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What is 'Bushcraft' All About ? Vajazzling In The Woods ?!

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posted on Jan, 21 2012 @ 09:57 AM
Hi all I wanted to start a discussion here on ats after reading lots of threads on other sites about people's experience with bushcraft. Their general ideas of just what this topic which even the mainstream is fond of , (Ray Mears UK Bushcraft et al) is all about.

The comments seem to thrive on general hints and tips , and reaction to them as useful. some of the more interesting threads have been started by people relatively new to the field, asking very basic questions , which happen to produce very diverse replies, as well as general consensus.

Bushcraft can assume other names or come in different guises : ie 'fieldcraft' (forces term)



or 'wayfaring'

I regard 'Bushcraft' as a useful term which is best associated with Ray Mears as I beleive he coined the phrase.

My take on what bushcraft is , is a melding of many different real-life disciplines , such as gardening, building, soldiering , wayfaring (couriers) , travelling trades (not many left now), escape and evasion (criminals lol) , emergency rescue , hunting industry , forestry , ariel access , camoflage (spies etc) , stealth (special forces) , orienteering (guides and mapmakers) , intelligence and reconaissance
weatherproofing (exterior trades like fishing) , sports (walking /hiking/climbing/fishing/fitness etc.) , nature tourism (birdwatching etc) , extreme sports (mountaineering , polar expeditions) awards (eg Duke of Edinburghs) , police and detective work (tracking) , first aid/medicine , food sourcing/farming , cooking (chef), butchery, the list can likely go on . eg. archeology/ mining / exploration / exploitation

What Bushcraft is not , is going to the office in a car for the day. It is not , shopping in asda , and neither is it vajazzling in the woods
There are common misconceptions of bushcraft also.

Part of the reason for these misconceptions and a block to learning for all , is the all consuming , SHTF scenario.
Now Mears and Bear Gryls often use this concept , of needing to get down to raw and very basic survival skills when you havent got the kit, you're lost and you might die unless you make it back to civilisation or get rescued .

I want to make it clear that to learn real 'bushcraft' then putting aside the SHTF scenario is completely necessary for proper understanding and actual practical practise of bushcraft .. in the bush . In fact , what you really do not want to happen while carrying out any of the above described disciplines is for the # to hit the proverbial fan . You practise, and gain and retain the skills and kit , so that it DOESNT go wrong , and you DONT have problems.

Where Mears and Grylss have filled us in very adequately on what you need to know, if things DO go wrong , if you ARE trapped in the stoneage etc. there is a wide open gap in the market when it comes to putting together coherently the practical knowledge which they have taken us to the borders of.

The basis of survival techniques is knowledge. What you know first , always counts more . Forewarned is forearmed . Knowledge , is the key requirement , both in the shtf , but also in wider 'best practise' of bushcraft.

It seems to be generally agreed that Bushcraft in the sense that Mears definines it too, is 'being equipped with the kit , the provisions , the knowledge and the practised skills for travel, survival, and living in comfort, amongst varied wild terrain and variable weather conditions ,, away from the relative luxuries of civilisation , for a reasonable or extended length of time.'

Knowledge being the key then , bushcraft is a fondly remembered muse/hobby/passtime by many who prefer to delve deeper into it than simply sitting back watching Grylls skip off into the sunrise with his big grin , or hearing Mears say , "this is is such a great thing to do , I love it so much.."

A good thing about being involved with bushcraft in the great outdoors is that what you spend in terms of time enjoying yourself , is not wasted, rather with the experience comes further benefit . In fact , being a multi-disipline routine , it is one of those multipliers in this sense . It can help people learn what the world really is all about . There is in fact only so much to living outdoors comfortably for any reason , eg just as there is only so much involved in gaining belts for kung fu . Bushcraft then contribute to a persons sense of wellbeing , and of their confidence in facing what the world has to offer , on any given terrain .

Now the Scouts or similar federations have taught some skills including knots , mapwork , night hiking , first aid , quartermastery , camping , and there is a list which they teach and the schooling sadly lacks for the most part...
There are many crossovers between these and the cadets , and the military . Bushcraft would not be anywhere without what the military in various countries have honed as 'fieldcraft'. Military kit is often the only real choice for a serious outdoorsman , and unfortunately following the ways of soldiers tends to fit best to bushcraft . Grylss of course is ex-services etc .

There are good reasons for the bushcrafters to understand the military and Mears studies for example the early Rangers expeditions . How to live and travel outdoors involves updating our understanding to modern soldiering , a good example being the use of PLCE webbing belt and yoke with large respirator pouches as well as a rucksck for longer 'marching order' style trips of maybe 100miles without resupply for those dedicated . Having understood and tried , then carrying a large 50lb pack (light to most soldiers) is a lot easier with something called plce . Personal load carrying equipment .

