Bushcraft Definition: What It Means and How to Get Started

Bushcraft is a term that has gained popularity in recent years, especially among outdoor enthusiasts. Simply put, bushcraft is the art of surviving and thriving in the wilderness using only natural resources and minimal equipment. It involves a wide range of skills, including but not limited to foraging, hunting, trapping, fishing, shelter building, fire making, and navigation.

While the exact definition of bushcraft may vary depending on who you ask, it generally refers to the knowledge and skills needed to live comfortably and safely in the great outdoors. It is often associated with primitive living, as many of the techniques used in bushcraft are based on traditional methods used by indigenous peoples around the world. However, bushcraft is not just about survival, but also about connecting with nature, learning self-reliance, and gaining a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

What is Bushcraft?

Bushcraft is the practice of using skills and knowledge to live and survive in the wilderness. It is not just about survival, but also about thriving in nature and developing a deep connection with the environment. Bushcraft is a way of life that emphasizes self-reliance and sustainability.

The History of Bushcraft

Bushcraft has a long history, dating back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors who relied on their knowledge of the wilderness to survive. Over time, these skills were passed down from generation to generation, and today they continue to be taught and practiced by bushcraft enthusiasts around the world.

Bushcraft vs. Camping

While camping involves spending time in the outdoors, it is often done with the comfort of modern amenities, such as tents, sleeping bags, and portable stoves. Bushcraft, on the other hand, focuses on using natural resources and traditional techniques to create shelter, find food and water, and start fires.

Bushcraft Skills

Bushcraft skills include a wide range of knowledge and techniques, such as:

  • Shelter building: using natural materials to create a shelter, such as a lean-to or debris hut.
  • Fire starting: using traditional methods, such as friction fire, to start a fire without matches or lighters.
  • Water sourcing and purification: finding and treating water from natural sources, such as streams and springs.
  • Foraging and hunting: identifying and collecting edible plants and hunting small game for food.
  • Navigation: using natural landmarks and tools, such as a compass and map, to navigate in the wilderness.

Overall, bushcraft is a way of life that emphasizes self-reliance, sustainability, and a deep connection with nature. It is a valuable skill set for anyone who wants to spend time in the outdoors and develop a greater appreciation for the natural world.

Essential Bushcraft Tools

When it comes to bushcraft, having the right tools can make all the difference. Here are some of the essential tools that every bushcrafter should have in their arsenal:


A good quality knife is the most important tool in any bushcrafter’s kit. It is used for everything from preparing food to building shelters. When choosing a knife, look for one with a sturdy blade and a comfortable grip. A fixed blade knife is generally preferred over a folding knife, as it is stronger and more reliable.


An axe is another important tool for bushcraft. It is used for chopping wood and making kindling for fires. Look for an axe with a sharp blade and a comfortable grip. A hatchet, which is a smaller version of an axe, can also be useful for bushcraft.


A saw is useful for cutting through larger pieces of wood that an axe may not be able to handle. A folding saw is a good option for bushcraft, as it is compact and easy to carry.


Starting a fire is essential for survival in the wilderness, and having a reliable firestarter can make all the difference. There are many different options for firestarters, including matches, lighters, and ferrocerium rods. Whichever firestarter you choose, make sure to practice using it before heading out into the wilderness.

Cooking Equipment

Cooking equipment is important for preparing food in the wilderness. A lightweight camping stove or a portable grill can be useful for cooking meals. A metal pot or pan, along with utensils such as a spatula and a spoon, are also essential.

Overall, having the right tools is crucial for success in bushcraft. By investing in high-quality tools and practicing using them, you can increase your chances of survival in the wilderness.

Bushcraft Techniques

Bushcraft is a set of skills that help individuals survive and thrive in the wilderness. In this section, we will discuss some of the essential bushcraft techniques that are necessary for survival in the wild.

Shelter Building

Shelter is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to survival in the wilderness. In order to build a shelter, you need to know about the different types of shelters that can be built using natural materials available in the area. Some of the common types of shelters include lean-tos, debris huts, and A-frame shelters. It is also important to know how to properly insulate your shelter to keep warm during cold nights.

Fire Making

Fire is crucial for survival in the wilderness. Knowing how to start a fire using natural materials is an essential bushcraft skill. You need to know how to identify and collect dry tinder, kindling, and fuel to start and maintain a fire. Some of the common methods of starting a fire include using a fire starter, bow drill, hand drill, and flint and steel.

Water Procurement

Water is essential for survival, and knowing how to procure water in the wilderness is an important bushcraft skill. You need to know how to identify and locate sources of water, such as streams, rivers, and lakes. You also need to know how to purify water to make it safe to drink. Some of the common methods of water purification include boiling, chemical treatment, and filtration.

