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Primitive Skills and Wilderness Crafts

Updated on June 24, 2012

Get out in the dirt, and get back to the basics!

I have always enjoyed getting down to the basics and understanding how things work, and one way in which I like to do this is to get out in the woods and wilderness and learn primitive methods of making and doing some of the things we take for granted in today's consumer society. Making fire without matches, producing everything from cordage (string, rope) to baskets, pots and bowls for gathering and cooking wild foods to making clothing and footwear from animal hides--these are great ways to re-introduce one's self to the fundamentals of life, and learn the origins and value of the things we use in everyday life without a second thought.

Join me as I give a brief glimpse at some of the various wilderness skills and crafts I enjoy practicing!

All photos taken by the author


A good place to start...

Do you realize how useful rope, string, and other sorts of cordage can be in daily life, and how valuable they become when not readily available?

There are so many raw materials that can be used to make a sturdy cordage, depending on your region of the country, and now would be a good time to practice this valuable skill. Milkweed, nettle, dogbane and yucca are some of the best cordage plants in my area--you want to look for a plant whose stem contains sturdy fibers which don't easily break when the stem is broken--but there are some interesting non-plant options as well. Get out and explore, experiment and discover your favorites!

Yucca fibers, soaked, scraped and dried, and finished yucca cordage:

Cording the inner bark of an aspen tree:


Basket made from aspen bark cordage:

Cordage twined from mountain goat wool that I collected up on a ridge above 12,000' elevation!

Sinew (tendons) from the legs and back of deer, elk and other animals provides another valuable source of cordage material. Primitive peoples around the world, including Native Americans, used deer sinew for bowstrings and to back bows themselves to add strength. Before twisting into cordage, backstrap sinew (the longest, most useful fibers) must be scraped to remove all traces of meat and fat, and dried, and the round, thick leg sinews need to be pounded gently with a rounded rock to separate the fibers so they can be twisted.

Deer backstrap sinew, scraped, dried, separated and ready to turn into sturdy cordage!

Cordage-making demonstration

Fire starting

Without matches!

There are many ways to produce fire without modern tools such as matches and lighters. Some--such as the bow and drill or hand drill--take more skill than others to master, but it is very rewarding to be able to walk into the woods and know that you can obtain fire with nothing more than the raw materials you find close at hand. One of the simplest ways in which you can do this is to carry a ferro rod, which is made of a special metal that produces sparks when scraped with steel, glass or even rock:

Materials all ready to go--ferro rod, striker and milkweed down for tinder...


Waterproof "tinder pellets" can be made from milkweed down and pine pitch. These can be carried in one's pack or bag to aid in starting fires under the worst of conditions. Here I am pouring liquefied pine pitch (sap) into a pile of milkweed down--the first step in making these pellets.

And, the finished pellet, ready to use. Simply break open the waterproof shell of pitch, and strike sparks for ready tinder!

A basket of willow wood shavings and "feather sticks" to help get fires started...

Bow and drill firestarting - A good demonstration to help get you started

Wilderness firestarting tools on Amazon

While these products are not as primitive as a fire bow and should not take the place of really mastering the basics of starting a fire with materials you can scrounge in the woods, they do provide the ability to make hundreds or even thousands of fires without having to worry about carrying matches or lighters, which are quite expendable.

Brain Tanning and leather craft

Primitive clothing and footwear...

For thousands of years, animal hides provided humans with clothing and shelter. Brain tanning your own hides--either from animals you take for meat, or hides donated by hunters who don't wish to use them, if you don't hunt, yourself--is a great way to reconnect with this tradition and learn some very valuable skills.

It's hard work to take a hide from its raw state to finished, wearable leather/buckskin, and the task will certainly give you a new appreciation of the readily available clothing that we so take for granted, these days!

Fleshing an elk hide, the first step in brain tanning. All of the meat, fat and membrane must come off...

Deerskin moccasins...

Brain tanning buckskin--a video introduction

Brain tanning, buckskin and leatherwork books and supplies

Primitive lamps and lighting

Primitive lighting can involve anything from cattail seed heads dipped in pine pitch to make a long-burning torch, to seal fat burned in carved out dishes of soapstone with cottongrass wicks such as the Inuits used for lighting and cooking, to beeswax candles.

This is a very simple lamp I carved from sandstone. The wick is corded cattail leaf fibers, with bear fat for the fuel. It provides a good, steady flame.

Qulliq - This traditional Inuit lamp a source of light, and heat, a place to cook food and the center of the home

Watch this incredible video to see how the tradition is being preserved and passed down!

