South African SADF Assault Vest / Pattern 83 Battle Jacket

Using a vintage 1980’s South African Defence Force (SADF) battle vest to carry our canvas bedroll and camp gear for an overnight beach camp

Like many of you, we like to get outdoors and put our our gear (and ourselves) to the test.

One fantastic trip involved a coastal scramble and a classic UK coastline beach camp.

With 14,000 miles of coast around the otherwise tiny islands of the UK, coastal walks are nor something to discount – wheather for camping, hiking coast paths, or practicing shoreline bushcraft and coastal survival techniques.

We were treated to a superb sunset across the water, a full moon rising above the camp, a couple of shooting stars and then a most awe-inspiring sunrise over the bay at low tide.

In order to safely experience the spectacle of a very high tidal range coming and going, we had checked the tide times carefully and planned the camp and trip around that.

It worked perfectly with high tide coming right up to just a few feet from our bedrolls and camp fire around about 9pm, and back down again in the morning after we were up and about.

The South African Defence Force vintage 1980’s cordura “battle vest” worked perfectly to carry all the gear needed for an overnighter.

Our setup rigged to the back panel included:

- our Adventurer canvas bedroll

- a wool blanket wrapped up inside the bedroll

Then the huge range of pockets on the vest were used to store and organise various bits of gear, food, clothing etc.

The assault vest is a fantastic piece of kit and very highly respected in military & special forces circles – it’s been in use since the 1980s having been made back in the SA ‘border war’.

The battle vest system means you can attach everything you need close to your centre of gravity, in comfort with the thick shoulder straps and adjustable tension straps.

This setup gives you great agility - perfect for exploring a rocky coastline as on this occasion.

The simplicity of our Adventurer canvas bedrolls  gave us a fantastic simple camp experience with a tiny footprint and minimal visibility or impact.

Combined with a no-trace wild camping approach, leaving the area exactly as you found it, makes for the very simplest and most enjoyable of camp experiences. You are just out there in nature able to enjoy the sheer beauty and awesomeness of our natural world.