Foraging and Hunting

Foraging and hunting are important bushcraft skills that can help you procure food in the wilderness. You need to know how to identify edible plants and berries, as well as how to catch fish and small game. It is also important to know how to prepare and cook your food over an open fire.


Navigation is an important bushcraft skill that can help you find your way in the wilderness. You need to know how to read a map and use a compass, as well as how to navigate using natural landmarks such as the sun, stars, and wind. It is also important to know how to mark your trail to avoid getting lost.

In conclusion, bushcraft techniques are essential for survival in the wilderness. By mastering these skills, you can increase your chances of staying alive and thriving in the wild.

Bushcraft Safety

When it comes to bushcraft, safety should be your top priority. Being prepared for any situation can make all the difference in the wilderness. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

First Aid

It’s crucial to be prepared for any injuries or medical emergencies that may arise. Consider taking a wilderness first aid course to learn how to handle various situations. Here are some items that should be in every bushcraft first aid kit:

  • Bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Gauze pads
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Pain relievers
  • Antihistamines
  • Sunscreen

Emergency Signaling

If you find yourself lost or in need of rescue, it’s essential to have a way to signal for help. Here are some tools and techniques that can help you get noticed:

  • Whistle: A loud whistle can be heard from far away and is an effective way to signal for help.
  • Mirror: A small mirror can reflect sunlight and catch the attention of rescue teams.
  • Fire: A large, smoky fire can be seen from a distance and is a universal signal for help.

Wildlife Safety

The wilderness is home to many different types of wildlife, and it’s essential to know how to coexist safely. Here are some tips for staying safe:

  • Keep a safe distance: Never approach or attempt to touch wild animals.
  • Store food properly: Keep food stored in airtight containers and away from sleeping areas to avoid attracting animals.
  • Make noise: Announce your presence by talking, singing, or clapping your hands to avoid surprising wildlife.

By following these safety tips, you can enjoy the beauty of the wilderness while staying safe and prepared for any situation.


In conclusion, bushcraft is a practice that involves learning and developing skills to survive and thrive in a natural environment. It is not just about wilderness survival, but also about gaining confidence and self-reliance in an environment where you have no control.

Bushcraft skills include foraging, tracking, hunting, trapping, fishing, water sourcing and purification, using natural materials to create tools and shelters, and navigating without a map or compass. By learning these skills, one can become more self-sufficient, adaptable, and better prepared to face unforeseen problems.

While there are some myths and misconceptions surrounding bushcraft, it is important to understand that it is a set of wilderness survival skills that can be learned and practiced by anyone. It is not about being a rugged individualist or living off the grid, but rather about gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for the natural world and our place in it.

In summary, bushcraft is a valuable practice for anyone who wants to learn how to survive and thrive in the great outdoors. By developing these skills, we can become more self-sufficient, confident, and better prepared for any challenges that come our way.

Martin Smith
Outdoor Expert at Bushcraft Explorer | Website | + posts

Martin Smith is not just your average outdoorsman; he is a dedicated explorer with a deep passion for survival and bushcraft. The natural world has always been his favorite playground, which led him to develop a profound understanding and love for bushcraft skills. His curiosity is insatiable, constantly driving him to uncover the secrets of the great outdoors and unravel the mystery behind survival in nature.

Martin is the creator and host of the popular YouTube channel, 'Bushcraft Explorer,' where he shares his experiences and teaches essential survival techniques. But he isn't just a content creator; Martin is a survival expert who has spent countless hours under the open sky, perfecting his bushcraft skills.

From constructing shelters and crafting tools to identifying edible plants and purifying water, Martin has honed his survival skills in the most challenging environments. His dedication to mastering bushcraft has shaped him into an authority in this field, making him more than qualified to share his knowledge with others.

But Martin doesn't just talk the talk; he walks the walk. He spends a considerable portion of his life outdoors, continuously expanding his knowledge base and skill set, all to feed his love for the wild and provide his followers with up-to-date, reliable, and practical survival tips. He is also an avid hiker and explorer, often traveling to remote locations to test his skills against nature’s challenges.

Martin's writing, much like his videos, is brimming with practical advice and insightful tips. Through 'Bushcraft Explorer,' he not only shares his profound expertise but also inspires his readers and viewers to embrace the beauty of the outdoors and the thrill of survival. His commitment to making bushcraft accessible to all is evident in his easily digestible content, making his work valuable for both beginners and experienced outdoorspeople alike.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top