Steady up Rik, you really dont want to end up agreeing with me, do you?
Steady up Rik, you really dont want to end up agreeing with me, do you?
Dont thank me, its what I do.
Aaaaah, who cares. I use 'bushcraft' skills in my job to get the best from my job and to obtain results as well as doing daft stuff in my spare time that also comes under that 'bushcraft' brolly of skills. What I term as bushcraft skills and what they mean to me will not meet 95% of this forums views on what bushcraft is. So in short, we should look under the vast umbrella that encompasses 'bushcraft' skills and take what we want and enjoy the outdoors in whatever way we wish without damaging it. And enjoy our time here discussing it too.
From my point of view he is kind of spot on.
But we all have different approach to the subject, we all have different cultural and sosial backgrounds, and we all have our own way to justify how and why we do the things we do.
Maka tanhan wicasa wan.
My first attempt at a blog. Not very informative at the moment.
Yes there are people, like myself, that make a lot of our own gear but I also buy gear if it does what I want it to or I buy stuff and modify it at times.
I don't think anybody looks down on people that lack the means or confidence to do that themselves. The most I've ever been aware of is encouraging people to have a go.
As for the wool and natural materials thing, there is certainly a polarisation of opinions on their benefits or otherwise and I will hold my hand up and say that I'm a strong supporter of the stuff.
That doesn't stop me having a Goretex jacket in the van for getting out in foul conditions. It's all about fitness for task.
On the subject of "uniform" that is an impression I can see how people easily form. I think it comes about because compared to the general outdoor equipment market we are a very small subsection and therefore of limited interest to manufacturers and suppliers.
What tends to happen is that someone finds an item that suits fits their requirements, posts about it on the forum and because many of us share the same requirements there is a natural tendency towards buying the same kit.
Ironically, it is the people that make their own stuff who stand the most chance of escaping this uniformity but often don't.
In the end, I don't think this is anything to get a bee in your wide brimmed leather hat about, as has been said, the thing we ought to celebrate here is the diversity of people and their interests.
Very nice thread OP, as you said, food for thought.
Since I started practicing "bushcraft" I have often found myself thinking these same things, especially because where I live, not many people know about bushcraft.
So being the only one interested in bushcraft among a company of "backpapkers" or "campers" or w/e, I was somehow different from them. My gear was different, my clothing was different and my whole attitude was beginning to differ, while we ALL spent roughly the same amount of time in the woods and did similar things. And from some of my friends the question of "What's the point?" was raised to me.
Well, there is a great difference! For me bushcraft is a path to knowledge, nothing more nothing less. It is this deep understanding of nature that most of us seek here I believe. At the first steps of this path, such questions may arise. But its after some time that you begin to understand why you are doing it. Others that have not taken this path will never understand nature in the way that we do, and the gear can only take you so far.
Actions in bushcraft are based on knowledge. Knowledge that is very hard to come and that takes time. You begin to understand the surrounding better. You begin to understand the mechanisms that are in motion around you. You have to commit yourself to this process and give it some time. And then you see the results, not only compared to others, but you feel it. You feel like home more and more every day while being deep in nature.
So what I really want to say is that bushcraft is not the fancy knife, its a philosophy.
The only snobbery Ive seen here is in reverse, when people get all high an mighty about the low cost of their kit, "my style must be better because I can do with my £1 kit what you can do with your £400 kit" silly really, WHO CARES! really what does it matter whether some thing is cheap or expensive, its all relative, just a reason for a moan I guess, a bit like this
I havent posted on here for ages, and maybe its time to jump back in...
I liked the observations in the OP, and most of the replies, though differing, have that ring of truth to them.
For me, and this is an honest, and laying myself open to ridicule answer, but;
I enjoy being outside, whether fishing, walking, eating or whatever, I love the sound of rain on canvas, and I love being warm n dry 'cos I'm wearing the right gear.
As a child I read and watched so many Tarzan stories where the hero strode through the jungle with just his knife and a rope, I watched Grizzly Adams living in the back woods and it all just appealled to me, so for me as for many people its just an oppurtunity to revert to childhood and do something pointless just for the sake of it!
take it easy guys
Nothing ridiculous about that mate, I think we must have been watching the same things.
I loved Grizzly Adams and stuff like that back then.
Nope, nothing silly there chap
Didn't stop me using my bivvy bag on a fisherman's bed at a meet though in other circumstances.
Perhaps the best way to look at it is to assume that there is something that can be called bushcraft, there are arguably no such things as bushcrafters.
An analogy might be cookery, whilst most people have some inkling of what it involves even if it is just sticking something in a microwave, it makes a meaningful hobby to many other, but relatively few are actually chef's full time. Bushcraft skills, are simply that: bushcraft skills, they are not all there is to do or know about it. They can come in handy in a variety of settings from camping and backpacking to hunting and fishing, wildlife photography, whatever you do out of doors. For me I just like to get away from the crowds and into the woods to watch the world go by. So what if I use a car to get there, would it make any difference if I used a horse and buggy, or a bicycle?
