Bushcraft equipment for beginners - 5 pieces of gear every novice needs for bushcraft

5 pieces of equipment that every bushcrafter needs Find beginner gear for bushcraft that doesn't cost much and is high quality.

from Martin Gebhardt | Gear | reading time 9 Min
Updated on 21 February 2024 34.232 views 97% found this guide helpful
Bushcraft equipment for beginners - 5 pieces of gear every novice needs for bushcraft

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • You need a knife for various tasks such as shaping sticks and branches, cutting small branches, cooking your meals, and making various wood notches.
  • A saw is useful for quickly removing and cutting branches from the trunk.
  • A firestarter is essential for cooking and igniting fire.
  • Rope, cord, and string are important for connecting, hanging, or reinforcing various things.
  • A pot or container is necessary for cooking, carrying liquids or embers, and making charred tinder.

I recently received an email and this is what it said:

Subject: Bushcraft Beginner's Equipment

What equipment do I actually need to get started with Bushcraft?

Philipp from Munich

I then spoke with Philipp and soon realized that Philipp is really keen on Bushcraft. Fantastic, Philipp is just discovering Bushcraft and is now looking for the right equipment.

We wrote back and forth several times. After three days, Philipp had a short list in front of him, with specific items and a price below them.

I have now further improved, revised, and structured these recommendations. You benefit from them now and don't have to wait three days. ;-)

Find out in my guide what you REALLY need as a beginner in terms of Bushcraft equipment.

Who is this article for?

Here you are, maybe you've only recently discovered the world of Bushcraft. You've read articles, watched videos, and heard stories.

Experiences of people who work, learn, and (survive) in nature. You've surely noticed the equipment those people carry. And have you stumbled over the often high prices, haven't you?

Therefore, a beginner’s Bushcraft equipment should not be expensive.

The focus is not on expensive equipment, but on learning and developing your skills.

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And since you're just starting out or planning to start, you must be wondering:

  • Which pieces of equipment make sense?
  • Which items have proven themselves?
  • How much does it all cost?

The list is especially useful for beginners starting with Bushcraft. At first, it's difficult to know whether Bushcraft will become a hobby for oneself.

At the end of the guide, you'll know what you need and what exact tools and utilities I recommend. This sets you up for adventure and you'll be well-prepared.

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The Video: Bushcraft Beginner's Equipment

Watch my video and get to know all 5 equipment items that every Bushcraft beginner needs.

1. A Knife as Equipment

I think we can agree on this quickly. A knife is part of the standard equipment.

With a Bushcraft knife:

  • you work on sticks and branches
  • you cut through small branches
  • you cook your meals
  • you process tinder and kindling
  • you make various wood notches

You also prepare firewood by Batoning (splitting branches with a knife; how to do this, learn here) or you cut ropes.

A knife can be used in various ways. Once you start crafting, you realize how vital your knife is.

A cheap, sharp, and stable knife is always a part of your backpack
A cheap, sharp, and stable knife is always a part of your backpack

From my experience, Bushcraft beginners would rather not spend a lot of money at first. Or you're not sure if Bushcrafting will be your next hobby and want to start slowly. I understand that completely, I would proceed in the same way.

Therefore, I now recommend 3 inexpensive, good, and sturdy knives.

Especially the Mora Companion, which costs less than 15 €. High-quality for the price and incredibly popular in the Bushcraft scene. Check the reviews and you'll see what I mean.

Frosts of Sweden Men's Mora Clipper, Green
4,5 (8517)

Daten aktualisiert vor 12 Stunden

Frosts of Sweden Men's Mora Clipper, Green

  • Klingenstärke 2.1mm
  • Klingenlänge 104mm
  • Gesamtlänge 219mm

14,90 €

View Product

Or the outdoor knife by Hultafors. Hultafors makes great axes and knives. A company with high standards for its tools. Bushcrafters especially like the axes, but they are pricey.

Hultafors Grobmesser GK, 380020, mit bewusst grober (weniger scharfer) Karbonstahlklinge
4,6 (573)

Daten aktualisiert vor 12 Stunden

Hultafors Grobmesser GK, 380020, mit bewusst grober (weniger scharfer) Karbonstahlklinge

  • Bewusst von Fabrik aus weniger scharf geschliffen als die anderen Messer von Hultafors: perfekt fürs Grobe
  • Karbonstahlklinge: kann bei Bedarf leicht rasiermesserscharf nachgeschliffen werden
  • Extra robuste Klinge: 3mm - Perfekt für die groben Aufgaben
  • Schwedisches Design von Hultafors
  • Griff und Scheide aus besonders schlagfestem PP-Kunststoff

14,18 €

View Product

Or take the Fiskars Universal Knife. Fiskars produces solid tools, nothing to complain about there.


I could now tell you a lot more about blades, edges, grips, or stainless steel. But that's not the purpose of the article. I think, you want to start quickly and try out the techniques that I present here on my website (e.g., carving notches or practicing knife skills).

So: Buy a knife that has a good price-performance ratio. And the three knives presented here offer that.

