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Discussion in 'Bushcraft and survival skills' started by Blufor, Nov 27, 2019.
What about the cub scouts and the girl guides ?
Number one daughter is a scout leader, some years ago there was a fairly big Jamboree in Evo (100 km north of Helsinki). About 12k participants all over the world.
She came back telling horror stories about the scouts with absolutely out of place clothing and equipment. The British girls came in mini skirts to the worst mosquito spring in a long while, apparently they changed fast. They were shouting for police when all Finns carried a puukko or two or three, well not quite but they were terrified why the need for even one.
Some did not have any rain gear, it rained for most of the week.
When telling all this and a lot of other things she just couldn't quite catch it all. Probably quite educating.
We have a conscript army but it is a fairly small minority that gets to learn how to live in the woods.
Not much help there any more.
Sorry but the "conscription" thing doesn't wash. I learned my camping skills at an early age from my pals big brothers. By the age of 10 we could build our own shelters and sleep out most of the summer holidays, and live on beans heated on a small Camping Gaz stove. We'd also catch fish in a local loch, and gut and cook them. None of the bigger lads had any consript experience. Different times, different values, we were certainly easier pleased, and had a very good grounding of common sense.
"Sorry but the "conscription" thing doesn't wash"
You lost me there.
I learned most of my skills before army. And learned there how to do it the hard way.
Much more people live in the urban surroundings now than 50y ago. Scouting is still fairly popular but not as before. Besides there is cellular coverage almost everywhere if mommy if needed. Things just change.
I think untill round about 1850 most people lived in villages, after it the boy scouts became in fashion everywhere.
During the world wars a lot of men did a military service.
And now usually the fifth generation lives in towns, boy scouts are out of fashion (even inside the most boy scout clubs) and fortunately war is an experience most Europeans don't have any more.
The population is getting 'softer'. Has been happening since the Ancient Greeks!
Now, the Spartans, they had real Bushcraft teaching..
Then, Alexander 3 of Macedon started trekking with his mates all over the place, with a hugely expanded Camp Follower profession and other camp services, and then they lost the true meaning of Pure Bushcraft, adopting all those soft customs of the various Eastern civilisations.
Serious now; I think that spending time in Nature ( called Bushcrafting here, despite no Bush is ever crafted) was much forgotten in UK, except by a lucky few, those mainly living rurally. Then Ray came, and showed people through the telly that you could enjoy nature. Showed them how.
Many Brits started then.
I imagine the number of Campers are larger today than 30 years ago?
Scouting changed in Sweden in mid 1970's, maybe in UK too? Much less nature/survival education, more BS. I left the Scouts in -75 or -76, after a sudden change in the way the weekends were spent.
From doing wilderness camps, fires, huts and knife skills, to learning names of plants and birds...
In UK, moving from the country side to the factories in the cities started at the end of the 1700', so several decades earlier than in the rest of Europe.
Not easy to keep up the country skills and ways while living in a cramped building with an outside latrine!
I think that people are getting softer, and less accepting hardships or (potential) dangers.
How many of todays under 30 have climbed a tree? Own a decent knife?
Can catch, kill and prepare a fish?
It is all about buying Tofu, green veg and white protein these days!
Swilling Mocha Lattes with Organic Fluff on top!
But, it is NOT THEIR FAULT- BUT OURS!
Certainly must be frustrating for lack of wilderness opportunities.
I can see that even here around the perimeters of major Canadian cities.
Last time driving east out of Vancouver, I timed it. Must have been 2+ hours at freeway speeds
before I thought I could strike a little camp on the corner of a field. I'd have to ask permission, too.
My situation is so very different. Sleeping in my own bed every night
is a simple matter of practical convenience.
The good camping spots are easy to find, they are all marked with stone fire rings, some more elaborate than others.
Still, learning the food part is easily done in your own kitchen.
Nice weather, no bugs, what's not to like about that?
Read up on bannock. Download 9 recipes. #10 is the average of them all = call it yours.
Buy a fuel stove (meths/butane/petrol), set it up and practice on it.
Propane is very popular for indoors and emergencies but they don't work well in the cold.
