Inside a Possible Possibles Pouch
Bushcrafters fancy themselves on the ability to transform nature’s resources into what is needed in the field. Wood, stone and bone can be transformed into digging, grinding, cooking and other necessities for bush life. The idea of bushcraft is simple, minimize the impact on the environment living with nature as opposed to against it. While I consider myself one who adheres to this philosophy of leave no trace, less is more and working smarter not harder, I’m not a fool when it comes to preparation. I know it is far easier to carry certain items than make them in the field. Aside from the bushcraft blade, a common fixture on the belt is the possibles pouch and inside are the provisions more convenient and easier to carry than making on the fly in the field. Why is it called a “possibles pouch?” Well, there are endless possible combinations of kit even the most traditional bushcrafter will want on his side.
Option 1: Frequent Use Gear
I remember reading an outdoorsman, upon returning home, should unpack his gear in front of two boxes. One box should be used to hold gear he uses and the other gear he doesn’t. The next time he goes out, he should pack the contents of the “used” box first and decide what else he really needs after. The same principle can apply to a possibles pouch. Some gear is used frequently in the outdoors. A multi-tool, a BIC lighter, a small penlight, there are other items surely to be carried in less accessible areas on your person under heavy clothing perhaps but the frequent use items are carried in the possibles pouch. The possibles pouch makes reaching this gear convenient. Also, depending on what is carried, the possibles pouch will provide more protection against moisture or accidental damage than in a pants pocket next to the skin that might be sweaty.
Option 2: Tool Maintenance Gear
A true bushcrafter uses his tools. By use, I mean more than taking pictures of a nicely made blade stuck in a tree with a fire as the backdrop (you know someone who does this). With enough use, a cutting tool will become dull or less than adequately sharp. Adequate is subjective as I have some friends that are not satisfied unless their edge can shave the last vestige of hair on their arm, leg or...somewhere unmentionable. A possibles pouch is the perfect size container to hold the gear necessary to remove rust, sharpen and protect your blades. 00 or 000 steel wool can be used to remove light surface rust and it will double as a fire starter when mixed with the positive and negative ends of a battery or when it catches the spark from flint and steel. A Rust Eraser stick can also be carried for very quick touch ups. Various stones of different coarseness can be carried to sharpen your scandi grind or patches of wet/dry sandpaper and a wooden backed leather strop pad will easily maintain your convex edges. Once your edges are cleaned and sharpened, oil can be carried to protect the blade from rust. The oil can also be used as fuel to get a fire going in a pinch too.
Option 3: First-Aid and Trauma
Assuming you aren’t that guy who just sticks his knife in a tree for a hipster photo op, you likely use your blade. With use, there is always the possibility of getting small nicks and cuts on your hands from accidentally meeting the edge. Also, since many bushcraft tasks are done with the assistance of fire (sealing paracord ends, fire hardening digging sticks, cooking, etc), it is wise to carry some basic first-aid items on you. The possibles pouch is the perfect location to carry bandages, anti-biotic ointment, some gauze, maybe some meds, whatever you can fit and carry without hassle. Since bushcraft often involves tools that cut deep, like machetes, axes and bow saws, it is also a good idea to carry a trauma bandage of sorts and a tourniquet if you are trained in how to use one. I make it a point to carry surgical grade “super glue” called “Dermabond” as it is very effective at closing wounds.Whether you elect to carry an elastic bandage, a military cravat, C.A.T. Tourniquet or another means of stopping the flow of blood, make sure you keep this item at the very top of your kit to eliminate the need to dig for it. Reduce the steps necessary to access it and improve your response time. As always, don’t carry equipment you haven’t practiced with otherwise you are only kidding yourself and don’t care about your personal health and safety.
Option 4: ???
This option is entirely up to you. The possibles pouch is called “possibles” because there are so many possible options of what you carry in it. You can elect to carry some of each option listed above or make up a contents list all of your own. You may find your possibles pouch is an excellent way to carry your standard pocket gear when you are in the field or it may just be used to hold your cell phone. If you are a hunter, you can use your possibles pouch to hold spare ammunition, cleaning supplies and trail marking tape/tacks. You can use your possibles pouch to hold snacks and water additives for the trail or use it to hold dog treats and doo-doo bags when you are out with your pooch.If you are an edible plants enthusiast and enjoy gathering, you can use your possibles pouch to hold brown paper bags (plastic bags turn green leaves brown because they can’t breathe), a folding shovel and a pruning blade. Again, there are so many options of what you can carry in a simple leather, canvas or nylon pouch attached to your belt. The possibilities are endless. What will you fill yours with?