I am attracted to anything with a bushcraft label, but bushcraft in its purest sense is just one aspect of things that interest me.

I'm interested in a variety of things and I feel that they are connected, but I haven't found one word or heading under which they can be categorized.

I suspect that may be the case with other folks here.   For instance we have a thread on 'subsistence'.   Subsistence is not synonymous with bushcraft, but to me it is closely related.

It can be hard to define things in words to convey an exact meaning or feeling.   But here is a list of some of the things that grab my attention:  primitive technology, hunting, trapping, fishing, living off the grid, growing fruit and vegetables, homesteading, preserving, useful plants, 'do it yourself', spiritual healing, intuition, experience beyond the five senses, beauty, animal behaviour, shelter, tools, living cheaply.

I guess one term that covers a lot of the above list is 'self sufficiency'.  The phrase 'down to earth' might also convey a bit of an idea of this category.

So what am I getting at here?   Well.... maybe most folks who have an interest in bushcraft might also be very interested in some of these related things.   And there seems to be very few places on the net where like-minded folks can discuss topics like this in a 'normal' manner.   Now this isn't my site, and it is the absolute right of the site owner to mould the site according to his/her own vision and I respect that.   But by advertising that the site is about more than just pure bushcraft we might get the participation we desire.  I've got to say though that 'bushcraft.org' is a good, earthy name for a website.  I'd rather discuss spirituality there, for instance, compared to discussing it at a 'paranormal' or 'religious' website.   I like a general, down-to-earth, common-sense, 'this happened to me' approach rather than finding myself surrounded by fundamentalists or prophets of doom. Similarly this should be a good place to discuss knapping or bow making.   Although I appreciate finely made 'artifacts' as portrayed on specialist websites, I'm more interested in quickly knocking something together that will get the job done using materials that I can easily get hold of.

Just a thought.   I hope you can see what I mean.

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I get what you are saying and agree that many people who are drawn to bushcraft come with passions in several of the areas that you mentioned.

Primitive technology, hunting, trapping, fishing, shelter, 'do it yourself', tools, animal behaviour and useful plants are great skills that I think are becoming lost in our modern time. Rediscovering these and learning self reliance in a raw environment is the central purpose of the site. Living off the grid, growing fruit and vegetables, homesteading, preserving, and living living cheaply are a functional use of some of these skills and so naturally these will benefit from the "community" of BushcraftNZ as well which is great. These topics will be supported by the network 100%.

I think one of bushcrafts biggest draw cards is the fact that it attracts people from such a wide background. Warren Potts is a great example of a guy who I may never have had the privilege of meeting because we come from different walks of life, and yet we are drawn together by bushcraft and I look forward to getting to know him. His "pioneering spirit" as Scott calls it, is an inspiration to me.

I think the main focus of the network should be bushcraft, although discussions on wider ideas that are related to bushcraft/self reliance eg spirituality are more than welcome. No one will be censored unless it is inappropriate or inflammatory (which you are definitely not).

I guess what I am trying to get across is that the network will be bushcraft focused, but not bushcraft only. People from any background that have a passion or interest in bushcraft/self reliance are welcome, but I don't want to directly market it as anything else.

I have a huge respect for your experience and knowledge base, and I really to look forward to getting to know you and learning from you in the future.
Sounds good. I will be checking in regularly. Have a great day... Coote.
Hi Stephen,
this is a subject that I think about a lot.
All of the areas you note are interlinked and I don't think what we are calling 'bushcraft' here as a detached 'hobby', it's more of an approach to life.
The bushcraft mentality of solving problems quickly efficiently and sustainably can be applied to my work just as well as to say shelter building.
Have a look at the video on this link http://tiny.cc/gabrielbranby
Here is a man applying these thoughts as a philosophy to product design.
Sustainability is a word that gets thrown about a lot and suffers a bit of abuse, but in its pure terms it just means doing things in a way that means we can keep doing them without harm.
I agree with the 'more than just bushcraft' but if people start here (with the basics of bushcraft) I don't think they can go wrong.
Spending a weekend in the bush shelter building, working with knots, tracking animals, building eel traps, carving a spoon or whatever area of bushcraft appeals should make for a changed person in the 'work-a-day' world.

Just some thoughts,
I agree with the points in all the above posts. A bit of classical bushcraft is a good place to start. And I resonate with what Mike noted about 'pioneering' and 'frontiersman'.
I am interested in all of these things, with the exception of the spiritual side. That is something that I have never been able to relate to, but I am sure there is a heap of people into bushcraft that are, and perhaps a seperate group may be an option for the spiritual, when I say this I mean we have a Knifemaking and bowmaking group, plus Christchurch and Auckland groups. This gives you the ability to communicate with all these others interested in it. As to Pioneering and self suffiency etc, primitive technology etc, I personally believe these types of concepts are at the heart of bushcraft, they all seem to be under the same umbrella to me. These are all things that I have a lot of E-books on, running from books like "50 years in the life of a trapper" through to " The complete guide to home self suffiency" even books on building underground homes.

