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The Ultimate Guide for Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival

The Ultimate Guide for Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival

Are you an adventure enthusiast looking to enhance your survival skills in the great outdoors? Look no further! Welcome to The Ultimate Guide for Bushcraft and Wilderness Survival.' In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey to uncover the secrets of bushcraft – the art of thriving in the wilderness and surviving with confidence. 

The Importance of Bushcraft Skills:

In today's modern world, where we rely heavily on technology and convenience, the importance of bushcraft skills cannot be overstated. Knowing how to survive and thrive in the wild is not only a valuable skill, but it also connects us to our primal instincts and allows us to truly appreciate the beauty and power of nature.

Bushcraft skills enable us to go off the beaten path, explore remote locations, and experience the thrill of self-reliance. Whether you are an avid camper, hiker, or adventurer, having a solid foundation in bushcraft will give you the confidence to tackle any outdoor challenge that comes your way.

Survival Gear and Equipment for Bushcraft:
Having the right gear and equipment is essential for a successful bushcraft adventure. From knives and axes to tarps and paracords, there are specific tools that every bushcraft enthusiast should have in their kit. Understanding the different types of gear, their uses, and how to maintain them will ensure their longevity and usefulness in the wild.

The first thing we need to clear up is the difference between bushcraft and wilderness survival.

Wilderness Survival is taught in a multitude of courses to help one become prepared to face the worst case scenario in the field. Wilderness survival is primarily taught with the idea that you are lost, trapped, disoriented, or in trouble. Doing whatever one can until the rescue team arrives to stay alive and return back home.

Bushcraft on the other hand, is taught with self reliance in mind for an indefinite amount of time. Meaning, there is no "Home" to return too.

The best quote that comes to mind is "Home is where you make it" - Old Cajun Man (Joe Dirt 2001). With that said, there is no where to go but where your at, and nothing to have but what you've crafted or can craft with what you've got. 

Firstly we will focus on is the five C's of Bushcraft and Survival which is a bare minimum kit needed to endure and survive in any conditions across the globe. 

  1. Cutting:
    Fixed blade knives, Multitools, Axes, and Saws
  2. Combustion:
    Fire making tools and tinder.
  3. Cover:
    Tarps, Ponchos, and Tents.
  4. Container:
    Metal bottles (we like titanium) are preferred in this category.
  5. Cordage:
    Any type of heavy-duty or multi-purpose string (Paracord, Jute, Hemp Twine, Bankline, etc.) 

Remember, this list is not meant to be your entire kit!

Rather, it’s going to serve as a good baseline to cover your essential needs. Most of these items can be carried on your person, in cargo pockets, or in a small waist pack.


Batoning wood with knife

One of the hardest things to replicate in a bushcraft or wilderness survival situation is tools. If you've never heard the saying that "We are only as good as the tools we have" then you heard it here first. Starting off with some basic rugged tools in any pack could very well be the difference between survival and ones demise.

We will go into specifics kinds of knives for bushcraft and wilderness survival but in a general sense two is one, and one is none. 

I always make sure my pack has at least one fixed blade full tang knife, as well as one smaller folding knife for less strenuous work. 

Brands such as ESEE, Morakniv, Spyderco, and Civivi are some of the best bushcraft and survival knives on the market with a knife for every budget. 


Ferro rod striking tinder

Fire is not only essential for warmth but also for cooking food, purifying water, and providing a sense of security in the wild. Mastering the art of fire making is a cornerstone of bushcraft.

From primitive methods like friction fire-starting using a bow drill or hand drill to modern techniques such as using a ferro rod or fire piston, there are various ways to ignite a flame. Understanding the different fire-building techniques and having the necessary tools will ensure you can start a fire even in challenging conditions.

The top survival priority is creating fire. Fire can help regulate our body’s core temperature which is critical since the human body can run the risk of hypothermia.

Hypothermia Survival Chart

If your bodies core temp drops lower than 95°F, you have hypothermia. 

Hypothermia can also occur in temperatures that are not bitterly cold, like those above 40°F.

This is usually due to a person being wet, sweaty, or trapped in cold water. It is dangerous and can be life threatening. 

Having a fire will help us with boiling water for disinfecting, or maybe heating up a meal and that is a huge morale booster when in a survival or bushcraft situation.

A disposable lighter is hard to beat when you need a fire quickly. Although not waterproof, they have been proven time and time again to hold tremendous value by doing so much more then just lighting a fire by using the pieces and materials its made out of.

One of my all-time favorite and must haves is the almighty ferro rod. A great size would be a 5/16 - 3/8". These have been proven to allow enough strikes lasting years if need be. Adding a smaller 1/4" ferro rod to any small kit as an extra is never a bad idea either.

The larger ferro rods are perfect for all weather conditions, especially when your dexterity is low, or fatigued. They are simple enough for a child to utilize and reliable in every sense of the word. Another must have in a bushcraft or wilderness survival pack regardless of size.

Using items such as a small tin of charred material, a few vaseline-soaked cotton balls, or some fatwood would make a great addition for quick fire starting during inclement weather or a damp environment.


Plash Palatka/ Tarp Shelter

When venturing into the wilderness, having a sturdy and reliable shelter is crucial for protection against the elements. Knowing how to construct a shelter using natural materials found in the environment is an essential bushcraft skill. From simple lean-tos to more complex debris huts, understanding the principles of shelter building will ensure your safety and comfort in the wild.

