Bushcraft Skills Every Outdoorsman Should Know
If you call yourself an outdoorsman or are aspiring to achieve that status one day, there are plenty of things you should know. But what some might not realize is that many of these are bushcraft skills and can get overlooked. We’ve put together a list of bushcraft skills that we believe every great outdoorsman should know. This is meant to be a starting place or a guide for you to then go off and do your own research, practice, and discover skills that need sharpening for outdoor activities.
Tree and plant identification
You don’t need to know everything there is to know about plants, but having some basic knowledge will help you identify which plants are safe to eat, which are poisonous, and which plants’ wood burns quickly and is safe to smoke food. Read up on some edible plants with this book. You can practice your skills in a local park, local environment, or your "home turf" before you find yourself in a strange place. It is the little things like this prepping that can save your life out in the great outdoors.
Knowing how to cook without your kitchen is one thing, but knowing how to cook food that you’ve foraged is the ultimate way to hone your bushcraft skills. Start by practicing cooking meals at home with food that you forage, then eventually take it outside. Practice cooking over a fire in your backyard, with the ultimate goal of cooking it in the wild with only the tools you bring with you.
If you’re like us, you probably love fishing. But it’s not just a hobby; it can also keep you alive. Know how to do everything from bait a hook to prepare your fish for a meal. Eventually even learn how to cook it over a fire.
There are plenty of purification methods out there (here are our top 9), so it’s a good idea to master one or two in case of an emergency.
You’ve got plenty of different options when it comes to starting a fire in the wild. Check out this list for household items you can use, and this helpful guide on what we like to call the best way to build a fire.
You should know how to use a compass, how to read the stars, how to follow the flow of water, how to use moss to find north, and more in order to navigate your way to your destination. Check out some of the gear in Mission 16: Land Navigation for some inspiration.
Everybody hates bugs, so if you can master this one, you’ll be everyone’s best friend. Here’s a list of our favorite natural insect repellants. It varies by region, so do some digging to find out what natural repellants live in your area.
You may having hunting experience with a rifle or even a bow and arrow, but do you know how to hunt with other tools if you’re caught in a scenario where you don’t have your weapon of choice? Do you know how to track your prey as well? These things can help keep you alive (and your belly full) out in the wild. Keeping a good knife on you at all times
Building a shelter is one of the most basic and critical bushcraft skills you can have. From basic tarp shelters to jungle shelters and everything in between, familiarize yourself with how to stay dry and safe in any scenario. You can't always count on having a sleeping bag or sleeping pad with you. For a true outdoorsman, creating a shelter from scratch at a moment's notice, away from a camp site, is a very valuable skill.
Take a first aid course, read up on some first aid basics, and always, ALWAYS travel with a first aid kit on you.
Now, go forth and learn some new bushcraft skills! Any other things you think all outdoorsmen should master? Join the conversation on Facebook.
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