It depends on the excursion , how long you go for defines how much you need to carry. The point is , dont be uncomfortable if you can pack hammocks , tarp and cord, for a couple of nights spent wild camping. The knowledge part of travelling on foot and camping comes with practise , how many litre of water you need to take or find is going to be your decision. (Go for 3l a day if cooking and drinking tea)

This brings me on to what is really the physical basis of bushcraft/fieldcraft/survival outdoors > the kit . Its what defines it for me . There are several elements which must fit in a co-ordinated and useful way for an appropriate excusrsion : your clothing system , must include waterproof layers because it rains outside. windproof layers , they are your layers you chose them , up to 25 items to put on or off
your living equipment must include food and , soap etc , a 'brew kit' everyone knows it. firelighting equipment (stealthy or stupid ? ) navigation tools , hipflask , headtorch , and stuff
your sleeping equipment eg half a roll mat , sleeping bag , hammock , bivvy bag, tarps
your water , is pretty self explanatory , you are not having a bushcraft experience for very long without any. simples

The last points about bushcraft are , "get out there and do it" , some people do dream on for too long , etc.
If you have the map you can go and use it , wayfare away from your house on foot , as some people do . That way there is no car to worry about , no responsibilities , they are left at home . And dont worry if you're not miles from the nearest people , just give them a friendly wave and continue up the footpath . Keep your wits about you especially at night , and remember most dog's barks are worse than their bites

posted on Jan, 21 2012 @ 12:22 PM
I have great respect for Ray Mears. Survival in the bush is graceful for him. I'm not sure who coined the phrase "bush craft" but Mors Kochanski has been mentioning it in his books for decades before Ray came along. Mors makes making a living in the bush graceful and as I spend most of my free time in the wilderness his lessons and ideals have come as a great asset to me over the years.

Bear Grylls in my opinion is a dangerous example. He knows survival skills no doubt, but provoking injury by cowboying it at full speed and taking unnesasary risks by using the terrain as a carnival ride is ridiculous. The slightest injury in the bush is miserable and can decrease survival probability radically.

Mors and Ray are both in large part responsible for getting me easily through a survival situation just this last month.

We as a society have lost the ability to exist in our natural environment and we now instead fear it. Nature deficit disorder is the leading cause of us destroying the planet and we need to get that connection back.]
edit on 21-1-2012 by dainoyfb because: I added a bit more.

posted on Jan, 21 2012 @ 03:24 PM

Originally posted by dainoyfb

We as a society have lost the ability to exist in our natural environment and we now instead fear it. Nature deficit disorder is the leading cause of us destroying the planet and we need to get that connection back.]
edit on 21-1-2012 by dainoyfb because: I added a bit more.

Thats right . I was going to add that watercraft eg boating and fishing is a good way to get out and use the kit and skills within the elements. Without any fuss.
For example I can fish freely 24/7 at various locations simply by being a member of the local club. It not like I want to go 365 but it is possible for about £110 a year.
However I would like to see more resources , land and airtime allocated to general outdoor pursuits . Moreover being a gardener I would like to see more welfare projects like growers schemes or better allotments/land for everyone to get that connection truly get that connection back, bringing it home too . Welfare , homesteading , home-farming eg Fearnley -Wittingstall et al in the old-world organic sense is an important a to have knowledge in as the disciplines of warfare and wayfare. The same multidisiplinary, multi-tool and multi-tasking applies , and from organic farming in old and new ways we know there are perfectly good reason s to do and to keep certain things of value close to hand. Society seems to miss in its post agricultural heydays that there is a good reason to get up and about your important chores when the sun rises up, and that a good of knowledge of natural ways will always serve you well. Modern world or not .

posted on Jan, 21 2012 @ 04:06 PM
I actually do bushcraft videos with my friends from time to time on youtube, and help to teach people how do use the tools, kit etc etc.
here are some of our videos if your interested, it is actually a lot of fun, and really easy to get going.
My friend even makes custom bushcraft knifes, check out the vids??

