Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Appleberry/apple berry.

Appleberry fruits were valued as an Australian bush food for Australian aborigines as well as new settlers. Appleberry is a bush climber with slender stems and narrow (linear-lanceolate) dark green leaves. It flowers profusely from August to January with a mass of tubular greenish-yellow flowers which give way to shiny green, then purple sausage shaped berries.

The flowers attracts honey eaters, and the fruit when ripe has a mealy texture and a pleasant apple flavour with just a hint of aniseed. Appleberries do not ripen until they have fallen from the vine, the ripe fruit are collected from the ground below the plant. Not only are they difficult to spot amongst the undergrowth, they also feature in the diet of many bush inhabitants, and the collector faces strong competition for ripe fruit.

The Aboriginal people had an ingenuous way of preventing the loss of the fruit by picking them while they were still green and hard on the vine, and roasting them over hot coals.


Billardiera scandens, commonly known as the Appleberry, Snotberry or Apple Dumpling, is an evergreen climbing plant. It is a common and widespread species of the eastern states of Australia.

The species is an evergreen sprawling groundcover or climber, with wiry, red to brown-grey stems up to 3 metres long. In an open position the form may take that of a small shrub to 1.5 m high. The shoot tips are very hairy, with a fine white fringe.
Pendulous bell-shaped flowers develop on the end of stems or on short branchlets in spring and summer. These 1-2 cm long flowers are borne on slender stalks, singly or in groups of 2-3. Each flower has five bright yellow-cream petals that tinge with purple as the flower ages. The petal tips reflex as the flower opens.

Flowers may persist on the plant as the first fruit develop. An oblong berry, 2 cm long and 1 cm wide forms in summer. The fleshy green and purple fruit turns yellow when ripe. Fruit may be eaten raw when it has fallen to the ground, or roasted if still green. The skin is hairy and similar to peach and the sweet astringent flavour similar to kiwifruit.

The hairy leaves are narrowly oval, mid green, 0.5 cm wide and 5 cm long. The leaves have a wavy, sometimes recurved margin. The underside of the leaf is pale-green and silky.

Tolerance of a range of conditions and a climbing but not invasive habit make this plant a useful addition to any garden. Billardiera scandens is suitable as a climber over other plants or as an attractive potted, hanging basket or rockery specimen. Planted under Eucalyptus, cultivated Billardiera scandens can thrive under conditions challenging for most garden plants. Honeyeaters are attracted to the nectar.

There are other types & colours of Appleberry, but this is the type that grows here in Wychwood Forest.

Cumbungi, for food & cordage & more.

Cumbungi/cattail/bulrush grows in many parts of Australia, America, England & Europe, so again is worthy of note. A good supply of this plant will keep you fed year round.

"As well as the rhizome, the young shoots which appear in the spring and the raw young flower-stalks were also eaten (Beveridge 1883, 36, and 1889, 20; Robinson 1840, 996), and the bases of the mature shoots and leaves always remain soft and edible.

Two main methods of cooking are recorded--roasting in the ashes, or steaming in an earth oven. Mitchell, on the Lachlan River, described roasting as follows (1839, vol 2, 53, 60, 384):
The natives gather the roots and carry them on their heads in great bundles

within a piece of net ... The root is taken in lengths of 8-10 in., they

peel off the outer rind, lay it a little before the fire, then twist and

loosen the fibres, when a quantity of gluten, exactly resembling wheaten

flour, may be shaken out. This gluten they call balyan.

