Bushcraft Camp Basics – Setting Up Your Base Camp

When you head out on a bushcraft camp, you’ll generally have one place where you’ll settle down. This base camp is where you’ll eat, sleep, and possibly lounge while appreciating the beauty of nature. So you’ll want your base camp to cover your basic needs. Here are a few things you’ll need to set up a comfortable and convenient bushcraft camp site.

Bushcraft Camp Basics - Setting Up Your Base Camp

Pick The Right Camp Site Location

First, choose the right location. While it’s nice to be near water, you don’t want to be too close. This helps reduce bug activity and avoids any potential flooding hazards. Look for ground that’s flat and even for you to set-up your shelter. Keep an eye out and avoid environmental hazards like dead trees, snow-filled branches, or rocky ledges.

To make your stay more pleasant, choose a camp site that offers a bit of shade in day and has a nice view. Not only will it be more scenic, but it gives you a clearer vantage point for any wildlife that might be nearby.

Gather Bushcraft Camp Materials

After you’ve found your ideal bushcraft base camp, it’s time to start gathering materials. For the most part, this will consist of wood for your fire and shelter. You might also want to collect water in your canteen, forage for edibles, or gather other bushcraft camp materials that are more difficult to find in the night.

Make Fire

Once you’ve collected plenty of fire materials (bark, fallen trees, twigs, and dry leaves are good choices,) it’s time to make a fire. Fire provides warmth, light, and safety, so it’s important that you have all your materials gathered and ready to build a fire before it gets dark. A good campfire is important, so if you haven’t mastered the fire starter or flint & steel, it’s OK to bring along some matches just in case.

Clear out an area for your campfire, making sure to remove flammable debris at least a few feet out from the edge of your fire, all around, down to the soil. Clear at least 3 feet for smaller cooking fires and 5 feet or more for larger fires. If you’re in a rocky area, you can use also rocks to create a fire pit and encircle the fire.

For extra warmth, you can build a fire shield or heat reflector, which will redirect heat back towards your shelter.

Help prevent forest fires by taking proper fires safety precautions. Also, be sure to always drown your fire in water when you’re done with it. Pour water, mix, pour water, mix. Use more water than you think you’d need to ensure all the fire embers have gone out.

Build a Shelter

A shelter can provide shade on a hot day or protection from the elements when the weather shifts. A good bushcraft base camp will have some sort of shelter – whether it’s a temporary shelter made with a tent tarp or a bushcraft shelter made using the natural resources around you. (Here are a few different types of shelters you can build.)

The opening of your shelter should be about five feet away from your fire. Close enough to feel the heat, but not so close that a stray ember could spark anything.

With that, you have the basics of a bushcraft camp site. If it’s a site you’ll be using often, you can use your bushcraft skills to build additional features, like a cooking tripod or raised platform bed.

What do have at your bushcraft camp set-up?

Bushcraft Charlie

As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Bushcraft Charlie first developed his wilderness and survival skills in the suburbs of Maryland. After relocating to Montana, he's continued to spend time outdoors - hiking the Rocky Mountains and practicing bushcraft skills like shelter building and fire making.

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