Are you looking for a different camping experience? Try bushcrafting!

Bushcraft is a camping style that relies on the skills of a woodsman. It is an approach to more self-reliance and minimalism.

from Martin Gebhardt | Camping | reading time 5 Min
Updated on 26 March 2024 5.053 views 100% found this guide helpful
Are you looking for a different camping experience? Try bushcrafting!

Martin Gebhardt

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


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Bushcraft is the art of living in the wilderness and focusing on the essentials.
  • It includes skills such as building shelters, making fire, finding food, and collecting water.
  • Bushcrafting requires a lot of time and practice to master.
  • Important tools for Bushcrafting are knives, axes, hatchets, machetes, and saws.
  • Bushcrafting can enhance your camping experience and help you in emergencies.
  • It allows you to connect with nature and live off it.

When many people think of camping, they probably think of glamping or imagine a pimped-out RV that provides them with comfortable beds, a bathroom, and a fully functional kitchen.

Not many people are willing to camp in a simple tent and cook all their food on a campfire.

And that can bring a lot of joy, to focus on the essentials and to camp with only the necessary.

If you want to fully connect with nature and live off the land, it is essential to engage with bushcraft.

What is Bushcrafting?

Bushcraft is the art of living in the wilderness. It encompasses a range of skills that involve various disciplines and practices, but always with a focus on self-reliance and self-preservation.

You do this by using your skills instead of relying on the items you bring for a camping trip.

When Bushcrafting, also known as "woodcraft" or "wilderness craft", you should master many skills that our ancestors used every day.

Bushcrafting is a set of skills that involve building and using tools and skills for living in the wilderness.
Bushcrafting is a set of skills that involve building and using tools and skills for living in the wilderness.

Bushcrafting is not a new ideology. Before the invention of tents, grills, and packaged food, people were naturally masters of Bushcrafting.

Our ancestors had no choice but to respect the land and live off it; they built shelters, searched, hunted, cleaned, and cooked their food.

With modern camping, of course, this has nothing to do anymore.

Bushcrafting is becoming increasingly popular as more and more people try to connect with nature and feel one with the forest.

There are a variety of reasons for this, such as the desire to escape technology or watch experts like Ray Mears on television (Find more bushcraft experts here).

Bushcrafting is a form of outdoor living that includes skills such as utilizing natural resources, building shelters, and cooking.
Bushcrafting is a form of outdoor living that includes skills such as utilizing natural resources, building shelters, and cooking.

Whatever the reason for your interest in bushcraft, it is a valuable skill.

It will not only enrich your camping experiences, but may even save your life one day!

Bushcraft living means that you belong to a small percentage of people who know how to live comfortably in any natural environment.

Reading tip: Read the ultimate guide to Bushcrafting here.

What skills are required to master Bushcrafting?

But don't be fooled by experts like Ray Mears. They may make Bushcrafting seem fun and easy, but it takes a lot of time and practice to master it.

You can't just go into the woods for a weekend and expect to come back knowing everything about the subject.

Many people divide Bushcraft into five major categories:

  1. Build accommodations
  2. Make fire
  3. Search for food
  4. Set traps/hunt for game
  5. Collect/purify water

For those who are brand new to Bushcrafting, here is a more detailed breakdown of the skills you should master:

Building a Warehouse

Bushcraft is an outdoor activity that takes place in the wilderness. It involves the ability to use natural resources for survival; building shelters; and cooking food.
Bushcraft is an outdoor activity that takes place in the wilderness. It involves the ability to use natural resources for survival; building shelters; and cooking food.

Find Food

It can be difficult to identify plants in the wild as they can differ greatly from their cultivated counterparts. However, there are some plants that can be fairly easy to identify with a little practice.
It can be difficult to identify plants in the wild as they can differ greatly from their cultivated counterparts. However, there are some plants that can be fairly easy to identify with a little practice.

Preparing food and cooking fish

  • clean / gut
  • slaughter / prepare game
  • cook food
  • preserve food (more information)
A good way to start with bushcraft is to learn how to cook over an open fire.
A good way to start with bushcraft is to learn how to cook over an open fire.

