I'm a wee bit late in getting these photos and write-up posted. I also need to get my photos and field notes posted under the Out There section from the recent trips to Peru, Paraguay, and South Africa. Es tut mir leid. I've been slammed with ankle-biters at work and family things since returning. Anyway, I'll get this up and will have some things put together for Out There ASAP.
Here are some photos of what I used in the Bushveld. Some things remained the same from what I carried in the jungle down in Peru. After all, the need for particular pieces of kit in different austere environments is often universal. Not necessarily a standard list like the proverbial "10 essentials", but rather different things that I have come to rely on and feel adamant about having along. Some of which are items that I hope I won't need, but take as anti-Murphy items. Hope these pics serve as catalysts to help others here on the HPG Forum with dialing in their own kit! As always, questions and comments are welcome. Sláinte!
Without further ado:
I carried my hybrid HPG C20M pack that I modified into a sort-of Umlindi on steroids. Among the other items shown below in the photos, I also carried my small Magpul DAKA pouch with some OTC meds and such. I paired it with a Palspocket & Prairie Belt. I also had my coyote Tara along, which was used for short trips from our lodging at Ou Kraal in Rotavi Game Reserve, but I left it at the lodge during our long bush trek and overnight camp. My coyote Recon Kit Bag was on me almost every single moment out in the bush, and when it wasn't, it was usually within arm's reach. I kept a RATS tourniquet attached to the bottom, along with a Quik Clot inside. I also had my maps, Sony RX100 camera, Garmin Foretrex 401, Suunto Global Compass, Lightning Strike Firestarter & Multitasker (in HSGI Pistol Tacos attached to the front), a small tin of Überfire, signal kit, tracker cards, pen/pencil, and a few other odds & ends inside it. I also had a survival kit and trauma IFAK in the pouches mounted to the Tarainsert, which rode in the Palspocket, along with an extra wide SAM splint. A Pencott Badlands pattern pack cover was used on the pack and actually functioned nicely as a sacrificial cover for my Crazy Creek Hexlite chair. The other Badlands pouches break up the pack well. Inside the pouches were things like bug juice and sunscreen, a minor 1st aid kit, snacks, TP, my Kestrel, and Leupold Rangefinder, etc. I also carried my Delorme inReach Explorer in a HSGI Taco pouch on the Prairie Belt. This camo pattern really disappears in the bush.
My sleep system consisted of my DIY Hypalon ground tarp (which also was ready to pull double-duty as a litter), a Thermarest roll-up pillow, Klymit Recon XL sleeping pad, Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo tent, Mountain Serape, and my aforementioned Crazy Creek Hexlite chair...which was not absolutely necessary, but a welcome bit of comfort after a long day humping over rocky hills and dense bush terrain. The Hypalon ground tarp, while kind of heavy at 2 lbs, was instrumental in keeping acacia thorns from puncturing my tent floor, my sleeping pad, and me.
The tools I carried (aside from the Multitasker on my RKB) included my trusty DIY alpenstöck (with shovel attachment), a length of cordage and carabiner, and my two new (and awesome) knives given to me by Anton Du Plessis (owner of Askari Knives, tracker, and anti-poaching operator). The Askari Knives Recce (left) and the Bush (right) models performed flawlessly. Great hard-use tools, to be sure. I feel honored to have been given them. The Recce model is a commemorative design in honor of the South African Special Forces Recce Wing.....the predecessors were the infamous 32 Battalion from the Bush War years.
Water purifiers like the Rapid Pure Pioneer straw and the tried and true First Need XLE Elite were essential. I left the First Need back at the lodge during our overnight bush trek and naviagtion exercise. If water procurement would have been necessary, the small Rapid Pure unit would have been more than adequate, since it can be set up as a gravity feed system to yield gallons of water. We used both systems with perfect success in the classic African water holes. No "butt-rumblies" at all! I also carried a pair of low-profile lid "Ranger Canteens" that an old Unit buddy of mine has developed. They worked great, as did the two Hydroflasks. Cooking duties were once again performed by my Solo Stove. I continue to be impressed with this kit....fuel for it can be found globally, whether it's alcohol for the burner or simply found wood. It's very efficient. Things were so dry in the bush, I was able to just process down a bunch of junk wood, add a bit of dry tinder to the top, and set it ablaze. 8-10 minutes later and I had a full pot of boiling water for my Ramen, tuna, and after-supper coffee.
A couple other tools I took along came in handy. The Kestrel helped me determine wind direction and speed to make sure we weren't spooking game animals with our scent and noise, and also that we weren't sending our scent in the direction of predators (which we probably were, regardless). It also let me take a look at any weather that might head our way. The Leupold 650 Range Finder helped us with route finding during our bush trek, with just enough magnification to spot some critters, too.
For clothing, I wore a Cabela's Safari shirt, with UF Pro Badlands pants, Aku Pilgrim boots (outstanding footwear), Turtleskin Snake Gaiters (thank God I didn't have to test them), Leo Köhler Badlands KSK Smock, and a Helikon-Tex Badlands Boonie hat. The smock was for the evening hours around camp. In my pack I had dry socks, a First Spear long sleeve Field T-Shirt, and even my HPG Wind Cheater. I changed into those and then slept in the dry socks, FS shirt and HPG Wind Cheater inside my Mountain Serape. Temps were in the high 70s to mid 80s in the day, but dropped into the low 40s at night. Having the extra layers on under my serape helped a lot.
Some other daily-wear clothing I used was this bush shirt and bush pants called the SORD Field Uniform. Very comfortable and durable. I also wore Crye G3 Field Pants a lot during the trip, along with different safari shirts and t-shirts. Cotton and cotton-poly blends were nice in the hot/dry arid environment.
Although these items may have fallen out of favor among some, I still find that a travel photojournalist vest (the classic "Shoot Me First Vest" in other countries/missions), and a wide-brimmed bush hat to be very useful and make good sense for such trips. The vest came in mighty handy for times when I wasn't wearing my Kit Bag. The hat definitely warded off the sun's rays. In places like Africa, this kind of clothing really doesn't stick out at all. Many people use them, including locals.