What is Bushcraft?

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by Jhbrady98, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Jhbrady98

    Jhbrady98 Tinder Gatherer

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    I wonder what the word "bushcraft" means to all of you. For as long as I have been aware of the term, it has meant the skills and knowledge that allow you to exist in the wilderness without relying as much on modern technology as the average backpacker would. But I often see people who practice "bushcrafting" carrying packs that are equally large as any person spending a night in the woods; sometimes even more. And there's nothing wrong with that, as long as they enjoy it. I just wonder what all of your thoughts are on the subject, and by no means do I mean to insult anybody or imply that they are less of a woodsman for choosing to carry more gear.
     
  2. notoiletpaperinthewoods

    notoiletpaperinthewoods MOA #58 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    For me the word has changed a lot in meaning over time. At the moment I feel like it is doing more with less and always trying to learn new skills. :]
     
  3. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Are we in Brazil in this scenario?
     
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  4. basher1981

    basher1981 Adventure is out there!!! Supporter

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    To me it’s not just primitive camping and wilderness survival skills. It’s thriving in the wilderness using a blend of modern and historically proven skills/techniques to enjoy time to regain sanity/ center yourself from the day to day world
     
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  5. Samurainova

    Samurainova Tracker

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    Bushcraft to me is the art of perfecting your skills to perform in the natural environment.
     
  6. BigHat

    BigHat Guide Bushclass I

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    Discussed ad nauseum. Not meant to be a downer... But to each their own.
     
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  7. Jhbrady98

    Jhbrady98 Tinder Gatherer

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    I really agree with this idea. While I know how to make and use stone tools, I really just get so much satisfaction from using a properly sharpened steel knife, for example, so i choose to bring one when I go to the woods, rather than improvising one from quartz. The steel knife requires it own skillset to use properly, and I think those skills fall under the umbrella of bushcraft.
     
  8. Black5

    Black5 Scout

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    With an Altoids tin, some matches, and an undisclosed accelerant. Just in case....:4:
     
  9. JGB

    JGB NO SIGNAL Supporter

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    Its a skillset. So, the guy with the big pack might be carrying a super comfy shelter and sleep system, but may plan to catch & cook his food over fire...utilizing and practicing his skill set for those needs and taking less gear for that, while being comfortable in camp with his other gear. Not everyone wants to rely solely on the skills at all times for all needs.
     
  10. doulos

    doulos Supporter Supporter

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    Well, for me it's a never ending process of learning to live in the woods in balance and thrive while there.
     
  11. Jhbrady98

    Jhbrady98 Tinder Gatherer

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    That makes alot of sense. I guess even when I go on camping trips with friends and bring plenty of equipment, I still practice bushcraft when I start the campfire or carve stakes for my tarp. I guess its a pretty ambiguous term and can apply to just about any nature related skill.
     
  12. RockEastwood Outdoors

    RockEastwood Outdoors Supporter Supporter

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    The thread "post your latest bushcraft purchases" should realistically be empty as bushcraft isn't something you can buy IMO. It's simply a set of skills. On the other hand it's 2019 and if these plethora of items were available on the frontier, I'm sure they would have been using them. Nowdays, bushcraft is more a way of life. Role-play or re-enactment.

    But alas, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I'm simply a fan of the genre.
     
  13. Jhbrady98

    Jhbrady98 Tinder Gatherer

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    Haha. Maybe some of us are still playing cowboys and indians.
     
  14. bush-hunter

    bush-hunter Scout

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    I feel ultralite backpackers, the guy that made a hotel quality camp in a video recently here, day hikers, fishermen, and every other group of people that enjoy there time in nature.

    If you carve a spoon with a hook knife you are no less bushcrafter then the guy using a coal and a straight blade. You still made a spoon.

    Now dont pull my card to me bushcraft is how you want it. Its enjoying nature and expanding you knowledge.

    If you want to show me a method and do it from your couch its no less worthy cause i didn't see the ground or trees.

    So be your self and dont worry about being a bushcrafter. If you want more time in the woods do it. Today i took my 5yr old sled riding and made a snowman for her this was a step in the process if i took her on a snow hike her time outside would have been work.
     
