10 top tips for bushcraft

  • Hey Guest, We've had to cancel our 2020 Summer BushMoot PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information.


Feb 14, 2010
OK here's a few more

Charcoal from the fire makes an effective scrubber for frypans & billys

Preparation is important before lighting the campfire. Kindling that is sorted into different thicknesses makes it so much easier to light a fire with wet wood without the need to split timber :D..

Especially when used with this firelay

As seen here:


Kindling can be prepared without tools by simply propping up the wood on another log & stomping on it as seen here:

If you have access to a forked tree, then the leverage that can be generated can be used to break wood down to size without the use of tools as seen here:


If the wood doesn't easily yield to the previous technique, then the logs can be fed onto the fire as they burn :lmao:

Wet wood can be dried by stacking it across the top of a fire.

And sausages that are taken bush can have their shelf life extended by a couple of days by hot smoking

An old cake cooling rack makes a very lightweight & effective campfire grill

A couple of simple tripods & a cross piece is a mutli tasking piece of gear. It can be used to get heavier logs off the ground to start drying, as well as making a usefull drying rack for clothes goodjob

A recycled wine bladder makes a very usefull & easily transported water container (especially the ones with a removable tap). Not only do you get the benefit of emptying the original :eek:, but it also works well as an "in camp" water container. Sitting it in the fork of a tree saves bending (important as you get older & lazier :lmao: )

A piece of bark at the end of a stick makes an effective tarp tensioner

Soap that is put into an old stocking not only gives you a soap container that you can hung up (saves bending over), but it also prevents "stuff" from sticking to the soap :D

Plastic produce bags (they weigh nothing & fold up very small) make a great waterproof seating that will stop your trousers from getting wet when you sit on wet wood goodjob

Hope this has helped goodjob .

Kind regards
Last edited:

Ogri the trog

Apr 29, 2005
Mid Wales UK
My tip, though not easy for the younger ones to understand, is......

"Moderate your expectations of what can be achieved to meet your current skill level, the available tools & resources and the time & energy you are prepared to invest."

This goes for everything from the state of your fire to the spoon you want to carve - everything has to be learnt, practiced, adjusted for season and locality and kept up to date.

I really like Toddy's line about nobody knowing everything, but everybody knowing a bit! It kinda means you should learn from as many people as you can - and even then realise that you'll not know everything and someone will know something different to you.


Ogri the trog


Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
Southern cross your fire advice is very useful. I wish we had been taught it in Brownies.

(Im still in therapy over that uniform, Brownies these days are so lucky.)

And as I remind my friend when she chokes up my stove...you cant hurry a fire.


Feb 14, 2010
Every one heard the old expression "make hay whilst the sun shines"?

The same goes for stockpiling dry kindling on extended trips (right hand side of the following pic)

Bark is a very usefull building material.

Not only will it provide a wind break at the end of a tarp / fly shelter, but it will also provide a waterproof roofing material for a leanto.

...and make a waterproof roof over your fire to keep it burning in heavy rain goodjob

That will do from me for now :D

Kind regards


Full Member
Nov 12, 2005
My top tips are
Don’t panic.
Look before you:-
Sit (look out for things that hurt when sat upon, from the knot of a branch on the log you are going to sit, to broken glass
Hop, (over anything, that pile of leaves may hide an ankle twisting breaking log/ditch/rock)
Taste, (Even if you know it is edible you may never know what animal has been there before, nor what they have done on/near that taste bunch of low growing berries.)
Also remember chances are you are many times bigger than anything thing natural out there in the dark.
When you get lost, stop (That’s it, Stop) make a brew, and wait. Calm rational minds think better/quicker than panic-ridden minds.


Mar 8, 2006
Priorities in life:

F*ck F*ck, Sh*t Sh*t, What a F*ck (pardon my french)

Carry and know how to use a First aid kit (first F)
Know how to make a Fire
Know how to build a Shelter
Know how to Signal your position/situation
Get safe drinking Water
Get (safe) Food.

Next to this a great comprehensive list from DDokkum:
Wilderness Survival
- Basic, intermediate, and advanced survival defined
- Survival equation
- Tools of survival
- Survival plan
- Survival Kits
- Psychology of Survival

Dressing for the Outdoors
- Mechanisms of energy transfer
- General principles of clothing materials with regard to keeping warm/cool
- Principles of dressing for the elements
- Specific clothing for wet weather
- Specific clothing for the cold
- Wet cold and dry cold footwear
- Clothing for hot weather
- Importance of keeping clothing clean
- Clothing repair kit

