More and more Americans are heading into the wilderness each year. The outdoor adventure industry is massive and estimated at 887 billion dollars, with a B! And ya know what? Its for good reason. People are rushing out into the woods to escape the “lives of quiet desperation” most lead. They are looking for a counterbalance to all of this tech and intrusion in their lives.
Of course, the downside to all of this action in the woods, is that people get lost. Roughly 2000 people a year get lost to some degree or another in the wilderness. The very best way to assure you get your butt rescued is to let someone know where you are going before you leave. Beyond that it could come down to serious bushcraft skills that keep you alive.
In this article we are going to take a high level look at three of the most important bushcraft skills that will keep you alive and give you a chance at surviving nights in the woods.
While it looks great to start fires with sticks and rocks be sure that you have matches and a lighter in your pack. Another great thing to keep on you is dryer lint. This stuff is about the best tinder, or tinder base, you can have. Its also something you usually trash.
Fire is much more than just the spark and the tinder. You have to become a master at things like kindling and oxygen flow. You must know when to add more wood and when to leave the damn thing be. This all comes with practice. While starting the fire gets all the headlines, bringing it to its full potential and sustaining it are the real task.
If you can track, you can likely find your way back to society. No matter where you go on this planet you will likely find evidence of people. Footprints are pretty common and if you can discern where that person was going it could put you on a path to rescue. Tracking humans, most of the time, takes you to more humans.
Tracking animals can also take you to water. Of course, you must be careful with this, because it an also take you deeper into the wilderness.
Above all is shelter. Exposure to the elements is what kills. It kills quick, too. If you are going to take learning bushcraft shelters seriously you should look into the two most basic types.
- Lean-to – A quick build that often offers one wall of shelter and partial overhead coverage. These shelters can be made basic or really detailed to provide protection from wind and rain as well as offer heat from a local fire.
- Debris Shelter – More involved shelter that is often standalone and has a frame of sticks and wood. This frame is covered with heavy debris, hence the name.
Most people are surprised when they don’t find a method for getting food in my basic recommendations. Remember, you can go a long time without eating. Digestion also uses up precious water in the body. Immediately seeking out food in the wild is not your best move.