  15. PNWtrekker

    PNWtrekker Tracker

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    I suppose bushcraf in essence is survival skills with primitive equipment. That being said, it's very time consuming. If I had to boil water every time I filled a canteen, I'd never cover any ground. Heck harvesting the dry wood in a rain forest for one boil would take all day.

    I guess I'm more of a hunter and/or hiker that practices a skill here and there for fun and practice should I need to know the skill for future survival.
     
  16. Sosteve

    Sosteve Scout

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    What is bushcraft to me,I don't know where to start at.
    But in a nutshell:
    I practise survival for a very long time,and in the beginning "I" call it (to make things easier in a survival situation) if you got covert your basic needs ,you start to whittle things for a example the basic is making fire and cook with a pot on rocks ,it works but to spending your time keeping your mind busy you start to making things more pleasant.
    After several years I stumble on the word bushcraft,so from that time on I use the word bushcrafting
     
  17. S.Decker

    S.Decker Guide

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    To me, at least, it's about enjoying my time spent in the woods, while honing my skills, and thereby keeping the ways of my forefathers alive.
    And, yes, I mix old with new technology. I see absolutely no reason not to. It's not so much what you use, as much as how you use it that matters. A MEST tarp will keep the rain off just as well as an oilcloth tarp. And, it weighs about 5# less, to boot.
     
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  18. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I like spending time -as much as I can- in the woods.
    And I want that time to be satisfying, rewarding and yes, comfortable.
    Having a good set of bushcraft "skills" in my pocket means I can relax and enjoy myself: the basic campcraft essentials are familiar and easy.
    Having (just an example) a cast iron frying pan in my kit means I can also eat like a king...
    If I want to hike, I'll leave most of the weight behind. But living in a "bushcraft" camp, with a certain amount of comfort, is about as close as it gets to heaven for me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  19. Luchtaine

    Luchtaine MOA #22 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    When you see large packs be sure to examine the environment in the photo. No amount of skill will replace shelter and clothing in areas that experience lethal cold.

    EDIT: Sure you may get through a night or two with a survival blanket and candle but who wants to do that on their weekend off??
     
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  20. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Prov 27:17 Supporter

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    For me it's all about the more you know the less you need. And spending time out in the wilderness understanding my skills. An being with the good Lord Whating an hearing from him and really getting deep into the word. Prov 27:17
     
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  21. jswi2374

    jswi2374 Woods Bum Bushclass I

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    Bushcraft is like being a biker: if I have to explain, you'll never understand.
    Bushcraft is like being a biker: fun to play on the weekend but a hard life 24/7.
     
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  22. Enzo

    Enzo Scout

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    Bushcraft is simply the activity of crafting a livable situation out of the “bush” (wilderness) and enjoying yourself. If either of those change, it’s no longer Bushcraft.
     
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  23. Uncle Duke 520

    Uncle Duke 520 Scout

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    Remember the Simpsons episode when they buy an RV and go camping? That's Bushcraft, friends...
     
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  24. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Knife and stick dancing.
     
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  25. DixiePreparedness

    DixiePreparedness Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I can go into the woods right now and stay there for a week with only a knife, my “BDU pocket sized PSK”, and my normal (season correct) clothing/outfit.
    (and I urge you ALL to go out and do it at least once)

    I have done it before, got the shirt, ....blah blah blah blah blah.

    So what ???

    Notice I did not say I would ENJOY SPENDING A WEEK like that.

    And at 53, with all those rough and careless years on my chassis, I would rather pack a few “comforts” and have a good time.

    This is NOT about seeing who can starve the longest without giving up.
    (Even those guys had “huge packs”)
    It is about enjoying life and doing whatever makes YOU happy.

    Never mind what I can do, what gear I carry, or even how much useless crap I drag with me.
    Just go out with YOUR chosen gear and try to enjoy life.
    I promise you it passes by a lot faster than you think.

    And if you come across me, I might have an extra “whatever” to loan you if you need it.
     