- Campsite selection and finding natural shelters
- Mechanisms of energy transfer
- 3 ways of keeping warm
- Basic concepts of shelter
- Distinct components of a shelter
- Bush architecture
- Shelter-specific design and construction
- The open lean-to
- Hot coal bed
- Quad-Pod
- Hoop House
- Bush Tipi
- Large dome
- Debris hut
- Long tipi
- Snow shelters
- Principles of snow as a shelter material
- Quinzee
- Parachute shelters
- Constructing mosquito-proof shelters
- Safe use of external and internal fires with shelter
- Tipping trees so as not to harm the tree
- Laying a bough floor
- Laying a bough bed
- Stone and clay woodstoves
- Rock Pile woodstoves
- Log walls
- Thatching methods and principles
- Bark shingling
- Bush sauna/sweat lodge construction
- using hot rocks
- using a wood stove
- Sauna/sweat bath cross-cultural history
- Nylon tent selection and care
- Canvas tents; choosing, care and use with and without a wood stove
- Egyptian cotton tents; choosing, care and use with and without a wood stove

- Fire as an agent in human culture
- Fire safety
- Choosing a fire site
- Understanding wood fire
- 5 Stages of fire
- Fire by friction
- Fire by percussion
- Fire by refraction
- Fire by parabolic reflector
- Fire by air compression
- Fire lighting with matches
- Various commercial fire-starting tools
- Twig bundle method
- Making and using feather sticks
- Burning properties of different woods
- Purpose of fire/different fire-lays
- Fire for cooking
- Fire for light
- Fire for warmth
- Signal fires
- Extinguishing a fire
- Techniques for minimizing the ecological impact of fire
- Primitive lamps
- Candle making
- Rock pile wood stoves
- Cob ovens
- Fire sinks

- The need for restful sleep
- Relevance of the sleeping bag in survival
- Sleeping bag selection
- Keeping warm in an inadequate sleeping bag
- The mattress or sleeping pad as a sleeping bag component
- Bush beds of natural materials

- Water purification - boiling, filtration, chemicals, and the use of the still
- Summer water sources
- Winter water sources and melting snow
- Avoiding dehydration
- Transporting water

First Aid and Long Term Medical Concerns
- Dealing with common outdoor medical concerns
- Managing cuts - short and long term
- Understanding and treating hypothermia
- Understanding and treating frostbite
- Dealing with breaks, strains, and sprains - splinting and immobilization
- Improvised traction splint construction
- Construction of a stretcher for transportation of the sick and injured
- Personal first aid kit components, sized to fit in shirt pocket
- Traditional bush medicine

Navigation – Map and Compass
- Use of a topographical map alone
- Common map scales
- What a map tells us
- Use of a compass alone
- History of compass
- Factors that effect accuracy
- Declination, variation and the agonic line
- Compass nomenclature
- Finding directions
- Taking and following a bearing
- Returning to the original location
- Triangulation and returning to precise points
- Overcoming obstacles
- Use of topographical map and compass together
- Four steps of traveling by map and compass
- Use of Global Positioning System (GPS)

Camp Crafts and Comforts
- Building tables
- Building chairs
- Building benches
- Building other furniture and useful camp items

Navigation - Barehand
- Understanding the movement of the celestial bodies
- Telling direction from the sun
- Telling direction from the moon
- Telling direction from the stars
- Constellations useful for determining direction
- Telling direction from weather patterns
- Determining latitude by the stars
- Traveling in a straight line in the woods
- Traveling in a straight line in open country
- Bush geometry and trigonometry
- Determining distances
- Angling off
- Myths of barehand navigation
- Making and using simple navigational tools

Cordage, Rope, Knots and Natural Bindings
- Cordage raw materials; plants
- Reverse wrap cordage
- Leg rolling cordage
- Use of the drop spindle to make cordage
- Braiding
- Preparing and using sinew
- Essential bush knots
- Tumpline knots for carrying canoe and wannigan
- Winches and windlasses for moving large objects
- Net making
- Selection of cordage to be carried when outdoors
- Binding with locally available materials
- Making and using spinners to make rope
- Making rope with a rope machine

Travel Equipment and Strategies
- Packframe construction and use
- Emergency snowshoe construction and use
- Traditional snowshoe use and principles
- Building traditional snowshoes
- Building traditional toboggans
- Travois
- Net bags
- Tumplines
- Making rucksacks

Observational Weather Forecasting
- Understanding weather patterns
- Understanding high and low pressure air masses
- Clouds and what they tell us
- Predominant winds, winds aloft, and local winds
- Finding the center of a storm
- Fronts and precipitation

Wild Plants and Their Uses
- Edible, Medicinal and otherwise useful plants - summer and winter
- Making and keeping an herbarium (plant collection)
- Several methods of pressing plants
- Herbalism and herbal preparations
- Tapping trees, gathering sap, and making syrup
- Ethnobotany and historical use of plants

Signals and Signaling
- Audible signals and what they mean
- Making an aluminum whistle
- Visual signals and their appropriate use
- Use of the signal mirror
- Basic ground to air signaling code
- The signal fire

Building Simple Boats
- Raft

Backpacking Skills
- Minimum/positive impact camping skills
- Setting up and using backpacking tents
- Use of backpacking stoves

