What is Bushcraft? Great question! One would think it would be a pretty straightforward job to answer this simple question. Think again!
Many think the words Survival and Bushcraft are one in the same [synonymous – big word]. On some level, perhaps they are. In reality, they are separate and distinct concepts.
Within the context of wilderness travel, bushcraft fits within the larger world of “survival“. The term bushcraft has become a societal, in fact a global term used to define a set of skills someone must possess not just to survive, but rather to “thrive” in the wilderness. Generally speaking, this means having ownership of skills allowing one to “live off the land” without the aid of outside pleasures.
Bushcraft however, is much more than merely surviving in the wilderness. Bushcraft is about being able to thrive and live comfortably in the wilderness, relying only on what is provided by and can be obtained from nature. In essence, bushcraft is about being able to create a sustainable life in the wilderness.
For some, bushcraft is a hobby that is taken up to dabble with from time to time. For others, bushcraft is much more, it is a philosophy, a way of living, and a way to experience the wilderness allowing them to become closer or more at one with nature.
Learning, practicing, and mastering the skills of bushcraft can give one a great sense of accomplishment and be extremely satisfying. I know from my personal experiences in the wilderness, the sense of oneness and contentment with the natural world I gain is beyond words. Not only am I able to recharge my batteries, I am able to regain a connection with the natural world, bolstering my confidence in my own innate abilities.
So, what does it take to become a Bushcrafter?
First, I believe you need to have a desire to experience nature and a willingness to embrace a more primitive or minimalist viewpoint when it comes to venturing out into the wilderness. I am not suggesting that one needs to go totally primal in order to become a Bushcrafter, though there are those who have chosen this path as their way to experience the wilderness. Rather, being a Bushcrafter means embracing a credo of “the more you know, the less you carry“. Therefore, the essential element of becoming a Bushcrafter is gaining knowledge and mastery of a number of skills which will allow you to safely go into the wild and experience nature in a more primitive and natural way.
What are the skills needed of a Bushcrafter?
There are great many skills one would need to learn and have a mastery of in order to truly live and thrive in the wilderness for long periods of time. Simply researching the information on websites, YouTube, or your local library is a start. There is a number of solid resources out there that will give you the information you will need to begin or expand your knowledge base. Real learning comes from getting out into the wild and actually practicing what you learn.
There are any number of ways to categorize these skills, but generally, they can be grouped into the following broad areas:
- Making shelter
- Fire making
- Obtaining and preparing food
- Knowledge and use of tools and materials
- Obtaining drinkable water
- First aid
As we move forward with Nutmeg Bushcraft, we will discuss each of these topic areas in greater detail and continue to provide you with information and resources allowing you attain the level of bushcraft prowess you desire. It is our hope you will journey along with us, sharing your own experiences.
Until then, be like a kid and go play in the dirt!