In this article I aim to outline all the must have bushcraft gear in 2020.
With the right set of skills and bushcraft gear, you will not only be able to survive in nature, but thrive in it. After all that is what we all aim to do, right?
In 2020, there are many so called “must have bushcraft gear” on the markets.
In fact, it’s sometimes very hard to distinguish between high quality, long lasting gear and cheap relic equipment posing as authentic bushcraft gear.
Let’s get started.
There are many key elements you should consider when deciding on a good bushcraft backpack. Such as volume, design and weight.
Perhaps the most important, being its ability to carry weight comfortably on your back.
Alongside your backpacks weight carrying capabilities you’ll also want the bag itself to be as light as possible.
In general your emergency shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, water and the backpack itself will be the heaviest items you carry with you.
That’s why having a light bushcraft backpack is key to reducing your overall carrying load.
When it comes to rain protection, most “waterproof” backpacks on the market always leak at some point.
You can counter this by packing your must have bushcraft gear into a dry bag before putting it into your backpack.
Gootium Backpack review:
“I’ve carried this bag through 4 years of highschool many hikes and camping trips and even through a motorcycle crash and its held up perfectly. everything still works perfectly and i’m still using it today and will continue until it falls apart.” – Austin
Sleeka Force Backpack review:
“The side pockets afford me the room to take an Esbit Stove, fuel, kindling, and both matches along with a blast match in one compartment and enough first aid, signal mirror, chem lights, space blanket, and a small emergency radio in the other compartment. The only zippered pouch holds a headlamp, hand sanitizer, para chord, and some other odds and ends. With two bungee chords I can attach my sleep mat to the bottom.” – Peter V. Egly Jr
There’s no doubt that a survival knife should be on your must have bushcraft gear list this year.
A good knife allows you to gather useful material and make resources that can vastly improve your survival status.
What should you look out for in a good survival knife?
- A fixed blade.
- Full tang.
- Blade material should either be stainless steel or carbon steel.
- Blade design should be partially serrated or straight edge with a flat or serrated spine.
- Blade length should be between 4 – 10 inches.
Ka-Bar Knife review:
“This is a seriously nice knife. I did not realize how big it was – nice and wide with a solid handle. The coating is thick with a heavy texture. It’s sharp but not quite as sharp as expected, which can be remedied easily. Sheath is nice, yes the nylon isn’t great, but this is a big knife I bought for being in the woods and camping and hunting so I’m not EDC with it.” – Andy B
Schrade Knife review:
“This is a great everyday outdoor / bushcraft knife, and there are plenty of knives out there at 3 times the price that cannot compete. Good, solid handle. Came with a decent factory edge – symmetrical and paper-shredding sharp.” – Art Majors
The main thing to look out for when choosing a bushcraft tarp is something light and easy to handle, yet durable enough that it can withstand changing weather conditions.
When it comes to tarps, size does matter.
You’ll need one that gives you enough coverage, you want protection from the elements and a small tarp that just covers your feet ain’t gonna cut it!
Aqua Quest Tarp review:
“The best part about this tarp is that it comes with so many attachment points that I can put this in any configuration that I can imagine. there are many reviews on youtube.com that praise the versatility and performance of this great tarp. It isn’t indestructible but with care it should last for decades.” – Tom English
Flint and Striker
Lighting a fire in the wild can literally mean the difference between life or death. This is why a flint and striker should be on your must have bushcraft gear for 2020!
I highlight the importance of fire making in our ultimate bushcraft survival guide.
Remember the four most important factors when starting a fire are spark – tinder – fuel – oxygen. A good flint and striker will be able to create your spark in any conditions, wet or dry.
Brayite Flint & Striker review:
“I did a 4 month survival school in Wisconsin, and I got one of these to test. I figured 8 bucks, what the hell. It’s a pretty good firesteel, used it the last month of the school. I’ll buy one of these in the future instead of the Swedish firesteels, it’s half the price, a bigger firesteel, and works just as well. The hole is good, I made a paracord loop with a clip to put it on. ” – Aron
Uberleben Flint & Striker review:
“This fire starter is miles above my current stock. It takes very little effort and produces large and vast amounts of spark. The whole reason for my search for the perfect striker was so my young daughter could start a fire when we go camping. Even with hours of practice, she couldn’t get a good spark on any of my other strikers. Within seconds of putting this in her hand she was able to immediate produce a large enough spark to light a cotton ball.” – Michael J McKenzie
In the wild there are many way you can navigate, you can use the stars, the wind, trees and even snow.
