To be able to survive in nature is a fantastic skill. Whether you are a regular camper looking to hone your nature talents, a scout keen to explore or maybe a hard-core survivalist looking to brush up on the basics. Whatever the case, Bushcraft is a tough, yet rewarding skill to have. Particularly if you live in a more rural or country area, these skills will help you become more aware of your surroundings, adaptable and improve your quality of life. So below we are going to dive into some of the basic skills of Wilderness Survival.
The most important skill of them all. Prep. Chance are you won’t have wandered into the wilderness by accident. More often than not you will be going on a planned expedition or camping trip. And to that end, planning is everything. And this goes beyond simply knowing when to arrive and when to leave. You need to know everything about your trip, your surroundings and most importantly your needs.
Firstly you need to decide how you will be sleeping. Tent or under the stars. Then you will need to invest in comfortable, yet sturdy, clothes. Special socks and shoes are a must as you will be traversing rough and possibly wet terrain. Investing in some special axes made for bushcraft will go a long way to improving your experience as well. You’ll be able to gather firewood, cut down thickets blocking your path and hack loose fruits and other food you forage for. Finally, you will want to pack a small first aid kit for emergencies. Which leads into the next point…
While exploring nature is fun and freeing, it can be dangerous. Safety is always paramount. This ties into prep in a major way. Firstly you need to make sure you are bringing along a fully stocked first aid kit. This means everything from bandages and plasters to pain medication and ointments. There are all sorts of harsh foliage out there that can cause painful irritations and rashes. This is why it is vital to find out what dangerous fauna is present in the area you will be exploring and pack ointments that will be useful. But the first aid kit is not the only thing you need. You need to have a working understanding of the equipment and basic knowledge of first aid. What do you do if someone hits their head? How do you perform CPR? How do you deal with bleeding? These are the sorts of things you have to look into before you even leave your home.
Everyone needs to eat. And there is nothing better than eating under the stars with a freshly caught meal. Whether you were fishing or hunting or even just foraging for wild fruits and veg, knowing how to prepare dinner, and also what you can prepare, is a useful skill to have. You’ll want to make sure you pack a few cooking essentials as well, cutlery, plates, frying pans and a steel grid to hold the pan over the fire. If you want to you could go as far to bring some condiments or if you prefer to forage for spices or nuts to add some zest to your meal.
Food poisoning is a serious threat when cooking wild food. So you need to make sure you know how to prepare the food you are making and when it is properly cooked and ready to eat. If in doubt, do not eat it. Make sure you bring some emergency food supplies along with you just in case.
Staying warm is important. At night the temp can drop drastically, and hypothermia is a serious concern. Lighting a fire is useful but it won’t last all night, especially since you have to sleep sometime. To that end make sure you are packing the right clothes. Thermal leggings and shirts are extremely useful for the night. Also, it is worth investing in a heavy-duty sleeping bag. They may cost more, but they will be worth it. You’ll have a much more comfortable night’s sleep and wake up warm and ready to tackle the day.