Primitive shelter

Keeping yourself out of the wind and weather in the wild...

A primitive shelter can be as simple as a good dry pile of leaves or pine needles beneath a tree, or as complex as a large skin or bark covered lodge fit for spending an entire winter, as different as cleft in the rock or a snow cave, but the basics are the same--keep yourself dry, warm and out of the wind and weather.

No matter where you choose to shelter, it's important that you insulate yourself from the ground as well as possible, to help conserve warmth. This may involve sitting on a pack or an item of clothing, or piling dry leaves or even freshly cut evergreen boughs beneath you, for insulation.

Here is a picture from inside a snug little shelter I built from scrub oak trunks, and one showing its outside, which is covered with cottonwood tree bark. The bark helps shed water, and I have spent many dry nights in that shelter, even during the hardest rain. Inside, I have piled a good foot and a half of good dry oak leaves on the floor to provide insulation, and have stuffed cracks between the logs with sagebrush to keep out the wind.

And here's a shelter of cut snow blocks I made one spring when the snow wasn't deep enough to dig a snow cave, but I needed something to shelter me from the wind. Cracks between the blocks were packed with loose snow, and water from a nearby creek spread on them and allowed to freeze to firm everything together. Lily the dog is sitting in the shelter to give you an idea of its size.

Edible wild plants

Enjoy nature's bounty!

No matter where a person may live, desert, mountains, plains, forest or even in the city, there will be numerous food plants available for use and enjoyment. An interesting way to learn about your local food resources is to study (in North America, at least) which wild food crops were relied on by the Native Americans in centuries past.

One must not, of course, ever eat a plant until it has been positively identified, and the best way to learn is in person from someone well versed in local edibles, but this skill can be learned by studying books and comparing what you see there to things found out in the field, also.

Here are some tasty an nutritious plants that I enjoy harvesting and eating, here in my area (Western US.)

Waterleaf, avalanche lily and spring beauty roots...


Oregon grapes...

Prickly pear cactus...

Cattail roots (just like fried potatoes, with eggs!)

Books to help get you started identifying edible plants in your area!

The primitive skills and wilderness crafts featured in this article are just a few of the many to which I've devoted time over the years, and they have become a lifelong pursuit and passion for me.

Get out in the dirt and give a few of these ancient and productive skills a try, and you may find that you enjoy them, too!

Additional primitive skills and wilderness crafts images...

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Box trap, baited with curly dock seedsDeer backstrap sinew preparationDogbane fibers, being prepared for cordageBalm of Gilead ingredients: Cottonwood buds and bear fatMaking a willow basketCording mountain goat woolPeeling willow bark to lash together a pack frameQuartz arrowhead found near where I liveUsing deer sinew to attach buckskin handle to an atlatl (dart thrower)Carved sandstone bowl
Box trap, baited with curly dock seeds
Box trap, baited with curly dock seeds
Deer backstrap sinew preparation
Deer backstrap sinew preparation
Dogbane fibers, being prepared for cordage
Dogbane fibers, being prepared for cordage
Balm of Gilead ingredients: Cottonwood buds and bear fat
Balm of Gilead ingredients: Cottonwood buds and bear fat
Making a willow basket
Making a willow basket
Cording mountain goat wool
Cording mountain goat wool
Peeling willow bark to lash together a pack frame
Peeling willow bark to lash together a pack frame
Quartz arrowhead found near where I live
Quartz arrowhead found near where I live
Using deer sinew to attach buckskin handle to an atlatl (dart thrower)
Using deer sinew to attach buckskin handle to an atlatl (dart thrower)
Carved sandstone bowl
Carved sandstone bowl

Primitive Skills Poll - There are so many things to learn, practice and master, out in the woods!

Which wilderness skills have you tried?

See results

Primitive skills and wilderness craft books

There is no substitute for getting out there and trying the skills yourself, but these books will give you a good place from which to start...

All photos taken by the author, unless otherwise noted.

What primitive skills have you tried, and which might interest you?

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    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      The only skill that I've tried at all is gathering wild edible plants. A kind friend taught me some about that. I'd like to learn *all* of these skills, but particularly leathercraft.

    • profile image

      dannystaple 5 years ago

      There is some great info here, perhaps I've come a bit early because some of the how-to's are not quite finished. You could probably have detailed/in depth bits on each skill as additional lenses and link out to them if these sections start to get too big! I should try to learn some of this - never know when I might need it, the cordage and fire making can be handy for anyone finding themselves away from their comfy home.