However, a compass is still perhaps the easiest way to find your way through the wilderness, that is why it should be part of your must have bushcraft gear!
Read this guide to learn how to use a compass.
Costin Compass review:
“Great compass. When GPS goes down along with the electric grid and society collapses you can still get places with something like this. It’s a quality compass and I’m happy with this purchase. As a veteran I hate a lot of the “military grade” BS out there, especially for phone cases, but in this case it might be worthy of using “military” in the name. Solid construction.” – Dave
Kakuru Compass review:
“Very surprised how good this product was. Generally with compasses you get what you pay for. This is definitely an exception, it wasn’t at all expensive, the build quality was great and worked excellently.” – Ashley Wright
Bushcraft Water Bottle
Without a water bottle on your must have bushcraft gear list you are not going to last too long.
Sure, you may be able to drink dew off the grass in the mornings, but without a way to collect water you are going to be on the edge of dehydration consistently.
As a general rule of thumb, the average human can survive on average about 3 days without water.
Kleen Kanteen review:
“I feel so much safer with stainless steel than with plastic both for health and assurance of no breakage. Everyone in my family uses these. The cap holds a carabiner effectively so one can clip the bottle to something such a the lifeline ropes on a raft. There is a potential of losing the cap while one is drinking but that has not happened to me. I hold the cap in left hand with fingers going through the loop and drink from bottle in right hand. Beautifully made. Not heavy.” – Miacid
Bambaw Bottle review:
“This is a great bottle for camping/bushcraft, it is a nice thick stainless without being heavy. The single wall construction is perfect for using in/over a fire. The silicone seal on the lid removed and reinstall very easy if you need to utilize the lid over a fire. With the seal in place I have not had a single drop leak out. Over a fire eventually the bamboo will burn off but it is not a critical part of the bottle. For daily use it doesn’t stay hot or cold very long, but it shouldn’t be expected to with no insulation. I’m currently looking for a cup or pot to nest with this, if I find a good fit I will be buying at least one more. – Julie
Survival cord, can come in handy for so many things, such as shelter building, fishing, waterproof tinder and trap making. I’ll let you come up with more uses, let me know in the comments sections below, get creative.
I only mentioned one brand of survival cord, and that’s because quite frankly it’s the best of the best and you won’t need any other – over 2500 customer reviews swear by it!
Survivor Cord review: “I just received my first 100′ hank of survivor cord. I am very impressed. As the owner of Rock Knots Company, an emergency survival and tactical gear outfitter, I focus on paracord-based products. I have yet to see this high level of quality elsewhere. I pulled apart the cord to examine the innards and every piece just feels like very good quality. The outer sheath could easily hold my body weight (165) the mono seems to be thick enough to fish for sizable catches. I haven’t lit the jute (I’m on a road trip with my kids), but it is actually waxed and pulled apart into a nice little ball for sparking up.” – Knot Rocker
Bushcraft Head Torch
If you plan on surviving underground then there is no doubt, that in order to survive you are going to need light.
Our eyes are able to adjust to most forms of darkness, in about 10 minutes you will get a mild form of night vision.
However, this will not be enough to allow you to perform complex tasks such as knot tying or food making.
For me, the two main things to look out for in a head torch is 1. Being waterproof and 2. long lasting batteries.
Outerdo Head Torch review:
“Wow, this is one bright flashlight. I absolutely love it. Hands-free for a number of reasons makes it difficult if you have to hold the flashlight. It is actually quite comfortable to wear on your head. Surprisingly I love the tilt feature the most because it allows you to look down or not blind someone in front of you. I say surprisingly because the 8 light modes offers so much variety, what’s not to love and I do. It is a wonderful product. I got it for my husband who is always working on vehicles and getting into spots he needs both hands and yet still needs to see well. He also has a large trailer and has to see inside which is always dark. I actually love it too, because I can walk the dog outside without holding a flashlight in one hand. I can have both hands on the leash which makes me feel so much secure. This is a product I would recommend for anyone.” – Christina Sears
Energizer Head Torch review:
“Battery life is fantastic and is about as bright as you can get without getting one of the artificial sun headlamps with the power wheel battery strapped to the back of your head. It fits well and does not slide around or feel as if it’s going to fall off at any point. Light quality is on point with a very nice spot light effect; not too flood-like, but not a super focused beam.The lamp itself has a 3 position tilt that is super convenient and locks in place at each interval with a satisfying ‘click’ and will not budge unless you physically move it. 10/10 purchase.” – Alexander Waskowitz
That concludes our must have bushcraft gear in 2020, if you have any gear you’d like to see on this list feel free to mention it in the comments sections below.