Thank you everyone for the interesting views and replies in this thread. I agree to an extent with the author of that post. There was a time when I noticed that when I was going into the woods, it was only to test gear, practice a skill (carve a spoon or make fire with a primitive method), buy gear based on how "bushcrafty" it was instead of how practical. At some point I realized that while enjoying all those activities they became a goal in themselves.
But that was not what I initially wanted to know them. So now I dont care how bushcrafty my gear is (though I still prefer ss vs aluminium or titan), I dont have to light my fire with a bow and drill or carve a new spoon each time i am in the woods. I go to the woods because it is fun in itself again now and dont go there to practice bushcraft. And i quit buying gear based on how "bushcrafty" it is. Actually i quit buying gear at all. Up until recently i was playing with the idea to buy a new pot, to be able to stack it with my kettle but in the end i decided against it. So the gearjunkie is still there but i can controll him.
But I still enjoy bushcraft as a hobby and an activity when I feel the need to slow down, relax, focus and take a slow breath.
I do not understand what the problem is ... I go to the woods to relax not get wound up about who p*ss*es highest up a tree!
You want to buy kit - buy it!
You want to make kit - make it!
You want to be close to a road, hike for miles, go totally bush for a year - do it!
If you are hurting no one and nothing and getting a buzz from being out in the open air, as close as you are comfortable being to nature then that is "bushcraft" to me.
To quote a famous saying - "Just Do It!"
Love makes the World go round......Lust makes it all go pear-shaped...
Ka tū te ihiihi Ka tū te wanawana Ki runga ki te rangi e tū iho nei, tū iho nei, hī!
From reading your exploits i get the impression that if a modern fabric worked better at a reasonable cost you'd use that.
The problem starts though when folks are recommending their car camping kit, to folks who are more active.
It does tend to be a forum thing where people sing the praises of what ever they are using at certain times.
I've seen folks on car forums vehemently speak out against certain brands, only to highly recommend them 8 months later when they've bought one.
I have absolutely no use for making fire by rubbing 2 sticks together, but again i enjoy reading the reports.
We all are here because we share a passion for the outdoors, i really don't see as anything else matters.
The only thing we need to be careful about is, giving advice on things we don't actually do IMO.
I have distinct sets of kit, which overlap in some places, according to where I am and how I get there.
If I'm on shanks pony I slice through my kit mercilessly, often because I'm carrying 4-5 kilos of camera gear as well.
On most of my photo trips though I'm base camping around my van which means camping in Scotland or bunking down in the van around England and Wales.
This means I can carry a Norgie, fire tray and fuel with me, to say nothing of a comfortable chair to sit and eat in.
And then there are the Meet ups which I can take anything I want to and usually do. That means I have craft tools and materials, loads of stuff I've made, all my kit in case anyone wants to look at something and food and drink fit for a restaurant.
The mistake would be to look at any of these as being the same thing other than generally being out of doors.
I have noticed the inverted snobbery thing though.
I like a bargain as much as the next man but I also have what might be considered as some Gucci bits of kit as well.
I enjoy having nice kit, it is part of the experience for me but "nice" might be a fitness for purpose, a certain tactile or material issue or even a clever solution to a particular problem.
There is a certain aesthetic to my gear that is deeply rooted in the person that I am. I suspect nothing will ever change that.
Hurray! It's another "what does bushcraft mean to you?" thread.
"Mummy, when I grow up I want to be a bushcrafter."
"You can't do both son."
Winter mornings I can pretty well guarantee ice on the inside of my bedroom widow!
I use "bushcraft skills" daily as our house is heated in part by a woodburner, the wood is grown and processed in my garden or locally sourced (often windfall humped home on my shoulder) and mainly processed with hand tools.
We also grow some fruit and veg, forage for some wild food (lots of hedgerow wines and jams ) and I make a lot of my own gear...
At the same time I review lots of modern comercial gear, BUY some gear and our home is part oil heated (hot water and cooking mainly)
To be honest I find using "traditional" skills a lot more satisfying than "modern" "off the shelf" answers, home made clothing more comfortable (I am not a standard size so most modern clothing is a compromise fit) and natural fibre fabrics more ethically pleasing and comfortable under most conditions.
As to looking down on backpackers - I have litterally walked the length and breadth of England having been a keen backpacker for most of my life until old age and injuries slowed me down.
For ME the woods are just plain comfortable living most of the time - like Wayland I dislike hotels and B&Bs, my van and the woods being more to my liking.
Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era .... except for the NHS and my ancient computer etc I find my lifestyle equates more to most folks conception of the 18th rather than the 21st centuary
But I like it
Getting social meets with other folks enjoying the woods is more fun to me than going pubbing/clubbing or playing with computer games ....
