Introducing bushcraft

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Tony

White bear (Admin)
Admin
Apr 16, 2003
23,043
1
1,148
51
Wales
www.bushcraftuk.com
I'm interested in harvesting your experience and thoughts on people with little or no bushcraft experience wanting to take it up as a hobby, so, If someone asked you how they could get into bushcraft what would you reply?

Would it be to point them at skills, philosophy, books, video's and if so which ones? How would you describe your own journey into bushcraft to them so that they get direction from it?
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,377
4,735
Mid Wales
I don't think you can replace dirt time in my opinion.

So, for me, it's easy - if I like them or can get on with them I'd just invite them down into my wood for a weekend or longer, supply them with spares stuff, and go through the basics with them (something I occasionally do for small groups anyway).

If they're not in my area, or for any other reason, I would encourage them to find people to share dirt time with. I'm not one for pointing to Youtube - there's some really awful stuff out there and a lot of it verging on the irresponsible.

However, as I've said before (and sorry for repeating myself), I don't believe there is an activity called 'Bushcraft' - there's wilderness skills (which is what I offer) that are applied to trekking, camping, fishing, canoeing and a whole host of other activities. We have conveniently lumped many of those skills into the term Bushcraft but I don't go out to do Bushcraft, I go out to live in the natural environment making use of bushcraft/wilderness skills to make it more enjoyable, safer and with less impact on the environment.
 
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Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
784
990
Here There & Everywhere
That's a challenging question.
For my part, like most here (I suspect), I never formally took up bushcraft.
From childhood onwards I always enjoyed being in the outside - playing on the farms when my mum was fruit picking, live-action role-playing as a teen, medieval re-enactments in my 20s, and across it all was camping out in the local woods.
I never 'got into' bushcraft, I think I probably always was. Or maybe never.
So if someone came to me and said they wanted to take it up and how to go about that, I'm not sure I would have an answer. Not the kind of answer they were looking for anyway. I'd probably say something like, 'then spend more time outside, and absorb yourself in it'.
Which I agree may sound a bit abstruse and vague.
But that's all I can think of.
I wouldn't say, 'buy yourself a knife, a stove, and a few pans. And enrol at a bushcraft school.'
No, I don't think that is the way into it at all and will just lead to frustration and totally misses the point.
But for the life of me I can't think of a way someone would formally take up bushcraft.
Yeah, I think I would just say, 'go out and enjoy yourself and take time to relax and think'.
That's the best I can come up with.
I just don't see bushcraft as a hobby. Not a distinct hobby anyway. I just don't see how someone can say, 'this weekend I'm going out to do some bushcraft'. That would leave me dumbfounded.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,479
2,214
McBride, BC
What's the budget? Practice control of fire in the garden then apply that on day-trips to stop for a hot drink of your own making. Comfortable robust boots. Some kind of a thick-ish knife for multitasks (plus you had better learn to be adept at freehand sharpening with your favorite rock.)
 

TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
2,021
956
Vantaa, Finland
Interesting question, first I would divide it in two: alone or with someone knowledgeable. In both cases I would start with day trips, fire making and gas/spirits burner tea. Add nights and actual food. At the same time clothing, plants/birds/creatures, weather/bit of law/maps/SatNav/compass in small steps. All the little skills one does not realize one knows. :D
 
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MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
1,964
872
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
I started on my own with just this forum and bushcraftliving forum, rays mears books and television programs.

nowadays I point people towards this forum and YouTube (Paul kirtley ans RM particularly). I don’t come across people that often though, and the couple I have have come to the bushcraft club, but as far as I am aware not signed up on her!
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,174
1,263
Berlin
As I was born with the fix blade knife between the teeth I can't tell people they should follow my own way.

"Just get a father who is a passionate boy scout leader!"

I taught wilderness skills in boy scout groups for many years, but I later also gave people several times a short packing list with self explaining military surplus equipment and similar robust but affordable stuff, told them which essential knots they need and basics about camp and campfire skills and kicked them into the fresh water.

It worked. But it surely only worked because it was a well tested and very well working absolutely idiot proof selection of very simple but very good equipment.

That's why I opened these threads here:




And nowadays I recommend Paul Kirtley's blog, Videos by Mors Kochanski, Corporals Corner, Dave Canterbury, and Ray Mears of course. And to get a few books, Mors Kochanski's "Bushcraft" for example or military survival handbooks.
 
Last edited:

Scottieoutdoors

Forager
Oct 22, 2020
216
127
Devon
I don't think you can replace dirt time in my opinion.

So, for me, it's easy - if I like them or can get on with them I'd just invite them down into my wood for a weekend or longer, supply them with spares stuff, and go through the basics with them (something I occasionally do for small groups anyway).

If they're not in my area, or for any other reason, I would encourage them to find people to share dirt time with. I'm not one for pointing to Youtube - there's some really awful stuff out there and a lot of it verging on the irresponsible.

However, as I've said before (and sorry for repeating myself), I don't believe there is an activity called 'Bushcraft' - there's wilderness skills (which is what I offer) that are applied to trekking, camping, fishing, canoeing and a whole host of other activities. We have conveniently lumped many of those skills into the term Bushcraft but I don't go out to do Bushcraft, I go out to live in the natural environment making use of bushcraft/wilderness skills to make it more enjoyable, safer and with less impact on the environment.

That's a very nice inclusive comment. Often I read the forum and (although I love reading about everyones various skills) could feel a bit left out in not necessarily having the same abilities whether location or just skill level as others. However your descriptions of wilderness living/being outdoors etc is definitely a lot more applicable.

Recently wife-o, me and Doggo all went on a kayak camping trip, was only an overnighter but didn't really feel applicable to the "bushcraft" genre.
 

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