Bushcraft as a Hobby: When Your Survival Skills are Better Than Your Social Skills

Looking for a new hobby that will get you out of the house and into the great outdoors? Look no further than bushcraft as a hobby!

Bushcraft is all about learning how to survive and thrive in the wilderness, using only the resources that nature provides.

Whether you want to learn how to build a shelter, start a fire without matches, or forage for food, bushcraft has something for everyone.

So why not give it a try and see what you can accomplish with just your wits and a little bit of know-how?

The Basics of Bushcraft

What is Bushcraft?

Bushcraft is a hobby that involves learning the skills and knowledge necessary to survive and thrive in the great outdoors.

It’s about using your surroundings to meet your basic needs, from finding food and water to building shelter and starting a fire.

Bushcraft is not just about survival, but also about learning to appreciate and respect nature.

Why Bushcraft is a Great Hobby

Bushcraft is a great hobby for anyone who loves spending time outdoors and wants to learn new skills. It’s a way to disconnect from the stress of daily life and connect with nature.

Bushcraft also teaches self-reliance and problem-solving, as you learn to adapt to different environments and situations. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

The Importance of Practice

Like any skill, bushcraft requires practice to master. It’s not enough to just read about it or watch videos online. You need to get out there and practice your skills in real-world situations.

This will help you build confidence and become more comfortable in the outdoors.

Essential Bushcraft Skills

There are several essential bushcraft skills that you should learn if you want to be successful in this hobby. These include:

  • Shelter building: Knowing how to build a shelter is essential for staying warm and dry in the outdoors.
  • Fire starting: Starting a fire is critical for cooking food, purifying water, and staying warm.
  • Finding and purifying water: Water is essential for survival, and knowing how to find and purify it is crucial.
  • Foraging for food: Knowing how to identify edible plants and animals can help you find food in the wild.
  • Navigation: Knowing how to use a map and compass, as well as natural landmarks, can help you find your way in the wilderness.

Bushcraft Gear and Tools

Having the right gear and tools can make all the difference in bushcraft. Here are some essential items to consider:

  • Knife: A good quality knife is essential for many bushcraft tasks, from building shelter to preparing food.
  • Axe or hatchet: An axe or hatchet can be used for chopping wood and making kindling for a fire.
  • Cordage: Strong cordage can be used for a variety of tasks, from building shelter to making traps.
  • Tarp: A tarp can be used as a shelter or to protect your gear from the elements.
  • Water filter: A water filter can help you purify water from natural sources.

Shelter Building and Firecraft

When it comes to bushcraft, shelter building and firecraft are two essential skills that you need to master.

In this section, we will cover the basics of shelter building and firecraft, including techniques for building shelters, starting fires, finding and purifying water, and foraging for food.

Shelter Building Techniques

Building a shelter in the wilderness is crucial for your survival. There are different types of shelters that you can build depending on the materials available and the weather conditions. Here are some common shelter building techniques:

  • Lean-to shelter: This is one of the simplest shelters you can build. It requires just a few branches and some leaves. Lean the branches against a tree and cover them with leaves to create a roof.
  • Debris hut: This is a more advanced shelter that requires more materials and time. You will need to gather a lot of branches, leaves, and other debris to build a sturdy shelter.
  • Tarp shelter: If you have a tarp or poncho, you can use it to create a quick and easy shelter. Simply tie the corners to trees or poles and secure the sides with rocks or logs.

Fire Building Techniques

Starting a fire in the wilderness can be challenging, but it is essential for keeping warm, cooking food, and purifying water. Here are some fire building techniques:

  • Bow drill: This is a primitive fire starting technique that involves using a bow to create friction between a spindle and a fireboard. It requires a lot of practice to master.
  • Flint and steel: This is a more modern fire starting technique that involves striking a piece of flint with a steel striker to create sparks.
  • Magnifying glass: If you have a magnifying glass or a piece of clear plastic, you can use it to focus the sun’s rays and start a fire.

