Do you ever wonder what it would be like to get out into the wilderness and survive off the land? Those survival TV shows have added more appeal to these adventures. Well, if this sort of escapade excites you, then bushcraft camping might be the perfect activity for you. Bushcraft camping is an exciting pursuit that you can do with very little equipment. Besides, the skills you’ll learn while bushcraft camping even has the potential to save a life.
What Is Bushcraft Camping?
To understand what bushcraft camping implies, you must know what bushcraft is. Bushcraft is a phrase that refers to a variety of survival skills and strategies for surviving and thriving in an environment with limited access to modern tools and technology.
Bushcraft camping is similar to traditional camping, except it is more rugged. Bushcraft camping is a style of camping that relies on survival skills and knowledge rather than using any standard camping equipment. However, this doesn’t mean that you should go on a bushcraft camping excursion without any preparation.
Regular Camping Vs Bushcraft Camping
Bushcraft camping is different from regular camping in a number of ways. Now that you have an idea about what bushcraft camping is, let’s take a look at what differentiates bushcraft camping from ordinary camping.
- As previously stated, bushcraft camping includes foraging, hunting, and building shelters out of natural resources. On the other hand, regular camping involves bringing your tent, camping chairs, campfire, cooking gear, and other goods for your comfort.
- Regular camping usually takes place in a well-established campsite, in contrast to bushcraft camping, which is best done in the woods.
- With so much camping gear on your side, you don’t really need to worry about making shelter, fire, food, or anything when you’re camping. The majority of people that go camping do many things for recreational purposes, such as fishing, hunting, or making a campfire. Whereas before you head out for bushcraft camping, you need to have quite a few skills. That includes fishing, hunting, building shelters, fire, and many more. You need these skills not just for recreational purposes but for survival purposes as well.
Survival Skills And Tips For Bushcraft Camping
With very minimal tools in hand, you need to master and practice some of the following essential skills in order to survive and thrive in the wilderness. However, you’re not expected to acquire all of these skills at once because mastering these bushcraft camping skills requires a lot of time and practice. Thus, start with the fundamentals, such as fishing, trailing, and fire making, and then work your way up to more complex activities.
1. Making Fire
The first thing you need to learn before you go bushcraft camping is how to make a fire. You won’t be able to keep yourself warm, cook food, or purify water without fire. Learning how to make a fire without any matches or lighter is essential when you’re out in the wilderness.
You’ll need a lot of expertise and knowledge of the best combustible materials, and the ability to know the perfect weather conditions for building a fire. You have to grind twigs, wood, and other combustible materials together. The grinding will generate friction, eventually producing sparks that can be used to start a campfire.
2. Hunting And Foraging
While bushcraft camping, people generally don’t bring a lot of food. You need to have proper hunting and trailing skill. Also, you have to be aware of your surroundings so you can spot and kill small animals like hares or rabbits for food.
It can be challenging, but trapping, hunting, and foraging are the only ways to get food in the wilderness. Learning which plants are edible and which are not, how to skin an animal, preserve meat securely, and create efficient traps are must-haves for surviving in the wilderness.
Fishing is another way to get food while bushcraft camping. There are so many ways you can do fishing, such as spearing, netting, hand collection, and angling. Since in bushcraft camping, you’re only bringing limited equipment, you have to rely on angling or spearing.
You have to spot fish in clear water, and then spear them with a pointed stick. Angling refers to the act of baiting fish in water using a fish hook and a line linked to poles. Thus, before you go bushcraft camping, you have to know a few basic things about fishing.
4. Building Shelters
Unlike regular camping, you won’t have access to luxurious tents or any ready-made shelters when you’re bushcraft camping. Hence, you’ll definitely need to know how to build a shelter. Most bushcraft uses natural resources and whatever they can find near their surroundings to build a shelter. You can start collecting sticks in the wild and weaving them together to form a model house or a shelter. You may also get some leaves and put them on top of the shelter to provide shade from the sun or rain. Building a safe shelter is very important while camping because it’s going to protect you against a variety of factors in the wilderness.
5. Water Purifying
Apart from a safe shelter and food, water is another essential item that you will need to sustain in the wilderness. However, finding clean water is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face while bushcraft camping. Besides, people don’t bring their fancy portable water filters or purification tablets while bushcraft camping. So, you may need to know a few ways to purify water in the wild with whatever resources you have access to.
Moreover, you have to fetch the water and purify it, so it’s worth drinking. No matter what, you can not take the risk of drinking dirty water. Drinking water without any kind of filtration or purification, especially when you’re in the wild, can give you several waterborne diseases. Furthermore, being able to filter water in the woods can benefit you in a lot of ways, not just for bushcraft camping but also when camping in general.
6. Knife Sharpening
Your knife is a pretty essential tool to carry for bushcraft camping. You may need a knife to sharpen sticks, cut logs for shelter, or even make pot hangers. As mentioned earlier, while bushcraft camping, you may have to hunt for food; a dull knife may not be that helpful in this situation.
