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5 Bushcraft Skills That Changed My Life

Everyday you perform mundane tasks like driving your car, buying food at the market or turning on the lights in your home. You’ve become accustomed to all of the modern conveniences our modern society affords us.

But what if a natural disaster or political turmoil were to strike your region?

What would you do if there were no electricity for your house or petrol for your car?

Suddenly, day to day living has become a struggle and the future looks bleak.

Bushcraft skills are techniques for living off of the land with a minimal set of tools and equipment.

Bushcraft skills will enable you to survive in the wild, away from modern conveniences.

Being Self-Sufficient is the Ultimate Survival Skill

Learning bushcraft skills will empower you to thrive in a natural environment. Being able to start a fire or tie the correct knot can be the difference between eating or going hungry and ultimately, life or death.

By learning these bushcraft skills, you will gain confidence and the positive outlook that are essential for surviving the most difficult of situations.

 

1. Harness The Power of Fire

Humans have been using fire for over a million years. It’s the one bushcraft skill that supersedes all others in importance.

A fire provides you with warmth, a way to cook food, purify water, create smoke signals, harden wooden spears, melt snow and it will keep most wild animals at bay during the night.

Starting a fire can be a challenge if you don’t have any matches or a lighter. So it’s important to assess your situation for things that will aid you in creating a fire.

Glass, batteries, soda cans, pieces of concrete and metal rods can all be utilized to create a fire. You will need different grades of wood to use as tender, kindling and fuel.

Tender is a small bit dry grass or hay that lights easily. Kindling is small twigs and sticks that will burn a little slower than the tender.

The fuel wood will be pieces of wood that are large and will burn for a long time. Always gather twice as much firewood as you think you will need otherwise you may have to go looking for wood in the middle of the night.

A magnifying glass can be used to start a fire on a sunny day. Place the glass about 2 to 3 inches above some dry kindling. Blow on the tender when it starts to smoke and it should flame up. Then put kindling and larger pieces of wood loosely over it to fuel the fire.

If you find a soda can you can smear toothpaste or chocolate onto the bottom of the can and rub it around for a few minutes. Wipe it off and you should have a very shiny metallic surface. You can use this like a parabolic mirror to concentrate the suns rays into a hot spot that will light a piece of kindling.

If the only thing available to you is wood, you can use the wood plow method to start a fire. Tale a small plank-shaped piece of dry, soft wood and a stick of hard wood that is about one half to three quarter inch thick and long enough to give you a good hand grip.

Use your knife to create a 1 inch groove down the center of the plank. With the plank lying flat on the ground, rub the hardwood stick through the trench until you have a decent amount of wood dust. Then, lean the plank against yourself so the wood dust gathers at the bottom of the trench.

Proceed to rub the stick vigorously through the trench until the wood dust begins to smolder. Add your tender and kindling while blowing on the smoldering wood dust until it lights.

2. Master Knots and Ropes

Knot tying is one of the essential skills needed to survive in the bush. Knots are used to create shelter, traps, snares, tools, weapons and clothing.

The four knots I would recommend learning first would be the square lashing, diagonal lashing, shear lashing and the tripod lashing. As the names suggest, these knots are used to bind polls together and are excellent for constructing a shelter or any framed structure.

The double fisherman, double overhand and square knot are all great utility knots that I couldn’t live without. The double fisherman and the square knot are used to join two similar-sized pieces of rope. The double overhand is a great stopper knot and will keep your line from slipping out of other knots.

3. Track What is Around You

Knowing what is around you is vital to long term survival.

By using tracking skills, you can hunt game for nourishment, find fresh water and food sources and even keep tabs on other people in your area.

Animals generally keep to set patterns of travel unless acted upon by outside forces and experienced trackers can tell how long ago something passed by and the general size and weight of the animal based on print erosion and depth and size of the impression.

4. Forage for Your Food

Foraging for edible plants is a primary skill that is essential for survival.

Wild greens, berries, fruits, vegetables and mushrooms can be found in most temperate zones.

