Bushcraft mats for hiking and outdoors are one the most useful pieces of gear you can take with you on the trail. Suited for numerous tasks and a handy waterproof seat mat, they are lightweight and take up little room in your pack.
We were out on a hike in the Spanish countryside, a route that we’d both been on numerous times before. This time we were pushing it to try and reach around the 7km mark and at half way we needed to stop and get the flask open.
The only thing to sit on was rocks, wet rocks from that morning’s frost, it was then that we decided some type of mat was in order to sit on, so we started looking at oilskin mats for hiking & bushcrafting.
Waterproof seat mat
The main reason we invested in our mats. A waterproof seat mat is an essential piece of gear we always take with us. Granted, in Spain it does not rain much but in the winter it does get wet and can stay wet for weeks on end.
Having a mat to throw on a rock or over a fallen tree to keep you dry is crucial when everything is wet or damp particularly on a longer hike when you need to take a breather [which I do quite often]. Some of the mats out there are quite small so it pays to take your time in finding the right one for you. Oilskin mats are obviously waterproof but also hardwearing making them the perfect companion for hiking and bushcrafting.
After hiking several times now since we got these mats we can honestly say that they have become a permanent addition to our hiking set up and have their place securely in the backpack.
Camping, bushcratfing, overlanding or hiking, there will be a point where you need to kneel and just having something to keep the pine needles from sticking into your knees or stopping your knees getting wet is great. Worth it from a versatility perspective as oilskin mats can be used for a variety of tasks, you never know when you may need one particularly when you’re out bushcrafting.
In the tent
Having two of these mats is even better for wet gear although one will do if you are solo camping. They are tremendouly handy just for having at the tent entrance – think muddy boots or, when you’re taking your boots off outside and you don’t want to get your socks and feet wet stand on the mat! It’s simple stuff, at first you might struggle to think what use this is going to be but on a camping trip you are guaranteed to find a mat useful.
Dry work area
If the ground is wet following some rain then a dry work area is advantageous when it comes to lighting your fire or organising tinder/lighter/fire kit etc where you’re working. Having smaller items lying around on the ground wet or dry is not ideal so having a durable mat where everything is to hand, visible and kept clean is ideal.
On a campsite [not that we often are] or in a place where wood shavings are going to need to be cleaned up then this mat on the floor in front of you is going to catch most of your wood whittling excess. You can also place the mat on your leg for some extra protection just in case.
Wet or dry a didg pad is a good idea if you want to settle down for a while and play outside. The pads provide protection from the ground which avoids damaging the wood. The didg block I use in the house are fabric covered wooden blocks which serve the same purpose indoors, having a mat however is way more convenient, it’s multipurpose and takes up less space.
Waxed canvas always looks good in a bushcraft/outdoor setting so using the oilskin mats as photo props makes sense when photographing smaller items for gear reviews ie: knives, flasks, EDC items. They add texture to the image and something different depending on what you are going for.
Keeping one in the rig
While we bought two of these mats predominantly for hiking and to use as something to sit on, we are also going to invest in another one just to keep in the Shogun. They are light and take up no space in the back of the rig and I can’t help thinking that one will come in handy one day in the event of a puncture or for organising nuts and bolts etc on the ground.
Where to buy
We first looked at Etsy which is great for this type of thing however I knew that Bushcraft Spain did these mats as well having visited their website previously for something else. Bushcraft Spain have oilskin mats for hiking and bushcraft in two different sizes – a 42x42cm or 68x68cm option both of which are reasonably priced.
This 100% cotton and oilskin treated gearpiece makes a wonderful waterproof seat mat, a cloth you can eat or work on; you can even tie it to the top of your non-waterproof backpack or anything in general, as it is made from sturdy 6oz waxed cotton canvas.Bushcraft Spain
You also have the option of these mats with wool which is very interesting, certainly a warmer and more padded option if you are uisng these mats mainly to sit on. The wool option is more expensive but they do look fantastic. Available in brown or green and there are also some limited edition products too, well worth consideration.
Ordering from the Bushcraft Spain website is straight forward and clear, your order is trackable and you get progress updates right up until after delivery. [we have no affiliation with nor are we sponsored by Bushcraft Spain]