7 Essential Bushcraft Skills You Should Know

February 1, 2019

Bushcraft, or wilderness survival skills, is all about using and living off of the natural resources around you. There are few things you need to be comfortable in your bushcraft base camp, such as fire, water, and shelter. Here are 7 important bushcraft skills every one should know before hitting the trails.

Batoning Wood

Batoning is simply a method of splitting wood. You use a sturdy knife or hatchet to split the wood by hitting the blade through the wood with another sturdy, baton-like object (hence the name batoning). This technique is useful for splitting firewood or splitting branches.

Starting a Fire (Firecraft)

Making fire is a critical part of any camp site. Not only do you use fire for boiling water and cooking food, but it’s also an invaluable heat and light source, as well as wildlife deterrent. It’s important you know how to start a fire in both wet and dry weather conditions.

Making a Shelter

Learning to build a basic shelter is an important bushcraft survival skill. It’s especially important when camping overnight. A shelter protects you from the cold and elements, as well as wildlife (to a degree.) You can use a tarp to quickly set-up a temporary shelter, or build temporary or semi-permanent shelters like a lean-to.

Water Collection

When choosing your bushcraft base campsite, you’ll want to ensure you have an easily accessible water source. Obviously, lakes, rivers, and streams are handy water sources. If weather forecasts rain, that’s another opportunity to collect water. If there’s snow on the ground, you can melt the snow over a fire for water. If you can’t obviously find water, click here for a few more tips for finding water in the wilderness.

Regardless of where you source your water, you want it to be clean. If needed, filter your water to move large debris, then boil the water to purify it and kill the bacteria.

Foraging

Foraging is one of three ways to find food in the wilderness, along with hunting and trapping. Foraging involves learning what plants in the wild are safe to eat, which to avoid, and how to cook what you gather. For example, you can use safe wildflowers to brew a hot herbal tea. Plant identification can also be useful for identifying plants with medicinal benefits. A foraging guide as an invaluable resource for quickly learning how to forage.

Knot Tying

From helping to build a shelter to trapping, knowing how to tie a good knot is a useful skill that will prevent tarps from flapping off or canoes floating away. It combines nicely with more advanced survival skills like making your own rope. This list of knots is a nice resource to learn how to tie knots for survival.

7 Essential Bushcraft Skills You Should Know - Land Navigation - Reading a Compass and Map

Navigation

Before heading out on any bushcraft trip, you need to know how to get to and from where you’re going. Learn how to use a compass, read maps, and note geographical landmarks like streams or lakes as you move across the terrain.

This list of important bushcraft skills is just a start of the many things you can do with bushcraft. As you become more comfortable and practiced in your bushcraft skills, you’ll learn more advanced skills like tracking, trapping, and navigating water ways.

What bushcraft skills are you excited to learn? Which skills have you relied on the most on your bushcraft trips?

Bushcraft Charlie

Born and raised on the East Coast, Bushcraft Charlie first started developing his bushcraft skills in the woods outside the suburbs. Then, he picked up and moved to Montana, where's he's spent the past decade hiking the Rocky Mountains, building lean-tos and enjoying more bushcraft.

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