Knowing what is edible and what is toxic can be tricky because some plants and mushrooms look very similar to each other. Never eat a plant or berry because it was eaten by a bird or deer because they can tolerate things that are poisonous to humans.

One of the most common edible plants is the dandelion. Dandelions are easily recognizable and every part of the dandelion is edible. The leaves make a great green salad and the stems and roots can be cooked into just about any dish.

Clover is another common edible plant and is great as a salad and the flowers can be dried and used to make a refreshing tea.

I recommend picking up a field guide for plants that are specific to your area or region and that has been published in the last five years.

5. Hunt or Snare your Dinner

Probably the most primal of all the bushcraft skills, hunting is a way to add protein to your diet. The success of your hunt depends on your ability to observe prey or evidence of its presence, and then create a plan to either track it down or trap it.

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Photo source: Irish bushcraft club

Keeping tabs on an animal’s daily movements will allow you to know when and where your prey should be in the near future. Inspecting the animal’s droppings is another way to indicate what, and possibly where, the animal has been grazing.

Tracking and killing an animal can be very resource intensive. You could spend hours or even days and still come home with an empty stomach. One way to avoid such a large expenditure of time and resources is the use of snares.

The main advantage of using a snare is that it frees you up to address other essential daily tasks while your dinner is caught.

Snares can be as simple as little loops of wire on a tree branch to capture birds or squirrels or as complex as a spring loaded trigger snare for larger game like rabbits.

One thing to keep in mind is that snares do not discern between animals and humans. It’s highly advisable to clearly mark you snares to avoid harm to other people in the area.

12 Ways to Become the MacGyver of Wilderness Survival

Do you have any idea what you would do if you got lost or hurt while out in the wilderness? What if your car broke down and your cell phone died, leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere? By planning ahead, you can save your life when caught in an unexpected situation.

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Must-Read Wilderness Survival Hacks

It takes a bit of planning and a small budget to compile the necessities you’d need if you were unexpectedly alone in the wilderness. The most important supplies would help you stay warm, hydrated, and fed, while alerting others to your whereabouts.

1) Find Flammable Materials in the Wilderness

If it’s wet out and you’re getting cold, you’ll need to build a fire stat. It’s not always easy to come across dry, flammable materials. Peel long strips of bark from a cedar tree or a birch tree for tinder. If you’ve planned ahead, you should have emergency tinder on you, or even baggies of dryer lint, which are flammable. In a pinch, you can also douse cotton balls in Vaseline.

2) Build an Emergency Shelter

If avoidable, don’t try to sleep on the ground without any shelter, and make sure to get the shelter up before the sun goes down. Shelter is one of the most important things to have when you’re stranded outside in an unknown place.

You should have a tarp or an emergency blanket with you if you’ve been hiking or camping, which you can rig up with paracord (get a paracord belt or bracelet so it’s always nearby).

3) Build Makeshift Fishing Gear

If you’re stuck near water and you need to go fishing for food, you can create a fishing spear from bamboo. This may be difficult to use if you’ve never spear fished before, though, but it may be your best option.

You can also fashion a fishing hook from the tab of a canned beverage by snipping away part of the thin circular part at an angle. All you’ll need is something to attract the fish (the sparkly tab may be enough) and something to use for line.

If you think of it ahead of time, pack an emergency tackle kit in a Tic Tac box.

4) Increase Your Light

If your flashlight’s died (or you didn’t bring one in the first place) and all you have are a few candles, increase the light by cutting a soda can to make a “doorway” with flaps on either side.

Place the candle inside – the light will be brighter as it reflects off the can. You can do the same thing with a tuna can.

5) Makeshift Water Filter

Ran out of water? Too bad you didn’t pack that fancy water filter you have sitting at home. Take a piece of cloth and two containers, one empty and the other filled with the yucky water.

Run the strip of cloth from the dirty water to the empty glass. After a little while, the “filtered” water will make its way into the empty glass to give you something drinkable (after it’s boiled, of course).

