Challenge yourself with a Minimalist Bushcraft Adventure
“If you can not measure it you can not improve it”
Lord Kelvin, a certifiably brilliant man, understood the importance of measurement and improvement nearly a century ago. The big question is, how do you measure your survival skills and your bushcrafting abilities? If you aren’t testing and measuring yourself than these things are more fun hobbies than they are true skills you are willing to improve at.
There is no rule saying that you have to get to a certain skill level as a bushcrafter or a survivalist. Still, if you want to take these things seriously you should consider improving yourself on a regular basis. Whether this is starting fire, filtering water, building shelter or scouting, they all play off one another.
The more skills you have the less gear you need
This is one of those phrases that gets thrown around the survival community all the time. Its one of the rare times you call into question your own skill set and look at it with a critical eye. The question that always comes up is, when can I start leaving gear behind?
How do you know when your skills have reached a level that no longer requires you carrying all sorts of equipment? Well, this comes with measurement and testing, as mentioned above. In some ways you have to fail without your gear or feel such confidence in your skills that you leave gear behind. This confidence might be in one area like fire or food or even shelter. It doesn’t have to be across the board.
If your goal is wilderness survival with minimal gear you have to get outside and test yourself against a night or nights in the woods. That is the only way you can find out if you have what it takes to carry a minimalist pack
Where to Find a Minimalist Bushcraft Adventure
There are a number of places that you can have your adventure and test your might. Some of the best places you can go are the national and state park systems. Depending on your area these locations allow for backwoods camping and that is about as good as it gets! Now, you might need to know how to deal with things like finding a safe campsite and dealing with bears.
Land that is managed by our wildlife departments are also great places to go. Depending on where you live you may have access to thousands of acres of land that can be explored for free if you have a hunting or fishing license. You can also get a simple permit if not. Look up the wilderness management department in your state to find there locations.
You can also ask people for permission to camp on their land. Some people own large swathes of land they never use! A simple permission request might get you a new hunting spot, fishing hole and a place to camp and practice your craft.
5 pieces of minimalist gear
Stripping your pack down to its most minimal is an exciting thing to do. For some it can be nearly addicting. There are some things that everyone should carry, no matter how efficient or effective they are. These pieces of gear will allow you to address those critical parts of survival when you need them most.
Flint and Steel
While there are a number of fire starters on the market, a quality flint and steel is my choice for a minimalist pack. There is a reason for this and its much more about the flint or chert than it is about the steel. If you are depending on that rock to create your spark it means that you should know how to ID flint, if its in your area.
Look to seek out that flint on your own. If you find it in a riverbed or somewhere else and identify it correctly, you will be able to start fire with steel and rocks in any location, even with just a carbon steel knife!
Ferro is probably the best Firestarter out there but knowing how to identify flint is a much more powerful skill than knowing how to scrape a ferro rod.
The tarp will never let you down. It is the quickest way to get to real shelter. If you don’t want to carry a tarp then invest in a nice big poncho. A tough poncho will do just as much for shelter as a tarp. It will keep you dry and hold in heat. A quick up shelter is essential, even for a minimalist.
Another must have for the minimalist buschraft adventure is plenty of cordage. Even if you don’t use your tarp you are going to need cordage to affix your ridge pole in a lean to or for some other use. Cordage is like gold. Sure you can make your own in the wild but it takes time and shelter might be something you need in a hurry.
Single Walled Steel Bottle
Usually a pretty overlooked piece of the survival gear, the steel bottle gives you all sorts of options. Make sure its not a double walled bottle.
The steel bottle will offer you the obvious ability to boil water. This means you can drink, and that’s pretty important. Beyond that you can cook in it, you can make charcloth inside it as well. It can also be filled with water prior to entering the woods.
We are almost always dehydrated when we enter the woods.
Processing wood is incredibly important for all sorts of applications. The folding saw makes processing small trees and larger limbs so easy. Whether you are sourcing firewood or using these trees to create a shelter, the folding saw will make quick work of them.
Its an indispensable tool!
What are we doing all of this shaving and sparking, hiking and camping for? Hopefully there are a number of answers to this question. If you are only in this for the pictures and the bragging rights, well, you are missing the point. You see, there is nothing like being able to maximize your human potential with your relationship with nature.
As a bushcrafter or a survivalist or whatever you call yourself, you will find that taking risks in your training and packing is just like taking risks in business or life itself? Sure, you could fall on your face. You might have to quit that camping trip early due to exposure or hunger. That said, your minimalist bushcraft adventure could also find you emerging from the woods as a new person. This self-imposed adversity can sharpen your skills and give you a confidence in knowing you can survive with very little on hand