Upgrade your bushcraft skills with these 20+ wilderness survival ideas.
In this article:
- Knowledge of the Basics
- Emergency Shelter Building
- DIY Survival Cement
- Purposeful Knot Tying
- Knife-Less Bushcraft Skills with a Paracord
- Paracord Bracelet Making
- Paracord: From Fashion to Practical Uses
- Opening a Can Without a Can Opener
- Identification of Types of Wood for Your Fire
- Off-the-Grid Cooking
- Fire Starting with Everyday Household Items
- Starting a Fire with a Gum Wrapper
- Starting a Fire Without a Spark
- Survival Archery
- Crossbow Shooting Skills
- Alternative Fishing Techniques
- Tying Different Fishing Knots
- More Fishing Tips
- Converting Your Neck Knife and Wallet into a Fire Starter Kit
- Knife-Handling Skills
- Rope Making
- Advanced Survival Tactics
25 Bushcraft Skills Every Survivalist Should Brush Up On
Make This Bushcraft Skills Checklist Handy
Bushcraft skills use the natural materials around to get food, build shelter, and defend yourself. As a survivalist, you need to learn not just one but as many bushcraft survival skills as you can.
After learning, you should be able to apply them properly. This way, you can increase your survival, especially when faced with difficult situations.
The question is, with the many types of bushcrafting out there, which one should you prioritize? Here are 25 essential bushcraft skills to start learning:
Don’t rely only on a survival skills magazine to build your wilderness knowledge. Take it from the survivors of the Great Depression.
These people learned invaluable survival lessons the hard way, which you should take for granted. Their experience will provide you with the learning you will never get from any other resource.
2. Knowledge of the Basics
There are bushcraft techniques, and there are necessary bushcraft skills. Do you see the difference?
The latter means knowing basic survival skills. They are much easier to learn for beginners while active preppers can modify their strategies based on these foundational principles.
3. Emergency Shelter Building
Bushcraft and camping can sometimes go hand in hand. Sometimes, you find yourself unable to go back to civilization.
If you need to spend the night in the wilderness, a bushcraft shelter becomes a must. After all, you need to protect yourself from the elements (including dangerous animals).
You don’t need to be a master woodsman when it comes to shelter building in the wilderness. You can learn how to build an emergency shelter for your bushcraft camp.
4. DIY Survival Cement
Now you know how to build a shelter. Here's a scenario, though: what if there's a storm coming or a strong wind blowing?
The first step is to seek cover. If you can't, you can consider fortifying your makeshift shelter withstand the elements. You can do that by making your own survival cement!
Doing this can also mean being able to cook inside without worrying too much about your home catching fire. To know how to make survival cement is definitely an important skill for survival which is beyond primitive skills.
One of the most important bushcraft skills is learning how to knot, and you have so many different knots to consider. There will always be one for, say, securing your shelter.
Start with the most basic ones, which have more than a handful of uses in a survival situation. Then slowly progress to advanced knots as you master each one.
Make sure you know how to use non-conventional materials as a rope if you don't have anything handy. You can also invest in cheap bushcraft supplies such as a paracord.
6. Purposeful Knot Tying
Cordage is an important bushcraft camping equipment you should always have in hand. You, though, need to pair it with the knowledge on which knot is the right one for the task. Master these knots to prepare yourself for any situation.
7. Knife-Less Bushcraft Skills with a Paracord
You don’t need a knife to cut through your paracord. It’s one of the most ingenious primitive bushcraft skills out there!
You can instead use your feet to keep the cord in place. Then create some friction by doing sawing motions until you can sever the cord to your desired length.
8. Paracord Bracelet Making
These paracord bracelets may look fashionable, yet in times of survival, these little handiworks can do wonders. They can come in handy when it comes to sawing trees and catching fish. You can also start, keep your survival gear in place, and make a dog collar for your pet.
9. Paracord: From Fashion to Practical Uses
You may be wondering why we're talking so much about paracords. Well, they have a lot of uses!
You can tie down your tent to survival bow and arrows or set up traps. If you find yourself or someone hurt, you can make a tourniquet out of them.
What is a tourniquet? This is a device used to constrict blood flow to a wounded part of the body.