6) Repel Bugs

If you’re at least a bit prepared with something to start a fire and a few herbs for cooking, sprinkle rosemary or basil on the fire – bugs can’t stand the smell and they’ll leave you alone for the night.

Sage works well at repelling bugs, too. If you need to keep ants away from your campsite, sprinkle grits wherever you see the ants – they’ll steer clear of that area.

7) Impromptu Microwave

Cut three sides of a square into the top of a food box and line both the flap and the inside with aluminum foil.

Place food inside, fold the flap down, and leave the box out in the sun. The food inside will cook in your makeshift solar microwave.

8) Simple Compass

If you’re completely turned around and don’t know which way is home, find a small sliver of medal, like a needle, and rub it against your clothing multiple times.

Float a leaf in water and place the metal on top. The needle will point north.

Make sure you’re watching the needle as it readjusts so you know which way is north and which is south.

9) Emergency Oil Lamp

Empty out a soda can and fill it halfway with olive oil. Roll up a napkin or paper towel and put it in the mouth of the can with part of the cloth still sticking out of the top. Light the end of the cloth – the oil lamp will burn for hours.

Not working? Make sure the bottom of the cloth is far enough in the can to reach the oil.

10) Whistle for Help

If you didn’t pack an emergency whistle and your phone is out of range, find an acorn – you can use the cap to whistle for help.

You need just the cap, not the entire acorn, and you want to find a cap that’s whole, not broken or misshapen. Take the cap in both of your hands, holding it between your index finger and thumb.

The inside of the cap should face you. Place your thumbs near the top of the cap with your thumbs touching each other. Put your upper lip on your thumbs and your lower lips on the bottom of the acorn cap and blow through the triangle that’s formed by your thumbs.

11) Mark Your Way

If you’re lost and trying to find your way out of the woods, use biodegradable tape to mark where you’ve been.

If you retrace your steps without realizing it, you at least won’t think you’re someplace new. If you don’t have trail tape on you, use something to keep track of where you’ve been, even if it’s simple rock formations.

12) Calm Annoying Mosquito Bites

If you’re getting eaten alive, rub a bit of deodorant on a nasty mosquito bite to quell the itch.

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Top 20 Websites for Survivalists

We decided it would be a great idea to put together a top 20 list of the best websites for Survivalists. This is what we’ve come up with from our research and we wanted to provide you with the best information possible.

So here you are!

 

1. Graywolf Survivalhttp://graywolfsurvival.com/%20

– One of the most popular survivalist sites, Graywolfsurvival is informative and easy to navigate.

2. American Preppers Networkhttp://americanpreppersnetwork.com

– This website caters to a wide range of preppers. From novices to seasoned survivalists, this site contains information for everybody, as well as a blog to help you pick up tips from other preppers.

3. The Prepper Journalhttp://www.theprepperjournal.com/%20

– This site is very thorough and has a wealth of information, particularly for those who don’t know where to begin. The attractive layout is an added bonus.

4. Sovereign Survival//tipsforsurvivalists.com/%20

– This site is particularly helpful for preppers with families, and is chock full of links to other resources across the web. Great for people at any experience level, particularly those with small children.

5. The Survival Momhttp://thesurvivalmom.com/%20

– While this site appears to cater to women, don’t let the name fool you! This site is great for beginners of all genders who want tips on organization, prepping food, and keeping your kids entertained in the event of a crisis.

6. Doom and Bloom – http://www.doomandbloom.net/%20

– Doom and Bloom is both fun and informational –containing helpful articles as well as a radio channel where you can tune in and get helpful survivalist tips.

7. Off Grid Survival – http://offgridsurvival.com

– While this site is not super heavy on tips for beginners, it is a wealth of knowledge in terms of related news stories and information on practical gear.

8. Survival Spothttp://www.survival-spot.com

– This site is attractive and well laid out, but is recommended for those who already have base-level knowledge; otherwise the high-tech advice could bury a beginner.

