honest because it's hard to beat. It all fits in to what is essentially almost a travel mug sized container. We manage to get 3 drinks out of each boil and as it boils so quickly I will happily use this for larger groups as well. It's useful on large group walks and even in sessions when we may also have a fire but I don't want to add a large camp kettle to the kit we need to carry. There are different types on offer and attachments to make them useful for more than just boiling water. On one microadventure we did use it for cooking beans in and I'm sure you could use it for other food stuff if you don't mind washing up.

6. Enamel mug

A cheap but great bit of kit for general outdoor use. Obviously for your cup of tea but also great for most outdoorsy food. Noodles, porridge, cous cous, cereal, soup. stew. pasta, whatever. Even chips turn up in them in trendy cafes. As it's metal and conducts heat nicely it's also a pretty important bit of kit for wintery outdoorsing. A warm drink or hot food does wonders for flagging motivation and morale. You can abuse them and they won't smash or crack or tear. They can chip and then the cheaper speckled types are prone to rust and don't do well in the dishwasher, so I now avoid the speckled blue and black ones. You can of course also get really nice designs and slogans for all types of outdoor people. We use these so that we don't need plates or bowls as well.

7. Waterproof trousers

These aren't just for biblical downpours but are also useful for camping, microadventures, walks, picnics etc. The obvious benefit is that they keep you dry in the rain but we use them even on dry days for when the ground is damp. It enables you to sit and cook or make something or just rest on the ground almost like an in built tarp. The most useful types will have buttons or zips up the sides so that you can get them off over big walking boots, vent or get to pockets underneath. In this case you do get what you pay for. Cheap waterproofs, particularly for kids are most often not really water proof and even sitting on dewy grass on a nice day will still get them a wet bum!

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