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  26. Portage_Monster

    Portage_Monster Experiencing Wanderlust Supporter

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    If you break the term down into Bush - the British (sometimes Canadian?) term for woods/wilderness/forest/etc... and Craft meaning skills, all it means to me is Forest Skills. So, under that broad definition I would say anything that's specific to skills practiced while in the bush. That's how I try to look at it - a very broad term that lets the practice-er make the distinction for themselves.
     
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  27. DixiePreparedness

    DixiePreparedness Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    To be honest, I am not sure yet what “bushcraft” really means.
    Only known/used that term for about 3 years.
    But I have been camping and have done “woodcraft/woodscraft” all my life.

    All I know is that I get to go into the woods and play. And thats good enuff
     
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  28. Enzo

    Enzo Scout

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    It’s british? I thought bush was what Australians say. Maybe they all do lol
     
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  29. Portage_Monster

    Portage_Monster Experiencing Wanderlust Supporter

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    Seems British was off. Google says: (especially in Australia, Africa, and Canada) wild or uncultivated country.
     
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  30. Enzo

    Enzo Scout

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    Interesting. Thanks for the info
     
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  31. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    "In the bush " is an english term yes ?
    But actually we don't play much with bushes so much as we play with trees .
    though some us play with weeds, and reeds , and other stocks.
    Woods craft might be an equivalent term from an American point of view .
     
  32. Enzo

    Enzo Scout

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    Woods craft is certainly an American version of the term. That’s why the Buck 102 is called the “Woodsman” and not the “Bushman”
     
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  33. Jhbrady98

    Jhbrady98 Tinder Gatherer

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    Yes, I agree with that. I certainly dont wish to belittle people who choose to bring their comforts with them, as I often do as well. I was just looking for some friendly conversation. It seems now that my question was a little naive.
     
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  34. OrienM

    OrienM Guide

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    For me, it's the skills to be comfy out in nature, simple as that. It's not about gear choices or amounts thereof, although having some basic gear is definitely helpful.

    Personally, I have a hard time figuring out where bushcraft ends, and primitive skills begin...:33:
     
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  35. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Guide

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    The question isn't naive. I think it is normal to try to define what we do. If nothing else, it helps to describe it to folks who don't practice it.

    For me, the term includes learning and knowing the skills to be competent and comfortable in meeting one's needs in a wilderness environment...or the art of being a good woodsman. Maybe it's like some other things: I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.

    If you're having fun in the woods, I'd say you are definitely on the spectrum.
     
  36. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

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    Outdoor living skills.

    Has nothing to do with gear choice or if you hike or drive in. No such thing as a bushcraft knife, bushcraft pot, bushcraft hammock, bushcraft tarp, or bushcraft sweater. They are just sweaters, knives, pots, tarps and hammocks that you do outdoor activities with.
     
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  37. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

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    It is like thumbs and fingers. All primitive skills are bushcraft skills as well but not all bushcraft skills are primitive. (IE making fire with a ferro rod is not primitive but one could argue that flint and steel are)
     
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  38. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    The essence of it is self reliance... but i also think it can't be defined without setting a limit on someone else's definition... and part of bushcraft is 'what works for you is fine', which in turn defies definition. that said,...

    To me, it's most simply the skills practiced by our forefathers and people in other lands (e.g., Aussie Aborigines, Inuit, Sami, American 1820s trappers, 18th century 'long hunters', whatever) to live comfortably without modern conveniences like stoves, houses, and grocery stores. This covers a wide variety of "diy" or "survive by yourself" skills, in a variety of environments, using the materials at hand.
     
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  39. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    In the beginning, it is a fantastic way to rid yourself of all your disposable income...

    ezra
     
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  40. Caveman Cracker

    Caveman Cracker Supporter Supporter

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    Bushcraft = Joy, Peace, Contentment,
     
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  41. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    Bushcraft/woodcraft,,,, bushman/woodsman,,,
    Lexique/lexicon,,, étymologie/etymology

    An old bushman from Canada wrote a book called “Bushcraft”,,, a term that makes sense in Canada.
    An couple of old woodsman from America wrote books called “Woodcraft and Camping”, and “Camping and Woodcraft”,,, terms that make sense in America.
    Then American woodsmen pick up the Canadian term and spend years trying to figure out what “bushcraft” means.

