What is Bushcraft?

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, bushcraft is “the skill in matters pertaining to life in the bush”. To me, bushcraft is more like “the skill using natural or man-made resources to make a trip in/through the bush more comfortable”. I think this is a better definition of bushcraft than the first one, because people start using more and more man-made materials to make a trip in the bush more comfortable, like Swedish firesteels, magnesium firestarters, fuel tablets, man-made tinders,… in stead of the primitive “bowdrill”, “flint and steel” or birch bark.

 

Probably the most famous and well-known bushcrafter is Ray Mears, who has a few tv-shows about bushcraft, like “Ray Mears’ Bushcraft” and “Ray Mears Goes Walkabout”. He travels around the world to learn (primitive) bushcraft techniques from ancient cultures like the Maori or the Bushmen from Africa, but also from other western bushcraft experts. His website is www.raymears.com.

Other famous bushcrafters:

Les Hiddins (‘The Bush Tucker Man’), a retired Australain Army soldier who did two tours of duty in Vietnam, as the first forward scout in the infantry. Hiddins is best known for his love and knowledge of the Australian bush. He usually wears a modified Akubra hat. He practices his skills in the Australian outback. He had numerous tv-shows about bushcraft and survival skills, such as “Bush Tucker Man”, “Bush Tucker Man – Stories of Survival”, “Bush Tucker Man – Stories of Exploration and Survival” and a lot more.

Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke, a retired US Navy carpenter during World War II, who built a log cabin on the upper lake of the Twin Lakes. Proenneke used only natural materials to build his cabin, from the gravel from the lake bed for the base of his cabin to the trees for the log cabin. The whole cabin and furniture inside and outside the cabin were built by only himself and his execllent carpentership. The fireplace, chimney and hearth inside the cabin were made out of stones he dug from around the construction site. He died of a stroke on April 20, 2003.

Mors Kochanski is a bushcraft, wilderness survival instructor, naturalist and author. He’s probably one of the most skilled bushcrafter in the Northern hemisphere. He published a lot of books about bushcraft and wilderness survival skills, like “Northern Bushcraft” (later retitled “Bushcraft”), which became a Canadian bestseller. He has his own website: www.morskochanski.com.

 

A few techniques that you can learn from bushcraft, are:

-Building a shelter using natural materials

-Using different techniques to start a fire, like a “bowdrill” or a “flint and steel”   

-Where to find water and how to purify it

-Recognizing edible and non-edible plants, berries and nuts

-Cooking food on an open fire

-Recognizing and following animal tracks

-Hunting, fishing, trapping and snaring

 

All of these thechniques have to be practiced. Without practicing, you’re much more likely to fail when you’re applying there techniques in a bushcraft/survival situation.

 

Remember: Be prepared. Survive.

 

 

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