This life-saving cord has tons of functions that can be a life changer. Always make sure your paracord is in your survival kit before heading out into the wilderness.
10. Opening a Can Without a Can Opener
What if you forgot or lost your can opener? It doesn't mean your canned goods are suddenly deadweight. Learn how to open a can without a can opener. This amazing bushcraft skill will make sure you have your fill whenever you get hungry.
11. Identification of Types of Wood for Your Fire
Different firewood types have their respective pros and cons. Having the ability to determine which ones make the best firewood will surely make your stay around the campfire enjoyable.
Brush up on your bushcraft skills by making sure you know what types of trees are growing in your neighborhood. Then know which works best for campfires in extreme conditions.
12. Off-the-Grid Cooking
Learn to cook your food or boil your water without the use of electricity. Unless you want to eat your meat raw and drink unsterilized water, you have to learn this bushcraft skill.
13. Fire Starting with Everyday Household Items
One of the smart ways to make fire starters is by dipping cotton balls in Vaseline. With one strike of flint, it will most likely catch fire. Be sure to practice precaution when disposing of this starter to avoid accidentally starting fires around your camp.
14. Starting a Fire with a Gum Wrapper
One of the basics of bushcraft skills is being able to ingeniously utilize anything for your survival. These include gum wrappers! These little fire starters are often in your pockets anyway. Refrain from throwing them away as they can still come in handy.
15. Starting a Fire Without a Spark
One of the essential bushcraft skills is starting a fire. With it, you can keep yourself warm, insulate your camp, and cook your food. You may even drive away scary animals.
Above, you know you can start a fire using everyday household items as flint. What if you don't have anything to create a spark?
You can actually start a fire in other ways. You don't have to use a lighter, a match, a fire starter, and a lighter. With the proper know-how and tools on hand, you’ll be one heck of a fire starter.
16. Survival Archery
Survival archery is great for hunting your own game while in the wilderness. As all-around tools, the bow and arrows allow you to be a bit stealthy.
17. Crossbow Shooting Skills
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If you’re hunting for your survival, it’s important to brush up on your crossbow shooting skills. A miss on your target can mean more hours of stalking another prey.
Improve your accuracy by adding accessories, such as a rope-cocking device and a bipod/monopod. Make sure you have the correct bolt and spine for your crossbow!
18. Alternative Fishing Techniques
Knowing the different fishing techniques can spell the difference between feast and famine. Some of them are ideal for certain bodies of water or fish.
Either way, when you master them, you can give yourself the best chance of surviving the wilderness. You can nourish yourself with healthy food.
19. Tying Different Fishing Knots
What's the best fishing knot for your fishing line? Learn to tie a knot for fly fishing or how to do a clinch knot, Palomar knot, and the loop knot. Perfect these, and you'll have one of the most valuable bushcraft skills.
20. More Fishing Tips
Do you desperately want to learn how to fish? There's no easy way than by learning the basics, but you can also know some shortcuts. There are so many tips and tricks to catch fish. With these unique ideas, you’ll soon be fishing like a pro.
21. Converting Your Neck Knife and Wallet into a Fire Starter Kit
One of the bushcraft knife skills to learn is how to convert your neck knife or wallet into a fire starter kit. All you need is a 550 paracord, duct tape, and ferrocerium rod. Then add some creativity, and your neck knife and wallet can be instant light a camp!
22. Knife-Handling Skills
Learning the different safety tips in handling fixed-blade knives begins when you reach for it. You have to keep two things in mind: the point and the long edge. Proper handling of your tools can heighten your survival skills anywhere.
23. Rope Making
What will you do if you forgot your cordage or paracord? You can make your own rope!
You can use different wilderness materials. These include the roots of spruce or fir trees, milkweeds, Dogsbane, maple, or cedar trees.
24. Advanced Survival Tactics
Sometimes, it's not enough to master every bushcraft skill if your mental state isn’t suited for the outdoors. The ability to stay calm under any wilderness situation will play a key role in your survival.
Watch this video from Bushcraft Bear to find out how to turn a wood bark into a food container:
Bushcraft skills can take some time to master, but they will always be worth your while. They can prepare you for the worst, boost your confidence and help you survive even the direst situation. With patience and determination, you can learn them.
Do you know of other bushcraft skills? Share them in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 14, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.