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Nature’s greatest allure is how it allows us to rekindle our connection with our primal senses – the forgotten aspect of our nature.
The beautiful thing about nature is that, it requires us to strip down to the bare essentials and live off the natural elements. In this article we will share with you 18 essential bushcraft skills that all successful preppers share.
These skills will help you experience the liberation that a person gets from self-reliance and adventure.
18 Bushcraft Skills All Successful Preppers Share
The Craft of Fire
A bonfire can serve many purposes. Not only does it help illuminate the surrounding areas, but also helps in getting warmth, cooking food and boiling water.
It is also used for building weapons and tools.
Hence, fire is an essential element for wilderness survival.
Art of Navigation
There are two primary mediums for navigation: a compass and a map. If you have these two pieces of equipment you can almost never get lost, especially if you’re familiar with the area.
However, for a master navigator, all that’s necessary is keen observation skills and nature.
The sky becomes their map and the sun and stars become the directives.
Foraging for Food
Foraging is one of the most important skills as it allows us to find edible plants. Nature is filled with many delicacies along with just as many toxic plants.
A person’s ability to find wild berries, fruits and mushrooms is essential for their survival.
Hunting your Dinner
Hunting is probably the most primal of all the bushcraft skills and the best way to add some protein to your diet.
A good hunter will possess the ability to observe their prey and create a plan to either track it down or trap it.
No one can survive in the wild without sturdy shelter. This particular skill, is the foundation of an adventurer’s and their time in nature.
You must know how to create an appropriately sized shelter that can protect its inhabitants from rain.
The adventurer should also know about various different types of shelters and their proper use.
For example, a swamp bed is a type of shelter that allows shelter on wet surfaces or even water.
Understanding your Ropes
One of the most important, yet basic skills in bushcraft is the ability to tie poles or sticks together to create a rope.
Although, survivalist can take nylon ropes, but their real ability will be tested when they can create ropes from bush materials such as grass or vines.
Knots and Lashings
Your ability to tie knots will help you several other essential skills necessary for survival.
In bushcraft work you will be forced to learn many different types of knots and lashings, which will help you build shelters, ropes, beds and so on.
If you are ever forced to make your own shelter from the bush materials that are available at hand, thatching is a skill that allows you to do just that.
It is not difficult to construct a hut exclusively using with local materials. In place of nails you will use lashings and thatching with long grass ferns for weather proof roofing.
With some basic tools and know-how, anyone can set up a temporary or permanent camp.
Knowledge in camp craft will help you establish a u-shaped stone fireplace or a dug in fireplace.
Hooks, fire-throngs and forks from me made from bush material. It teaches you diverse set of skills such as stone baking, creating lamps or making camp-furniture.
Reading the Sun-Clock
Believe it or not, but our sun acts as a clock if we can learn to learn its rays. Well, all you really need is a stick to create a shadow, which will help you tell the time in the most primal manner.
We don’t really need refrigerators to preserve food for later. The best ways to keeping our wild animal meat fresh under bush conditions are by smoking or drying the meat.
Fishing and Fish Traps
Although, the most usual method for fishing is by using a rod and a line, however, we can devise a number of creative traps to catch fish.
This helps us free up time to perform other tasks during the day.
There are many natural indicators that can help us find water in the wild.
Water can be found in hollow trees, under the soil and water can also be extracted from vegetation.
Since water can be found and extracted in the driest of terrains, it is an essential skill for bushcraft.
Analyzing Animals and their Habits
The ability to recognize animals is of enormous benefit for an adventurer. Species identification can help you in finding water and food sources.
It can help you stay out of danger by avoiding threatening animals such as poisonous snakes.
There was a time when we could tract almost anything literally anywhere.
However, modern civilization has taken this skill away from most of us.
Ability to read tracks can help you avoid dangerous animals, while helping you find food.
Although, everyone carries a first-aid or survival kit, but a person’s ability to give first-aid can be extremely important and can even be the difference between life and death.
On the lesser extreme, it is important for one to understand how to properly clean a wound to prevent infections and other complications.
Understanding Your Weather
There are many effective ways to predict weather without the use of technology.
For example, observing cloud patters is an effective way to anticipate changes in weather.
This is a particularly important skill, as preparing for rain can make your life quite easier in the wild.
Emergency Signal Codes
Although, bushcraft and the wild are quite safe, it is still important to be properly prepared for the worst, because accidents and emergencies are not predictable and our disaster preparedness shouldn’t be lacking.
