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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Hi John,

I like what you've said. For me, all of the topics that Stephen Coote has mentioned are all links of the same chain.I would suggest that "Bushcraft" can contain any information that would/could help one live. Survival can be fun for a while but there comes a time when a person in the bush would have to get that feeling of comfort, before they could say they were "Living". I know when I'm in the bush, I'm not interested in "just getting by". I want to be comfortable and enjoy my time there. Anyone could, if their will was strong enough, curl into a ball at the base of a tree night after night, drink rain water and "Survive" for a week. But why would they. I'm all for any knowledge that would help me hunt, gather, preserve, create, & enjoy being in the environment I'm in. I also use the term "Bushcraft" as an attitude. No matter what is thrown at me, I would like to be able to grab it and twist it into something useful... Wherever I am.

Good stuff Jamie.  It is best to have fun and be comfortable.

Interesting stuff. Fire staring would have to be the (nearly) oldest form of night time entertainment. When I do, I often think back to those who have done it before me, all the way back to the chimp-dude who discovered it was ok to get close to a small fire.

I'm a tad leary about bushcraft courses, they seem to run the spectrum from Paul Bunyan's big brother (30 kilo pack, 8 hours walking) to tree hugging earth mother worship (my life-friends call me Moon-Unit). Ok, slight exaggeration but you get the idea. I worked with an ex-deer culler who was solidly of the 1st sort and was of the opinion (he had a quite a few, all loud and utterly beyond arguement) that 99% of the population should be banned from the bush unless they worked for the Forestry Service (like him). At the other end is the wife of a mate of mine who enjoys bushwalking and takes a couple of her rug rat dogs with her running free.  I asked her if she was worried about the mutts scaring up a kiwi or some such and recieved the sublimely confident replay that she had explained it to them and she was quite certain they never do any such thing.

I watch Ray Mears on TV as I can, I like his style, humble, practical and down to earth. Bear Grylls does some interesting stuff but takes WAY too many risks for my taste. That's drama TV for you I guess.

The simple fact is we have a wealth of cheap and usable gear available to us, a Red-Shed blue tarp and a $2 shop disposable lighter ( I usually carry a couple at least scattered through my gear) can take the sting out of a not so good situation or just provide some place to sit and rest/sleep/eat. Name brand stuff is cool to own, Bear Grylls Gerber knives spring to mind (thank god he had the nous to put his name to solidly made stuff, not some cheesy Asian POS) , a while back a fairly well known sports shop owner tried to sell me a $300 fly reel claiming I would catch more because of it. I tend to cheap(er) out on flyreels, they are only some place to store your line anyhow. Sure the man was only trying to make a living, I can respect that, but even so...cheap can be made to work well.

A bit rambly, sorry, I'm just putting down what I think, be it right or wrong. End of the day being able to build or find a shelter of some sort then start a fire will cover your immediate needs, the rest can wait till you've slept on it.

Yep, you don't need a lot of expensive stuff to enjoy the outdoors.  But expensive gear can be nice if that is what you are in to.

lol interesting ideaology  "99% of the population should be banned from the bush unless they worked for the Forestry Service (like him)."

Did he hate take pity on NZSAR or was it something else?

personally i cant stand bear grylls, bigtime phony, been caught  out a few times, youtube gear gyrlls fake if you wanna see it.
his products are ok sure, but they are all about double the price they need to be for anyone to make a honest buck, theres plenty of gear without his name on thats just as good or better that doesnt cost so much.
as far as $2 shop lighters go, id pay the extra 0 to 50c that a bic lighter costs, they last longer, work after being wet, are robust enough to not explode when heated by the sun or break when dropped, i say this as a 20 year cigarette smoker, i never bother with those cheap ones.
of course a flint striker is probably the best emergency tool you can have, and a lot more bushman cred :P

i cant believe the attitude of that horrible woman married to your mate, i know a kiwi would probably kick a toy dog in the face, but there are a lot of ground nesting birds that wouldnt be so lucky, you should probably have a serious talk to her, makes me quite angry to think of people like her out there blithely damaging the bush.

I wonder if all of this would come under the dirty word "survivalism". Seems most survivalist books or video's I have seen all try to take all of these into account plus home defence tactics and skills.

Hi all,


I would like to add my two cents.

I am totally on the same page as Coote, love everything to do with bushcraft and the closely associated topics.

My father started me down this track, I was in the Tararuas at age two, still in nappies!

I find if I have been too engrossed in my work or town life when I lived there, that I would start yearning for something. In quiet times or when my mind was wondering it would end up in the bush. I would start to smell it, the smell of wet leaves and moss, smoke from the open fire. I would hear the laughter of mates telling stories around that same fire after eating something we had hunted that was cooked over the embers.

I have taken a job on a farm so that I can be closer to that experience and I seek out people that share the same desire, the desire to get back to nature, all be it in a modernish way. Mother nature is a cruel and hartless bitch so it is only sensible to carry the knowkledge and tools to offer you protection when you sleep with her.

I think this site with it's core direction and periforal complimentory subjects will enable the collective knowledge of it's members to increase and be spread to the betterment of others.


I would also like to add my base rule of threes which I have learnt from a very smart guy by the name of Mike Forty www.m4040.com

you can die in three hours from the elements

Three days from a lack of safe water

three weeks from a lack of food.

Prioritize your efforts in learning skills around these concepts and if mother nature tests you, you won't be found wanting.





Good on you Jeff.

Gotta say that despite my enthusiasm, I haven't done much in the bush lately.   It is nice to read an enthusiastic post.


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