Notice that the less-productive outer cortex was discarded before cooking. Although Mitchell described it first as cooked by being laid on the fire, later, starting down the Murrumbidgee from the Lachlan junction, he described `lofty mounds of burnt clay or ashes ... [in which] the balyan is prepared' (1839, 80-81). On the lower Murray River, the rhizomes were cooked on a heap of limestone which had been heated by fire, with another layer of heated stones and wet grass laid over the top, the whole then enclosed in a mound of sand (Angas 1847b, 85). Krefft (1865, 361), on the middle Murray, said it was harvested probably in late summer, and lived on for several months. It was cooked in a hole in the ground, and was carried about as provisions. Beveridge, at Tyntynder, on the Murray River below Swan Hill, remarked that more of it could have been used, but `it requires considerable labor to dig'; he indicated that it was cooked in an earth oven using balls of clay as heat retainers and gave a detailed description of how the oven was made. A hole, 3 feet in diameter and 18 inches deep, was dug by the women. Any pieces of clay about the size of cricket balls were placed to one side. The hole was swept out with grass or boughs, and filled with firewood, which was then set alight with the clay balls on top. When the fire had died down, the clay balls were removed with two sticks used as tongs, and the ashes were swept out. The hole was lined with moistened grass on which the rhizomes were placed, more moistened grass was used as a cover, and the baked clay nodules placed on top. The whole was then covered with earth until the food was cooked (Beveridge 1889, 19). Mounds still remaining on the flood-plain are full of these baked clay balls (Coutts et al 1979, 60, 69; Frankel 1991, 74-82) and were certainly cooking sites for Cumbungi and other foods. The action of earth ovens is to steam the food, and is an efficient way of cooking for a group. The technique was subject to minor variations (see Browne, in Finnis 1966, 42, for example). J Mathew, on the Murrumbidgee River, described very large earth ovens holding `half a ton' of rhizomes, prepared for large gatherings of people:
A hole of circular outline 3-4ft deep and 15-20ft across was made. The roots were placed in the centre on a pile of dry wood. On the surface
strewn layers of long grass and light sticks. The fire was lit and the excavated earth returned as a covering. The time for cooking might be several days. When done, water was poured on the oven to cool it. (Mathew1899, 91)
After cooking, the practice was to strip off the cortex, chew the central part of the rhizome to remove the starch, and to spit out the fibres, which could then be retained for making string.
In the Brisbane area, the rhizomes appear to have been chewed raw; the fibre was discarded (Petrie 1904, 92). In southern Western Australia, the rhizomes were cleaned and pounded between flat stones into a paste, presumably to break up the fibre, and then made into a cake and baked (Grey 1841, vol 2, 291; Moore 1884, 81). Morris (1943, 169) said that the pollen was used for food in Victoria, but gave no reference. It is certainly produced copiously. In New Zealand, the Maori ate the pollen, made into cakes or gruel, and also the centres of the rhizomes and the young leaves (Crowe 1981, 107-08"http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3326/is_1_1999/ai_n28742509/pg_7/

Cattail Pond in Wychwood Forest where I live.

This plant is also note worthy for its use as thatching & matting for shelter use inside & out.

Native Australian Useful Plants. NSW.

I will be featuring useful native plants that grow in my area of New England NSW. Most of the information on Australian edible plants is based on the Northern Territory, & therefore is of no use to those of us in colder areas.
The Xanthorrhoea can be found though in all parts of Australia in various forms, so it is a good plant to take note of. I have heaps of these growing in my forest here near Armidale NSW.

The grass tree/black boy/yacca/Kangaroo tail. NOTE: A very similar plant known as yucca grows in America.

A traditional Aboriginal favourite

Grass trees were a 'staple' plant for the aborigines, providing food, drink, fibre and materials for making implements and weapons.
Food and drink

As a food source, the white, tender sections of leaf bases, the growing points of stem and succulent roots were all eaten regularly. The removal of the growing point was rare as it destroyed the plant altogether. The seeds were collected and ground into a flour to provide dough for cooking a type of damper, within the ashes of a wattle wood fire.
They frequently dug out edible grubs found at the base of the trunk. The grub's presence could be detected by the observing the dead leaves in the centre of the grass tree crown.

Small sweet pockets of honey could also be extracted from the carpenter bee's cellular nests, which were often bored in the soft pith of the flower stalk.
To wash this down, the nectar from the flower could be extracted by soaking it in water filled bark troughs, to produce a thick sweet drink. A citric flavoured alcoholic brew could be made from fermenting the nectar over 3 to 5 days. An extra tang was added to the brew by crushing a few 'formic' ants into the beverage.

Although not specifically a plant for fibre it was very useful in crafting of aboriginal tools. The light straight flower stalk served as a butt-piece for spears. A tip section of tea tree would then be attached to the end of the spear and hardened in the fire before used for hunting.
Mainland Aboriginals used pieces of very dry flower stalk for making fire with a drilling stick.
The leaves produce a hard waterproof resin, which could be collected from the base of the trunk. This resin melts when wanned, but sets hard when cold. It had a number of uses including;
  • Forming glue by mixing it with charcoal, beeswax or fine sand and dust.
  • Gluing the cement stone heads to wooden handles and spears to shafts and tips.
  • Waterproofing bark canoes and water carrying vessels.
The versatility of this resin in the every day lives of the aborigines, made it a valuable trading item and was traded amongst tribes for other important collectables.