      I've built a simple shelter with thick long grasses and sticks - basket weaving the grasses into the sticks to make panels, and then placing those around. It wasn't very thick, but kept off the worst of rain and wind. I also try to collect one or two "off grid" modern gadgets - fire pistons, hand crank powered torches, radios (squeeze to charge things) and similar gear.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      @dannystaple: Thanks for taking a look at the lens! No, you haven't come too early, as this really isn't so much to be a "how-to" lens as it is a simple overview of some of the skills and crafts which interest me. I will, as you mentioned, do additional in-depth lenses on some of the topics for those who might want to give some of these things a try!

      Your grass-thatched shelter sounds very effective, and good idea to collect the "off grid" alternatives to some of the modern gadgets that we rely on today, too.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Nice look at some primitive skills that would be good for the outdoorsman to know. Love the photos that explain so much!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I love this. It brings back some really great memories of being a kid, winter camping in the woods with my father and learning some basic survival skills. Nice job!

    • profile image

      jeremykim2011 5 years ago

      Wow. If I could give this lens 10 squidlikes, I would. :)

    • mowug1776 profile image

      mowug1776 5 years ago

      love this lens

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      Great lens! But I would be so dead left alone in the wilderness...

    • SoniaCarew profile image

      SoniaCarew 5 years ago

      Great lens! Interesting stuff. I don't have any,... I am a glam doll, city girl all the way. If can't flip a switch to switch something on, my brain switches off.

    • profile image

      coco-jo 5 years ago

      @mowug1776: agree

    • cajkovska lm profile image

      cajkovska lm 5 years ago

      Good lens, but i'm not a surrvivor... even with your tips :)

    • nestboxes profile image

      nestboxes 5 years ago

      Great lens, I love the subject matter, must leave more of the modern stuff behind next time we go out in the great outdoors!

    • profile image

      azD40x 5 years ago

      It always useful to learn these survivor stuff. we might need to use it someday

    • mymusic1234 lm profile image

      Mark Spivey 5 years ago from Australia

      Loved the lens. Particularly the cordage video and lighting.

    • BubblesRFun profile image

      BubblesRFun 5 years ago

      This lens was Fantastic..Great Job, Thanks for sharing all your Knowledge!

    • timo5150 lm profile image

      timo5150 lm 5 years ago

      Great lens, As someone who practices primitive skills myself I am always glad to see anything that encourages others to do the same. great job

    • GabStar profile image

      GabStar 5 years ago

      Awesome lens! Congrats on LOTD.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations, this lens was selected Lens of the Day! You can read all about it here:

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Each of these ideas are interesting to learn about.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      @aka-rms: Wow, thanks! I am amazed, and honored, and hope everyone enjoys reading about these skills and perhaps even getting out and trying one or two for themselves. Thanks again!

    • kjbranch77 profile image

      kjbranch77 5 years ago

      Great lens! Congrats on LOTD!

    • Jillynn profile image

      Jillynn 5 years ago

      Awesome lens. Clear to see why it is LOTD. Congrats!

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 5 years ago

      That primitive shelter sure does look very cozy! I would love to know more about edible wild foods in my area and am trying to learn from books.

    • KjRocker LM profile image

      KjRocker LM 5 years ago

      i really love combination of civilization and wildness &lt;3

    • KjRocker LM profile image

      KjRocker LM 5 years ago

      i really love combination of civilization and wildness &lt;3

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago


      As a teenager I read a book about how Mountain folks of West Virginia made baskets from white oak wood.

      So I went out in our woods. Cut down a small white oak tree. Split it.

      Took the tree splits to our little stream. And peeled back the center of the wood to make "SPLITS" thin enough to weave.

      I made a good size Bark Basket and handle.

      Makes you appreciate the work done on native baskets in the store!


    • bjslapidary profile image

      bjslapidary 5 years ago

      Great lens. I didn't know cattail roots were like potatoes. Very interesting. Love the ideas you have shared here.

    • bjslapidary profile image

      bjslapidary 5 years ago

      Great lens. I didn't know cattail roots were like potatoes. Very interesting. Love the ideas you have shared here.

    • Surreymagic profile image

      Surreymagic 5 years ago

      An inspirational lens on wilderness skills- it goes to show that we can be producers instead of mere consumers and work with basic natural materials to create beautiful and unique things.