Perfect about these three knives is that they are fixed-blade knives and the blade is not longer than 12 centimeters. With that, you get the most power out of the knives and won't have any legal issues. In most cases, you are NOT allowed to carry a blade over 12 cm publicly. Read also my guide to knife law in Germany.

As you can see, I do not recommend a pocket knife or folding knife ("Folder"). Although there are models that lock, fixed-blade knives are my first choice for robust, stable, and safe knives.

Reading tip: "The Best Bushcraft Knife" – the ultimate buying guide to find YOUR best Bushcraft knife.

2. An Outdoor Saw

It takes a long time to remove and cut branches from the trunk with your knife. Therefore, I recommend that you get yourself a saw. A saw is small, light, and quiet – perfect for your Bushcraft beginner's equipment. (here you will find an extensive article about the advantages).

A robust and lightweight folding saw is part of the standard equipment for beginners
A robust and lightweight folding saw is part of the standard equipment for beginners

As you notice, I do not recommend an axe to chop up branches. For the following reasons: An axe is heavy and you need to learn how to handle one. Inexperienced individuals who handle an axe hastily and carelessly often injure themselves and other people severely. With a knife, you cut yourself; with an axe, you chop to your bone.

So, take a light saw on your first tours. It takes up little space and costs between 8 and 25 € depending on the provider.

My first choice is the folding saw from Bahco (read here my review of the saw). Among survival and Bushcraft connoisseurs, this saw belongs in every bag.

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If the Bahco is too expensive for you, buy a regular pruning saw. It's cheaper than the Bahco, but not as robust. For beginners, however, it is sufficient.

Attention, insider tip: Take the Bahco knife-saw set. You get the Bahco folding saw plus a knife for 30 €. The price is unbeatable for the set. The knife is a Mora Companion quality knife, which I already recommended above.

3. The Fire Starter as a Survival Tool

Bushcraft would be only half as great without cooking and fire. Even though it is difficult to officially start a fire in Germany (Is a fire in the forest allowed?), I recommend you to get at least one fire-starting method.

Different methods for starting a fire
Different methods for starting a fire

On the picture you see different fire starters. Let's quickly go through them.

Magnesium Block

You first scrape off the magnesium and then ignite it with the small fire steel (attached to the block). Magnesium burns hot and makes a perfect fire accelerator. You only need a little tinder with this method and your fire will burn. For beginners, the magnesium block is convenient.

Flint and Steel

I love the method with my heart and soul because it is archaic with flint and steel (Find all important facts about flint in my guide here).

And for me, Bushcraft is about learning and experiencing ancient arts and techniques. However, starting a fire with a fire striker is challenging and you should practice it beforehand. You'll also need the right tinder, such as char cloth (here I show you how to make it).

Firesteel

You produce sparks faster with a Firesteel than with a steel striker. But a fire accelerator is not included, like with the magnesium block.

You need to scrape off a few shavings and ignite those with your tinder. The method is good to learn when you're just starting with Bushcraft.

Here's my video review of the Firesteel Light My Fire Scout and here you can read the written review.


However, you decide: I love starting fires. Collect tinder beforehand or make it yourself. Then choose the right ignition method and prepare your meal by the campfire – that's Bushcraft feeling.

You could cook in a hobo stove / Hobo cooker / Bushbox. Here you will find an overview and instructions on how to build one yourself: "What is a Hobo Cooker? [Construction, Function, Advantages and Disadvantages]". I introduce more cookers here: "Outdoor Cookers – Which type of camping cooker suits you?"

Related to the topic, I recommend my book "The Fire Primer". Check out what you can expect in "The Fire Primer". Especially for Bushcraft beginners, it is the perfect read.

4. Rope, Twine, and Cord for Beginners

As a Bushcrafter, you'll certainly want to build (craft) something, and you'll need ropes for that. At the beginning, it doesn't matter whether you use Paracord (parachute cord) or the cheaper hemp string.

You'll need ropes for many different situations in Bushcrafting
You'll need ropes for many different situations in Bushcrafting

Initially, you require ropes to connect, hang up, or reinforce various things. For example, for your camp, your tools, or a tripod.

Maybe you're building a fence or a trapper's bed in your camp? Then ropes are excellent for that purpose.

As soon as you expand your camp or stay overnight in the forest, you will need stable ropes for your constructions, your tarp (here's my top list) and/or the hammock.

P. S. I recommend you check out how to make your own ropes. Read my guide "How to make ropes yourself (Image guide + Video)".

The most frequently used rope in the Bushcraft world is Paracord. If you want a strong rope at a good price, you can’t go wrong with 550 Paracord.

Inside the Paracord, you'll find 7 core strands made of 100% nylon. A Paracord is perfect for Bushcraft beginner's equipment, because it can be used in so many ways.

5. A Pot or Container

Cooking is also part of Bushcraft. It doesn't have to be a fillet steak; a simple tea from a conifer tree will suffice for a start.

Therefore, my last recommendation: a cooking pot. It can be a tall and skinny one, or a wide and shallow one. But get one with a lid. You'll need the lid to speed up simmering and for other skills.

