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What Exactly is Bushcraft?

koalaboi

Ray Mears
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Dec 11, 2011
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Hi Everyone,

This is an issue I have struggled with for a while now.

A while back I wrote a post: https://bushcraftoz.com/threads/using-vintage-gear.10884/#post-108768

I copped a bit of a serve from Keith about how using traditional rather than modern technology is more sustainable. I wanted to bite at the time but thought no, a FB argument is not the way to go. In the back of my mind however is that fact that as I wrote in the post, Aboriginal people were quick to use better technology when it was available.

I've just watched a couple of bushcrafty videos on you tube where the the guys involved were using gear that is very heavy, not ergonomically designed for carrying etc Indeed, even carrying a saw to cut firewood into 2 foot lengths, really? Just break it between a couple of trees and/or put longer lengths on the fire so that the midpoint burns first and then they are broken...Anyhow.

So where does bushcraft draw the line if at all? Like if we reject as Keith suggests modern gear, does that mean that in the past, people should have rejected the idea of using metal as opposed to stone and wood? Flint and steel as opposed to fire drills? Reject flintlock firearms to hang onto bow and arrow? Which is really more sustainable?

Is true bushcraft the ability to just use what is available in the bush? Or is that survival? What is the difference? To what extent is the use of "modern" technologies such as steel, firearms etc real bushcraft? Is bushcraft more the ability to do well in the bush with whatever technology and resources are available to you?

I don't really have an informed opinion. I do know that I feel it is important to:

# keep old skills and superseded technologies alive
# ensure that humans keep a connection to the natural world where we see that we are just a part of it

Conversation starter no more or less! Looking forward to hearing everyone's ideas.

I do know that I have learned heaps of interesting and useful knowledge here and greatly value this site and all who contribute to it.

KB
 
Last edited:

Le Loup

Rüdiger Nehberg
Joined
Apr 29, 2011
Messages
851
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380
Location
New England NSW
Hi Everyone,

This is an issue I have struggled with for a while now.

A while back I wrote a post: https://bushcraftoz.com/threads/using-vintage-gear.10884/#post-108768

I copped a bit of a serve from Keith about how using traditional rather than modern technology is more sustainable. I wanted to bite at the time but thought no, a FB argument is not the way to go. In the back of my mind however is that fact that as I wrote in the post, Aboriginal people were quick to use better technology when it was available.

I've just watched a couple of bushcrafty videos on you tube where the the guys involved were using gear that is very heavy, not ergonomically designed for carrying etc Indeed, even carrying a saw to cut firewood into 2 foot lengths, really? Just break it between a couple of trees and/or put longer lengths on the fire so that the midpoint burns first and then they are broken...Anyhow.

So where does bushcraft draw the line if at all? Like if we reject as Keith suggests modern gear, does that mean that in the past, people should have rejected the idea of using metal as opposed to stone and wood? Flint and steel as opposed to fire drills? Reject flintlock firearms to hang onto bow and arrow? Which is really more sustainable?

Is true bushcraft the ability to just use what is available in the bush? Or is that survival? What is the difference? To what extent is the use of "modern" technologies such as steel, firearms etc real bushcraft? Is bushcraft more the ability to do well in the bush with whatever technology and resources are available to you?

I don't really have an informed opinion. I do know that I feel it is important to:

# keep old skills and superseded technologies alive
# ensure that humans keep a connection to the natural world where we see that we are just a part of it

Conversation starter no more or less! Looking forward to hearing everyone's ideas.

I do know that I have learned heaps of interesting and useful knowledge here and greatly value this site and all who contribute to it.

KB
I don't think that I have ever considered my opinions to be so much an argument as a conversation. I guess with me it is that I draw a line, one can craft something with power tools, or one can craft something by hand. I prefer to make things with hand tools, but when constructing decks on my house & putting an extension on the cottage, I did use some cordless power tools. The term Bushcraft to me brings thoughts of forests, the bush, wilderness, crafts & skills. But somehow modern 20th-21st century gadgets just don't seem to fit into my idea of bushcraft. How far are you willing to go? If there was a craft workshop & you took your own tools, would you take a set of cordless power tools with you to make the job easier? Would this still be classed as bushcraft just because you were in the bush? I don't know, feedback on this please as KB has already said.
Thanks for the starter KB.
Regards, Keith.(Gee, long time since I left FB KB :)
 

Kindliing

Les Hiddins
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Dec 5, 2019
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Hey koalaboi , I’ll bite :)

I think it’s easy to say what it is ..... by what it is not .
When it comes down to it and fails .

without becoming a bushcraft cyborg , with gps helmet head up visor display chasing Pokémon virtual furry imaginary bushcraft animals ,microchip satellite location implant , and flying a drone to find where the very nicest sticks are to put a point on ,with the 500$ overhyped steak knife you bought .

I don’t think you need to become Amish ,
However .......
When the batteries run out of your fancy helmet and the rain makes everything malfunction anyway ,
Your bush craft buggy runs out of petrol .


When you can’t find where you dug the toilet anymore because you ran out of batteries for the drone ,
So your legs get tired walking in circles and you end up flyblown .

Hungry and unable to find your way home .

as all the crutches fall away , you can look up to the sky and say , As your dying and relying on your own dismal undeveloped knowledge and ability ......

Waddayaknow ! none of that crap was bushcraft after all .
And then you die .

I always like Ron Edwards bushcraft books ,
Bushcraft is what bushies did to make life more comfortable and sustainable with the basics they had .
Not to say you can’t interact symbiotically with nature through technology ,

kinda takes the connection away from nature in my opinion , and splits and tries to splice two worlds together ,
Like watering down water with um ..... something else , to make better water .
There’s a balance there you can be a part of the bush or separate .
that’s why people like the bush I reckon even if they don’t know it these days ,
Some can try to conquer it , so try rush out to do it .

id rather slow down and enjoy and be a part of it .
 

Randall

Rüdiger Nehberg
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I think true bushcraft is largely a thing of the past. I think this because we just don't have the bush that our ancestors had - it has become quite scarce. I stopped using wood fires as a teenager after 3 months of hiking in Tasmania. I began to see green trees cut down wherever there were popular camp sites, along with toilet paper and rubbish. Another classic example is the emergency fishing kit - fish used to be so plentiful in most of our creeks, rivers and coastline. I wouldn't depend on fishing for survival now. For me I'm more interested in bush skills / survival type stuff. Navigation, shelter, fire if it is a survival situation, making water potable, first aid, using my noggin :ROFLMAO:. Actually, that's what I love about navigation, using my head, seeing the bigger picture. Trying to read the land and why things are the way they are - changes in the bush that I'm passing through, direction of sun, light, damp, dry, poor, rich, height of trees / bush (great way to spot old overgrown vehicular tracks :)). Looking for tracks on top of ridges, planning a bush bush using spurs to drop down and climb up again, getting the most I can out of a map.
 
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