    • Auntiekatkat profile image

      Auntiekatkat 5 years ago

      I could survive in any environment in the world if I had to, trouble is I am getting a bit longin the tooth to want to. Congratulations on LOTD a beautifully crafted lens

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 5 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      None and I wouldn't do well in the woods on my own I'm afraid :) Thanks for making it look much easier that I always thought it was so I might test my skills after all. Excellent work!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! what an interesting and informative lens...I learned a lot surviving out in the wilderness if need be, although if I run out of my meds, that would do me in, in no time...ha ha........a Blessing from ~d-artist a Squid Angel~

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 5 years ago from Michigan

      An excellent lens, well-deserving of both the Purple Star and LotD! It really captures the imagination.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      What a wealth of information and so worthy of LOTD! The best I can so is build a campfire on the beach-not rustic but it is fun!

    • CuAllaidh profile image

      Jeff Johnston 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Excellent Lens, deserving of the LOTD... love these old skills.

    • LDWorld profile image

      LDWorld 5 years ago

      congrats on LOTD!!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Pretty amazing! Lots of stuff I didn't know. The cording is pretty interesting to me; I like the basket you made. Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Einar, you have me in delight and hanging on your every word and perfect instruction. Beautifully presented with your own special style, congratulations on receiving LotD and that nice shiny purple star....I had my admiration and angel blessing to this wonderful rest for my soul. I feel like I just had a little vacation, 'away from it all'.

    • goldenecho profile image

      Gale 5 years ago from Texas

      I've tried tracking animals, and I've tried edible wild plants (mostly backyard varieties like dandelions).

      This is such an excellent lens...not surprized it got lens of the day! It was cool to see my lamp as one of your primitive lighting pictures (First one on the left. Put it up on flickr for this exact others could use it too. *grin*) That brought a smile to my day.

      I'm adding a link to this in my resources section on my Nazareth Lens here:

      Our church is going to do Galilee this year for our VBS and I could so see doing rope making as a craft! Gotta try it out first to see if it would be easy enough for kids to do.

    • profile image

      blondebecky 5 years ago

      it would be so hard to live without electric, my hair would be a mess ahhhhh lol

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Only fishing for food, when the pocket was empty, but there are some very good ideas here!!! I love your site. These are definitely applicable where I live, in Patagonia. Why not dig into my lens on POatagonia? Thanks for such a nice lens!

    • nephthys lm profile image

      nephthys lm 5 years ago

      I've got as far as making a fire- not been able to light it yet though...

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      @goldenecho: Thanks for making your lamp picture available to share--I was glad to be able to include it. Your lens on Nazareth looks great--some very interesting information on what daily life was like there, 2000 years ago!

    • profile image

      MobileAppMan 5 years ago

      Wow. Great Lens. In have gone 'camping' but never taken to a level such as this. Great job. I enjoyed it.

    • Petstrel LM profile image

      Petstrel LM 5 years ago

      Congratulations for the LOTD ;)

    • karMALZEKE profile image

      karMALZEKE 5 years ago

      This is a fantastic wealth of survival knowledge, plus it is beautifully explained and demonstrated. Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Well done! Blessed!

    • profile image

      faye durham 5 years ago

      Excellent source of information about survival tactics. I enjoyed it.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      A wealth of good information, which everyone needs to know. A very good article! Thanks for sharing

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      This is a fantastic lens. I laughed at the HQ notice that referred to our "ancient ancestors" living this way. They must be very young to consider 100 or even 60 years ago, ancient times!

      My grandfather used these same types of measures while he trekked around Alaska prospecting, and my father was also expert in the same living-off-the-land skills. I think a week or two-long course in this type of knowledge should be a high school graduation requirement.

      Congratulations on your lotd achievement! Skillful use of both language and visual media.

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 5 years ago from USA

      Beautifully written, and bookmarked. This will go with me the next time I go camping.

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 5 years ago

      My son and I recently read some books about a teenage boy who had to survive in the woods for quite a lengthy period of time. It was fascinating reading about things he did to survive. His level of creativity in solving his problems was incredible. Since then, I've been looking for something along the lines of this article of yours. Thank you for this! Blessed.

    • Rebeljohn profile image

      Rebeljohn 5 years ago

      Very nice lens thanks for the info

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 5 years ago

      Excellent information

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      I like the primitive shelter and fire starting skills. I feel like much of the developed world would not be able to survive if all of the sudden technology just failed.

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 5 years ago

      This is truly amazing! I'd love to take a class to learn more of these types of skills.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Hi! I love camping in the wilderness, so you lens is full of great info.... and useful craft ideas. I like edible wild plants, and primitive shelters. The earth is really generous in resources.

      Glad you get the LOTD.