Finding and Purifying Water

Water is essential for survival, but it can be difficult to find and purify in the wilderness. Here are some tips for finding and purifying water:

  • Finding water: Look for streams, rivers, and lakes. You can also collect rainwater or dew from plants.
  • Purifying water: Boiling water is the most effective way to purify it. You can also use water purification tablets or a water filter.

Foraging for Food

Foraging for food is an essential skill in bushcraft. Here are some tips for finding food in the wilderness:

  • Edible plants: Learn to identify edible plants in your area, such as berries, nuts, and roots.
  • Fishing: If you are near a body of water, you can fish for food.
  • Trapping: You can also set traps for small animals, such as rabbits and squirrels.

In summary, mastering shelter building and firecraft, finding and purifying water, and foraging for food are essential skills in bushcraft. With practice and patience, you can become proficient in these skills and increase your chances of survival in the wilderness.

Bushcraft Tools and Gear

When it comes to bushcraft, having the right tools and gear is essential. In this section, we’ll cover some of the most important items you’ll need to get started.

The Bushcraft Knife

A good bushcraft knife is one of the most important tools you’ll need. It should be sturdy, sharp, and versatile.

Look for a knife with a full tang, which means the blade extends all the way through the handle, providing extra strength and durability.

One popular option is the Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife, which has a 4.1-inch blade and a rubber handle for a comfortable grip. Another great choice is the ESEE Knives Izula II, which has a 2.63-inch blade and a durable, lightweight design.

Axes and Hatchets

In addition to a good knife, you’ll also want to have an axe or hatchet for chopping wood and other tasks. Look for a tool with a sturdy handle and a sharp, durable blade.

One popular option is the Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe, which has a 19-inch handle and a 2.5-inch blade. Another great choice is the Fiskars X7 Hatchet, which has a 14-inch handle and a lightweight design for easy portability.

Cordage and Knot Tying

Cordage and knot tying are essential skills for bushcraft, and you’ll want to have a good supply of rope or cord on hand. Look for a durable, high-strength cord that can handle heavy loads and withstand the elements.

One popular choice is 550 paracord, which has a breaking strength of 550 pounds and can be used for a variety of tasks. You’ll also want to learn some basic knot tying skills, such as the bowline, clove hitch, and square knot.

Tarp Shelters

When it comes to shelter, a tarp can be a versatile and lightweight option. Look for a tarp that is durable, waterproof, and easy to set up.

One popular choice is the ENO ProFly Rain Tarp, which is made from ripstop nylon and has a waterproof coating. Another great option is the Aqua Quest Guide Tarp, which is made from heavy-duty polyester and has reinforced stitching for added durability.

In summary, a good bushcraft knife, axe or hatchet, cordage and knot tying skills, and a tarp shelter are essential tools and gear for any bushcraft enthusiast.

With these items, you’ll be well-equipped to handle a wide range of tasks and challenges in the wilderness.

Wilderness Survival Skills

When it comes to bushcraft as a hobby, wilderness survival skills are essential. These skills can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation. Here are some of the most important wilderness survival skills you should learn:

Navigation skills are crucial in the wilderness. You need to be able to find your way around without relying on technology.

A compass and map are essential tools to have, but you also need to know how to use them.

You should also learn how to read the signs of nature, such as the position of the sun and stars, to help you navigate.

First Aid

Injuries can happen in the wilderness, so having basic first aid skills is important. You should learn how to clean and dress wounds, treat burns, and deal with other common injuries. You should also know how to perform CPR and deal with shock.

Animal Trapping and Hunting

In a survival situation, you may need to hunt or trap animals for food. Knowing how to set traps and snares, as well as how to track and hunt animals, can be lifesaving skills. It’s important to learn how to do this without harming the environment or endangering yourself.


Fishing is another way to obtain food in the wilderness. You should learn how to fish with a line and hook, as well as how to make your own fishing gear. You should also know how to clean and prepare fish for cooking.

