The slow winter months are a great time to learn new skills, and bushcrafting has endless possibilities to try out. Simply put, bushcrafting is the same as wilderness skills. They’re useful self-reliance skills that would come in handy in a survival situation, or whenever you’re out in the bush for fun. Whether you live off the grid, or in an urban area, you can use and learn these skills anywhere. Here are five bushcraft skills to learn this winter.
What is Bushcraft?
The term bushcraft originated in Australia. However, it has become increasingly popular around the world as a word to describe outdoor wilderness skills.
Television personalities like Ray Mears and Bear Grylls have sparked a renewed interest in bushcrafting amongst audiences everywhere. In essence, bushcraft involves using a minimal amount of lightweight tools and the natural resources around you to thrive in the wilderness.
The more bushcraft skills you learn and master, the more comfortable and safe you will be in survival or wilderness situations.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually trickier than you might think. Do you always carry a rife? have a rifle? Can you make a bow or slingshot with materials in the woods? If not, your meat supply will likely have to come from trapping and fishing. With just a blade, some string, and a few sticks, you can make a variety of snares to trap small animals.
These rudimentary animal traps have been used for thousands of years. And they work just as well today as they did back then. Check out these 15 easy snares you can practice making today.
If you’re near a small body of water, you can learn how to bushcraft a fishing rig. All you need is a hook and some fishing line, the rest of the supplies you can find in the bush. The bushcraft rod may not be pretty, but it’s effective and a great skill to have if your animal snares aren’t paying off. Fresh fish is always a tasty meal over a campfire.
Rope & Knot
Learning how to properly tie knots and use rope is a fundamental skill that once mastered, will help you succeed with other bushcraft skills.
You can practice your essential knots while sitting by the fire, or even your ice fishing hole. To start, you should learn the bowline, figure eight, clove hitch and sheet bend knots. Knowing how to properly tie and use knots will help you building shelters, tools, weapons, and other life-saving instances.
Even though there may be snow on the ground, learning how to build a fire in any condition is an essential bushcraft skill. The ability to make a fire will keep you warm, cook your food, provide light, and keep any predators at bay.
Anyone can start a fire with a lighter or matches, but learning how to make one with the bare essentials is a true skill. Learn how to use firestarters like flint and steel, or the traditional way of rubbing two sticks together. You will also want to learn how to carry fire with you so you can quickly start another one if you’re hiking through the bush.
Building a Shelter
Building a shelter in the wilderness can be something as simple as a lean-to, an igloo, or a full log cabin. Whatever you build, shelter is an important aspect of bushcraft since it provides you some form of protection from the elements. The type of shelter you can build depends on the climate you’re in, and the available natural resources, so it’s good to learn a few different styles. Check out these survival shelter design options for you to try out this winter.
The variety of skills you can learn in bushcrafting is endless. Even if you don’t master them right away, learning just the basics of bushcraft are skills you can use forever, in a bunch of different ways. Get the family involved in bushcrafting and let us know what your favorite skills are.
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