    • Chris-H LM profile image

      Chris-H LM 5 years ago

      What an inspiring lens! Congratulations on LOTD. I especially enjoyed the video on making cordage. I'll have to try it!

    • EvergreenArticles profile image

      EvergreenArticles 5 years ago

      Wow, this is an AMAZING lens! The only Primitive Skill I've tried was making a fire, which failed miserably (and with a few splinters...).

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 5 years ago

      This is amazing. I like to learn more from it. Sundae ;-)

    • girlfriendfactory profile image

      girlfriendfactory 5 years ago

      Wow! One of the most impressive LoTD I've seen! Truly unique and informative! You've definitely earned a Flyby Winging and it can be found among the other blessed lenses at Flyby Wingings They may call me an aimless wanderer, but not all who wander are aimless and I'm glad I wandered upon this! ~Ren

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I once skillfully scared bears away from our camp by throwing rocks and banging pans. Does that count? I love your lens and am anxious to try to make a fire as you described. Congrats on Lens of the Day!

    • Fignewton37 profile image

      Fignewton37 5 years ago

      I love this lens! Reminds me of the Foxfire books describing how mountain people lived off the land and did things for themselves. Those methods of living off the land would be lost without someone writing them down. Your lens is very interesting and clever. Thanks for the lens.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      This is a great lens. Everyone needs to know a few wilderness skills for the off chance when they are needed. In this case it is far better to know them and never need them than need them and never know them.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      We all may need some of these skills one day if the great doomsday predictions come true. Seriously, it's great to get back to learning these basic skills, some I knew and others I think are ingenious and wonderful to know about. Terrific lens!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      What a great lens! Congratulations on LOTD. Sometimes I just wish I could go out and spend more time in the outdoors away from all the conveniences that we have. Camping used to be my favorite time. Keep up the good work.

    • articol profile image

      articol 5 years ago

      Great lens. I made fire with a bow drill once, great fun! Some great ideas in here, thank you.

    • profile image

      macsquared 5 years ago

      I remember learning some about most of these things at Girl Scout camp, growing up, however a lot of these things, I think, are kind of dying arts that more people SHOULD learn. You never know when you're going to need these kinds of skills!

    • profile image

      totalhealth 5 years ago

      its fun to learn this things but it could be very useful in case on emergencies. thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've done a little camping but nothing on this scale. Interesting stuff and great lens!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Wow - what a wonderful lens! Definitely deserving of LotD, and SquidAngel blessed by me. I've not tried any myself, but they all interest me, survivalist skills has always been intriguing to me.

    • NatureLuver profile image

      NatureLuver 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens. These are very good skills to have. Let's hope like heck the rest of us never need them.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Excellent article! I love learning the natural way of doing things. Congrats on making Lens of the Day too!! :)

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Outstanding lense. Good to know that someone is keeping skills like these alive!

    • Burningwoodarts profile image

      Burningwoodarts 5 years ago

      Great lense :)

    • hirephp lm profile image

      hirephp lm 5 years ago

      very nice lens i did't know about that thanks for sharing and congratulation for the lens of the day trophy good lens

    • profile image

      JennySui 5 years ago

      Congrats on getting LOTD! you truly deserve it.

    • Mistl profile image

      Mistl 5 years ago

      Very interesting to read. I would never survive in the wilderness, but after reading this I might just stand a better chance. :p

    • profile image

      Light-Life-Energy 5 years ago

      long time since i was a girl scout -- and even so, never learned these skills. what a great lens of information, thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens! These are skills that are good to know, particularly the edible wild plants.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      I've tried making fire, gathering berries and grubs and making shelter. I've never tried making my own cord, hunting or skinning an animal. You lens is par excellent but I have to say, I'm spoiled and am glad I do not have to do these things myself. I do believe we should all know how to do them though in case the worse comes to pass. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • BuddyBink profile image

      BuddyBink 5 years ago

      An excellent beginner's guide to survival. Thanks

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      This is an awesome page. I am mostly interested in wild edible plants which are highly nutritious and free! Most people call them weeds! Congrats on LOTD. Well done.

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      An excellent lens. I so admire your spirit. Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lens, very informative. thanks

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Very interesting primitive skills and crafts you've shared with us. Angel Blessings**

    • profile image

      yosefb 5 years ago

      this is cool

    • kTerrain1 profile image

      kTerrain1 5 years ago

      I agree with yosefb. This is a fantastic lens; I book marked it and plan on trying out several of the things you show here! Thanks!

