Inspired by ‘Building a Discount Bushcraft Kit’ (originally by Dave Canterbury), in order to challenge ourselves to think outside the box (and the outdoor stores) and put our knowledge to the test.
Last couple of years we tested and perfected our kit in multiple and divers camping and bushcraft trips. At the beginning of this year we decided that we were ready to kick it up a notch: To build a camping/survival kit using only Ikea products within a budget of €50,- and putting those products to the test. Yes, this also included some batoning with an Ikea knife!
We will give you a sneak peak in all of our preparations (including the Ikea shopping trip). Show you our Ikea Survival Challenge – with lots of pictures. And in the end we will sum up exactly what we learned on the trip – and tell you if there are any Ikea products that made it into our normal kit!
A disclaimer beforehand, please always use your head. Challenges are fun and educational, but you should never put your health in danger. We kept our normal gear within reach all the time.
Doing Ikea shopping, suddenly became fun. Make sure you’ve got your Family card ready for some free coffee/tea and affordable breakfast! While you are at it, think about the things you can use for your trip (free packages of sugar, wooden stirrers, toilet paper).
As the urban legend goes, Ikea does not sell matches or lighters. Let’s say, that one is busted!
Ikea does sell some really fine knives! In order to stay within the budget we chose not to buy the full tang version. As you can imagine we were too tempted to leave the ‘Gynnsam’ behind, so we bought it to test another time.
Wrapping a few of your bought items will provide you with some extra rope and tinder!
The Ikea survival kit did include (left to right, top to bottom):
Frakta tarp (€5.99), Frakta rope (€0.99), free lashing rope from the Ikea parking, Hylta matches (€1.99), wrapped Duktig cooking set (found at kids department, wrapped in brown paper €9.99), Frakta bag (for a hand truck, €2.99), Vinter blanket (in discount €9.99), Korken glass bottle (€1.19), Ändlig kitchen cleaver (€4,99), Vörda chefs knive (€5.99), Dagligen block candle (€0.79), two Tekla dishclothes (€0.78), and a bag Trygghet bandages (€0.99) and some freebies you can find in the Ikea jungle (paper tape, pencils, toilet paper – just as in nature, only take what you need! You don’t want to make your local Ikea go bankrupt.). Not pictured: Ordning stainless steel drainer (€1.79).
Total damage: €48.46
In the choices of items we were led by Dave Canterbury’s ‘Five C’s of Survival’ and the extended ‘Ten C’s of Survival’ lists. These provide a sufficient overview of essential tools to have with you in a (wilderness) survival situation. The first five C’s are:
1. Cutting tool – The knives make an excellent cutting tool. Ikea does sell saws (for baseboards), but once they get dull, they can’t be sharpened (which is the case with knives). In our opinion the best knife, is the one that you carry with you (and as survival clichés go: one is none, and two is one..).
4. Container – Meaning, something to store and cook things in. The Duktig cooking set has got four stainless steel items which can be used for cooking and storing. The glass bottle is ideal for storing some extra water.
The second five C’s are:
6. Candle – We opted for a large unscented block candle. Not only does it provide light and warmth, paraffine is also really good fire starter!
7. Cotton – The two dishtowels can be used to make charcloth, filter water or as a bandage. In the near future we will make a separate post on making char and filtering water using towels.
The following C’s were not fulfilled in this budget challenge:
8. Compass. 9. Cargo tape. 10. Canvas needles.
A personal addition were the Trygghet bandages. Which came in handy (this challenge did involve some blood at one point…).
The Ikea Survival Trip – with lots of pictures!
In the week prior to our challenge, we checked out the weather forecast. The report was typical Dutch winter weather: Windy with some rain, with temperatures ranging between 0ºC(32ºF) – 7ºC (44ºF). The cold weather made us decide to bring an extra Ikea addition with us, a leftover piece of floor insulation (somewhat as a large emergency blanket). To get the ‘full Ikea experience’ we even got some Ikea food for the trip.
The first thing we did when we arrived at our location – a forest with broad-leaved trees and conifers, and without a doubt, super friable soil – was setting up camp.
The extra insulation, normally used underneath Ikea flooring.
Truckers hitch – and the bright blue Ikea tarp. It was impossible to lose sight of our base camp, so if you ever need to be highly visible, Ikea blue is definitely the way to go!
Even the free lashing came in handy! We also tried using the lashing as a wick, but the material wasn’t as flammable as we hoped for.
Base camp is set!
The Ikea Ändlig knife in the wild. Ikea kitchen supplies look kinda out of place in the woods, but they did work (sorta).
Collecting wood for the fire. A good preparation makes half the fire!
Shaving the wood helps to expose the dry core of the wood, which makes a better fuel for the fire.
Using the Dagligen candle to dry the wood, prior to starting the fire. A candle is such an overlooked item for your kit, not only does it provided lots of light and a bit of warmth, is it a perfect tool for drying kindling as well.
Using Ikea paper as a fire starter and shaving to start up the hobo stove (Ikea drainer). This Ikea drainer is a much used (or must I say, abused) ‘bushcraft’ Ikea item.
