April 25, 2011

What is Bushcraft?

It goes by many names, bushcraft, minimalist camping, primative skills, etc. But can you really explain what it is to someone with no knowledge of it?

During my TDY in 2010-2011, I mentioned to my wife that when I returned to Colorado I was going to develop my minimalist camping skills. She said that sounds like fun, and I should involve the kids in it as well. I asked if she would like to try it too. She replied that she didn't want to be cold. I asked her to explain what she meant, and she said, "That's what they do on those shows you watch." She was expecting to go get lost in the wilderness with very few supplies, and try to get back to safety. I realized I hadn't explained it well enough.

Albert Einstein said, "You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother." I was just a beginner in this field of study. I hadn't yet experienced what it is to live with nature. I couldn't come up with the right words to explain what I wanted. I searched the internet for something I could use to help me explain what bushcraft is to my wife, and others that may ask in the future. By far the best answer was found in a post by GreyOne on bushcraftusa.com. He said, "Bushcraft is the art and science of living comfortably in the wilderness for extended periods of time, using minimal carried equipment and maximum skills."

Survival is just that, surviving. It's doing the bare minimum to keep alive. Your body and mind are not designed to just survive, they want to thrive. Bushcraft lends itself to survival, if you know the skills. The popular survival shows are on average, one part survival situation and nine parts bushcraft. Bushcraft is much more than just surviving. I think it's becoming familiar with the Earth that Heavenly Father gave to us and gave us dominion over. Being good stewards of this planet means respecting nature, and learning to draw from it's resources wisely. That, I believe is the heart of bushcraft.

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