Lost In The Australian Bush? Beware of sounds!

When lost in the bush it is always a good idea to listen for sounds of habitation or people. Car engines & chainsaws for instance may lead you to safety. But beware of imitations!

Of The Traveling Of The Indians. Robert Beverley 1722.

Their travels they perform altogether on foot, the fatigue of which they endure to admiration. They make no other provision for their journey but their gun or bow, to supply them with food for many hundred miles together. If they carry any flesh in their marches, they barbecue it, or rather dry it by degrees, at some distance over the clear coals of a wood fire; just as the Charibees are said to preserve the bodies of their kings and great men from corruption. Their sauce to this dry meat, (if they have any besides a good stomach,) is only a little bear's oil, or oil of acorns; which last they force out by boiling the acorns in a strong lye. Sometimes also in their travels each man takes with him a pint or quart of rockahomonie, that is, the finest Indian corn parched and beaten to powder. When they find their stomach empty, (and cannot stay for the tedious cookery of other things,) they put about a spoonful of this into their mouths and drink a draught of water upon it, which stays their stomachs, and enables them to pursue their journey without delay. But their main dependence is upon the game they kill by the way, and the natural fruits of the earth. They take no care about lodging in these journeys, but content themselves with the shade of a tree or a little high grass.
Robert Beverley 1722.
Gutenberg Files.

Ships: Weigh Anchor! Pauline's Pirates & Privateers.


Monday, 30 May 2011

Greasing Moccasins.

When we lived up in the old cottage it was easy to grease my moccasins on a regular basis. I would leave my moccasins on the hearth of the big open fire to dry. Once dry I would make myself comfortable on the three legged stool I made, warm the mixture of tallow & beeswax in front of the fire, & rub the mix into warm leather. Afterwards the moccasins would be left on the hearth so the grease could soak into the leather better.
Now that we live in Linstock House, this chore is not so easy. I have to place my moccasins under the wood burning stove to dry & warm, & I have to place the grease in the open oven to melt. The hardest part is not getting the grease all over the slate kitchen tiles! Not a comfortable chore anymore, but I get the job done.

"Their Shoes,when they wear any are made of an entire piece of Buck-Skin; except when they sow a piece to the bottom, to thicken the Soal. They are fasten'd on with running Strings , the Skin being drawn together like a Purse on top of the Foot,and tyed round the Ankle. The Indian name of this kind of Shoe is Moccasin"
Chapter One: Of The Indians & Their Dress.

The History and Present State of Virginia,in Four Parts:
By Robert Beverly, 1705

What’s Cooking?

The Reverend's Big Blog of Leather


Ranging, Pathfinding, Bushcraft & Survival Notes: Mental attitude…

Discovery – The Dutch Get Serious – Willing & Able – Part 1

History Of Australia Blog.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Pitch, for ship & costrel. A Link.

Some years ago I purchased a leather costrel from a chap in the England. This was before I had heard of the Reverend. Anyway, the water in this costrel takes on a nasty sharp taste after a while. Normally I drink a lot of water when on a historical trek, & if it rains or I find a water supply then I can refill my costrel. Even so, I would like to know how to get rid of this foul taste in the water, so I have contacted the Reverend & am waiting on a reply. Meanwhile, I thought you might be interested in checking out a post on the Reverend's blog.


My Leather costrel.

Two 1730ad costrels.

A late 17th century costrel.

Having Fun. I love cannons, even little ones.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Sally Hemming.

18th Century Layers. A video link.

I think this is the best example showing the various layers of a Lady's clothing in the mid 18th century. The embed has unfortunately been disabled, so I can only supply a link.


18th Century Historical Trekking. PART TWO. VIDEO.


As you all know I have a strong interest in survival without getting parranoid. It is my belief that if TEOTWAWKI ever happens, we 18th century living historians stand the best chance of survival outside of a bunker situation. I follow certain blogs & contribute to certain survival forums, & recently came across the following warning. Take it with a pinch of salt if you will, but probably worth looking at just the same.


The Angry Pheasant. Off Topic? Maybe.

Found Here: http://milkweedandteasel.blogspot.com/2011/05/angry-pheasant.html

18th Century Historical Trekking. A Video, PART ONE.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Back on line!!

