Being out in the wilderness can oftentimes be fascinatingly interesting. There’s something curiously familiar about it as if we were meant to be outdoors all this time. It’s similar to the feeling of coming home. But let’s face it, not everyone is cut out to survive beyond the domesticated safety of the modern world. Learning bushcraft skills, though, makes a huge difference.
What Is Bushcraft?
Bushcraft is a collection of various survival skills that will help you thrive in a natural environment, even during extreme weather conditions. Don’t worry, we’re going to go through the most essential bushcraft skills to learn in a bit.
The Difference Between Camping and Bushcraft
For now, let’s determine the difference between traditional camping and bushcraft camping especially since it can be easy to mistake one for the other. Here are some main factors that can distinguish them from each other:
Camping is an activity that requires you to stay outdoors for an extended period of time. Even so, it still allows you to bring some of the comforts of home. For instance, taking your RV to a campsite is still, technically, considered as camping even if you do get to enjoy the modern technologies that it brings. In fact, glamping even takes this comfort and convenience up a notch by providing hotel-level amenities to campers.
You can never expect the same amount of comfort when bushcraft camping, though. After all, the main objective of this type of outdoor activity is to learn how to survive in the wild. It’s definitely not going to be too easy and comfortable, and rightly so.
Camping skills are essential life skills that we believe everyone should learn starting at a very young age. On the other hand, bushcraft skills are something else. It won’t just teach you how to survive in nature. As mentioned, its primary objective is to help you thrive in a natural environment.
Level of Difficulty
Finally, the simple enjoyment of being one with nature during camping with your tent, flashlight, fancy GPS, and other gear is nothing compared to surviving in the wild and bushcraft camping. After all, you’d have to learn how to do everything from scratch for the latter. Otherwise, it will lose its bushcraft meaning.
Where Can You Bushcraft?
The legalities of bushcraft camping vary from one location to another. Hence, we won’t be able to provide any specs unless you provide us with your zip code.
Hence, here’s what we suggest: start by looking for camping sites in your target area. You’d want to find locations that allow “dispersed camping”. These sites are also what we prefer to go solo camping or camping with dogs. When in doubt, you can always call the site’s ranger office to further inquire about their specific rules and regulations.
Most likely, the ranger will appreciate your call and allow you. If he does, then make sure that you’re a responsible camper. Don’t leave anything but your footprints and don’t take anything but photos.
What Do You Need for Bushcraft?
You can start your preparations as soon as you confirm that your chosen location does allow bushcraft camping. The question is, what bushcraft gear do you need? There’s a wide variety of bushcraft equipment out there, from bushcraft tools to bushcraft cooking gear.
There are two camping essentials that we always keep in our survival backpack, though, especially if we’re going wild camping. These are tarps and bushcraft clothing. Do not underestimate the functionality and flexibility of a sheet of tarp. It can be used as a hammock cover (there are hammock tarps specifically designed for the task), water collector, and even as a stretcher.
Meanwhile, we also take great care in choosing our bushcraft clothing as well. After all, it’s our last line of defense. We prefer items that are breathable but can easily be layered on top of each other in case the temperature changes.
Anyway, as you’re doing your preparations, here’s a quick rundown of the essential bushcraft skills that you should learn preferably before your big adventure:
- Firecrafting. Knowing how to make a fire is important for providing warmth, cooking your food, and boiling water.
- Tracking. Here’s a skill that’s much valued when it comes to hunting. However, keep in mind that animals are not the only creatures you can track. It can also help you locate people easily should someone get lost.
- Hunting. One of the most essential bushcraft survival skills is hunting. It will allow you to “harvest” protein from your immediate environment for much-needed sustenance.
- Fishing. Those who don’t enjoy hunting might fare better in fishing instead, a skill that’s particularly helpful if you’re stuck near a body of water.
- Foraging, Should you fail to hunt and fish, then you can always forage. It’s the skill of finding edible stuff to eat in the forest and being able to tell whether something is poisonous or not, such as particular mushrooms and berries.
- Navigation. One cannot always rely on GPS. The problem is, there are times when you cannot even rely on a compass, especially if it hasn’t been calibrated yet.
- Use of Tools. Knowing how to use knives and axes specifically for hunting and shelter-building is definitely a must. But you know what’s more impressive? It’s the ability to create makeshift tools from available materials.
- Rope and Twine-Making. Speaking of creating makeshift tools, that’s exactly what is required in learning rope and twine-making. With the right technique, you can even make a reliable length from just grass and dried foliage.
- Shelter-Building. Here’s a basic survival fact: humans cannot exist without a decent shelter for more than three hours during extreme weather conditions, making shelter-building one of the most essential survival skills. There are different ways on how to make a shelter depending on a given environment, so be sure to do your research about your chosen location beforehand.
No one knows what the future might bring. This is the reason why survival skills will always stay at the top of our list of essential life skills to learn. Bushcraft skills, in particular, can help you thrive in the wild outdoors. There are a lot of techniques that you can try your hand at like firecrafting, hunting, and foraging.
Should you decide to go bushcraft camping, though, just remember to check with the local ranger beforehand to make sure that you’re not going to break any campsite rules and regulations. Having equipment like tarps and proper bushcraft clothing also helps in significantly improving the experience.