    • profile image

      andyrew912 5 years ago

      Awesome! I know these things will come in handy one of these days...

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Tipi, thank you for your kind words. Glad this lens could provide you with a little time away from it all. I felt the same about your Caving Pictures lens--a quiet little trip down under the ground where I love to be.

    • profile image

      Dreamscaper8 5 years ago

      Wow, those wooden spoons in the last picture are awesome! My boyfriend loves the woods and making things out of what he finds there. I'll have to show him this article :)

    • DanielGlynn profile image

      DanielGlynn 5 years ago

      Great lens! Thanks for the useful information.

    • Shorebirdie profile image

      Shorebirdie 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I like the candle you made. I might try that.

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

      I remember spending a winter weekend in the woods as a Boy Scout; we tried a few things. A couple of the boys did the "place wood timbers over your campfire after it has died down to the glowing embers", extremely interesting because it did indeed put off plenty of warmth, so much so that the snow melted and the wood sank down and started smoldering. Luckily only their pride was hurt.


      My step-grampa was a conservation officer in northwest Iowa for many years and he showed me how to hunt morel mushrooms. They are so tricky, their season is so quick that they can be grown and past picking in just a day or two.


      Nice lens, I bet you'd have a waiting list if you ever decided to do weekend "survival skill training".

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 5 years ago

      @WaynesWorld LM: I nearly forgot, for the Boy Scout weekend my mom packed me a roast complete with veggies in tinfoil, she also packed me some marshmallows for cooking over the fire for dessert. Unfortunately I failed to open the packages to see which was which and put the tinfoil of marshmallows in the embers thinking that was my supper... duh!

    • mrwrkathm lm profile image

      mrwrkathm lm 5 years ago

      What a great lens; you have put a lot of work into it. It is wonderful to keep the old methods alive - the knowledge might save someone's life one day. All the best to you!.

    • TheGourmetCoffe profile image

      TheGourmetCoffe 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens, brought memories of family camping trips where we would apply basic skills to learn how to survive and enjoy nature. Thank you for sharing your insights!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      These are GREAT!!!! Wow.. thanks!... this could really come in handy some day! Blessed!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Very interesting ... congratulations on LOTD!

    • deckdesign profile image

      deckdesign 5 years ago

      Great tips on surviving in the wild and living off the land. I also really enjoyed your pictures. They really help tell the story.

    • PoetFlow profile image

      PoetFlow 5 years ago

      Very interesting read! I've always been an out-doors sorta girl - not to mention the fact that I enjoy making useful things from natural materials. Some of these tips I already knew (like the fire-making without matches and the basket carving). A lot of it had me feeling I was reading a written version of Bear Grylls' TV series :-) ... I guess if I ever get stuck in the wilderness (highly unlikely!) I will be sufficiently equipped haha.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Congrats on LotD! I truly enjoy learning wilderness skills and crafting things from found objects. Very nicely done.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      @WaynesWorld LM: Interesting story about your timber platform sinking down through the snow and've got to be careful of the same thing with a hot coal bed, or your blanket/sleeping bag can start smoldering, and that is not good!

      Glad you enjoyed the lens; I have done a bit of survival instructing in the past--it's good to get out there and work with people who are interested in picking up the skills.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      @RawBill1: Yes, there are so many overlooked and nutritious plants that can be added to one's diet, if you just know where to look! Thanks for visiting the lens.

    • CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 5 years ago from USA

      Fascinating and essential information - thanks! And congrats on LOTD!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I haven't tried many. Okay, probably not any. But what a great guide when I'm ready to get adventurous and give it a try! Congrats on your LotD!

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      Thank you all so very much for your kind comments, likes and blessings--I'm glad this lens has proven interesting and useful to folks!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      These are such important skills. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on LOTD. Blessings.

    • Anahid LM profile image

      Anahid LM 5 years ago

      hi congratulations for the lotd. great information all the best. Anna

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      because of you're uniqueness of your article, *blessed* it!

    • VSP profile image

      VSP 5 years ago

      Great lens. Will be posting it on later this week.

    • profile image

      kbrown 5 years ago

      Great Lens and congratulations for a well deserved LOTD.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      @VSP: Thank you! I'm glad you're finding the lens useful and educational, and hope others will, too.

    • profile image

      vikwill 5 years ago

      Thanks for lens. I hope to apply some tips in my Southern California wilderness trips.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      You'd be a handy person to have around if lost while hiking in unfamiliar territory.

      Angel blessed.

    • RomanaSwan profile image

      RomanaSwan 5 years ago

      Everybody should possess some of these skills. Just in case...