I have changed my email provider from Gmail to Yahoo so I am back on line again. Sorry about the distruption. I guess I will still have to look at getting a new blog provider however, as I can still only work from my dashboard!
First thing I found today was this promotion!
Making 18th Century “Spunks”

Posted on May 24, 2011 by Rob Taylor

Spunks were sulphur matches popular in days gone by. They allowed a person living under “primitive” conditions to more easily create, transport and utilize fire. The process is fairly simple and needs nothing more than some slivers of wood and some sulphur, which you can buy in bulk on Amazon.

The video feature Le Loup of A Woodsrunner’s Diary. If you aren’t reading his blog you’re cheating yourself.

My thanks to Rob Taylor for this: http://www.red-alerts.com/survival-skills/making-18th-century-spunks/

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Unable to Answer!!!

I am making this post, I hope, through my dashboard. I am no longer able to sign into IGoogle, Gmail or Blogger, so I will not be recieving email notifications regarding your relies of questions.
This problem has been slowly getting worse, & I have been having trouble signing into Gmail & Blogger for about 12 months now. Finally I can not now sign in at all.
This means that I may have to install a different home page, email & blog. If this happens I will try & contact you all through here if I can.
Regards to all. Keith aka Le Loup.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Primitive Skills DVD.

I had a phone call from a chap in West Australia a while back saying that he had heard of me but had no computor to view my videos, & could I please produce a skills video for him. Well I have, & can just about fit all my videos on one DVD. I gave him a price of $10.00 off the top of my head, & he seemed pleased with that. So the outcome is that I can now offer these videos for sale if anyone is interested.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Observation. Pay more attention to your surroundings.

When I went for a walk the other day looking for roo dung to use as tinder, I took my camera along. As I wandered along a trail I wondered how much the average person would actually see, & having seen it would they know what they were looking at? So I took some pics of good places to set up a shelter easily using fallen trees etc, plus a shot of the trail. Trails are easy to spot if you know what you are looking for, but animal trails in the woods are generally not marked by cleared ground. They may have a slight depression, & the forest leaves will be turned more on a well used trail.

A ready made shelter, narrow, but better than nothing. It would be improved by an oil cloth thrown over it.

Some poles leant against the back of this fallen tree with an oil cloth would make an excellent shelter.

Walls but no roof.

Plenty of room inside. Some has been digging in here.

Can you see the trail?

Ringtail Possum scat?

Fresh roo dung, but not in pellet form, all run together.

Dry roo dung.

Old Fox scat.

Not much punk wood here, but enough around this stick to use as tinder to make fire.

Powder Measures By Eddy Benc.

I am not selling these, & I have no prices, but I have known Eddy for a lot of years since we used to meet at Rendezvous in Victoria. If you are interested in these powder measures, you can contact Eddy at:
Or Phone: 08 8268 2620

Volume 31, Southern Cross Free Trappers News Letter Link.


The Southern Cross Free Trappers are based in Victoria.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Crime & Punishment – circa 1620. A History Of Australia. A LINK.


Kangaroo Dung As Tinder.

Not the best tinder to use, but there is plenty of it about if you can't find anything else. However, I have only used it with reading glass fire lighting.
The lighter dung in the far left pile is what to look for. It is more sun bleached than the other two piles.

A good one!

And some more.

But would you see it on the trail? This is where observation & experience count, it is not something you start practicing when you urgently need to find some tinder.

I found this punk wood beside the trail. Not all punk wood, but enough around the wood to use for making fire, & better than Kangaroo dung.

It actually took longer to make fire than this video shows, but I had to edit. Regardless it did work.

Werewolf In London.

A Werewolf for real, or a confession to avoide a terrible & painfull death?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Here Come the English – The Tryall Wreck – 1622. A LINK.


A Winter's Tale.

18th century Historical Trekking-A Winter’s Tale. © Le Loup

MSF 2007, Armidale 2350 Australia.

I left alone early in the morning with the frost still on the ground. Before leaving I loaded my fusil just in case I should need it. I started north following the wilderness trail until I reached Pilot’s Rock at the head of Hazard Valley, so named for a close friend who died some years ago. His Living History persona was that of Arthur Hazard, but his real name was Arthur William Baker. From Pilot’s Rock I moved steeply down into the valley below catching at saplings to steady me on the slippery decent. This was true forest with sticks and leaves and rocks littering my downward path. In order for me to take advantage of every hand hold I was continually having to swap my fusil from hand to hand. Finally I reached the bottom and crossed the narrow now dry Header stream and started my ascent again on the other side.

