Bushcraft pouches are used to organize your bushcraft gear, otherwise known as a bushcraft kit.
People will have a large rucksack that holds all of their gear but then use various size pouches to hold task specific gear. Task specific gear is usually related to subsections of bushcraft. For example, you may have a first aid kit, fire kit and cooking kit that are all in separate pouches to keep them together.
Bushcrafters will often make a specialized pouch that holds tinder. Tinder is dry material that can be easily ignited and will help you start your fire.
Some more complex bushcraft pouches will have multiple pockets and can be used to organize gear into those small pockets, yet are part of a larger kit. This can be nice versus individual pouches because it keeps things together so you aren’t digging through each pouch. Having assigned pockets for specific gear helps keep things better organized.
What are bushcraft pouches made from?
Bushcraft pouches can be made from many different materials. Really you can use just about any different type of fabric or leather. The most common is canvas made of nylon or cotton for durability and ease to sew through the fabric with a sewing machine. This will also make your individual bushcraft pouches easier to make.
Leather has often been used as well, but are more restricted in their size due to weight being an issue when it comes time to carry them.
Personally, I use a mix of leather, canvas and nylon pouches to help store my bushcraft kit.
The best bushcraft pouches are more than a container for your gear, they also help to organize it. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that any pouch is made from durable material and has enough room in each pocket. This allows everything to fit nicely inside, without lots of extra space or jammed so full, making it hard to get individual items out of the pouch.
How Do You Make Bushcraft Pouches?
Like anything else, there are a few different ways to go about making your bushcraft pouches. Some can be hand sewn, while others you can make out of one piece of material with a cinch cord at the top.
The most common way however is to take a piece of material and sew it into one long bag.
Lets look at making a nylon stuff sack.
Nylon Stuff Sacks/Pouches
Potential Materials Needed:
2) Cord for a draw string (static cord or shock cord)
3) Cord lock
4) Thread – polyester is the best
5) Sewing needle (or sewing machine)
6) Fabric for the cord channel reinforcement
Step #1 – Select Your Nylon
One of the most common types of nylon is ripstop nylon. Ripstop nylon has threads that run through the nylon with the theory that if a small hole develops it won’t travel through the whole pouch as easy, often limiting the size of any holes.
The drawback to this type of nylon is that it’s typically not as water resistant and can’t be dyed.
Ripstop nylon is produced in a wide range of weights and textures. The weights and textures of ripstop can also vary widely from a soft silk-like material to a more crisp one that feels like a paper shopping bag.
Some ripstop nylon can be water resistant if it has a polyurethane coating, or other water resistant coating. Some of these coatings will wear off over time. Also make note that when you are sewing on this type fabric the holes from the sewing needle can puncture the waterproof coating so you may need to use seam tape if you want to maintain the water resistance of the pouch.
I recommend that you use a medium weight ripstop nylon. I also like to make sure the fabric is not shiny because it can be slippery and hard to hold onto. This type of material can snag easily on twigs or other objects in your environment when bushcrafting.
Step #2 – Select Your Draw String Cordage
The draw string is what holds the pouch closed, so it is important to get this step right. You will need an appropriate length piece of cordage and the most important thing to note is that, like mentioned above, with your fabric choice for this project it’s best not to use a shiny or slippery material because you can’t grip onto them when trying to open and close your pouch.
If you decide to go with static cord a good choice is paracord because it has many different colors and is made of nylon. This type of cordage will not stretch and can be separated in an emergency situation if you need to use the inner strands for extra cordage. The outer part of the paracord is fairly grippy making a great choice for this project because you don’t want your pouch to end up opening at unintended times.
The other option is a shock cord, which is like a small bungie cord that can stretch. Personally, I do not like shock cord because it is slippery and can make the pouch hard to open. The shock cord can wear out over time and stretch, losing its elasticity and hold ability.
Therefore, I recommend paracord and would only use shock cord if that is all you have on hand, but it’s up to you what type you prefer or already own.
Step #3 – Make A Pattern & Cut Your Material
Creating a pattern is important so you can get a general idea of the shape of the stuff sack without risking cutting your fabric wrong. I like to use cheap felt material to get the general shape down, but you can use about anything (even newspaper) as long as you can cut it out. I will then use the pattern to get a general idea of how much fabric is needed for my project.
Make sure that your material has enough space or overlap in case there are any mistakes on cutting, so nothing gets wasted and everything goes smoothly! The dimensions need not be exact since adjustments could happen as needed when you use the pattern to cut the final piece of fabric.
To figure out the dimensions to cut, you need a couple of different measurements. The first is from one side edge across your fabric width and down its length (A) plus half an inch for seam allowance on each end.
If you find a pattern that works especially well, make sure to save it for future stuff sack projects.
This is an example of a very good pattern: The dimensions are 15 inches by 24.75 inches or 38cm x 63cm and it can be used for various sizes because the seam allowance will adjust depending on your needs (I cut my fabric to 17″x29″).
Step #4 – Cut out the cord channel reinforcement fabric
This will go over top the cord and the stuff sack fabric. The reinforcement fabric is a little more durable than nylon fabric and will help your stuff sack last longer.
Step #5 – Sew Your Stuff Sack
This step is better described via video. Watch the sewing portion of this video which is similar to what I do and a good starting point.
Once you have the channel sewed you can feed your cordage through the channel, attach your cord lock and knot the cordage which will keep everything secure.
In conclusion, this is a simple stuff sack you can use for a bushcraft pouch. You can get creative and change up the design as your sewing skills improve.
I hope that this tutorial has helped inspire your own project. Feel free to reach out and send me pictures of your bushcraft pouch projects.