Hope you enjoy, If your into bushcraft, i suggest you get out there and do it, You could document it too, its fun, and good experience.

posted on Jan, 21 2012 @ 06:12 PM
reply to post by Corrupted Data

Ye are good old boys . I watched the going mental vid too , it took me back.
As far as knives go I know them well , using a 24inch machete often for sizing up brash and wastes to the gardening bag . But for bushcraft use I do just go for the folding saw and sometimes secateurs too. Its slightly fairer to the local flora , often quicker, and not as likely to draw problems, such as nasty gashes, police armed response units, etc as axe and or knife. All the same , 100% enjoyed to see some of your adventures. Keep it up.

posted on Jan, 21 2012 @ 06:30 PM
reply to post by ZIPMATT

haha, it's funny you mention the police, One time not so long ago, my brother and our friend set up camp, intending to stay out in the wild for about a month without any contact with the outside world, they had an array of tools, knives, axes, air rifles, etc.

after about 3 weeks, armed police raided their camp, there were probably about 30 officers in total which came from all angles, The funny thing was that they actually got away with it, no fines, or arrests, just told to pack up and leave. Found that quite entertaining when it happened haha.

I am actually going to be squatting in a huge mansion/castle in Wales over the summer, Hopefully gonna be getting a decent vid recorder by then, so I will hopefully get enough footage to make a short film of it.
May well be staying there for over a month, and will be using the Old derelict building as a base camp and living off of the land around it.

So with any luck will have some good footage to share which I will Upload directly here and to youtube.

one question I have though, is whether or not there is a dedicated Bushcraft forum area on the site, If there isnt, then I Would highly suggest it, because If a SHTF scenario does play out, I guess that people would be thankful if they can learn some stuff etc etc.

Below are some pictures of where we will be staying:

What do you think??

edit on 21-1-2012 by Corrupted Data because: Adding pictures to post.

posted on Jan, 21 2012 @ 07:10 PM
reply to post by Corrupted Data

LOL you have to salute dedication . What to learn is where the compromise came from . AKA weapons tip off most likely . They dont hang about but pile in hard .
Regarding the castle ,
The path through the gate in the third image down is well used. Put it this way , dont try and live in a condemned property, its miserable, you'll get ill or someone will try and stop you . But its suprising what £200 or so 'rent' might get you to make it bearable nearby/attatched and you can take away afterwards. At the same time I am thinking mini straw bale dwelling or camo-caravan for some reason. Just suggestions. Oh and officially you're not squatters unless using the section etc, I would tell people that you were on-site security for Mr so and so of Company Name PLC there to stop squatters and vandalism etc before the proposed sale and subsequent planned redevelopment etc.

posted on Jan, 21 2012 @ 09:22 PM
reply to post by Corrupted Data

What do you think??

what i think doesnt really matter - but i suspect that the various ruperra1 , ruperra 2 conservation groups will have an opinion on your " plan "
edit on 21-1-2012 by ignorant_ape because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 06:56 AM
reply to post by ignorant_ape

fROM rUPERA site :
Now, after clear-felling, and with massive amounts of work since 2000 from volunteers and many other supporters, it is fast becoming one of the most interesting places in the area to enjoy a walk, take in the panoramic views, and appreciate the recovering wildlife.

Its often of interest what these so-called conservation groups get up to . MPs and those consulted on environmental issues via radio4 have said , "if you are a memeber of the public and want to help protect your local environment from destructive practises, then get involved as soon as possible." the reason for this was cited to be that 'large and small private enterprise groups are becoming more and more involved with nature 'conservation' groups (eg the woodland trust) because it gives them a handle on issue of grants , and of area planning issues'. In other words if these groups become dominated by local exploitation concerns , which is happening as we speak ( partly because of new gov housing development plans etc.) , the environments , even local nature reserves and trust may be irreparably damaged or destroyed ,or lost forever.

So when you hear of clear-felling , scrub removal , volunteers , THINK about it . That what they call 'scrub' is often natural enough vegetation offering wildlife all important 'cover'. A clear felled strip and a bare field with 'nice' views is NOT how you produce "recovering wildlife" . Other good examples from our local area include The Forestry Commission ravaging 20 hectares of SSSI , to the_ ground , AND the Woodland Trust are now nannying perfectly good Oak trees to the _floor , because of some imagined oak die back . It exists , but it NO reason to cut them down . Both areas , one including several copses are near or close to recent developments , both/all owned by local councils , and on all this woodland , which hardly anyone uses , except wildlife/nature , it is peril or dead fvrom these people , some even called the woodland 'trust' .All you can trust them to do is take the 'trust' money for paltry deskwork , and also sell out for corrupt and nasty people in the first place .

Rant over . Advice - go squat no matter what

posted on Jan, 22 2012 @ 12:40 PM

Originally posted by Corrupted Data
reply to post by ZIPMATT

after about 3 weeks, armed police raided their camp, there were probably about 30 officers in total which came from all angles, The funny thing was that they actually got away with it, no fines, or arrests, just told to pack up and leave. Found that quite entertaining when it happened haha.

Ah , Ambushcraft ! Great fun for grown men with overactive imaginations !

I like to add a tune to the thread , so

...if i saw i saw... but the goodness, of...

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