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Bushcraft: Survival Skills And Techniques For Backpacking And Camping

Updated on February 11, 2016

Bushcraft Is About Thriving In A Natural Environment

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Bush craft is the art of using resources provided by nature, to survive and thrive in unfamiliar surroundings. It is an adoption from the word"Bosch", which in Dutch language, means, "woodland, and a country covered with natural wood". It is a skill, that when mastered, will help you survive many disasterous situations. It includes the knowledge to use plants and animals at your disposal, and consists of a group of related skills, that help you survive, adapt, and overcome obstacles.

Basic Techniques In Bushcraft

  1. Firecraft or fire lighting: It is the ability to make the fire under almost any condition. It also includes the ability to transport fire, by carrying burning coal around, in some type of dry sage grass, to keep it smouldering. Fire can be made using a hand drill, the bow drill, fire plow, and the pump drill. Modern day backpackers use matchsticks and fire starting systems, such as Ferro rod starters, that consist of a large Ferrocerium rod and a hard scraper, to create hot sparks by manually scratching the Ferro rod with a knife, or a sharp object to ignite man-made or natural tinder. Similar sparking devices have a built-in striking blade, which provides an easy method for sparking with one hand. Ferro rod is attached to a Magnesium bar, that can be scraped with a knife, to make powdered tinder, which will burn for a few seconds. An easy, igniting, moisture resistant, homemade tinder can be made from cotton balls lightly impregnated with petroleum jelly. Fire building also involves collecting wood, batoning branches, and building a fire pit.
  2. Knots and Ropecraft: This includes the ability to join two or more pieces of natural or man-made material, to increase its strength and usability as a shelter, a raft, or a weapon.
  3. Shelter building: For making shelter, felling trees, batoning branches, thatching or weaving grass and branches, is necessary. One should also have the knowledge of techniques that involve knot tying, making cordage, natural insulation, and waterproofing.
  4. Hunting and Trapping: This involves the pursuit of animals or fish for food and consists of the use of nets, traps, and snares. Bushcraft skills include tracking and stalking wild animals for food and self-protection, reading animal signs, hiding human scents, tying knots, cleaning and cooking game.
  5. Tracking: The tracks made by humans and animals on the ground, when read correctly, show a pattern of their habits. Once you understand this pattern, you can keep an eye on the animal's movements.
  6. Foraging: This is the ability to identify and eat plants to survive, without falling sick. Thorough knowledge about the local flora and fauna offers great help in avoiding toxic plants.
  7. Water gathering and purification: This includes foraging for water, making water filter, purification, fire building for boiling, and making containers from natural material.

Necessary Tools

  • Knife: A sharp knife is required for batoning small branches, wood carving, making snares and traps, and preparing food.
  • Hatchet: It is a small axe for chopping wood, felling small trees, splitting logs, and digging.
  • Machete: It is a hybrid between a knife and a small axe, and is useful for cleaning brush, batoning large branches, chopping wood and digging.
  • Saw: This is required for cutting branches to make a hut, camp table or chair, or a ladder.
  • Backpack: It is required to carry tools and the gear. It should be made of waterproof material, and have multiple compartments, that make it easier to organize and find your gear, when you have to use it.

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