Here’s a table summarizing the wilderness survival skills:

NavigationKnowing how to find your way around without relying on technology
First AidBasic medical skills to treat injuries and illnesses
Animal Trapping and HuntingKnowing how to trap and hunt animals for food
FishingKnowing how to fish with a line and hook

In conclusion, learning wilderness survival skills is an important part of bushcraft as a hobby. Knowing how to navigate, provide first aid, trap and hunt animals, and fish can help you survive in a survival situation.

Advanced Bushcraft Techniques

If you’re an experienced bushcrafter looking to take your skills to the next level, there are several advanced techniques you can learn. In this section, we’ll cover some of the most important ones.

Carving and Woodcraft

Carving and woodcraft are essential skills for any bushcrafter. With these skills, you can make tools, utensils, and even furniture from the natural materials around you. To improve your carving and woodcraft skills, you should:

  • Practice using different types of knives and saws
  • Learn how to identify different types of wood and their properties
  • Experiment with different carving techniques, such as chip carving and relief carving
  • Learn how to make joints and connections between pieces of wood

Friction Fire Techniques

Starting a fire without matches or a lighter is one of the most important bushcraft skills you can learn. Friction fire techniques involve creating heat by rubbing two pieces of wood together. To master friction fire techniques, you should:

  • Learn how to select the right materials for your fire kit, such as the type of wood and the type of cordage
  • Practice different types of friction fire techniques, such as the hand drill and the bow drill
  • Experiment with different materials for your fire board and spindle
  • Learn how to build and maintain a fire once you’ve started it

Tracking and Map Reading

Being able to navigate in the wilderness is crucial for any bushcrafter. This involves both tracking, or following animal trails and other signs, and map reading, or using a map and compass to find your way. To improve your tracking and map reading skills, you should:

  • Practice identifying different animal tracks and other signs, such as scat and rub marks
  • Learn how to use a map and compass to navigate in different types of terrain
  • Experiment with different types of maps, such as topographic maps and satellite imagery
  • Practice orienteering and other navigation exercises in the wilderness

Bushcraft Projects

Finally, one of the best ways to improve your bushcraft skills is to take on different projects. These can range from building a shelter to making a bow and arrow. To take on bushcraft projects, you should:

  • Identify different projects you want to tackle and set goals for each one
  • Gather the materials you need for each project, such as wood and cordage
  • Practice different techniques, such as carving and friction fire, as you work on each project
  • Reflect on what you’ve learned from each project and use that knowledge to improve your skills over time

By mastering these advanced bushcraft techniques, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a true wilderness expert.

Bushcraft Safety and Ethics

Safety in the Wilderness

When practicing bushcraft as a hobby, safety should always be your top priority. It is essential to be prepared and have the necessary skills and equipment to handle any situation that might arise.

Before heading out into the wilderness, make sure you have a first aid kit, a map and compass, and a reliable communication device. It is also important to inform someone of your plans and expected return time.

When using a bushcraft knife, it is crucial to handle it with care and respect. Always keep it sharp, as a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp one. Make sure to use proper techniques when using your knife, and never use it in a way that could cause harm to yourself or others.

Leave No Trace Ethics

As a bushcrafter, it is essential to practice Leave No Trace ethics to minimize your impact on the environment.

This means leaving the wilderness as you found it, with no trace of your presence. Always pack out what you pack in, and avoid damaging vegetation or disturbing wildlife.

When building shelters or fires, use established sites whenever possible. If you must build a new site, choose an area that has already been disturbed and use biodegradable materials.

When starting a fire, use a fire ring or a fire pan to prevent damage to the ground. Always make sure to fully extinguish your fire before leaving the area.

Bushcraft and the Environment

As a bushcrafter, it is important to have a deep respect for the environment. Take the time to learn about the plants and animals in the area you are visiting, and avoid disturbing their natural habitat.