Love makes the World go round......Lust makes it all go pear-shaped...
Hey guys. Thanks for putting up my blog post here. I never posted it on any forums because it was not intended as a challenge to anyone's style of bushcraft, only my own. It was an explanation of my experience with the bushcraft community in my area, and my thoughts behind what I want out of my experience in the woods.
As I said in the post, I like learning skills, but I want them to fit in a larger context. Lighting fire for the sake of lighting fire was fun for a while, but then it quickly lost meaning for me. Lighting fire in the context of cooking my food when I am traveling through the woods on the other hand, puts everything in context for me. That context also changes the skills, and for me, brings me closer to the people who actually had to rely on them. There is a difference between doing something when you have been out for an hour a few feet of the road, and doing it after you have been traveling in the woods all day. I got tired of talking and hearing about how bushcraft lets us understand nature and live in harmony with it, without actually being in nature. It is easy to talk about using natural resources when I am going to the same spot every weekend, it is another thing to do when you have been traveling through the woods for a few days.
Again, this was intended to just reflect my thinking with respect to my approach to the woods. Everyone if free to do whatever they want for whatever reasons they want.
Well said John
www.ice-raven.co.uk -Arctic adventures
Hi Ross, good blog by the way.
It does you good to take a look at why you are doing things from time to time. It certainly does no harm to shake out old habits and blow a little air through them.
I found that last year my "Bushcraft" (for want of a better word) took a very different direction when I set my mind on going to the Arctic for a couple of weeks. It made me re-examine the way I did a lot of things and added a new sense of purpose that was really quite enjoyable.
As you suggest, learning new skills is much better if there is a reason for them.
Now we are planning a more ambitious trip next year off the back of what we learned on the last one.
Thanks Wayland. I enjoyed the reports very much. I look forward to reading about the adventures this coming winter.
Chris Townsend is a bit of a hero of mine and gets out and about. This video is two years old but relevant I believe to how you approach trips, perhaps from a slightly more lightweight point of view in this instance
The Caldera Cone stove is very effective, came to me recommended by the guy who runs the stove forum, its very efficient and you can use the standard Trangia burner/simmer ring plus nothing to stop you frying over the top of the cone. With the Trangia / simmer ring you will get around a 50 minute simmer. The only reason I traded mine was because I cook food needing a bigger pot hence the standard Trangia for me but you can easily see where the initial design of the Caldera came from. This would have performed much better on your recent northern trip than your clickstand.
I have to agree with the blogger, I started 'bushcrafting' to gain the skills to be comfortable and to an extent self sufficient out in the sticks. Having been on a few courses and listened to the chat on forums most people would rather sit around doing exactly the same stuff that they see on the TV; making cordage, tying an evenk hitch, using a bow and drill to make fire - oh and drink wiskey/alcohol while staring at said fire. Oh and I almost forgot, the utilmate bushcraft accolade..... carving a spoon!
A broad church indeed! I'm guessing that many of us got into bushcrafting as an adjunct to other activities, whether its the scouts, CCF, "proper" forces, general camping, hunting, fishing, motorcycling rallies, hiking/backpacking etc. I my case, a couple of Elefantentreffens, Dragon rallies etc (and some winter beach fishing)soon taught you what did and didn't work in the snow! Things like bushcrafting shows on the tV got me more interested in the "technical" side of it, and websites - particularly this one - help keep me amused, informed and sane when - as tonight - all thats on the box in my hotel room are japanese cartoons dubbed into Turkish
I'm not a classical bushcrafter - whatever that is! I enjoy the meets I can get to, both for learning new stuff and meeting some really nice folks. I intend to do something really stupid - maybe next year - and spend a week or so alone in a scandinavian forest in the snow to try out a few things I've learnt, and attempt to survive (mind you, not as stupid as going on a winter bike rally on a large, top-heavy bike five weeks after a hip replacement!). Planning the kit for that is great fun (and thats all part of it, isn't it?!) Maybe see if just getting into a Jerven bag is really better than making a quinzy or snowhole, or trying out some survival tents made from safety blankets. But at the end of the day, I will look forward to a warm house and hot shower, and I have commitments, a family/mortgage/job that takes priority. I never see myself doing a Grizzly Adams, becoming a single-minded preper/survivalist etc. Its a hobby, plain and simple - for me, anyway. Not right or wrong, just my preference.
Kit? Love it, both the bargains and the occasional "treat". Cooking a meal on a home-made alcohol burner gives a real sense of satisfaction, even if I know that one of my "proper" stoves will do a much better job, looked at dispassionately. Same with cooking on a camp-fire. I enjoy the wealth of practical experience on this site, and no doubt saved myself a lot of grief by taking such advice.
So I do what I do because I enjoy it. And surely = at the end of the day - thats all that matters?