You should also get a container for cooking
You should also get a container for cooking

With a container, you do not just cook: you also transport liquids or embers. Or you use a cooking pot to make charred tinder. The possibilities of use are once again diverse.

If you would rather not spend a lot on a cooking pot, check out your next flea market. There you will surely find an inexpensive model. Read more about it here: "21 Items to Look Out for at Every Flea Market and Thrift Store".

Otherwise, consider the Cozyswan camping cookware, which is inexpensive. Or a cook pot made of titanium by Lixada – pricier but high quality.

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First Aid Kit - My Personal Recommendation for Bushcraft

A first aid kit is a must for every Bushcrafter, especially for beginners.

In the wilderness, something unexpected can always happen. A small cut while working with a knife or a fall can occur quickly. Therefore, it is important to be prepared.

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Your first aid kit should include band-aids in various sizes, antiseptic wipes for cleaning wounds, and sterile bandages. A space blanket and tweezers are also practical. They help you to remove small splinters or ticks or to keep warm if it gets colder.

An important part is also education. You should know how to provide first aid in an emergency. There are many courses and books that can teach you this. So, before you head into the wilderness, learn the basics of first aid.

Also consider your personal needs. Do you have allergies or certain medications you need to take regularly? Pack these in your first aid kit as well.

With a well-stocked first aid kit and the necessary knowledge, you are safe on the go and can enjoy your bushcraft adventure.

Also read

Bushcraft First Aid Kit: assemble and apply – Learn what a Bushcraft first aid kit includes and how to deal with injuries. If the injury is fatal, your life is at stake.

What Not to Include in Beginner Bushcraft Equipment

Your first days will likely not include a 24-hour trip with an overnight stay in the woods, right?

For starting in Bushcrafting, you mainly need equipment that helps you learn basic skills.

Some things that might look cool or sound good are not necessarily needed in the beginning.

Therefore, here is my list of things that probably do not belong to the most important equipment items at first:

  • Sleeping bag: Your first days in bushcraft will probably not include overnighting in the forest. A sleeping bag can be heavy and bulky, and if you're not sleeping outdoors right away, you can leave it at home for now.
  • Sleeping pad: A sleeping pad, especially ones with down filling, are important for multi-day trips to keep warm and sleep comfortably. But they are not necessary for day trips or short hikes.
  • Tarps: They are great for protection and shelter, but for beginners who are not spending nights outdoors, they are not an immediate necessity. You'll first learn to cope with the surroundings and simple means.
  • Opinel knives: Although they are popular and handy, I've recommended specific knives that are suitable for starting out in bushcraft. An Opinel is good for spreading butter on bread – but useless for Bushcrafting.
  • Alcohol burners/stoves: They are light and easy to use, but when you're learning to make fire, it's more sensible to cook on open flames. This enhances your fire handling skills and saves equipment.

Remember that less is often more.

Too much equipment can overwhelm you and distract from what truly matters in bushcraft: connecting with nature and learning the essential survival skills.

Over time, you will figure out which additional pieces of equipment are sensible for you. For the start, it is better to begin with the essentials and focus on mastering the basics.

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Start Your Adventure with the Perfect Beginner's Equipment for Under €60

That was my recommendation for "Bushcraft Beginner's Equipment". It's the basic equipment that helps you as a newcomer to expand and develop your bushcraft skills.

It's not much and that's good because with all the items together, you'll pay between €50 and €60. That's also good because I carefully selected the items. I own all the pieces of equipment myself and they are worth their price. I know they have proven themselves in action.

You also don't have to buy everything at once.

Start with a knife and gradually upgrade your equipment to what you need.

Always remember: In Bushcraft and survival, it's not about who has the best and most expensive equipment. It's about learning how nature provides for you. You can find many guides about this on my website.

Grab some books on bushcraft (these are the ones I recommend). Go into the forest and start building your knowledge about nature. Soon, you will realize that you actually require very little equipment.

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

Since this is a gear guide, here ...


🤝8 reasons to trust my recommendation

  1. Practical Experience: I have tested most of the products I recommend under extreme conditions myself.

  2. Independence: As a wilderness mentor, I am not tied to any specific brands - this means my recommendations are unbiased.

  3. Expertise: My many years of experience allow me to understand the intricacies and details of various products that a layperson might overlook.

  4. Target group understanding: I understand the needs and challenges of outdoor enthusiasts, from beginners to seasoned experts.

  5. Quality focus: I attach great importance to quality and longevity. These are characteristics that are crucial in the wild.

  6. Clear communication: I try to explain the pros and cons of each product clearly and understandably so that you can make an informed decision.

  7. Currentness: I always keep my guides up to date and adapt them to new findings or products.

  8. Community Feedback: I work in wilderness schools, teach courses myself, attend courses and am active in various outdoor and survival communities and therefore integrate the feedback and experiences of others into my recommendations.

So when I introduce the best survival knives or flashlights, you can be sure that every recommendation is based on solid experience and extensive knowledge.

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