    • I-sparkle profile image

      I-sparkle 5 years ago

      Enjoyed this lens tremendously. Has to be some of the most unique and creatively written pieces that I have seen in years. Congratulations on a well deserved purple star!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Really interesting and different lens. Well done. Blessed.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have to be honest I haven't tried anything lately, but you have some really good ideas, I loved the way aboriginals in Australia use to catch fish, there was a special plant they used to stun the fish, and they reached in the water took what they wanted and after a while the rest of the fish revived and went on about their business, I'm lucky if I can even catch one on a fishing rod, I loved reading this

    • tarpius profile image

      tarpius 5 years ago

      This is a great lens. I Love camping and mountain travel back then when I'm in college. And the hardest thing to do is making a fire with a minimum tool. Great great lens.

    • TShirtFrank profile image

      TShirtFrank 5 years ago

      Awesome lens! I will definitely be favoriting and checking back!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD and it is truly and awesome beautiful lens. Learned heaps along the way. Blessed and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen, Squidoo LOTD Lenses 2 and also on Motivation. Well done, hugs

    • profile image

      hotbostonprops 5 years ago

      This lens makes me want to run out in the woods right now. Thanks for sharing

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      This is such a cool lens! I'm an avid camper and backpacker, and my son is most emphatically NOT. Perhaps a few of these challenges might help him have as much fun as I do on our next camping trip!

    • profile image

      CarlittoDunaway 5 years ago

      Every kid should learn at least some of these skills. You can never know when you will need them.

    • Mahogany LM profile image

      Mahogany LM 5 years ago

      Interesting lens! I'll probably not put these skills to use, but it was great reading about these useful tidbits :).

    • jwcooney profile image

      jwcooney 5 years ago

      Wow, very interesting lens! The waterproof tinder pellets are such a neat idea.

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      This is a very interesting and informative lens, and it is great to see how you are keeping old traditions and technologies alive. Nicely done.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago


      Are you interested to sell this lense? I would offer you $500 for it if you do.


    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      What a fascinating collection of crafts and skills found in the wilderness. Now I can see how the early settlers managed in a primitive landscape. Terrific photos.

    • profile image

      1malao33 5 years ago

      to be honest, i hate the outdoors. but I now know how to make it a little better. Thanks! Great lens!

    • profile image

      jardeeq 5 years ago

      wow you really got good shelter there

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      thank you for your survival tips. if i have a glass bottle filled with h20 in the wilds, i can also use it to make fire. i knew this technique from our science class in hs. i know you are in a hurry, please put L on light (Primitive lamps and ighting). squid angel blessings.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      @goo2eyes lm: Oh, thanks for catching that mistake...fixed it!

      Yes, you can start a fire by concentrating light when it shines through a glass bottle, much the way you can with a magnifying glass, and the same technique can be used with ice, too, shaping and melting a lens until it can concentrate the sunlight and ignite your tinder!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      What an interesting Lens, I really enjoyed it. Long ago I live for two years in the Highlands of New Guinea, an learned about finding wild plants to eat.

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      oakstreet 5 years ago

      Very interesting len and I like the waterproof idea the new recipes for fired potatoes with eggs. Great len and I "like" it.

    • Elric22 profile image

      Elric22 5 years ago

      Great content. Useful stuff for the next camping trip.

    • archetekt lm profile image

      archetekt lm 5 years ago

      Wow, what a great lens! I haven't seen one before focused on this topic. I have tried most of the skills listed above, especially brain tanning deer hides, wild edible plants, making cordage out of nettles, and flint knapping. that fire hole is a new one on me.

    • profile image

      JZinoBodyArt 5 years ago

      Epic lens! There's a ton of really good information here!

    • profile image

      Bellwood-Antiques 5 years ago

      This is a great lens!!!! I really like the way you have broke it down for us, and simplified way yo use what god has given us. Thanks for the inspiration. Five Stars

    • profile image

      Bellwood-Antiques 5 years ago

      I don't know if my last one came through, but any way I really think that you have done a great job on this lens. It lets people appreciate the things that one can use when you really need them in the outdoors. 5 STARS

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      cool skills

    • greenmind profile image

      greenmind 5 years ago

      great lens -- lots of really good ideas here. Thanks!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      My husband makes cords from a tree found by the rivers in Kauai, HI. He would love this! Beautiful lens.. angel blessed.

    • Roze LM profile image

      Roze LM 5 years ago

      Thank you again! Wonderful lens!

