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Bushcraft or Survival? The[b] Question[/b]

Discussion in 'Bushcraft Chatter' started by Gary, May 3, 2003.

  1. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    As someone who has been trained in both military survival skills and civilian bushcraft skills I find the dividing line between Bushcraft and Survival very vague.
    Indeed to my mind both are feathers off the same bird but I have noticed that instructors in one or the other subject seem to only sing the praises of their choosen field.
    So at the risk of opened a can of worms let me ask you this question,

    Whats is the difference between Bushcraft and Survival and which is better?
     
  2. thrillpower

    thrillpower Guest

    Interesting question. :roll:

    My thoughts: Bushcraft is an art. Skills are attained by study, practise and observation of it's principles and methods. Survival is a process which applies those skills to achieve an end result. I believe neither discipline is better, rather they are like brothers with slightly different outlooks.
     
  3. Di

    Di New Member

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    Bushcraft encompasses Survival. Bushcraft is a life long journey and part of the journey is learning survival skills. Just doing survival is like stopping at the first village and settling there, never to complete the journey and missing out on so much more.

    Surviving is the bit we have to do, being out and enjoying yourself knowing that you can cope with situations that occur is what we want to do.
     
  4. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    I agree bushcraft does encompass survivla but then survival skills also encompass bushcraft.

    I'm not nit picking and I dont think any answer will ever be wrong or right I'm just curious to see how people view the subject and why they see it in those terms.

    A canadian friend who visited this site mailed me her definition - which I concider to be one of the best I've heard.

    'Bushcraft is more than learning how to survive in the wilderness. It takes you one step further and teaches you not only how to survive, but how to appreciate and learn from the wilderness around you. The skills taught are not new and dont require the latest gadgets from your local store but have been used for hundreds of years or longer by our ancestors when survival wasnt a weekend trip but a day to day struggle.

    The word survival has a rather negative connotion to it. Just hearing it makes you think of deprivation, depression and unbeatable odds. Attitude is everything and survival could lead you to think that the wilderness should be feared and, if it cant be beaten, then at best it is a thing to be endured.

    "Bushcraft" is not a negative word - it is essentially learning the crafts of the bush. The more you learn about nature and how to operate as a part of if rather than outside it, the more comfortable you will become. Our ancestors knew this but we forgot, relearning their skills will help you get back in touch with nature.'

    That was her reply and a damned good stab at answering the question.

    Gary.
     
  5. Wendi

    Wendi Member

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    Thanks for the compliment Gary.
    And thanks for not calling me an "OLD Canadian"
    :D
     
  6. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    Your not an 'old Canadian' - I got a few years on you, remember! And I'm about to add another - roll on Saturday!
     
  7. woodworm

    woodworm Guest

    I think that survival and bushcraft in many ways are one and the same, I just think that bushcraft incorporates more into it. When it comes to survival you will use the same skills to survive as you would in bushcraft. I think that survival just brings up images of POW’s having to stay covert at the same time as surviving and getting back home. I think that we need to remind ourselves that the survival we are likely to come across or experience is going to be lack of water, hypothermia, lack of food, lack of shelter etc. In this scenario we are all in the same boat no matter what sort of person you think you are, a survivalist or a bushcrafter, it means squat when it comes to the crunch, the bottom line is that the best skills are the best skills and should be the ones learnt to handle that situation. One thing that bushcraft does give us is the skills to live comfortably in the wilds, I think it gives us the edge, instead of just surviving we con often use what we know to raise ourselves above this level, not always, but more often than the average wilderness wanderer!
     
  8. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    I'm in agreement - I think Bushcraft, woodsmanship and survival are all feahters on the same cap too.

    But how do you (anybody) feel about the fact that Bushcraft prescribes we carry and Axe and a Knife, as well as this that and the other, while survival skills say carry a tiny tobacco tin to live out off?

    I have developed and cross over technique which bridges the two and it works really well - hopefully I can start teaching it soon too.
     
  9. woodworm

    woodworm Guest

    If it comes to the crunch we can get on with a tobacco tin full of kit just as we can a full sized knife and an axe. The knife and axe are tools, the survival tin is full of tools, we just need to be able to adapt to all the tools available and remember that we also have the tools that nature provides for us and that's where the skills start to really make themselves evident.

    A survivalist will not just take a small tin out of choice, he only dips into it when he needs to, as a rule he will kit himself out as much as possible with hardware and food, the bushcrafter will take what he needs to to help him get what he needs from the environment. Both choices are alike, and they are both backed up with skill, I do think that in many ways it is just the connotations associated with the names that create a difference.....there are extremes found in all attitudes and people, often it is just the names they call themselves that differentiates them.
     
