For Love of Bushcraft

I am not certain why this term, “bushcraft” has gained popularity in recent months, but I don’t really care.  However, I do think that the old school is a bit offended by its use, commercialization, and potential future downfall.

From what I understand, the term “bushcraft” is very European-centric (particularly, British) and is used to describe a set of skills that require minimal gear for maximum effect while isolated from built civilization.  This is why bushcraft knives are really the basis of the craft.  You can do without expensive and superfluous gear, gadgets, bells, whistles, and wannamakers, but no seasoned outdoorsman would recommend going off grid without at least a decent knife.

This is why knives, in my opinion, are the basis of survival and even civilization.  The ability to make one thing into two is a basic human function that has driven people to explore new and innovative ways to tackle such a task.  Despite the tens of thousands of available makes, models, and configurations of knives throughout history that have ever been made, all tended a singular task that has not fundamentally changed.

Alas!  Wouldn’t the Laplanders from 2,000 years ago still recognize the most basic of puukko’s made with synthetic material by the likes of Mora?  Sure, they may marvel at the material, but the basic shape and function wouldn’t surprise any of them.

That’s what I call design perfection.

The Bushcraft Movement?

If there is a bona-fide movement afoot, then I’m moving with it.  Bushcraft is lovely.  There is no doom associated with it, and it is not so pedestrian as camping.  After all, people refer to sleeping in their cars as “camping.”  That doesn’t have much to do with the core of bushcraft.

Bushcraft is the opposite.  A skilled craftsman knows how to make his tribe comfortable with few resources.  Bushcraft connotes a deep knowledge and understanding of materials and methods relevant to your surroundings.

If there is such a movement, I say bring it on!  This only heralds a movement toward revitalizing a missing piece of our culture.  I don’t really care what it’s called, or if it’s commercialized.  After all, gear is personal and only useful to the owner if the owner thinks it’s useful.

No doubt a typical American from 150 years ago would (justifiably) point and laugh at our tepid skills when it comes to taking care of ourselves and our basic needs.  Few among us are as skilled as a garden variety 12-year old frontiersman from a now-extinct era.

But, there’s no reason to feel guilty.  The landscape for bushcraft and any heritage-preserving practice is wide open.  All you have to do is something.

Something will always trump nothing.

About the author

Jack Thompson is a seasoned outdoorsman, bushcraft expert, and knife aficionado. With over a decade of wilderness experience, Jack is passionate about teaching others essential outdoor skills and providing insights on bushcraft knives. As a writer for Best Bushcraft Knife, he shares his knowledge and adventures, inspiring readers to embrace nature and thrive in the wild.