    • razeitup profile image

      razeitup 5 years ago

      Well, i don't get out to the wilderness much anymore. Closest thing is watching episodes of survivorman and the fish'n channel. lol good lens

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      I always like reading lens like this :)

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 5 years ago from Ireland

      You are a natural when it comes to techniques in the wilderness, another very interesting lens, thanks for sharing.

    • kevingomes13 lm profile image

      kevingomes13 lm 5 years ago

      Great lens. What a good read.

    • mary lighthouse15 profile image

      mary lighthouse15 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • JEMArtistry profile image

      JEMArtistry 5 years ago

      Great Information! Thanks for sharing all this. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow Really interesting Lens!

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      Learning how to start a fire is something I really would like to know how to do. Its one of those things that I don't think I'll ever need to know how to do, but if I ever do need to know I'd reall be happy to have done it.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      I once went camping on a mountain for a couple of weeks to learn how to make things from the birch bark, or the part just inside it actually. I made a nice bag, which I believe is still around somewhere. It was so interesting, and we only used knives to cut the bark, no other tools.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      I once went camping on a mountain for a couple of weeks to learn how to make things from the birch bark, or the part just inside it actually. I made a nice bag, which I believe is still around somewhere. It was so interesting, and we only used knives to cut the bark, no other tools.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a great collection of skills! I especially enjoyed seeing the wide range of different things you use to make cordage.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Always been fascinated by them; have yet to spend much time actually doing any. Thanks for a very interesting lens! ;-)

    • profile image

      Bartukas 5 years ago

      Nice lens thank you keep writing

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i love your lens again. i have tried making fire a lot of times. some more primitive skills i am capable of doing would be making ladle with bamboo stick and coconut husk, spoons out of bamboos; cooking rice using bamboo as the cooking medium; i think i know more...

    • CNelson01 profile image

      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      Camping but with tent and stove.

    • jejoju profile image

      jejoju 5 years ago

      I love this lens too! Thank you! I am primitive and I have learnt something.

    • profile image

      hftm69 5 years ago

      Whow this was very useful, I have learn a lot there, thanks.

    • ferginarg lm profile image

      ferginarg lm 5 years ago

      I enjoyed this as well, thanks for this information, hopefully if I ever need to use any of these kinds of skills it's out of choice rather than necessity! :-)

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      I have spent some nights on the trail while backpacking -- it certainly felt primitive lol! Have not tried most of the skills on your list, although this is certainly interesting. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago


    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just stopping back to be inspired and delighted once again...

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      This lens needs a blessing.

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      Wow, what an amazing amount of info! I am much more a day tripper, mostly because I don't know at this stuff. Great lens!

    • virtualboy profile image

      virtualboy 5 years ago

      I can start a fire with out matches

    • Mim Art profile image

      Mim Art 5 years ago

      Okay - in case of world chaos, or on any hiking, fishing, walking, whatever trip - I want to be on your team!!! You rock!

    • falling lakes profile image

      falling lakes 5 years ago

      This one is bookmarked!

    • arcarmi profile image

      arcarmi 5 years ago

      This article is awesome!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Could I do these? I don't know. Do I want to? Maybe, it is challenging that is for sure. There is an organization nearby here that takes groups into the wild for exactly this kind of thing - I have always told my boys it is "learning to be a man camp." Angel Blessed for great original content.

    • HenkWillemse profile image

      HenkWillemse 5 years ago

      I absolutely love this article thanks.

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 5 years ago

      This here is one of the better lenses I've seen so far. Nominated for lotd

    • xriotdotbiz lm profile image

      xriotdotbiz lm 5 years ago

      Done the fire starting and shelters. I really want to work on identifying more edible plants in my neck of the woods.

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 5 years ago


    • profile image

      antoniow 5 years ago

      Great lens, well done! Squidlike

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm afraid I'm not much of an outdoorsman. I would be in big trouble if I got lost in the wilderness! Nice job on this lens.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Tanning deerskin would be interesting.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Been to this lens a few times. Liked it long ago. Good job.

    • StillPlaysWithT profile image

      StillPlaysWithT 4 years ago

      I'd like to learn how to catch fish without all the fancy modern fishing gear.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Picking berries is my favorite although I have tried to start a fire without matches.

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      RinOfAllTrades 4 years ago

      Great lens, and very informative. I've done all the things listed in the poll at least once, and usually more than once, but not in quite awhile. I'll have to try my hand at it and see if I've retained the skills!

      Added this lens to the featured lenses on my lens about "go bags".^_^

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