If you really are serious about mastering bushcraft, then you need to at least familiarize yourself, if not master these 18 survivalist skills all successful preppers share.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to experience the joys and purity of nature in it’s true form, which we all know is WILD.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bushcraft Brain Exposed – 20 Fascinating Facts
A bushcraft survivalist does not simply rely on tools and a few tricks to keep themselves alive in an unforeseen emergency.
Bushcraft isn’t an extended camping trip. It involves survival using what you have on hand and the environment surrounding you.
You are not trying to keep yourself going until you are rescued. You are building a livable space for yourself among the wilderness, harnessing nature’s vast resources for your own purposes.
2. You Start With a Good Knife
Any serious bushcraft survivalist won’t skimp on a quality knife.
A knife is a tool of many uses when wielded properly and efficiently. Bushcraft knives are sturdy and sharp, and can be used for everything from slicing materials for a fire to hunting and killing an animal when necessary.
3. Fire Can Be Made Numerous Ways
In bushcraft, matches and lighters are luxury, but not unheard of entirely. Other methods should always be in your arsenal of knowledge, too.
Bushcrafters learn how to make fire from a fire drill, striking rocks to form a spark, and the use of a mirror to reflect sunlight on tinder until it smolders.
4. You Must Respect Nature
Bushcrafters respect their environment and understand that they may not be the apex predator in the wilderness.
Blithely exploring a natural environment can get you hurt or killed. Be mindful of your surroundings including, animals, plants, insects, natural formations, water sources, and weather. Underestimating the wild is not just dangerous it’s stupid.
5. Your Clothing is Your Shelter
Building a shelter may be on the top of the list for an inexperienced survivalist, but you should consider shelter when you dress before heading out into the wilderness.
Your choice of clothing should keep you warm if necessary, protect your skin from sun, poisonous leaves, and poor weather conditions.
Clothing isn’t meant to be anything more than a temporary measure for shelter, but it should be fully utilized.
6. Hunting and Trapping Provides More Than a Meal
Part of bushcraft focuses on hunting and building trap devices to catch game and fish.
Without protein, the body has a more difficult time keeping up the energy needed to continue surviving in a harsh environment.
You should also learn skills on how to gut and break down different animals for food preparation and reusing certain parts of the animal like tendons and bones.
7. You Need To Be a Hunter-Gatherer
Hunting is useful, but is not guaranteed to result in a substantial meal every time out.
Foraging is an excellent way to sustain your diet when meat is unavailable. Edible plants and berries can be good sources of much needed vitamins that meat cannot provide.
8. Tracking Provides You With Information
Tracking animals is essential when hunting, but bushcrafters will tell you that you learn more than where an animal is located.
Animals can lead you to a viable water source or a food source you can forage. Keep in mind, animals need to eat and drink as well, and they are probably more familiar with their surroundings than you are.
9. Knot tying is a Versatile and Necessary Skill
Learning to tie a variety of knots can make or break your survival experience.
Knots are used to build shelters, fashioning tools or weapons, constructing rafts and traps, or creating equipment like baskets or sleds.
10. Water is Your Lifeblood
The need for a viable water cannot be overstated. Bushcrafters must know how to find, purify, filter, and store water.
Different methods can be employed to make water safe to drink, but boiling is among the most popular.
Traveling with a pot to boil and store water in is a good idea, but you should also have another vessel to collect rainwater, which doesn’t need to be filtered before drinking.
11. Waste Can Do You Harm
If you are fortunate enough to hunt down an animal, but there is too much meat to eat in one sitting, it is important that the meat does not go to waste.
Learn how to preserve the meat safely by drying or smoking the leftovers into jerky for later meals.
By allowing meat to rot, you could be throwing the only source of food you have away until more is obtained and that is easier said than done in the wilderness.
12. Food Attracts Other Predators
Bushcrafters are mindful that they are surrounded by living things. Butchered animals, cooking meat, or rotting flesh can attract other hungry animals to your camp.
Always keep food properly stored and discard unusable material far away, from where you’ve set up your camp.
13. Knowledge Can Keep You in Good Health
First aid skills are important because you are likely to be injured in some way while out in the wilderness. Without immediate access to help, you have only yourself to rely upon.
Natural remedies found in the environment can provide treatments for pain, fever, stomach upset, and other ailments, so do your homework!
14. Bleach Can Purify Water
A couple drops of bleach per pint of water can purify the water and make it safe to drink. The dirtier the water, the more drops you can add.