9. Prepping To Survivehttp://preppingtosurvive.com/%20

– Where most prepping websites focus on disaster related preparedness, this one targets wilderness survival in general, and is great for the adventurer who wants to be ready in case of emergency.

10. Prepper Resourceshttp://www.prepper-resources.com/%20

– This resource is not only provides information on prepping basics and gun safety, it will also link you to other sites on the web that can expand your knowledge.

11. Survival Cachehttp://survivalcache.com/%20

– While it does contains articles on storing food and water, this site’s main focus is weaponry. While it may seem extreme to some, it is an often overlooked aspect of being prepared.

12. SGT Reporthttp://sgtreport.com/ 

– This website is less about active survival tips and more about the danger we are facing on a daily basis – however, it can be helpful to train yourself to know the warning signs of crisis.

13. The Prepared Ninjahttp://www.thepreparedninja.com/ 

– A short, simple, and well-organized blog for those who understand the fundamentals, but need help with practical execution.

14. Authorized Boots – http://authorizedboots.com/

– Authorized Boots is for all things related to Army boots and tactical gear. They provide their expertise as well as team’s insights to provide high quality reviews of your favorite army boots based on their experience, opinions, and relentless research to be a trusted source in your purchase journey.

15. The Organic Prepperhttp://www.theorganicprepper.ca/%20

– This website is very beginner friendly, but also focuses more on an eco-friendly approach to survivalism. The blogger has several other sites that are related to prepping.

16. Backdoor Survivalhttp://www.backdoorsurvival.com

– While this site is slightly more difficult to navigate, it has a wealth of in-depth preparation tips, particularly for those with large families and those who want tips on training their mind as well as their bug-out bags.

17. Survival Bloghttp://survivalblog.com/%20

– Where some sites are a little skimpy, this site has almost an overload of information; however, it is very organized, and has information that appeals to all level of prepper.

18. Survival MD – http://survivalmd.org

– This website has the only complete medical field survival guide for the laymen…showing you how to treat yourself and loved ones in an emergency when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down.

19. Suburban Prepperhttp://www.suburbanprepper.com/blog/

– Suburban prepper has a few tips for those who are a little more outdoors-y.

20. Blackout USA – http://blackoutusa.org

– This site is all about educating you about a threat so powerful it will wipe out 281 million Americans in the first year. And while NASA, the CIA and the Pentagon are warning us like crazy…no mainstream T.V. or radio outlet is talking about it.

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How To Disappear In The Wilderness: A Natural Camouflage Tutorial

We came across this article and had to share… we’re sharing the beginning and you can read the rest with the link included at the end of the article if you want to learn more!

You never know when you might need natural camouflage.  Whether to escape and evade or to hunt and stalk, blending into the wilderness around you might be a necessary part of your survival scenario one day and it’s important that you understand the basics.  Luckily, the process is fool-proof – and – surprisingly fast.

THE BASE LAYER

It all starts with muddin’ up!  It goes without saying that this method of natural camo lends itself to warm weather scenarios.  This process also works much better on BARE SKIN.  I started the whole process by striping down to my skivvys and then scooped some goopy clay-mud mix from the edge of the pond.  There’s really no delicate way to do this – just smear it on!  I had to go Garden of Eden style in these shots with a Burdock leaf for the sake of decency.

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Get it on nice and thick.  A thick, wet base layer is critical.  Once you’re all mudded up, the next step is pretty easy.

 

DUFF AND FOREST DEBRIS

Forest duff, debris and leaf litter cover the floor in every type of forest environment.  What better material to use than the stuff that exists naturally in the area that you’re in.  Just grab handfuls of forest debris and slap it all over your wet gooey base layer.  It will stick and as the mud dries, it will become cemented into place.  You can even roll on the ground.  You’ll be surprised what your fly-paper like body will pick up.

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Read the rest of the article: How To Disappear In The Wilderness: A Natural Camouflage Tutorial