If you’ve got any time in the great outdoors planned over the next few months, how good would it be to have some basic bushcraft skills down pat before you go? Unless you’ve been on a bushcraft course or have studied everything ever written by Ray or Bear, chances are you’ll be lacking the fundamentals, and bushcraft really is something that can benefit everyone, whether you’re wild camping, overlanding or on a country hike.
So, to your back gardens all! It’s time to get some skills under your belt before you head off out.
Sharpen your Cutting Skills
Cutting is a major element of bushcraft, and it makes perfect sense to practice at home before you let yourself loose for real. Three skills to try WITH CARE include:
- Making a feather stick: brace your knife against your knee, cutting edge away from you, and draw a piece of wood towards you to shave away curls.
- Baton your knife: this is a precision skill which is useful when a camp axe is not available, to produce very accurately sized pieces of wood.
- Notches: notches add stability when you’re joining or lashing woodcraft items.
Naturally it stands to reason that you will proceed with great care and caution, and that you will be responsible with your cutting tools. So, keep a first aid kit at hand, and ban the kids!
Get Under Cover
Practising tent and tarp set up in your back garden is really easy to do, and is a skill which is so useful before you hit the outdoors for real.
Practice a variety of cover configurations, and discover what would work well in different situations.
It’s a good idea to have some fire making skills, just in case, you know, your trusty firelighter isn’t up to lighting a fire in torrential rain in the great British countryside. The basic things you need to know about are:
If one of these conditions doesn’t exist, then quite simply, you won’t be making fire. Practice starting a fire using different methods such as the bow method for friction; using matches or a lighter for heat and ferro rods, flint and steel for sparks. Try new tinder material, and collect things either from your own back garden or locally in your community to see how they work as fuel.
And don’t let your fire go to waste! Put your efforts to good use by getting the family outside for a fireside food fest. Test with a few marshmallows, then get those bangers on! After all, this bushcraft malarkey is hungry work!
Again, safety warning. Be careful and responsible with fire. Always keep plenty of water on hand and never light a fire near a shed, fence or other wooden structure and definitely never light a fire where signs say otherwise. You know the rules outdoor people, so be sure to follow them.
So there you have a few basic bushcraft skills you can try before you head out. If on the other hand you fancy yourself as an apprentice Ray or Bear, there are loads of courses you can go on and events you can attend to really get to grips with wilderness survival. Keep an eye on our Facebook page as we regularly post links to stuff like that, or take a look online. Happy bush-crafting!