Using Tools

One of the best ways to learn bushcraft skills is to practice with bushcraft tools. The most important thing to keep in mind when using these tools is safety.
One of the best ways to learn bushcraft skills is to practice with bushcraft tools. The most important thing to keep in mind when using these tools is safety.

Additional Skills

Learning to track is a great skill. It can be used for many purposes, including hunting, gathering food, and even just for fun.
Learning to track is a great skill. It can be used for many purposes, including hunting, gathering food, and even just for fun.

First Aid

As you can see, mastering bushcraft requires tremendous effort.

It's about more than just basic survival and camping skills.

Bushcrafting means being able to live in nature without the help of things you can buy in a store - except for survival tools.

But even their opinions differ because some Bushcrafters make their own tools, such as knives, axes, or hammers.

The bushcraft hammer is a versatile tool that can be used for many things.
The bushcraft hammer is a versatile tool that can be used for many things.

However, most experts recommend that bushcraft beginners master the basic skills before learning the rest.

What are the essential skills? Well, different experts have different opinions.

In general, it is recommended to first build a shelter and make a fire. Once you have mastered these things, you can focus on food and water.

Bushcrafting Tools

There are not many tools used in Bushcrafting. For example, a compass is usually not considered a Bushcrafting tool.

The tools you should use, however, are incredibly important as they greatly enhance your skills in hunting and building shelters.

The most common tool is a bushcraft knife (here's my top list). They are small and easy to carry compared to survival knives (here's my buying guide + top list). Bringing a great knife will be a tremendous help.

Knives are typically used for "lighter" tasks. For example, they are used for carving wood to make spoons, containers, and other utensils. They are also needed for building shelters and preparing food.

A bushcraft knife is not only a survival tool, but also an essential part of a bushcrafter's equipment. They are often made of high-quality steel and are usually quite durable. The blade should be sharp enough to split wood, cut through ropes, and prepare firewood with ease.
A bushcraft knife is not only a survival tool, but also an essential part of a bushcrafter's equipment. They are often made of high-quality steel and are usually quite durable. The blade should be sharp enough to split wood, cut through ropes, and prepare firewood with ease.

An axe is another helpful Bushcrafting tool. However, many people prefer hatchets because they are smaller but can perform almost the same tasks as axes. If you bring a hatchet or an axe, it will make it easier for you to tackle "heavier" tasks.

With an axe, you can chop wood, split tree trunks, and slaughter large game, among other things. You also require an axe to drive stakes into the ground.

Being able to use an axe is a skill that can be used for many different purposes. It can be used for felling trees, processing firewood, and even as a weapon in emergencies. Choosing the best axe for your needs is important, as not all axes are the same.
Being able to use an axe is a skill that can be used for many different purposes. It can be used for felling trees, processing firewood, and even as a weapon in emergencies. Choosing the best axe for your needs is important, as not all axes are the same.

Sometimes people bring machetes or saws. These tools are also very popular. They perform the same tasks as a knife or an axe. Machetes and saws simply cut through wood faster and easier.

If you are a true Bushcrafter, you can learn how to make your own knife out of stone or flint (Find all the important facts about flint in my guide here). Especially if you ever lose or forget your knife, this can be very helpful.

Read also

The 5 best carving knives for children - and why I do not recommend Opinel knives (+carving guide for parents) – Learn from the wilderness educator and wilderness mentor which knives are best suited for children to use for carving. Are Opinel children's knives really good?

Bushcrafting improves camping

Learning bushcraft skills doesn't mean you have to live completely off the land every time you go into the wilderness.

You can still camp in a tent, roast marshmallows, and sing campfire songs. But Bushcrafting can enhance your camping experience.

First, you can enjoy camping without sleeping in a motor home or lugging around a giant tent and a lot of equipment.

Two examples:

And when camping in the old-fashioned way, you can disconnect from technology and social media and connect with yourself and the people around you.

Bushcraft can significantly enhance hikes or backpacking trips

If you know how to live off the land, you need less equipment. For example, you don't have to bring as much food or cooking utensils, which reduces your load and enhances your overall experience.

And finally, bushcraft skills are of great use in emergencies. Imagine getting lost, then knowing how to build a weatherproof shelter is advantageous.

Or if someone gets injured, first aid knowledge can prevent infection or further injuries.

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.

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