  10. harry

    harry BCUK Test Account

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    Hi All,

    bushcraft tends to start with survival training and then progress further......maybe further is the wrong word, maybe bushcraft just tends to go much broader than survival. But as I said, we all start with survival.

    H
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    ........and there I was thinking the difference between bushcraft and survival was a matter of choice. If you are in a situtation you don't want to be in (i.e. air crash in the Rockies or shot down in a Tornado in Iraq) it would be classed as survival, but if you decided you wanted to go out alone in the Rockies or the desert, it would be bushcraft. Apart from the escape and evaision sort of thing the two are the same. It's a bit like calling Galium Aparine by its common names like Goose Grass or Cleavers. Same name, different plant depending as to where you come from.
     
  12. Tony

    Tony White bear (Admin)
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    Good point :biggthump
     
  13. sargey

    sargey Mod
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    choice comes into it, certainly. survival suggests a harsher, more brutally pragmatic approach. the bushcraft, perhaps a bit mellower.

    an example of this presented itself in microcosm 'round the campfire the weekend. two pot hangers, one looking like a prime photo from a ray mears book, fully adjustable, very stylish. the other a stick stuck in the dirt propped up on a forked branch. the first took nearly 3/4 of an hour to craft, the second was knocked up in 90 seconds.

    so, i had pot hanger envy there for a while. :wink: :twisted: :lol: i'll get over it...

    cheers, and.
     
  14. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Matter of choice, maybe? When I think of survival the word conjure's up the image of a person who is trying to maintain their life until such time as they are either rescued or can make their way back to civilisation. Their main objective being to escape the 'harsh' wilderness to the comfort of 'normal' life. - Survival, by definition is 'Not Dying'
    :wink:
    When I think of widerness bushcraft I see people who wish to escape 'normal' life and travel through or enter into wilderness (for whatever reasons), armed with the high skill level needed to safely and comfortably travel through the bush. Drawing from the knowledge of indigenous culture's who successfully live from the land.
     
  15. Martyn

    Martyn New Member

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    Life is survival.

    But, in this context I see survivalists as those who chose to train, equip and prepare themselves in such a way, that should they encounter extreme hardship through an act of fate, they will be able to endure and survive. Though I think the process of training, equiping and preparing themselves, becomes enjoyable for many, it still isn't the purpose of it.

    On the other hand, I see bushcraft as an art, a way of living that someone chooses to learn, not in preparation for some unforseen hardship, but as an exercise in itself. A way of appreciating the crafts and skills needed to live with the environment.

    Both the 90 second pot hanger and the 3/4 hour pot hanger, get the job done - true, but one is a means to an end, the other is the end.


    Whoa, deep man - far out. ;) :D :D
     
  16. Tony

    Tony White bear (Admin)
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    I was talking to Jonny Crocket of Survival School the other day and he said something quite pertinent. I cannot remember his exact words but it has left me with the thoughts that When we are in a situation we chose to be we are practicing bushcraft, when we are in a situation forced on us we are practicing survival. I know that there are exceptions to this and there are some hard core people at either end of the spectrum. But this can be a useful definition.
     
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Yes, I quite agree Martyn, but I think that although a lot of people practice bushcraft as an exercise in its self, it does have a more serious side. Nature always throws 'unforseen circumstances' at you if you spend enough time out there! When I travel in the bush, I do so in the knowladge that unforsen circumstances often lie ahead, and in these circunstances, it is my knowladge of the landscape and how to utilise it best, ie, bushcraft that serves me best. Although survivalists train, ie. the military, it is the bare bones needed to keep yourself alive, often relying heavily on equiptment. Military survival training, I understand to be very basic, especially compared to the life long study of bushcraft.

    I think Ray Mears saying ' A step Beyond Survival' sums it up.

    As for the pot hanger, The guy who took his time to make his pot hanger, did so because he HAD the time and enjoys the craft, I'm sure if he was under pressure, he could have stuck a stick in the ground! BUT could the other guy have made a decent pot hanger? :shock:
     
  18. Gary

    Gary New Member

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    Question is Sargey did they both do the job?

    Economy of effort is a skill too.
     
  19. sargey

    sargey Mod
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    gary, you got it exactly. it seems i left part of my explanation out of that last post. a large part of surviving is all about counting calories, calories spent for calories gained.

    how about , "bushcraft is the persuance of a craft for art's sake, survival is the persuance of calories for life's sake" or some thing equally bound up in mutlisyllabic terminology.

    i don't think that any nature loving bushcrafter would consider using an excruciating leg hold snare on a deer, just so you can get close enough to bludgeon it to death. but to the "brutally pragmatic" survivor it sounds like lunch. :shock:

    cheers, and.
     

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