Understanding the Term Bushcraft

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What is bushcraft?

  • Bushcraft is a term used for wilderness skills, it is the art of not only surviving, but thriving in the natural world.

If you want to excel at bushcrafting, like many things in life, it’ll take nothing but persistence, patience and practise.

To thrive outside in the wilderness takes not only determination but courage.

You will need to master a unique set of skills such as, tracking, creating natural shelters, navigation, fire craft and the use of tools, both modern and primitive.

what is bushcraft

Do you ever get that anxious feeling of being trapped in an urban environment with no space to roam?

Practising bushcraft is a great adventurous way for you to escape modern day distractions, turn off the electronics and enjoy the outdoors.

Nessmuk , regarded as the father of bushcraft, says it best:

We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it. We go to smooth it“.

These words can be taken in many ways.

However, taking into consideration all his other thoughts and ideas, a likely interpretation could be the idea that you should aim to be comfortable when out in the wild.

But do so in a way that works in union with nature, not against it.   

Go with the flow, not against it.


Bushcraft Origins

The origin of the phrase “bushcraft”, comes from the unique set of skills used to survive in the bush country of Australia.

Les Hiddins also known as the “Bush Tucker Man” popularized the term in the southern hemisphere, while Mors Kochanski did the same in the northern hemisphere.

As of more recently, bushcraft has gained considerable popularity in the United Kingdom thanks to Ray Mears’ popular bushcraft and survival television shows.

Ray Mears bushcraft expert

A few popular books the term has been spotted in are:

  • The History of Australian Exploration from 1788 to 1888 by Ernest Favenc; published in 1888.
  • My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin; published in 1901.
  • Campaign Pictures of the War in South Africa (1899–1900) by A. G. Hales; published in 1901.
  • The Explorers of Australia and their Life-work by Ernest Favenc; published in 1908.
  • We of the Never-Never by Jeannie Gunn; published in 1908.
  • The Life of Captain Matthew Flinders by Ernest Scott; published in 1914.

Bushcraft Teaches You How To

  • Find out which plants are edible and which ones are poisonous.
  • Find water sources.
  • Build a fire.
  • Forage for water.
  • Build a shelter from natural materials.
  • Make small weapons.
  • How to become a navigation ninja (without GPS)
  • How to tie essential knots.
  • Track and trap animals for food.
  • Preserve food.
  • Conserve energy.
  • Collect water and make it safe.

What Is The Difference Between Bushcraft and Camping?

Backpackers carry everything on them that they’ll need for camping in the forest or park.

Whereas bushcrafters make use of their surrounding environment in order to supplement their equipment.

There is no denying that camping out in nature is a unique freeing experience, bushcrafting just makes that experience ever so more authentic and carbon neutral.


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