The Beginner’s Guide to Bushcraft
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a survival expert to try your hand at bushcraft. In fact, starting off small is the best way to get your head around the basic principles and gain confidence while still having your basic needs covered! Here are our tips to getting started in bushcraft:
Leave no trace
This is the main principle not only of bushcraft, but of the outdoors as a whole. When you go outdoors, you should do no harm to the environment, leave nothing behind, and be careful not to ruin the scenery for other people both while you’re there and after you’ve gone. Basically, nobody should be able to tell you’ve even been there. When you’re first getting started you might make some mistakes and have to discard some first attempts at making things, so use common sense around the best way to do this.
Bushcraft relies heavily on tools, particularly knives, so it’s really important that you know how to use these safely before attempting anything in the forest. You can take courses on how to carry a knife, use tools and make fires, so it would be preferable to have one of those behind you before you venture out.
If you’re hoping to use land that isn’t explicitly open to the public, you need to get permission to do so – especially if you’re camping. There are plenty of stories of land being overused without permission, resulting in landowners putting up ugly signs and fences or even cutting down trees for people to camp, and in some cases, abuse of access rights by a few people could even see those rights withdrawn for everyone.
Remember your hierarchy of needs
When you head into the forest on your first true self-sufficient adventure, you should cater for your needs in this order of importance: shelter, warmth, rest, water, food. Depending on how much experience you have, chances are you’ll have plenty of kit with you to help you achieve these like a cosy sleeping bag and a robust tent – remember this is for fun, hopefully not a survival situation, so bring everything you need to have a comfortable adventure and enjoy developing your skills.
Observe your surroundings
The best part of any adventure is connecting with the outdoors, and that feeling is only intensified when you’re not only in nature but working with it to have a sustainable and self-sufficient adventure. Take the time to properly learn and hone your skills so that it’s exciting not stressful being out there fending for yourself, remembering to be mindful and take time to connect with your surroundings.
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