Learning bushcraft skills is one of the best ways to make your outdoor adventures more fun and rewarding. Whether you’re into camping, hiking, fishing or hunting, having a few basic bushcraft skills will help make your time in nature much more comfortable and enjoyable.
There are many reasons why people choose to learn bushcraft skills. Some people do it for the challenge and adventure, while others do it for survival purposes. Whatever your reason for wanting to learn bushcraft skills, there are many benefits to doing so. Here are some simple bushcraft skills you can practice at home.
1. Start a Fire with a Fire Striker
There are many ways to start a fire: flint and steel, magnifying glass, and more. But there’s one method that is arguably the most popular: using a ferrocerium rod or “ferro” rod.
One of the easiest and most reliable tools you can have in your pack to create fire is a ferrocerium rod. Also known as a “fire starter,” ferrocerium rods are made of iron and cerium, and when scraped, they produce sparks at temperatures as high as 5000°F (2760°C). Basically, it is an easy way to start a fire under even the most challenging conditions.
These rods are typically about 3–5 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. They’re lightweight, non-toxic, and waterproof. And unlike matches or lighters, they don’t require fuel—just some elbow grease!
So how do you use one?
It is pretty easy: Prepare your tinder as described above and strike the rod along its length with a sharp-edged object—a knife works great! Keep striking until you generate enough sparks to ignite the tinder.
If you have already mastered the fire steel or want to get some more in-depth info on fire-starting we have a dedicated fire-starting article here that is pretty comprehensive.
2. Practice Bushcraft Knife Skills
If you’re looking to get into a little more advanced bushcraft skills, knife skills are an excellent way to get started. All you really need is a bushcraft knife and some practice. Bushcraft knives can come in all types of shapes and sizes, and they can be made from a wide range of materials, depending on your budget and personal preferences.
Some of our favourite things to practice with a bushcraft knife include:
- Making Feather Sticks to start fires
- Carving a spatula, spoon or pothanger
- Making a simple bushcraft trap
Bushcraft Knife Skills
3. Practice Some Basic Bushcraft Knots
Bushcraft knots are useful for constructing a variety of things, from shelters to pot hangers, tarps, and repairing damaged gear. The basic ones you’ll want to master are the following:
The constrictor knot is simple, versatile, and useful for holding things in place. It has the ability to tighten itself around an object without becoming loose.
The Bowline is a quick and easy knot to tie. It forms a secure loop that won’t jam and is easy to untie. This knot does not slip and is considered one of the most trustworthy knots by experienced sailors, fishermen, and mountaineers.
The Canadian Jam Knot
The Canadian Jam Knot is a great knot to learn if you are interested in bushcraft and survival skills. This knot can be used for tying stuff to tree, or even lashing together branches for shelters. It’s also a good knot to practice on because it’s really easy to tie and is probably the most useful knot in Bushcraft.
4. Try Putting up a Tarp Quickly
Putting up a tarp is a skill that most people who camp or practice Bushcraft regularly love to master. Most people can hang a tarp from trees fairly easily, but perfecting this skill really makes putting up a tarp and taking it down quickly a lot easier.
One of our favourite tarp techniques to practice is setting up a ridgeline with a rope between two trees. Then hang your tarp over the ridgeline and stake down the corners to the ground, creating a very simple and effective shelter for heavy rain.
Another Technique we like to practice is using constrictor knots in the tarp eye-holes to help spread the weight and pressure on the corners of the tarp. It also helps for the swift deconstruction of the tarp when needed.
Lay the tarp over the ridgeline
Make the ridgeline as taught as possible
Stake the corners of the tarp into the ground
Practicing Bushcraft doesn’t have to be time-consuming and require travelling the remote locations.
Spending a little time in your backyard perfecting some of the techniques mentioned above can really make your next trip to the wilderness a lot more enjoyable, as you will be much better prepared.