15. Dehydration Can Hit You Unexpectedly
You can become dehydrated without even realizing anything is wrong. Many body functions use water, using up what is already inside your body.
Drink water often and rest frequently, especially in hot weather.
16. Bushcrafting Requires Research
Learning about the environment you will bushcraft in is vital to your success in the wilderness.
Understanding a certain area allows you to get to know the layout of the area, the animals and plants, and which tools will be the most useful to you.
17. Packing Light Keeps You Nimble
Bringing tools you don’t need or are wrong for an environment is a waste of space and can weigh you down. You will move much faster if you are not encumbered by useless items.
18. Pine Needles Make a Great Tea
Fresh, green pine needles can be steeped in boiling water to drink for a Vitamin C boost. This is especially helpful if you are feeling under the weather.
19. Bushcrafting With a Partner Can Keep You Sane
A bushcraft experience can become lonely after awhile. Bringing a partner gives you someone to commiserate with and share the workload.
20. Documenting Your Experience is Part of the Learning
Keep an accurate account of your experiences as they happen in a journal.
Bushcraft is a collection of skills that take time to hone and mistakes will inevitably be made.
You will learn faster if you teach yourself how and what to improve upon.
Survival Gear; 10 Must Have Items to Survive When SHTF
Whether you have a family or are an individual, there are certain things that are crucial to your survival in the event of a local, national, or worldwide calamity. You will need to provide food, water and shelter; those are the big three you will need for you and your family to survive.
Any creature comfort-related items beyond that won’t be absolutely necessary in an emergency. If you have the ability and resources to satisfy additional needs and desires, that is fine, but the primary three needs are what will help you survive and what deserve your focus.
The following list of basic items should be included in your survival kit, or bug out bag.
This item should be of substantial size to accommodate cutting or chopping down trees for cooking, warmth, and possibly even shelter requirements.
Some survival knives even have tools in the handle, things like: compass, string saw, light fishing tackle and even a small sewing kit.
A multi-purpose tool has a number of elements that go beyond simple cutting, making the multi-purpose tool an exceptional item to have.
The additional tools can be used for animal skinning and constructing or maintaining a functional shelter.
Fresh water may be contaminated; that will require purifying or desalinating water to satisfy hydration needs.
It is highly recommended that your survival kit includes several.
Matches are fine, but they can be easily ruined by water or even humidity and mildew. It is best to go with what is called a permanent match, or a flint or magnesium rod.
In the eventuality that you do not have any tinder or paper, cotton balls soaked with petroleum jelly will work exceptionally well.
There are far too many practical, helpful uses for duct tape to list here.
There are entire websites devoted to the use of duct tape for a vast array of uses. Include as much duct tape in your survival kit as you possibly can; you will not regret it.
Include basics like band aids, material for tourniquets, eye pads and cloth compresses, safety pins, thermometer, compass, antibiotics and painkillers.
A double-zippered plastic bag is one option to consider.
Para-cord is the cord that keeps parachutists safely attached to their parachutes when jumping.
FYI – paracord doesn’t work as a suitable replacement for climbing rope, however in an emergency situation it may be a last resort that you can use while still keeping your bug out bag light enough to carry. If you have extra room, we highly recommend adding climbing rope if you absolutely believe you’ll need it.
If you have enough room for a fishing rod and reel, that’s great. However, only the basics are really necessary: lures, fish eggs, and fishing line will work.
If you can dig up worms with a flat stone, or even your axe or knife, that will help too. Grubs, caterpillars and other bugs also make great bait.
In addition to being good as rain gear, a poncho can also be used for shelter and even for warmth if necessary.
It can also be used as an over-the-shoulder bag for carrying stuff, or it can be used to construct a travois, or litter, to carry wood, supplies, or an injured person.
A reliable, compact LED flashlight is indispensable for the purposes discussed here.
If you’ve ever prepared for an extreme expedition — scaling one of the Seven Summits or traipsing the wilds of the Amazon — then you know that things will go wrong all of the time.
A courageous adventure into the wild means that you have to be prepared to face the challenges and the obstacles that come from being in a remote part of the world without the conveniences of the modern world.
That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead as much as you can and to anticipate the mishaps that could occur.
I’ve been through enough situations out in the wilderness to know that if something is going to wrong, it probably will.
Sometimes you can’t change the fact that danger or extreme conditions are ahead.
What you can do is prepare for the worst and be happy you can survive with the very best of them when the situation presents itself.