When foraging for food, only take what you need and never harvest endangered or protected species.

It is also important to be aware of the impact your actions can have on the environment.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or leaving behind non-biodegradable materials. Instead, use natural materials and sustainable practices whenever possible.

In summary, when practicing bushcraft as a hobby, always prioritize safety and practice Leave No Trace ethics to minimize your impact on the environment.

With the right skills and respect for the wilderness, bushcraft can be a rewarding and fulfilling hobby.

Famous Bushcrafters and Resources

If you’re interested in bushcraft, you’re in good company. Many people have made a name for themselves in this field, including Ray Mears and Mors Kochanski.

Ray Mears and Mors Kochanski

Ray Mears is a British bushcraft expert who has written numerous books and hosted several TV shows on the subject. He has a wealth of knowledge on everything from shelter building to fire starting, and is known for his calm and methodical approach to teaching.

Mors Kochanski, on the other hand, is a Canadian bushcraft expert who has been teaching survival skills for over 50 years. He is particularly well-known for his work on wilderness living skills, and has authored several books on the subject.

Bushcraft Books and YouTube Channels

There are many great resources available for those interested in learning more about bushcraft.

Some of the best books on the subject include “Bushcraft 101” by Dave Canterbury, “The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild” by Dave Hall, and “The SAS Survival Handbook” by John “Lofty” Wiseman.

In addition to books, there are also many great YouTube channels dedicated to bushcraft, such as Joe Robinet, MCQ Bushcraft, and TA Outdoors.

Bushcraft Communities and Groups

One of the best ways to learn more about bushcraft is to connect with other like-minded individuals.

There are many online communities and groups dedicated to bushcraft, such as the Bushcraft USA forums and the Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine Facebook group. These communities are a great place to ask questions, share tips and tricks, and connect with other bushcraft enthusiasts.

Ray Mearshttps://www.raymears.com/
Mors Kochanskihttps://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/mors-kochanski.1313/
“Bushcraft 101”https://www.amazon.com/Bushcraft-101-Field-Wilderness-Survival/dp/1440579776
“The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild”https://www.amazon.com/Bushcraft-Field-Guide-Trapping-Gathering/dp/1612436838
“The SAS Survival Handbook”https://www.amazon.com/SAS-Survival-Handbook-Third-Surviving/dp/0062378074
Joe Robinethttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCts-8ZqS339n-9nxy3DN8Cg
MCQ Bushcrafthttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_uEqC_pUyL2yQZn8uZCU1A
TA Outdoorshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2SM4t8m5vX5fDy8WRB9H9Q
Bushcraft USA forumshttps://bushcraftusa.com/forum/
Bushcraft and Survival Skills Magazine Facebook grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/2213112448/


Bushcraft is a fulfilling and exciting hobby that allows you to connect with nature and learn valuable survival skills. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced outdoorsperson, there is always something new to learn and explore in the world of bushcraft.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your gear, head out into the wilderness, and start exploring the exciting world of bushcraft today!

Additional Outdoor Hobbies
Amusement Park VisitingBeachcombing
CanyoningCaves / Spelunking
DowsingDragon Boat
Extreme Outdoor HobbiesFlying
Fossil HuntingFruit Picking
Ghost HuntingGold Prospecting
Healthy Outdoor Hobbies
Kite FlyingLarping
Metal DetectingMooing
Museum VisitingMushroom Hunting
Outdoor Hobbies to Do AloneOutdoors with Dog
Outdoor Winter HobbiesPastime
PicnickingPlaying Outside
Radio Controlled Model PlayingRenaissance Fair
Social WorkSpending Time with Friends and Family
Stone SkippingStorm Chasing
Sun BathingSurvivalism
Treasure HuntingTrekking
Trying New RestaurantsTunneling
Unusual Outdoor HobbiesVolunteering
Window ShoppingZoo Visiting