During my time in the outdoors as an outdoor instructor I taught kids the basics they required to be able to bushcraft. It gave me plenty of joy and reminded me of the first time when I lit up a fire using a simple flint.
The moment you ignite a fire is one of the biggest achievements you can have and makes you realize how life has become so complicated when everything you really need is already provided for us by nature.
So let’s wind back a few things, to the days where hanging out in the bush was how we survived and all we cared about was our next meal, shelter and most importantly staying warm.
Let’s focus on a little bit of bushcraft that is so rewarding and yet everyone can pick it up.
Here are the top things you need to learn that will make your next trip into the bush amazing.
Starting a fire is one of the best things you can do when going out into the bush. You are able to cook your food, boil some water, protect yourself from predators and also build up morale with it. Sometimes though it is really difficult to start a fire. One thing you can do before going out into the bush is to learn and familiarise yourself with what kind of tinder is best for igniting fires.
Additionally, you could take a few basic fire starters with you, here is a list I prepared earlier. 7 fire starters that will turn you in to a fire God at your next camp
Before you start a fire make sure you keep yourself and others safe. Clear an area around and above the fire so as to make sure it doesn’t spread out of control. If you have ignitable substances, make sure to keep them a few meters away for added security.
Finally, make sure there aren’t any trip hazards around the fire which could cause someone to trip and stumble into the fire. When you are out in the bush the nearest hospital could be hours away.
Collecting and filtrating water
Most of us know that you can collect water from a river, lake, dam, and stream but did you know that in many instances drinking water from said sources can cause you to get ill. One of the worst things while being out in the bush is to get d’s and v’s (diarrhea and vomit). It could not only be dangerous to your health but also cause you to have to cancel your trip a lot sooner.
It is always important to filter the water before drinking.
A simple way to do that is by using what this planet has way to much of. Plastic bags. Fill it with layers of rocks, sand, and charcoal (which you can get after you made your fire) and let the water filter through the layers.
This will remove most of the nasty pathogens which can make you sick and also, it’s a great and simple project you can create as you are setting up your shelter.
Learn to navigate
Navigation is one of my favorite things while in the outdoors. In my opinion, it’s the key which opens up the whole world to you.
With a simple map and compass you can get into the most remote places, and when you do, it is such a sense of pride and achievement that it can really make you feel inhuman.
There are plenty of video’s on youtube which can teach you the basic’s but the only way you can really learn is to practice.
Even professional navigators can get it wrong at time’s, that is why you need to practice over and over in different terrains.
Learn to build simple shelters
After a day of collecting food, water and navigating it is amazing to get back to a shelter sit by the fire and eat and drink the spoils of your day. Best of all you don’t have to make anything fancy at first, but in saying that you have all the materials you could possibly need all around you in the bush.
Use timber for structure and the frame.
Use leaves, twigs, sticks and other ground foliage as thatching for your roof and bedding.
Use stones as a way to isolate your fire from the surroundings. Additionally, you can make cutting utensils with rocks
Make rope out of fibrous materials you have at hand. For example, grass, bark fiber, and palm fibers.
Sometimes you might get hungry, other times the shelter you might build can fall apart, then the fire won’t start. This is all part of learning curve. As time progresses you will begin to get better and better at the simple tasks and in no time you will be able to do more challenging bushcraft.
Till then make sure you stay high spirited and focus on the beauty of being out in nature, disconnected from technology and enjoying what this planet has to offer.
Have you done any bushcraft? What was your favorite experience? Let us know in the comments below and as always make sure to share this article so others can get inspired to be outdoors.
Seriously though, learn to find natural sources of tinder for whatever areas you will be in.
Learn the difference between hard and soft woods.
Learn how to collect water through various means, and how to filter it.
Learn to recognize game trails, and how to construct traps and snares.
Learn how to construct basic shelters, and which ones to use in different areas/climates.
Learn to navigate.
Learn to start a fire with various methods.
Learn edible plants and berries, and how to differentiate between poisonous ones.
Learn to make rope or cordage from available sources.
Learn to go to bed hungry, and to keep a positive attitude.