I took my time in the climb as I did not want to perspire too much. If one goes to bed at night damp in the winter you are very likely to freeze. The best thing to do is to dry your clothes in front of the fire before lying down for the night. I saw pig sign along the trail but it was not recent, then a strong scent of wild pig came to me and I stood still surveying the forest about me. It does not pay to hurry on a walk or trek, you can miss seeing a lot of things if you do. Slowly and quietly are best in the woods. Seeing nothing I moved on but held my fusil at the ready, and then beside the trail I saw fresh diggings and large rocks that had been turned over. Further on I found a downed tree, now hollow and split with age, part of it had been torn apart as if by a huge bear looking for grubs. Here the smell was strongest and the tracks in the earth, about the size of my palm were fresh since the last rain the day before. Again I stopped and listened and looked, but all was silence. I took this opportunity to pour a measure of buckshot down the barrel on top of the round ball load. I topped this off with a leather wad to hold the shot in place, then cradling my fusil in my left arm I moved on.

As I reached the ridge above the country changed, now the ground beneath the trees was covered in bracken and old mossy logs, here too were many Goonagurra, grass trees. This part of the forest had a primeval look and feel about it. The trail was narrow here among the bracken and the grass trees and I felt it necessary to stop frequently to look and listen. As I reached a bend in the trail I saw a giant tree had fallen against another and was being held there after having smashed large branches to the ground. It was an eerie feeling walking past these giants knowing that sooner or later the pressure would become too much and both would come crashing across the trail.

A movement up ahead caught my attention but it was only two wood duck taking off from the pond. They beat their way through the trees weaving and dodging and then slowly turned to come speeding back toward me again. I raised my fusil in mock readiness and they would have made easy targets with a load of number 6.

The pond was full which was a pleasing site and I found more pig tracks and a couple of wallows in the muddy edges. There was sign of goat having been there too but not recent. I made my way into the edge of the woods and took off my pack, water bottle, shot pouch and horn and then just stood for a while taking in the serenity. Sunlight was now sending shafts of pale light through the trees and far off I heard the morning serenade of magpies.

It was an easy matter to use the leather ties from my bedroll to secure a cross pole between two trees and from there I secured my oil cloth making wooden pegs with my tomahawk to peg the lower edge down. Inside this I lay a thick bed of sticks and over this I cast my blanket. My shot pouch, horn and fusil I lay on the blanket well back from where my fireplace would be, and covered them with one side of the blanket. Then I found another pole and pushed it between the cross pole and the oil cloth forming a ridge in the oil cloth from cross pole down to the ground. The upper part of this pole stuck out over the fireplace to be used for hanging my kettle.

The morning was spent clearing the area around my shelter of debris and building a pile of sticks next to the shelter to keep the wind out and to be used as firewood. I collected a good pile of heavy wood that would last me through the night and placed it close to the shelter so I could reach it without getting out of my blanket. In the back of the shelter I stored plenty of kindling, both dry grass and larger kindling sticks. These would remain dry regardless of rain or snow and would be used if the fire should go out in the night.

I dug a small fire pit and surrounded it with rocks and earth, rocks furthest away from the shelter to reflect warmth back into the shelter, and earth on the near side to keep any running water out of the pit. This done I picked up my fusil, shot pouch and horn and went for a scout about to see what I could find.

I was back in camp well before dark having found plenty of sign of wild goats and pigs but sighted no animals except roos and wallaby. I set about laying my fire and making fire with flint and steel. There is something very satisfying about using primitive methods to accomplish a task; it gives one a strong feeling of self-reliance. Once the fire was going well I put a kettle of water on to boil. My 18th century style brass trade kettle weighs just under 1-1/2lbs, but it is sturdy and large enough for a big stew and with its bail it is a pleasure to use. It does not take up much room in my knapsack despite being about 7 inches wide and 4 ½ inches deep, because I pack it with my bags of dried foods. My water I carry in a leather costrel which is very light when empty and holds about 2 litres.

