Bushcraft Survival Tips and Tricks

Bushcraft Tips and Tricks

Bushcraft encompasses the skills and knowledge that allow you to be more self reliant in the wilderness. The more knowledge you carry in your head, the less you have to carry in your pack.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some bushcraft survival tips and tricks that can let you go lighter, faster, and safer when you venture outdoors.

Bushcraft Survival Shelter Tips

Death from exposure can occur in hours during inclement weather, so shelter is always a priority. You should always carry some form of shelter such as a tarp, poncho, etc. whenever you can.  Here is some tips and tricks when using shelters.

  • Keeping the guy lines tied onto the corners of your tarp can save a lot of time and hassle. Do the same with your poncho with some bank line.  This will cut down on setup time for those instances where you have to get up a shelter quickly.
  • A couple contractor sized garbage bags are inexpensive, lightweight and immensely useful. When filled with leaves, they make a great insulated pad to sleep or sit on. Remember, sleeping pads aren't just for comfort. Your body loses a lot of heat through the ground, and in colder temperatures, a sleeping pad can help you stay warm.
  • A $1 blue tarp, which can be found at most dollar stores, is a great addition to any kit as a ground cloth.  It will help protect you from heat loss compared to sleeping directly on the ground.  It can also double as the shelter itself in a pinch.
  • Duct tape can easily be carried while backpacking, simply by wrapping some tape around an old gift card. Gorilla tape sticks the best, and some strong tape can be used to repair your tarp, tent, or whatever.

If you ever have to make an emergency shelter in the wilderness, some of these tips could save your life.

Bushcraft Survival Fire Tips

Fire is one of the most essential parts of bushcraft survival.  A fire can keep you warm and happy throughout even the coldest nights. It can be used to boil potable water and cook food.  We have an article on knife skills that include firestarting tips but here is a few other tips on fire.

  • Waxed jute twine makes an excellent firestarter, and can be braided and tied to your knife lanyard.
  • Other easy, homemade tinder materials are dryer lint and cotton balls. Either one can be soaked in wax or coated in Vaseline, making a firestarter that will ignite easily, and burn for several minutes, long enough to dry out damp kindling.
  • Use rubber bands to secure any loose straps on your pack, which also double as easy to light, waterproof fire starters.
  • Keep two methods of starting a fire in your kit. I like to carry a Bic lighter and a fire steel.  Never be caught with only one fire starting source if you can help it regardless of how experienced you are with that method.  It could fail.
  • Throughout the day, always be on the lookout for dry tinder. If you happen to see some birch bar or fat wood, pick it up. You may not find dry tinder at your cooking site, and this could get your fire started.  It also means you have part of your fire starting kit ready to go if you need to make a fire in a hurry.

Bushcraft Survival Food & Water Tips

The human body can't live without food and water, so you must have a plan for food and water when in the field. It's just as important as shelter and fire so let's look at a few more tips.

  • Always pack a little extra food, maybe a protein bar or two. If you have to spend an unexpected night in the woods, the extra food will be welcome. Bars are lightweight and won't take up much room in your pack.
  • If carrying a metal container to boil water in, a small square of aluminum foil is a very lightweight solution to a lid. The same foil can double as a windscreen for your stove, as well. If you don't use a stove, the Dakota fire pit burns efficiently, allowing you to cook your meals with less fuel, which means less work. If you do use a stove, remember that canister stoves don't work as well in the cold, but alcohol stoves have no trouble.
  • Try to always carry a method to purify water.  This can be water purification tablets or a filtration system.
  • Carry a bandanna.  You can use this to help with the first filtration of water and there is so many other uses for one in bushcrafting.

Some of these survival tips and tricks could save your life, and some could save you time and work. All in all, there are too many bushcraft tips and tricks to list them all. A lot of bushcraft is figuring things out in the field, and learning what work best for you, but I hope that my suggestions were of use to you.

Be sure to check out the other articles on bushcrafting and bushcraft knives.​