Be Prepared To Forage

I have often found that when you are out in the woods, you can't always find something when you need it. So what I normally recommend is that you should always be looking for those things that you might need later, especially in a survival situation. If you do this all the time then it becomes routine. Even if you are just out hiking or exploring the woods, make it a habit to always be looking out for things that might be useful later, and will become second nature to you.

If you collect resources when you find them and put them in your pocket, pack, or other carrier, you will have them when you need them. There are other times when you purposefully go out foraging. However, sometimes you don't have room in your pockets or pack to collect the items you have found. You need something to collect the items in. This is why I recommend that you carry some type of container that can be used as an addition to your pockets or pack, just for foraging. They don't have to be large, but should provide you with that extra room to carry those items you find, or are collecting. This could be anything from tinder, mullein leaves (for use as Nature's Charmin), wild food and berries, or other type items. Let's take a look at some examples of easily carried foraging containers.

The first is simply a leather pouch that can be carried on your belt, or with shoulder strap. I have a nice pouch that was made for me by a good friend Ryan Davis. I carry a small amount of tinder and fire starting items in it, but there is plenty of room when expanded to carry things I find in the woods.

A simple expanding leather pouch with belt loops or a shoulder strap make a great foraging bag.

Although I carry a small amount of tinder and some fire starting items in the pouch, there is plenty of room for foraging.

Another nice item that can be carried for foraging is called the Mini Rollypoly Dump Pouch made by Maxpedition. When folded up it only measures 3" x 3" x 1-3/4". It can be worn on a belt or just stored in your pack. However, when it is unfolded, it measures 8-1/2" high x 4" in diameter. There is also a loop at the top so you can put a small carabineer through the loop and use it to attach to you pack. It can also be used to carry an extra 32 oz. water bottle. This is a great way to have a foraging bag with you without taking up a lot of room. Maxpedition also has two larger size dump pouches so if you are looking for something larger it is available. I find the mini great for general foraging.

This shows the size of the Maxpedition Mini Rollypoly Dump Pouch when folded up.
This shows the Mini Rollypoly Dump Pouch open with a small carabineer attached to the top loop for connection to a pack.

Another handy item that takes up almost no room in a pack is a mess bag. They come in various sizes and can even be carried in a pocket. But when it comes time to forage, they can hold a considerable amount. I carry one that measures 9" x 12" and can hold a lot of tinder, wild food, or other foraged items.

This shows the size of a 9" x 12" net bag that folds down small enough to carry in your pocket.

A very easy item to carry for foraging are the small plastic bags that you get at the grocery store. They roll up into a very small ball and you can easily carry a half dozen in a very small bag. I carry them in a small 5-1/2" x 7" mess bag. It can be stored anywhere in your pack taking up almost no room. But they are there when you need them.

This shows a half dozen small plastic grocery bags stored in a small mess bag. The bag can be compressed down much smaller.

A handy item for foraging is a foldable belt pouch. This type of pouch can be worn folded up on your belt. When you need it for foraging, you simply unfold it and you now have a forager's pouch. There are various sources for this type of pouch and we offer one at Survival Resources which we have made exclusively for us. Made from Carhartt Mills 12 oz. canvas, it is hand waxed. The pouch measures 5” wide x 4” high x approx. 0.5” thick, when folded up and on your belt. When the pouch is opened, the inside pouch unfolds to a width of 6” wide x 14-3/4” long. A second snap closure allows the pouch to be snapped closed when open. This type of forager's pouch ensures that you always have something with you when you need it.

This shows the Survival Resources Forager's Belt Pouch both closed and open on the belt.

    If you are looking for larger bags to carry a large amount of foraging items, I found a small package of Hefty "Handy Saks," that come in a very small dispenser package. It contains ten 4 Gal. bags that measure 20" x 20". I can't recall where we found them, but I believe it was a dollar store of some type. Again, the actual package takes up very little room but provides you with a lot of foraging ability.

This shows the small package of Hefty "Handy Saks" that holds 10 4 Gal. Bags.

As you can see there are many options for having  something to forage with. It can be a simple as an old pillow case, folded down and stored in your pack. The idea is to have something available to collect items you need or find, especially if your pack is already full. I'm sure there are many other ideas you could come up with.

I also remind everyone to respect the woods. If you do take plastic bags into the woods, be responsible and make sure you bring them back.

We hope you enjoyed this article  and will help support our efforts by checking out our products. As always, Be Prepared To Survive!

Copyright © 2016 by John D. McCann

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