With the amount of resources available for survivalists, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by your choices. For people mastering bushcraft skills, it can be even more difficult to ride the line between natural materials and urban resources. When should you go for something more urban and what can be easily found in the wilderness? To help survivalists of all levels, we’ve narrowed down a few of our favorite tools to make sure you feel as prepared as possible.
An extremely advanced survivalist could successfully survive in the woods with a knife on its own. In most cases, your knife would be one of many tools you’d bring along on your trip. A knife is arguably the most important tool you can have for a bushcraft trip, especially if you plan to survive for more than a few weeks. If you have to choose between an axe and a knife, always choose the knife.
Why is a knife so useful? For one thing, it can help you craft more tools out of natural resources. Knives can also be used for meal preparation, shelter building, and starting a fire. These are just a few of the many ways knives can be utilized for bushcraft. If there’s a way to use a knife, there probably is. Never forget to bring your knife on a bushcraft trip, it could potentially save your life.
The human body can only last three days without water, and you won’t have access to any clean sources of hydration. It’s never a good idea to risk drinking natural water without filtering and purifying residual contaminants. Even clear, mountain water can contain bacteria or parasites that will wreak havoc on your body.
While there are ways to use bushcraft skills to purify and filter water, it’s okay if you want to use some urban tools to prevent the risk of ingesting contaminated water. There are many portable water filters and purification tablets that will help you make sure every drop you drink is clean and free of contaminants. This is especially convenient if you can’t or shouldn’t start a fire for boiling water.
If you have the ability to bring an axe along, they can be extremely useful. An axe can be especially helpful if you plan to construct a long-term shelter. They can split and cut firewood along with materials for your shelter. Axes can also be used for hunting if you prefer to trap or hunt for game.
When it comes to choosing a bushcraft axe, it doesn’t have to be long or fancy. Try to search for lighter, smaller axes that will be easy to carry and user friendly. Be sure to choose a blade that’s sharp enough to last consistent use.
Even the most experienced survivalists can lose their way through the wilderness. If you know the area well, you may never need to use one. Even so, it never hurts to carry one with you at all times. If you have to use it, you’ll have a form of navigation that doesn’t require you to rely on GPS.
Make sure you buy a compass that’s well-built, durable, and performative. Pair your compass with a water resistant, tear proof map that covers at least a 50 mile radius. Before you go on any bushcraft expedition, always research the area ahead of time.
If you want to avoid using as little urban tools as possible, at least substitute your tent for a tarp. Even a makeshift shelter out of branches and moss may need a little extra support. Not only that, a good tarp can have many uses outside of shelter building. You can lay it out to prep food, protect your gear from the elements, and keep yourself dry during wet weather.
If you’re a survivalist that enjoys fishing for nutrition, a kit will definitely come in handy. Even if you don’t intend to fish, a small, travel-sized kit is never a bad idea to carry for emergencies. If you don’t know how to hunt, fishing is a more accessible skill that provides more nutritious food during an emergency.
A kit doesn’t have to be large. When it comes to bushcraft, the smaller and more compact, the better. Your kit should contain at least a few extra lines and fish hooks. If you don’t have a fishing rod, use your knife to create a makeshift tool and pair it with your kit.
It’s very important to maintain your bladed tools when using them consistently. Wear and tear may prematurely damage your blades, rendering them useless. Part of knowing how to use bladed tools is also knowing how to take care of them. One of the ways you can do this is by carrying a knife sharpener or whetstone. Regularly sharpening and cleaning your blades will keep them strong and durable over the course of your trip, which is essential for survival.