Thus, knowing how to sharpen your knife will simplify a lot of your work. Working with a dull knife will not only be ineffective, but it can injure you as well. So, knife sharpening is a very useful skill to have while bushcraft camping.
Guide To Making A Shelter For Bushcraft Camping
The most common question that people ask about bushcraft camping is, how can you protect yourself from the elements if you don’t bring a tent with you? Well, in bushcraft camping, people build their own shelters. Building a shelter from scratch is the most important part of your bushcraft camping. There are several other ways to build a shelter for a bushcraft camp.
If you’re going for more traditional bushcraft camping, you can make a shelter out of an A-frame that’s built out of logs, then cover it with leaves for shade. However, if you want a more comfortable shelter, you can use a tarp. Here are some of the steps you can follow to build a solid shelter while bushcraft camping.
1. Finding a Spot
The first thing you should do is pick the location where you wish to set up your bushcraft camp. Make sure you get permission and check out all the rules and regulations of that area.
However, if you have your own land in the woods, you can camp there as long as you want. Once you find your spot, determine what size of shelter you want and clean the area a little bit. Clear out sticks, thorns, and leaves from your location for your convenience.
2. Make a Fire Pit
A fire pit will help you cook food over an open fire and keep you warm on a chilly night. After cleaning the area, dig and prepare a space for your fire pit. Some people dig with their hands only. But digging with your bare hands can be quite difficult, so carrying a portable shovel will be helpful.
Look for some stones in your area to cover the fire pit with them. Covering with stones will give your fire pit a modern vibe. In case you don’t find any stones near your camping area, you can use logs of wood instead.
3. Build A-Frame Using Logs
Once you’re done building a fire pit, you can start making your shelter with logs of wood. The simplest method is to construct an A-frame shelter with three major supporting poles. You can also construct a platform for a raised bed if you want a specific sleeping area. Make sure you arrange and cut the logs of wood in a certain manner.
Don’t forget to bring some strings for building the frame and tying the poles together. Moreover, you need something to chop the logs to make a shelter. Your knife sharpening skill will help you a lot in this shelter-making process. If you want to chop the logs with ease, you’ll need a portable pocket handsaw.
4. Build a Roofing
After making the frames, put some more logs over them. To cover your shelter, you can gather some leaves or grass. In bushcraft camping, making a roof for your shelter is very important. While camping in the wilderness, you never know when the weather will turn against you. A shelter with a roof can protect you against the rain or even the scorching heat of the sun.
Some people even bring tarps to put over their shelter, so they don’t have to get drenched in case it rains. A tarp does a great job for roofing, they not only protect you from the rain but can also provide a nice shade during the day.
Why Do People Go for Bushcraft Camping?
Undoubtedly bushcraft camping comes with a lot of challenges. However, people do learn a lot of practical and survival skills through bushcraft camping. Some people do this for adventure, and some want to test their sustainability and learn a ton of new skills. Apart from having an adventurous trip, here are some of the benefits that people get from bushcraft camping.
- You need to carry quite a few camping gears for regular camping, such as a tent, tarp, camping stove, food, water, sleeping pad, portable fan, water filter, and many other things. However, it’s not possible for everyone to afford or carry all this camping gear. Thus, bushcraft camping is perfect for minimalists who don’t want to bring tons of stuff with them while camping.
- Since you have to survive and make everything from scratch in bushcraft camping, you get to learn lots of new skills. From making a fire pit to making a shelter, you have to do these with whatever natural resources you have access to. Besides, fishing, hunting, tying knots, purifying water, etc., are some of the most essential skills you can learn through the bushcraft experience.
- When you try to survive using only natural resources, nature becomes your best friend. Bushcraft camping is one of the best ways to get close to nature. You will get an idea of what fruits or mushrooms are edible, which plants you can use as medicine, and so much more.
- As bushcraft camping is much tougher than regular camping, it will teach you to be out of your comfort zone and survive through the odds. As a result, you would become more self-reliant and strong.
So, that’s everything you need to know about bushcraft camping. You should try out bushcraft camping at least once in your life. It is going to be an adventurous and revolutionary experience for you. However, even though there is no prohibition against who can go bushcraft camping, keeping the safety element in mind, you need to know some of the basic skills before going through this journey.
While camping in the woods, hunting, trailing, fishing, and building shelters are some of the essential skills that you can not do without. Hence, before you hit the road for bushcraft camping, we suggest you gather at least a few of these skills and hone them properly.
William Arrovo seeks thrills and laughter in everything he comes across. He is a fun loving person with a zest of exploring the breathtaking places around the globe. He feels content in sharing his experiences of travelling to various countries. He is grateful about enriching himself with a myriad of cultures and rejuvenating his soul while staying outdoors.