Cut off the burnt or doughy bits. The rooks will thank you.
We have so many power grid failures that just about eveyrbody keeps their camp stove in the kitchen!
Set it up on top of the stove ("hob," you call it?) and do sausages and eggs to go with the bannock and coffee.
Do you have a garden, @Blufor ?
Well before we get too off piste bemoaning the lack of manliness in the up and comming generations. Let's first of all remember that youngsters read this forum and might well be put off by curmudgeonly oldies being rather dismissive of their abilities and interests. !
Secondly ... back to the origional question. Perhaps the op could spend the winter doing day trips out and about his own locality just trying to practice a few basics that could aim towards his idea of learning the skills he wishes to learn.
You mention enjoying the ray mears videos. Ray makes it all look so easy and obviously if there are problems he won't realy show them on screen as he wants to encourage others into the outdoors and give them the skills to feel comfortable in that environment.
Being able to cope with adverse conditions isn't something to go in at the deep end with..... unless it's realy nessasary.
Take your time to learn untill it's second nature and part of your way of thinking. This will come with time and practice .
Spend the winter as has been suggested by going out for day hikes and getting confident with your kit and map skills, learning about your responses to weather terrain comfort or lack of. Sit and whittle something, sit and listen and watch.. brew a cup of something hot to drink and eat. Take a notebook and make notes such as...
I forgot to take something waterproof to sit on, remember to put that in my bag.
In winter I need insulation from the ground too!
Must learn about wild garlic and how I can eat it.
Need warmer socks at -5degrees
Etc etc etc. Soon you will have a store of knowledge that is invaluable and you can access it without your phone or a book by your side. Have fun! If it's not fun, then it will be funny later in life.
Take a cheap closed cell foam sleeping mat, glue and stitch the two ends together, so it makes a sausage with two open ends.
Use that as it is to sit on. Want more insulation? Put a folded jumper or similar ( placed in an plastic supermarket carry bag) inside.
Also makes a nice pillow when you sleep outside.
A single layer is fine usually, but not so hugely insulating ( or soft) when you sit on a cold stone, log or snow indeed.
I did not want to discourage the youngsters, not at all! I want to awaken a bit of ;guts', a bit of adventure feeling.
Yes, young person, you can!
What I liked with Ray was that he kind of showed that he himself learned from other, more skilled people. His programmes with Lars Faelt for example.
Lars taught Ray the Arctic ways.
The Saame taught Lars much when he was an officer at regiment I22 in Kiruna.
I imagine Ray did more for the British public's nature awareness than the rest put together. No 'show' as such, but real stuff. Shown in a safe way.
Several of his Instructors went and started own schools, did they not?
I think the OP has been given all the advice and reassurance he needs, so maybe he is OK with a bit of divergence?
I have one more skill set he can, and should, practice at home.
How to field sharpen a knife. Using a sharpening stone. Using a natural stone. Using glass.
A blunt knife is not only fairly useless, but dangerous too.
With field sharpening I mean getting a decent edge, to gut rope, wood and such. Scr$w angles, honing, shaving your fore arm -sharp, high gloss.
Just an edge that cuts well.
Aye aye Madam!
Actually not belittling their abilities more like moaning there not being enough chances. Number two son got through fairly rough service time (worse than mine) with flying colours acquiring some excellent trekking skills too. So did the other 80 guys on his course.
What we kind of got on the fly they have to be taught or specifically look for.
I see no "lack of manliness." What I do see is a lack of opportunity for expression.
My hindsight proves that there are some useful options without going very far at all.
I learned a great deal of outdoor type cooking in my mother's kitchen.
Then we moved out to the back garden and real fires with real wood.
I worked on the food, my brother worked on the fires.
Hot summer evenings, Mom would give us the meat and we were told to cook it outside.
Along the way, us kids learned to operate Coleman petrol appliances, lights and stoves.
There was a parental assumption that these skills were important to learn for when
some real campiing chances came along as we grew older.