With the fire going, it is time to make some tea. Whether it is hot or cold outside, staying hydrated is essential for survival. Your body absorbs fluids the best from a lukewarm source, and the warmth helps your body to remain its core temperature.
Using the Duktig cooking set and the Ikea drainer. Look at that rolling boil! Always make sure to boil your water long enough, if your are using the heat to make water safe to drink.
Tea and chocolate as a reward – and using the remaining heat to dry some branches. Chocolate is a good source of sugar (quick releasing carbohydrates) and fat. Out in the cold you will need both of those -next to a source of slow carbs and protein- to keep your body fueled and warm.
The Ikea bright blue tarp was impossible not to find in the woods. So we soon gave up on our lousy job trying to cover it.
When we say we will put it to the test, we put it to the test. Batoning with an Ikea knife. We were amazed and impressed that it worked, it even made its way though a gnarl – once or twice, then it got crooked and dent. The knife was clearly not designed for this purpose, the blade is too thin and the corner facing the handle, is a mean and nasty one (hence the cut on a previous picture). Please never use your kitchen gear for heavy duty work like this, unless you have no other choice.
The night.. can feel like a psychological hurdle you have to take. Though sleeping under an Ikea tarp isn’t so much different from sleeping under a DD tarp, it sure can feel so much more insecure. From our point of view there are two things that will get you trough any night: The right clothes and the right mindset.
With the right clothes you can stay warm and comfortable enough in most conditions. There are exceptions in hostile environments, such as the dessert. So know whatever place you are heading. A wool hat and mittens/gloves, will minimize heat-los, and will form a barrier with the rest of your clothing against creepy crawlers. Whenever you are out and about, one thing you can be sure of: insects. This trip we got the company of three larges beetles (which did make a more impressive sound, than that they actually were). In the Netherlands we hardly have any dangerous insects, spiders, snakes, but if this is the case in your area, make sure you always take the right precautions. Your clothes protect you from the wind and rain, and form a barrier to minimize insect encounters: Seamlessly joined boots/shoes, trousers, a shirt, jacket, a scarf, mittens and a hat. Tuck in your clothes to give crawlers no chance to sneak in.
The right mindset is the bigger challenge. We are so used to the warmth and cover that our houses (and tents) give us, that sleeping without, can leave you feeling exposed and uncomfortable. Even when there is no physiological need to seek shelter, psychologically it gives us a feeling of (in)security. The best way of coping with incommodious feeling of being exposed, is holding onto the right mindset. Take the night step by step and get in a relaxed state without losing your sharpness (such as through meditation or breathing exercises). Don’t expect to sleep eight hours straight (you are not a machine with a on/off button), but be content with every bit of sleep you get. Observe what is really happening and how you feel: When you can stay warm and dry, and aren’t experiencing pain right now, there is no need to feel anxious. Techniques you can use for this are Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and mindfulness (we will explore this topic in depth anytime soon in another blogpost).
How hard it may seem, try to enjoy the moment you are in. If you can not fall asleep, don’t beat yourself up, but get up: Walk, do some exercises, lite a candle, meditate, hum, take some time to reflect, relax, breath. And whenever you feel like it, lay down again, close your eyes and give sleeping another shot. Just as in meditation (and life itself), your succes is not measured by the result (how much sleep you get), but in the effort you did put in, how often you did try.
A cup of coffee as a reward for surviving the night (and drying wood at the same time).That looks good, doesn’t it?!
Snacks and breakfast – and slowly falling out of character. There is no blame, Esee knives are just right on point! Dutchies reading this, look at the name of the cookies.
Making sure we left this beautiful forest just as we found it.
What we did learn using only Ikea products
The biggest moment of realization we had on the Ikea trip was:
Whether you have all the gear you’d wish for, or absolutely nothing, the biggest treat to your survival, is you.
The right mindset is the key to your survival. If you are feeling nervous or anxious, you will likely not see the chances your situation gives you. This will even go so far as you forgetting about the useful stuff that you do have with you. There are stories about people who got lost and starved to dead, they were found next to their backpacks full of food.
The Ikea products that made it into our kit
Believe it, or not, there where a few Ikea items that preformed so well, the made it to our camping/bushcraft/survival kit.
Have your own Ikea Challenge
Wow! You did make it to the end! Thank you so much for sharing our adventure. If you feel inspired, have your own Ikea Challenge – and let us know how it went in the comment section below. Feel free to share your opinion or knowledge with us and other readers. Your input is much appreciated.
The photographer had an easy job this time..
With this being our first challenge, and the photographer being a bit of a pussy, we decided to take the challenge one person at a time. One doing the actual work, the other one taking pictures (while sleeping with the comfort of a sleeping bag and tent). But do not worry, next time the roles will be reversed! As we speak, we are planning an Action (which is in some sort a Dutch version of Walmart) Survival Challenge.
This trip and post was in no way affiliated with Ikea.
And guys, again, please don’t be a fool, use your head! Safety always comes first.