To my mind, the key to emphasizing skills over kit in bushcraft (or woodcraft/woodsmanship as I knew it growing up in the 60s) is to put kit items in a “make do” category. As in, “You can make do with a plastic tarp,” You can make do with a decent fixed blade knife,” “You can make do with a disposable lighter and/or a mishmetal rod,” “You can make do with a cheap, inexpensive flashlight/torch,” “You can make do with a decent mid-sized backpack,” etc. As a kid, I just wanted and needed whatever kit would work so that I could get into the jungles and explore, forage, and learn how to get along in the wilds, whether alone or with friends. Only AFTER I was exposed as a young adult to the social “value” of acquiring kit as a status totem and mark of “sophistication” did the weight and unwieldiness of my pack reach proportions that made my wilderness forays truly painful and counter productive to the easy passage I enjoyed as a teen. Fascination with kit is just the natural outcome of the consumer mentality that is destroying our environment and planet, and doesn’t belong in true bushcraft and the love and respect for nature. It is the skills you teach that open our hearts and minds to the wildness and beauty of our natural world.
The instinct to survive is in our blood. For centuries, it has fueled us to find food, water, fire and shelter, no matter what the situation may be. However, survival hinges on more than just the skills to satisfy basic needs. True survival requires preparation and resourcefulness, and compiling the right plan and proper gear well before the going gets tough. It's having the capacity to expect the worst and be ready for when it happens. Whether a dead car battery leaves you trapped in a snowstorm, or misreading a trail map leaves you alone, lost and hungry in the backcountry, being prepared with the right survival equipment can make the ultimate difference in an emergency situation. With reliable brands like UST, Ultimate Survival, and more, you'll find the most reliable and durable survival tools here at OpticsPlanet.
Fine article. As it is aimed at beginners, perhaps showing photos of fires built directly on vegetation is a problem. The photos captioned “Bringing water to a rolling boil …” and “Simple campcraft combined with good firecraft …” illustrate how to cause expensive wildfires. It’s easy enough to remove the turf down to mineral earth, set it aside, and then replace it after the fire is out and cold.
While Johnny Cash advised us against falling into a ring of fire (good advice), I don’t think he would have seen this one coming. The Ring O Fire kit from Live Fire Gear combines three great products into one fire-friendly pack. The trio starts with a hot-sparking ferrocerium rod. Next comes 25 feet of FireCord. This eight strand 550 cord has an extra strand that is highly flammable. Just cut a short section free, and pull out the red strand for a volatile tinder material. You also get a Live Fire Original Emergency Fire Starter. This small tin has a fuel soaked wick inside, which burns for 30 minutes with the lid completely removed, and much longer when the lid is only partially opened. Place the Live Fire tin under your kindling to start a campfire, or use it as a candle. This sleek kit is a great fit for your camping gear, vehicle, tackle box, disaster kit or bug out bag.
This bushcraft knife will enable you to perform whatever tasks are required to secure yourself food and shelter in the wild under any conditions. Whether you’re building a blind or an emergency shelter to protect you from record snowfall the Spyderco Plain Edge bushcraft knife will be there for you. The O-1 stainless steel used in the blade is an oil hardening tool steel that exhibits excellent wear and is renowned for retaining a good cutting edge. It’s used here to give you an advantage over nature that always seems to be holding all the cards, especially if you’re lost or hurt far from camp. With the Plain Edge Knife on your belt you’ll level the playing field a bit and give yourself a fighting chance. It’s comfortable, well balanced, light, durable and tough as nails and while you’ll pay a little more for it you won’t be disappointed with what you get.
Excellent Paul. It’s hard to top off your article as it is comprehensive a plenty. I used tin cans to cook in when I was young and have survived to tell the tale, although nowadays, the cans are mostly coated with plastics and vinyls, yuk. But a cheap container bought at a dollar store (or thrift shoppe) will serve well to start. I do have a suggestion, and it’s not really bushcrafty, but perhaps a sharp whistle in case of emergency? And it cannot be overstated that correct seasonal clothing is essential as your first shelter. The trick is to use what equipment you got and use it well. Enjoy the outdoors, it’s not a competition, it’s an experience. Work with nature, never against it. Keep it simple. Keep it safe.