I don't think it's so much the kids fault, it's the parents who are happier with little Johnny being in his bedroom with a video game or little Jessica having a sleepover in a nice safe house down the road rather than letting them roam wild as we did 50 yrs ago. It's a different world nowadays and certainly it's now illegal to leave a child alone overnight or for even a short space of time under the age of 13 in the UK at least.
If you were to make your child a latch key kid as was normal for many kids years ago you'd soon have social services on your back! Sad but true.
10 yrs old girls are into makeup and diets rather than dolls and knitting or sewing. Boys play football or video games rather than climb trees and go for bike rides miles from home .
Perception is that the world is not so safe anymore, but I do wonder if it was any safer playing in bomb craters with possible unexploded bombs and dangerous half collapsed buildings after the war in the 40s 50s and 60s than it is now.
Something you could do during the winter is to learn something about navigation with map and compass, fire lighting and identification of trees.
You could learn to sharpen knives.
You could learn to cook your meal in a 1 litre or 750ml pot in your kitchen.
You could learn about wild plants you can eat.
You could learn about wild animals traces and voices.
You could try to understand the trekking clothing layering system theoretically, copy it with the stuff you just own and learn about it in cold conditions.
You could use the time to buy outdoor clothing and equipment that you need for trekking with camping and you could use it right in front of your house.
And after that all you can start in the summer with camping at the next camping ground or in a garden or what ever and you could continue it all over the summer and continue it if it becomes colder.
That's the usual way to learn all that.
it is now not us, but our children that need to let their children be freer. Give them more reigns.
We have friends that have installed a secret app on their teenager's mobile phone to see where they are. Sooo wrong!
It is easy for me/us to say that it is society that is overprotecting, but WE ARE THE SOCIETY.
Media plays up everything. Todays Europe is safer than it ever was. For everybody.
Dad lost a friend, another friend lot an eye, and he got some shrapnel into him. Playing with some German grenades after the war.
This thread title said "Survival Skills. . . . .. "
I figure the most immediate subject would be food and water.
As Erbwurst suggests = 1 pot meals. I'll add: "write it down, take notes."
Example: It's -15C outside. My house is in mountain shadow already.
The fekking power went off at 1:46PM. Sure as hello was quiet!
Beautiful but cold and sunny winter day. Why a failure? Accident?
Could be 10 minutes, could be 10 hours. Who knows? I expect darkness by 4:30PM.
I know I will want to have a hot supper and a hot drink.
Mental check list of food supplies for times like this. Water is OK. Need light.
It's camping/bushcraft cuisine. That's all it takes. Mental checklist of recipes.
I use LED for efficiencies at times like these, driven by my solar power system.
I enjoy candles. Must have a dozen at all times that I can lay my hand on.
The power came back on at 2:00 PM. Nothing to do but mess with digital clocks.
I ought to fry some bacon and make one-pot corn chowder, anyway.
What's really bushcraft is to know that all of the bacon fat must stay in the chowder.
It's a serious, cold weather calorie reserve that should not go to waste.
If he doesnt want to go outside dont fret at him.
Why not stay indoors and learn a craft or something self sufficient?
(My first camp was with the Guides and it was dire. I didnt go for 30 years after that. But now I know how to be comfy).
(I got my non camping dad (82 and getting younger) to the Bushmoot. He had a big folding bed and lots of bedding, and slept like a baby.)
He told us that he had an underrated sleeping bag. That's more or less all.
Well like anything if you dont get out their and practice the skills you are going to be in a real world of hurt when the time comes for real dont be one of the sheople is all I can tell you...
So, let me set you your first survival challenge! You said if I remember right you had bought some sort of firelighting set. Good start. Now you need to learn about tinder. Make a tinder bundle and try getting it lit.
What do you have that you can collect in your area to make a tinder bundle? Silver birch bark? Do you need to learn to identify this tree? Dried grass leaves bracken? What else works? Keep trying untill you find what lights well and make a tinder collection and find something waterproof to keep it in like a tobacco tin sweet tin plastic pot etc. That's this weekend's task. Will expect a report on your failures and successes on Monday
Next weekend we will do shelters, then water collection and purification. So in 3 weekends we will have all the basics coverd.. we'll make a bushman of you yet!