Making and Using Projectiles
- Bow Making
- Making a selfbow - unbacked wooden longbow
- Making a backed bow
- Making a quickie bow
- Making bowstrings by hand
- Making Flemish bowstrings
- Arrow making
- Making an atlatl
- Making a baton de comandement
- Making a sling
- Making a fustibal
- Making an arrow thong
- Making a rabbit stick - a form of boomerang

Living off the Land
- Survival vs. living off the land
- Hydration
- Caloric requirements
- Plant foods
- Animal foods

The Art and Science of Tracking
- Basic, Systematic and Speculative Tracking
- Three perspectives of the tracker
- Three disciplines of tracking
- Animal locomotion, movement and biology
- Animal habits, tendencies and behavior
- Weathering and track aging
- Pressure releases - how foot and substrate interact dynamically
- Substrates and tracking mediums
- Use of the tracking stick
- Use of the tracking box
- Making plaster track casts
- Historical role of tracking in human development of abstract thought

Campfire and Outdoor Cooking
- Primitive
- Rock Boiling
- Planking
- Stick-woven grilling
- Steam Pit
- Traditional
- Cook kit components
- Pot selection and materials
- Skillet selection and materials
- Reflector oven construction and use
- The Dutch oven
- Cast iron cooking and care
- Pot suspension systems
- Pot hooks
- Bean Hole
- Fire-lays useful for cooking
- Germination and sprouting

Angling and Fishing
- Fishing vs. Angling
- Recreational vs. Survival fishing and angling
- Understanding fish in their environment
- Angling strategies – lakes
- Angling strategies – rivers
- Net making
- Setting nets – lakes
- Setting nets – rivers
- Setting nets – under ice
- Fish traps
- Fish spears
- Fish Wheels
- Mollusks
- Other edible aquatic life
- Ice angling with modern and improvised gear
- Set Lines
- Fly Fishing
- Selection of gear
- Fly casting
- Where fish live and why

Trapping and Snaring
- Furbearer population management
- Population dynamics
- Traditional deadfalls
- Traditional snares
- Modern trap use
- Leghold traps
- Body-gripping traps
- Modern snare use
- Building snares
- Trapping specific animals
- Avoiding non-target catches

Provisioning and Menu Planning
- Meal Planning for low cost and high nutrition
- Seasonal considerations in meal planning
- Buying in Bulk
- Meal Packaging and repackaging
- Two-meal day
- Value of appropriate condiments

Hazards of Specific Importance
- Ticks and diseases they carry
- Bears
- Giardia
- Fire
- Cold
- Heat
- Carbon monoxide in winter shelters

Outdoor Leadership
- Decision making
- Effective communication
- Conflict resolution
- Team building
- Expedition Behavior

Guide Training and Other Topics Related to the Guiding Profession
- Finding a lost person
- Liability Insurance
- Risk management
- Trip planning and preparations
- Use of checklists

The Bushcraft Tool Kit
- Axe
- Knife
- Saw blades – saw frame is built when needed
- Draw knife
- Crooked knife or gouge
- Cabinet scraper
- Sand paper
- Tool roll or other way to carry your kit
- Sharpening kit

The Knife
- Choosing an appropriate knife for the outdoors
- litmus test for a good bush knife
- Sharpening the knife to a shaving edge
- Safety in knife use
- Cutting poles
- Felling trees
- Making replacement knife sheaths
- Assorted carving projects

The Axe
- Choosing an appropriate axe
- Axe safety
- Sharpening the axe
- Use of the axe
- Felling
- Sectioning
- Limbing
- Splitting

The Saw
- Choosing an appropriate saw
- Types of saw teeth and how a saw cuts
- Construction of the bush bucksaw when only the blade is carried
- Using small folding saws
- Using crosscut saws
- Sharpening saws

Movement and Awareness
- Moving quietly in the bush
- Different ways of walking
- Sensory awareness
- Different types of vision
- Focused hearing
- Sensory awareness of other creatures
- Stalking game animals


Sep 2, 2005
It's actually quite interesting to see the different approaches to the question.
For a long while mainstream teaching seemed not to teach at all but to create environments where children learned for themselves.
Sounds good, but in practice too many children ended up with scatterbrains and no constructive discipline in their behaviour.

Imagine that in a bushcraft situation :rolleyes: and we'd have miserable kids never wanting to go back out again :sigh: Little bits of advice can have an inordinate effect.
Like, the pot lid *will* be hot, or those nettles *will* sting, that knife is sharp don't test it on your brother, or if you don't tie those laces you *will* tangle your feet and coup........not quite the umbrella / eye out with, but the idea is sound.

I'm quite interested in traditional methods of teaching these skills (i.e. used by native groups) they seem to have a fair reliance on exposing kids to skills and letting them have a go when they want - doesn't appear to be a lot of actual instruction.
Dec 16, 2007
What I have come up with now Im in Oz and have a jeep.
Is always have a bergan packed in the 4bee so If you have to leave the vehicle (and we know you should stay with it) you have kit to keep you alive for 24 to 48hrs.
I would only leave it if it was to dangerous to stay or to find a clear view of the sky for rescue reasons.