Once the kettle was boiling I added some loose tea and lifted it off the fire to brew. A dash of rum from my period flask improved the taste and I enjoyed a meal of bread and corned beef. I woke several times in the night to build up the fire, the cold having woken me. Sometime in the early morning hours I woke again to find only a few remaining coals kept alive by the ash. I quickly grabbed a handful of light kindling from the back of my shelter and gently blew until I had flames again. In the flickering firelight I could see a light fluttering of snow falling. I stoked the fire well and pulling my Monmouth cap down over my ears tried to get some more sleep.

Morning was a winter wonderland with snow on the ground and the trees. I climbed out of my bedroll and shelter to go for a walk and relieve myself. Then back to my shelter and put on a kettle of water to boil. It was a beautiful sight and I just sat there looking at all the whiteness. I was jerked out of my thoughts by screams like a demented seagull as three large black cockies flew over looking more like giant vampire bats in the early light. What a strange wild land this is, but it has its own beauty.

As the sun came up in the east behind me the rays of light came through the forest trees in shafts and shone on the mist like a mirror making things seem brighter than they really were. As the sun rose the shafts of light moved over the snow and the dripping from the trees began. I wished it had kept snowing. After the tea had brewed I poured myself a cup and put some oats and currents on to cook. Then got out my little handmade journal and began to make a record of this trek so far.

There can be nothing finer I think than sitting snug in a primitive shelter on a cold morning with snow all around whilst eating a hot meal and sipping a hot drink. I did not want to leave, though I knew I had to sooner or later. So I sat there thinking how nice it would be to live a life like this, then realised that I virtually did, except in a house in the forest instead of a primitive shelter. My thoughts strayed to life 300 years ago, the adventure and the hardships and thought myself very lucky that I could experience this lifestyle still. I sat there a long time before finally heading for home.

Author’s Note: The accompanying photos are not from this trek. They were taken by my youngest son Kaelem around about the same time earlier in the year when he followed me part way on a trek.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Resigning You're Domestic Comforts.

Resigning You’re Domestic Comforts.

Today there are many items sold for camping & bushcraft that are just not necessary. They are created purely to make money for someone, probably not you. Bushcraft is trying to keep up with the Joneses, & many people have forgotten I think what woodscraft was once all about. Someone recently commented on my method of making camp, specifically on my bed of sticks, noting that I would be far less comfortable than someone using modern equipment.

When I am camping in cold weather or in the rain, I think myself fortunate & comfortable to be under shelter, up off the ground, & lying in front of a warm fire with food & a hot drink. I am not sitting or lying there thinking “well this is not as comfortable as being at home”. I lie in my shelter looking out at the wildness about me, listening to the sounds of nature, whether it be the rain or the soft fall of snow, or the many animal noises during the night & day. That for me is comfort. Do you think that a stick poking me from my stick bed poses a stressful situation for me under these conditions? Not at all, it is part of the experience. It is in fact part of what makes historical trekking so interesting.

Tell me, what is interesting about making one’s bed with a synthetic ground mat & a sleeping bag? Nothing, unless you get water running through your shelter, then it gets real interesting! Making camp the way I do gives me a strong sense of self-reliance & self sufficiency. I am carrying less, be it bulk or weight, and I am learning all the time. I have a choice sometimes between spending more time looking for a good selection of sticks or just gathering up what lays close to camp. I can collect bracken to make my bed more comfortable or I can make do. It is my choice.

So where am I going with this, what is my point? Well I guess my point is that if you don’t try new things, you won’t grow. If you say I am not going to try camping without my tent, ground sheet, sleeping pad & sleeping bag, then you are missing out on an experience, no matter how good or bad it is, you are missing out.

Yes I know, some people have bad backs, well I guess they had bad backs in the 18th century too. But that does not mean you can’t go camping, it does not mean that you need a special sleeping pad (unless of course we are talking about a real disability). Before you give up on the idea, think of a way you can make it work. I had a close friend who had a bad back & he carried two sheep skins with him. Of course he had to save weight by carrying less of something else, but it did not stop him from enjoying the experience, & he was using period materials.

I am not advocating that you should sit in the mud in the pouring rain like another writer did one time! I am simply saying that you should learn how to use what nature provides. No you may not be as comfortable as someone using a modern sleeping mat, but you will gain experience, you will gain knowledge. You will feel what it is like to have made something from nothing, you will have a primitive experience that is worth resigning you’re domestic comforts.