A nylon or canvas tarp, shelter half, tent, or hammock is a must have for any bushcraft or wilderness survival kit. The ability to be out of the elements and still remain mobile with little effort could be what saves your life.

Nylon tarps, hammocks, and tents are lightweight and pack up small and are usually large enough to fit 1 or 2 people depending on size. The only drawback to a nylon tarp is that they are prone to getting ember holes in them if you have a large fire nearby.

Canvas Shelters such as the Plash Palatka, Polish Lavvu, or USGI Pup tents are fantastic long term minded products. A true favorite of bushcraft indulging individuals for their ruggedness and ability to deliver comfort and survivability for generations on and off the battle field or in a survival situation. With these you can go worry free about embers and if a tear does happen, simply sew it up and keep on trucking. 

The biggest downfall with canvas is that most canvas products are heavy, bulky, items. However, most of these shelters also double as a poncho which opens up a multitude of possibilities in a bushcraft and or survival situation. 


SilverAnt Titanium Water Bottle

Access to clean water is critical for survival. In the wild, water sources may be contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and other harmful pathogens. Bushcraft skills include various water purification methods such as boiling, using filtration systems, and constructing improvised water filters. Knowing how to find, collect, and purify water will keep you hydrated and prevent waterborne illnesses.

A lot of water bottles & filters over the past couple of years have shown up but only a few stand out as the king of the bushcraft and wilderness survival community. 

Titanium Bottles are my go to for my pack. Lightweight, great heat displacement properties, High melting point, and resilient. You won't go wrong with a titanium water bottle, cup, or canteen. 

Stainless Steel would be a good option as well, although slightly heavier.

It would also behoove you to bring a water filter of sorts. Whether that is a Filter Straw, Filter Bottle, or a Millbank bag, filtering water is a crucial step to wilderness survival and bushcraft. 

NOTE :  Aluminum water bottles, canteens, and cups can be put onto a fire but run the risk of deforming and melting due to the lower melting point of aluminum. Also, aluminum is known now to release some nasty stuff into your body. Aluminum is bad not only for your brain, but other organs as well. Your body works hard to get rid of it. So best to avoid it when it comes to consuming anything out of it. 


Cordage Variations

If you're not a fan of bushcraft fabricating your own cordage out of natural or recycled materials, fear not for we have the solution.

It takes a LONG time to make good cordage. Now, while in a bushcraft situation that might be okay, a wilderness survival situation will probably not work. Time should be focused on other essential things such as fire, food, water, etc. while you await rescue. 

The top dog in this category is Paracord such as survival cord. Which is everything regular paracord is and more. If you split it apart it features fire tinder, utility wire, fishing line, and 7 nylon strands, HOW COOL. 

Hemp cord is a great option for bushcraft and is tried and true over centuries. It is a great natural cordage similar to jute but without the artificial fibers. This give the hemp cordage better dexterity and flexibility without breaking. Hemp cord also swells when wet, making it undeniably good for stringing shelter halves together and maintaining waterproofness at the peak. 

Jute twine is fantastic natural cordage with some artificial fibers that you can buy for cheap. Not only can you can use it to tie things up, but, you can also fluff the jute twine up and make it into a bird’s nest for fire-making which is a pretty sweet perk!

Bank line is one the all time favorite types of cordage when a high breaking strength isn't a necessity. It’s ideal for use with tarp shelter knots, tying tripod lashings, and things of this nature.

Navigating Without a Compass:

Navigation by map

Imagine finding yourself lost in the middle of a dense forest with no compass or GPS. What would you do? Understanding how to navigate using natural landmarks, sun, and stars is a fundamental bushcraft skill. Learning to read the terrain, identify key landmarks, and use basic orienteering techniques will help you find your way back to civilization.

Hunting and Foraging for Food:

Deadfall Trap Survival

In a survival situation, knowing how to find food in the wild is vital. Bushcraft teaches us how to hunt, trap, and forage for food using basic tools and knowledge of edible plants and animals. Learning to set traps, identify edible plants, and track game will help sustain you in the wild. Additionally, understanding food preservation techniques such as smoking and curing will ensure you have enough food for the long haul.


Concealment Camouflage

While being rescued is possible the end goal and you would want to be noticed, there are time the concealment is necessary. Using natural resources or different camouflage patterns depending on the season and environment is imperative to concealment. Learning the art of concealment is a necessary function in bushcraft and or a survival situation. If someone find you or your camp all bets are off as far as a "normal" human interaction. 

Conclusion: Embracing the Wilderness Through Bushcraft

Woman sitting by fire in run down building

Mastering the art of bushcraft is not just about survival; it is about embracing the wilderness and connecting with nature on a deeper level. The skills and knowledge gained through bushcraft empower us to venture into the unknown, explore remote locations, and truly appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

So, whether you are planning a camping trip, embarking on a hiking expedition, or simply seeking to reconnect with nature, mastering the art of bushcraft is an essential step in your outdoor journey. By learning and practicing these essential skills, you will gain the confidence and ability to thrive in the wild and create unforgettable adventures of a lifetime.

This blog article is a comprehensive guide to mastering the art of bushcraft, covering essential skills such as building shelters, navigating without a compass, fire building techniques, hunting and foraging for food, water purification methods, and survival gear and equipment. With this ultimate guide, you can embark on outdoor adventures with confidence, knowing that you have the knowledge and skills to thrive in the wilderness. So, get ready to embrace the wild and discover the artistry of bushcraft!

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