what is bushcraft

What is Bushcraft

Updated on by Alex

Perhaps you have stumbled upon the word bushcraft when looking through survival and preparedness pages, or maybe some of your adventure friends have mentioned it in a conversation. If you are wondering what is the meaning of bushcraft and what it entails we have prepared this article for you to feed your knowledge. We are going to go through a series of things :

  • What is Bushcraft – the definition.
  • Who is Bushcraft for?
  • The different skills within Bushcraft.
  • How to learn Bushcraft and how long it takes?
  • Bushcraft Gear.

Now that you are aware of what you can find in this article, let’s begin.


What is Bushcraft – The Definition

No bushcraft is not some art with bushes, even though it might be considered as such due to the fact that survival in the wilderness is a type of art in our opinion. Bushcraft is a set of survival skills which are to be applied in the wilderness. The word “bushcraft” was used far back in the 18th century when people from Australia and Africa used it to define people who would live in a bush or in nature in general.

Bushcraft represents all the activities which could be pursued through the use of natural materials, such as building shelter, starting a fire, finding water, hunting and others. Acquiring such skills allows individuals to be more adaptable and not to worry once they are in an environment which is  unknown to them. It empowers individuals and helps them to know nature better and feel more comfortable and free whenever they are in the wilderness.

Who Is Bushcraft For?

Bushcraft is a set of skills which are available for anyone who would want to learn how to survive in the wilderness, without needing a serious amount of gear and previous experience. Some of the elements of bushcraft are skills that most of us have acquired in our daily lives, such as picking food, like apples and berries. Therefore, anyone could learn how to survive in the wilderness if they have the motivation and are looking to go on an outdoor adventure.

Bushcraft -- The Skills

Earning bushcraft knowledge is not only great for your outdoor adventures, but it could also affect your self-confidence and feelings of self-worth. Should you learn how to survive in the wild, there won’t be many things that would be able to bring you down in the city. We are now going to look through the different bushcraft skills.

wild camping

Finding food and making it edible

One of the most interesting and soul satisfying bushcraft skills is definitely being able to identify which food is edible and which could be poisonous in the wilderness. When you are out in the wilderness food is a necessity and unlike campers, who would bring their own food, bushcrafters have to find their food and cook it where necessary. Bushcraft skills surrounding food can include :

outdoor cooking


Foraging is the ability to feed yourself with natural resources which grow on trees or bushes, therefore it is suitable for vegetarians or people who don’t have cooking attributes such as heat. If you are one of these people you would need to have serious knowledge of plants and vegetation in order to not pick something that is poisonous and not appropriate for eating.


If you are not a vegan or vegetarian and appreciate meat proteing, hunting is an excellent way to feed yourself whilst in the wild outdoors. However, when hunting you are definitely going to need a sharp blade to assist you on the hunting journey. One such blade would be a knife, such as the Ka-Bar Becker, which is a heavy-duty knife, perfectly suited for bushcrafting or camping experiences.

If you have forgotten to get a knife for yourself however, you might need to keep your eye on stones which could be shaped into a blade and used for your hunting necessities. Also, don’t forget that you must acquire hunting skills, knowing how to catch the prey and not scare it away.


Fishing is an awesome way to attain food if the habitat allows it that is. There are a number of ways to catch fish without paying a lot of money for fishing gear and attributes. If you have prior experience with fishing or even if you don’t, you can use fishing for keeping yourself alive whilst in the wild outdoors.

Setting traps

Trapping is a very useful skill when it comes to feeding yourself. In order to do so you need to be able to build snares, as there is a variety of ways to build one. Trapping is a skill that can be used by bushcraft beginners, as well as experienced people. Through setting traps you can lure small animals, that is if you know how to hide your human scent and are able to clean and cook the game after trapping it.

crean water

Water Disinfection

When you are living outside the city and you are on an adventure, drinkable water might not always be easy to find. Therefore you must have the knowledge of how to cleanse the water you have found and make it appropriate for consumption. Naturally for you to cleanse the water you must find it first. Water foraging is a part of the bushcrafting experience, thus you have to keep your eyes and ears open.

If you drink water that hasn’t been cleansed and hasn’t been proven drinkable you might cause health issues to yourself, and to your company if you have any, such as stomach issues or even poisoning. The most known method for purifying water would be boiling it over fire, however you could also make a water filter. If you haven’t brought a container to carry the water in you must build yourself a durable container to carry it in.            

bushcraft fire


Not only does fire keep you warm in the outdoors, it helps you cook your food and cleanse your water. Fire making is an incredibly important bushcrafting skill and if you don’t know how to make a spark through use of stones it might be good for you to prepare yourself with fire making gear. A great example of fire starter is the Zippo Brass Pocket Lighter. It is a light product, which is durable and a fantastic option for starting fire.

However, lighters are not the only way to start fires. A natural and not extremely common way unless you are in hot weather would be the sun. In certain situation fires can start by themselves through the sun however it isn’t the most helpful and timely way. Firecraft is the ability ot create, control and use the fire to assist you in your outdoor survival.

Shelter Building

When in the wild outdoors, having a safe place to sleep is of extreme importance. If you are on a day-trip your shelter would be the clothes on your back as they keep you dry and warm. However if you are on a longer excursion you must consider building a shelter, should you not have a tent or an RV. In case you are not keen on spending time to build shelter, a fantastic alternative could be SOL Survive Outdoors bivy sack.

