What is Bushcraft?
Bushcraft is an outdoor hobby that is becoming increasingly popular. It involves the art of making projects such as utensils, a forest camp or even jewelry yourself in a minimalist and nature-oriented way. After all, the term "bushcraft" is derived from the two English words "bush" (wilderness) and "craft" (handicraft) - the wilderness craft, so to speak.
However, the craft aspect is only one component of bushcrafting - for some, it is also an entire lifestyle, and more generally, a way of accessing nature. In this regard, bushcrafting combines a number of skills such as making a fire, building a shelter, obtaining food from the wild, and also navigating the terrain. What unites all bushcrafters is that they place great emphasis on sustainability and are careful with the resources in nature.
In contrast to survival, where it is about survival in emergency situations, bushcraft is a purely recreational activity that you do voluntarily and can therefore end at any time. Bushcrafters like to get out into nature to escape the daily grind and make themselves as comfortable as possible outdoors.
Bushcraft for beginners: These 10 things you should have on the screen
Before you get into the bushcraft world, there are a few things you should keep in mind. To start, it's a good idea to read up on the basics of bushcrafting. You can gather valuable knowledge from books or through an internet search. Among the important essentials is how to build a shelter, tie various knots, build a safe fire and carve a spoon.
Important: Try out what you have read or seen in practice as soon as possible!
A person who already has experience in bushcraft can support you as a beginner and teach you how to find your way in the wilderness. At the same time bushcraft is more fun with like-minded people and in case of emergency you are not on your own in the forest.
At the beginning it is enough to prepare a minimum equipment, which is suitable for a day trip. Beginner's equipment includes the following things:
- weatherproof clothing & comfortable hiking shoes
- Fixed blade knife (preferably full tang, i.e. the metal of the blade goes the full length of the handle)
- Carving knife (also a curved carving knife for spoons and ladles if necessary)
- First aid kit
- Fire set, consisting of tinder, a fire steel and a lighter
- Food and drink may also not be missing 😉
Other useful pieces of equipment are:
- Work gloves
- Paracord (approx. 4 mm diameter) or natural cord
- Blanket made of wool or fleece
- Tarp (tarp with eyelets)
- hatchet or axe
When it comes to clothing, the well-known onion principle is a very good approach to protect you from the cold. Instead of wearing one thick layer of clothing, you wear several thin layers to adapt to different weather conditions. Moreover, the innermost layers can be changed when they get wet to prevent you from getting chilled. The onion principle is especially helpful for outdoor activities in cold or changeable weather conditions.
As a rule of thumb for dressing , it has been proven that you should always dress for 5 degrees colder than the weather report indicates. This way you are well prepared and can still put on or take off a layer of clothing at any time in case of weather and temperature changes using the onion principle.
Although bushcraft can be done with minimal equipment, in the long run it pays to invest in quality clothing and gear. This will make the experience more enjoyable and help you feel more prepared in any situation.
When bushwhacking, there are a few precautions you should take to stay safe and responsible in the outdoors. Take a map of the area you're traveling in with you - and be it digital only. Even if you're only in the woods for a few hours, there's nothing wrong with letting someone in your family or circle of friends know ahead of time roughly where you'll be. Phone and internet don't always work out there.
It is also important that you know the laws regarding bushcraft. Many things that bushcrafters would like to do are often forbidden in German forests: Open fire, building camps, overnight stays and what the things are more. You have the best chance if you own your own forest or know a forest owner you can ask for permission.
But also as a normal forest guest there are many possibilities to pursue the hobby Bushcraft. For the purpose of recreation, everyone is allowed to stay in the forest. For example, if you want to build a shelter, use only branches that are lying around, do not cut anything off and simply dismantle the shelter later. You can also pick up and use small amounts of wood lying around for carving. There are often official fireplaces at rest areas for making fires.
By the way: The Golden Rule of Bushcraft dictates that you always leave the forest as you found it.
If you have acquired knowledge, your minimal equipment together and maybe even a bushcrafting partner at your side, then you can start! Tip: Plan a fixed date in your calendar so that you not only have something to look forward to, but also don't put off your first day trip. An overnight stay in the forest is recommended if you have deepened your bushcraft skills a bit and can, for example, stretch a tarp rain- and wind-proof.
Start your first day trip by learning the basic skills. As a simple exercise, you could build a leaf hut or set up a tarp. In the process, you can learn how to tie various knots. It is also very interesting to go in search of tinder in the forest and "capture" birch bark or pine shavings, for example.
A bushcraft course might help you to get into the subject or to deepen your knowledge and to get to know like-minded people. You can also try out your hobby legally at an outdoor club.
We wish you a lot of fun with your first steps as a bushcrafter!
SurviCamp offers practical outdoor and survival courses in Berlin, Brandenburg and the Black Forest.
With us you can leave your everyday life behind and experience something that will challenge you and make you grow.
It is our mission to provide unforgettable experiences, giving everyone the opportunity and space for personal growth. Specifically, we are about preparing people with skills, knowledge, and equipment for real-life crises and survival situations - whether in everyday life or work, on a trip or in an emergency.
You can find out more on our website: www.survicamp.de.
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