    There are degrees and sectors of Bushcraft/Woodcraft,,, most folk who go outside fit in someplace...
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  42. BradGad

    BradGad Supporter Supporter

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    My first thought too. But, also, like “Recommend Me a Knife Please”, a chance to reflect and revise. I welcome these perennial threads. I know my answers change over time, and I think that’s a good thing. Not dead yet! [insert obligatory Monty Python YouTube clip].
     
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  43. x39

    x39 Hyperborean Supporter

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    You mean to tell me I've been hanging around here for all these years for the wrong reasons? I always thought it was about this kind of stuff....

    [​IMG]
     
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  44. field-expedient

    field-expedient Misfit Bushclass II

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    In rural america there is a 13 year old kid running around with a beat up 22 rifle and a rusty three blade pocket knife with one blade thats broken clean off. He is having more fun than any of us and hes never heard the term bushcraft.

    I miss being that kid.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  45. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper

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  46. Logan Woods

    Logan Woods Supporter Supporter

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    What is bushcraft?
    Baby don't give me bear grylls, bear grylls no more.
    Baby don't give me, bear grylls no more.

    I don't know why your axe is not vintage
    I'd give you my love, but you're not wearing wool
    So what is Sandi
    And what is FFG
    Give me a sign

    What is bushcraft?
    Baby don't give me bear grylls, Bear grylls no more.
    Baby don't give me, bear grylls no more
     
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  47. S.Decker

    S.Decker Guide

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    This post should be good for at least a hunnerd bucks, in the swear jar. Just sayin':rolleyes:
     
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  48. Luke Dupont

    Luke Dupont Tracker

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    Just a thought:

    A lot of people here are saying that bushcraft isn't about doing things the difficult / primitive way, but... I kind of feel that it is.

    The modern approach to everything, and to the out doors, is to kind of let money replace skills, knowledge, and personal development; the "credit card captain," if you will. Take, for example, the modern hiker, who buys a bunch of equipment which serves as a "bubble" for him to live in, not needing to so much as touch anything which isn't made of polyester or nylon. In my brief browsing of "ultralight backpacking" videos, I was surprised to see many people which didn't even value carrying a knife, let alone a saw or hatchet. Many rely solely on their gear and, if it fails, need to rely on the generosity of others to get by. That's essentially the antithesis of bushcraft, and a totally unappealing culture for me. I want to have the knowledge, competence, and skills and experience to improvise and do things myself; in fact, I get enjoyment out of that. I think that is likely true for everyone here.

    So, one might certainly and rightfully consider the purest expression of "Bushcraft" to go out into nature with nothing, and do everything from scratch. But do we always, or even ever need to do that, for it to qualify as "Bushcraft"? Certainly not! It's not effective nor desirable usually to try to do everything at once; you break things down and practice specific skills in isolation. Take, for example, the Martial Artists who practices his form punching or kicking. Is he not practicing martial arts, despite not having a real opponent and a real fight? How about the programmer? Is he not a programmer if he writes an application in Java, just because he is only writing in a higher level language, and not writing machine code? No; he's merely exercising one aspect of his hobby or profession; the one most relevant at the time, because few of us have the time to do everything from scratch all the time.

    That said, I love to see people who do. Many of the no gear / minimalist bushcrafters are the most interesting and inspiring for me to watch, and I tend to learn more from them. That's the essence of Bushcraft, but not the requirement of it.
     
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  49. Terasec

    Terasec Guide

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    to me bushcraft in basic form comes from Australian term where it refers to making use of the materials around you, primarily for food/water/shelter.
    hence they would go into the bush with not much more than a knife,
    American equivalent I would say is a minimalist.
    there are elements of bushcrafting in our outings, but to me, bringing a 20 lb pack loaded with gear is not bushcrafing. its camping.
     
    Haggis likes this.
  50. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Rattlesnake Charmer. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Anyone can carry a pack equally as large. I prefer a pack even larger than myself.

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