I even believe 'survivalists' are under this umbrella, although the extremist views are not something I am into.
I watched a program about a guy who had started up a survivalist retreat and had allsorts living there, From the typical gun-totters to a hippy who built an underground house and wrote a book called 'The $50 and up underground house book', even a guy who lived in a house made with straight haybails and plastic tarps.
Not sure if there is enough room on this website to be able to cover every aspect.
Some good discussion going on here guys. A Sustenance Living group or anything like that is easy to set up if anyone want to gets in behind it, let me know.

Sidenote: Scott, I believe you are talking about an episode of Weird Weekends with Louis Theroux. Great episode I love that series!
That was it..
Some really interesting points raised here guys. I think what you're saying is that for some people its their interest in self sufficiency that are attracts them to 'bushcrafts' and that same fact attracts them also to sustainable living and fending for oneself in other ways? E.g. small farms in their gardens, preserving etc? It does seem a few of those I've met that are keen on bushcrafts could fit this profile; I have my own productive garden, preserving, making beer and cider etc. as well!

I'm not much of a spiritualist nor religious, but I find it easy to observe that everything in nature is connected and that it pays dividends to tread carefully and understand your environment. (I have been reading Jarrod Diamond recently (author of The 3rd Chimpanzee and Collapse) and he has some very interesting points to make on the different paces of human development around the world and how their local environment (what it offers, constrains and what people have made of it) is so absolutely critical in shaping them and their relative successes and directions -- well worth reading, if you haven't already, I think).

I suppose the most spiritual thing for me might be in using techniques of bushcraft that I have learned from others or by myself, knowing that they have been used for many thousands of years and seeing that there is a connection there to my ancestors -- staring into a fire and watching the flames and embers glowing is always a keen way to remind me of how people have done that very same thing for millenia; it somewhow "connects" me with them at that moment!

Btw. If you are keen - readers - on self-sufficiency as an idea but haven't got started in this arena, check out John Seymour's "The Concise Guide to Self Sufficiency" -- a gem of a book. Interestingly, John, an Englishman I believe, spent a number of years living with bushmen in South Africa before returning to his native Britain to become one of the first to start re-popularising self sufficiency in the '70s! This relationship between what is known as bushcrafts and other forms of self sufficiency is definitely a common thread....
Good stuff. I have read a book by John Seymour I believe, but I don't think it was the title you mentioned. I seem to recall the book was authored by both John and his wife (Sally?)..... and it may have been the first book of its kind that I read. I remember that he was a big fan of blackcurrants... and that he described a method of making a knife that did not require holes to be drilled through the tang for the handle.

The book that was probably the biggest influence on me in this regard was an old (c.1890) edition of "The Swiss Family Robinson".... the story about the family that got shipwrecked

Fire certainly connects us. Unfortunately evolution has gotten us to the stage where I have built a new home but I am not permitted to install a fireplace.
As a child The Swiss Family Robinson also opened up my mind to the idea of self sufficiency, I loved it. Plan to re-read it sometime. Speaking of books I have checked out a few from the library yesterday with the intention of adding to our Book Reviews. Would be great to get one of John Seymour up sometime too if anyone has a chance.
Sure thing, I think Stephen has the original (which he did write with his wife), the one I have is an updated concise version that he put together himself I think...
Here in America, the term "Bushcraft" is not unknown but not used as often as I'd like. Here, "Wilderness Survival" is the usual term and encompasses similar skills but it suggests some life threatening emergency.  Bushcraft to me is a rekindling of the natural relationship that once existed between humanity and the outdoors. When I'm out in the wild places, cooking a fish I caught with handmade gear  on a fire I made with a bowdrill set I also made, in front of a shelter I built from what Nature provided, listening to the sounds of the wild under a magnificent sky, I feel at peace with myself, my world, my God, and my place in the universe. I have no problem using modern tools to accomplish all this. I like my steel knife, modern map and compass, Gore-tex waterproof bivvy sack, nylon poncho, Ferrocerium flint, plastic groundcloth and lightweight tarp. They make it possible for me to live in the wild places while taking very little from those places. Fanatic and, in my opinion, hypocritical environmentalists would claim those items are made of polluting petrochemicals and whatnot, but I obtain almost all my gear pre-used so it already exists and I'm not helping create a market for them. Besides, it's cheaper that way. I tread as lightly as I can on this Earth. Bushcraft skills help me to do this. And I like to associate with bushcraft people whom I have found in general to be intelligent, caring, all-around good folk. That's my philosophy, anyway.


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