If you are ready to prepare for your adventure of a lifetime, then follow my guide listing the “Top 10 Survival Gear Mistakes To Avoid.”
When you find yourself lost in the Arctic tundra, you’ll be happy you packed the right gear to get you through the night and into the next day of trekking.
This guide will get you there, so let’s get started with these tips to avoid disaster with your gear!
The first mistake many novice trekkers make when they are planning their first expedition is to not fully think through their emergency plan.
You can mitigate disaster simply by having the right gear to get you out of a terrible situation.
That means purchasing a Personal Beacon Locator (PBL), a small battery-operate device that you can activate with the push of a button.
It communicates with global satellites, and let’s emergency responders know where to find you. Hopefully nothing will go wrong.
But if it does, your PBL will get you out of a hairy situation.
Don’t skimp on the rain gear. It’s going to rain most locales you go — at some point.
It’s better to have a weather-resistant outer layer, a rain jacket, rain pants and weather-resistant boots packed in your backpack for the times when the thunderstorms wreak havoc on your campsite.
You don’t want to be wet and cold.
You can get hypothermia, and at the very least, you’ll be miserable.
It takes a long time for drenched camping clothes to dry out — especially if it is damp for several days.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is fail to pack too little food. You need food to keep up your energy.
There are resourceful ways you can pack high-energy food that does not take up a lot of room and that is lightweight.
For example, pack a mix of energy bars, trail mix, dried fruit, vitamins and dehydrated food that comes alive when boiled.
If you are going to overpack anything, then overpacking lightweight food that is high in energy and protein is always Okay.
Invest in water bottles and water filtration systems. You can’t rely on just one water bottle.
Pack at least two traditional water bottles — some have built-in purification systems. Also consider a water pack that you can wear on your back.
It has tubes that you can use to drink water as you walk.
Finally, have a backup supply of water purification tablets or a water purification wand that literally can turn dirty freshwater into clean drinking water.
Another big mistake you can make with your gear is to fail to pack the clothing and gear that will keep you warm.
That means everything from a sub-zero sleeping bag that helps to regulate your body temperature, to warm wool socks, to hand and toe warmers for emergency situations.
Always prepare for the onslaught of a chilly night.
You don’t want to risk hypothermia or frostbite — especially if you are out on the trail all alone.
Prepare ahead to stay warm.
Don’t leave home with without several gadgets and tools that can give you light in the midst of darkness.
For example, consider packing a headlamp, a solar-powered lantern, a batch of strike-anywhere matches, a lighter, and a battery-operated heater.
You’ll want to be able to light a fire and see what you are doing no matter what the conditions are.
Sometimes you will find yourself at a rainy campsite and you won’t be able to start a blazing fire.
That’s where your mini, battery-operated heater will come in handy.
You’ll also be loving your situation when you can just flip on your handy headlamp to read, prepare dinner in the darkness, set up your tent, and do a myriad other activities that require more hands than you have to spare.
It’s likely that at some point you will get lost.
Two of the most economical and important gear items you can pack is a compass and a set up maps.
Compasses are lightweight and crucial. They can always get you back on the right track. Paper maps are easy to pack and to pull out — just make sure you are protecting them.
Either buy foldable plastic ones that cannot get damaged by water, or pack your paper maps in a plastic baggie.
You may not think of it at first, but packing some simple items like duct tape, rope, a hunting knife and a small toolkit with a hammer, nails and fish hooks will be helpful to you when your gear ruptures or breaks.
There is nothing worse than to get to your campsite only to find a raccoon ate through part of your sleeping bag.
Patch up that hole with duct tape! Find that your tent is swaying in a gusty wind? Secure it with a length of rope.
You may think it’s trivial at first, but it’s really important to make sure a personal memento is on your gear list.
When you get lonely out in the woods or when you face a real disaster that forces you to consider whether you are willing to fight for your life, your personal memento (photos of loved ones, a sentimental item, a love letter) will motivate you to continue working hard to get out of your current situation.
Many people have endured extreme conditions by the sheer motivation of a photo that reminds them that love is worth fighting for — so don’t forget the memento.
It may have more power than you think in the long run.
Now that I’ve given you a list of gear mistakes to avoid and told you the top things you need to pack, I want to remind you that there is something as packing too much.
One novice mistake is to overpack your gear.
Sometimes it takes more than one go-around to get the right mix of gear and to get your pack to feel manageable. Remember that it is going to be on your back and you have to carry it for hours at a time for many days. So choose your gear wisely.