As it is heat reflecting it would keep you warm at night and it’s an excellent portable shelter. If you are bushcrafting with your family and aren’t able to carry multiple bivy sacks you may have to build a log cabin, whilst using natural resources. If you decide to do so, a simple knife might not be the best help and it’s good to have a portable axe or a folding saw such as the Friendly Swede Folding Saw. It is a great companion for bushcraft adventures and it’s extremely durable.

bushcraft shelter

Knots and Ropes

Having the ability to create knots and ropes could be extremely helpful on your bushcrafting journey. It could assist you in catching game, by creating traps. Furthermore, it could be helpful for shelter building, the creation of rafts or any further help you may need in the wilderness.

Cooking Food

After you have built the shelter, caught the game and started the fire you need to cook your food. Whether it is fish or meat, there might be a few different ways of cooking it. Naturally, if you have prior outdoor experience you might use your knowledge to make your food ready for consumption.

Unlike meat, which you can simply throw in a pan and cook it, with fish it might take a little bit longer to prepare. You must gut the fish and rid it of any small bones and its skeleton. If you aren’t sure how to do so, it might be good to inform yourself on how to prepare your food for the fire, prior to your outdoor adventure.

First Aid  

If you have never had a bushcrafting experience before or if you have never been camping, you probably aren’t aware of the importance of first aid knowledge. It is not necessary that you would be unlucky enough to have an accident, however it is a big possibiliy. You might get a bruise, or cut yourself whilst building shelter and you must have the knowledge of how to keep your wounds clean to avoid further infection.

For a successful medical assistance it’s important to have some kind of first aid kit in sight. If you aren’t sure what is the best first aid kit for you, it might do you some good to check out our Best First Aid Kit article and find the most appropriate product for you.

Now that we have introduced the most important bushcraft skills you are probably wondering how to learn them and make them a skill to add to your experience. Don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered:

How to learn Bushcraft and How long it takes?

Considering that you have no prior outdoor experience and no survival knowledge, you could learn bushcraft through putting the time and effort suitable for you. There is no set time for learning bushcraft, as every individual is different and has a different learning experience. So don’t you worry if you think you could never learn, with today’s learning tools you can learn bushcraft and go on a journey in no time. In regards to how to learn bushcraft we can propose to you the following options:

book mushrooms

Bushcraft Book

There a number of books which were created with you in mind. They hold all the knowledge you need to learn bushcraft skills.

Pick your skills

In case you don’t want to learn a whole lot of knowledge but just the necessities, make sure you know what you want to learn prior to beginning. After you are aware of the exact skills you want to learn you can start experiencing and teach yourself the variety of skills. Bare in mind, it might take more than one or two tries for you to be ready to go outdoors. The secret to bushcraft is definitely practice.

Watch How-To Videos

There are so many videos out there that could teach you how to attain a variety of bushcraft skills. Many of them are made by skilled individuals with a lot of prior experience and is there anything better than learning skills from someone who already knows how to do it. These people have already tried and failed and know the secrets to a useful and timely activity. It could be useful as you can pick the certain skill and watch it whilst doing the deed.

Bushcraft Skills - Axe & Knife Skills, Camp Setup, Fire (Overnight Camping)


As previously mentioned, practice and repetition are the most important way through which you can perfect your craft. It isn’t the truth only for bushcraft but any other craft you would like to learn during your lifetime. Make sure you are ready and confident in your skills before you set of on your journey. Also, if you have experienced bushcraft and time has passed since then, try and revisit the skills as your knowledge could have faded with time.

Bushcraft Gear

We did previously mention a couple of gear that could be handy for you on your bushcraft journey. We are now going to go through the most useful and important gear we found.

bushcraft knife

Bushcraft Knife

The knife is without a doubt the most important assest for an outdoor experience. It should be light, easily accessible, and have a sharp blade that could cut through different materials. The knife could be used to create different attributes you might need in the wilderness. There is a variety of different bushcraft knives, and even though we previously mentioned a very high-quality knife, let us propose a second option. The Ray Mears Woodlore is a high-quality knife which would be of great assistance for you.

Bushcraft Axe

Shoud you be creating a shelter or you need to cut some wood to aid your fire, a bushcraft axe is a must for surviving outdoors. Whilst some axes could be extremely heavy, there are many products which have been created specifically for bushcraft experiences. One such axe is the SOG Camp Axe, which is lightweight, made out of steel and big enough to cut through wood. It is durable and can be used for many adventures.

bushcraft axe

Fire Starter

If you don’t know how to start a fire using natural resources, we’ve got you covered. The importance of being able to start a fire outdoors is indescribable. Therefore, bare in mind that you must be prepared prior to your journey. A great tool for starting fire is Bayite 4-Inch ferro rod, as it is waterproof and weatherproof, and makes fire ignite without too much hassle.

camping latern

Camping Lantern

Even though some may think a lantern is not of upmost necessity for bushcraft, others may support the importance of having light in the wilderness. It allows you to see if you are walking in the dark, or to keep watch if you are in an area where dangerous animals have been sighted. The lantern should be waterproof, light and durable. One such lantern would be the Goal Zero Lighthouse, a high-quality choice for lamp when going on a bushcrafting adventure.

Paracord Bracelet

A paracord bracelet could be of great use for fishing, building shelter or making traps, as it is made out of cord and it holds a big amount of cord. You could always buy a paracord bracelet or if you’re feeling crafty you could take a look at our article about DIY paracord bracelet. It could be an incredibly useful tool on your bushcrafting journey.


Final Words

In this article we have looked at many different aspects of bushcrafting from its definition to the most useful gear on a bushcrafting adventure. Overall, Bushcraft is being able to survive, through the use of natural resources, it’s sustainable and it’s very fun. It teaches you a lot of different things about nature but also about your ability to survive and go through difficulties. It allows you to get back to basics and detach from the modern, technological world we live in. If you’re looking for a break and wish to change your daily life, bushcraft is a great way to get to know yourself and the world around you better.