Bushcraft practice – First time out

For the past month or so, I have been absorbing every piece of information I can find about bushcraft and primitive living. This is not a complete lifestyle change, just a way to live more simply and learn new skills.

Last weekend I took my first camping trip out to practice a few of the skills I’ve learned. It was below freezing at night so I also had a chance to test the new 0 degree sleeping bag. Would not have made it through the night without it but think I still need some underarmor or something to keep a little warmer in it. Also go to use the with the truck tent!

Here’s all the photos with descriptions
Picasaweb photos
Flickr Photos

Here’s the skills:

  • Firewood: found a tree nearby with a V and used that to snap wood I had scouted down to size for the long fire.
  • From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
  • First thing I did was get a fire started to build up and get a coal base started while I set up camp. I had only learned about a long fire the week before and this was perfect for what I wanted to so. I did bring some pine from home so I wasn’t spending the entire time scouting for more firewood.
    1. I put down the sides parallel with the wind and gathered tinder, kindling and some wood.
    2. I made 2 piles of kindling each, small twigs and larger pieces.
    3. Yes, I cheated this one last time with a cotton ball but made char cloth later so hopefully I won’t ever need to do that again. 🙂
    4. Put cotton ball under tinder and put twigs on top of that. Used ferrocerium rod to spark the cotton ball and it lit right up. Continued to feed the fire fuel while I set up truck tent and tarp shelter.
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
  • Char cloth is used to spark an ember and light tinder to start fires. I have been cheating with cotton balls and dryer lint but now I’m ready to make my own!
    1. Bought a tin with candle from the dollar store. Froze and chipped out candle and I had an oversized char cloth container as opposed to the $5 BB tins I’ve read about people using.
    2. Punched a small hole in the center of the top of the lid.
    3. Filled the tin with jeans cut in to 2×2 strips and secured the lid but you can use anything 100% cotton.
    4. Used some wood I snapped in the V tree that ended up almost being tongs to place the tin directly on the coals.
    5. The concept is when the contents of the tin are super heated, there isn’t enough air inside for them to flame up and gas escapes through the hole in the lid. This leaves the material charred but not burnt. Same way charcoal is made I think.
    6. So smoke started coming out of the hole withing about 10-20 seconds and continued for what seemed like 10-15 minutes!
    7. When the smoke stopped, I used the “tongs” to set the tin aside to cool.
    8. When I opened the tin…success!! I have char cloth that took a spark perfectly!
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
  • My first tarp shelter worked for all intents and purposes but I need much more practice securing the lines.
    1. I tied up a simple shelter to block wind and sun from a table on the site.
    2. Used two close trees and tautline knots to secure the top.
    3. Couldn’t find correctly placed trees on the back side so I used a couple stakes I had along and the same tautline knot.
    4. A little adjustment and the tarp was straight.
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
  • Boiled water on fire with a pot I bought as part of a collection from an antique vendor in town for $10. Collection included 2 canteens, 3 nesting pots with lids, a couple pots and, the reason I bought it, a connecting fork/knife for the mess kit.
    1. Found a stick with a bend that I stripped the bark off of and carved a groove in the nook to catch pot handle.
    2. Took longer than I thought but the water finally boiled.
    3. Used the hook stick to remove from fire and used another stick to tilt the pot and pour water in my steel cup.
    4. Mix in some hot chocolate and relax by the fire for a bit!
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
  • Made smores later but I don’t think they are an official bushcraft item. 🙂
  • Hobo meal for dinner
    1. Pre-cut and mixed potatoes, onion, garlic, and red pepper at home.
    2. Take out 2 sheets of tin foil and make a “bowl” to put food in.
    3. Cut up keilbasa and put everything in tin foil. Add salt and pepper.
    4. Pull over tin foil and fold over top on itself a couple times to seal.
    5. Fold up ends and press firmly to seal.
    6. Used “tongs” from before to place tin foil on coals
    7. Total of 10 or so minutes flipping half way through.
    8. Perfectly cooked and sssooo tasty!
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice
    From 2012-01-28 Bushcraft practice

This trip was short, local and really fun but I plan on taking longer time out when it gets warmer. Going to reorganize my stuff and plan a trip up to Shenandoah for a real boondocking trip I’ve been looking in to. I found it was actually very easy to go minimal while camping and I didn’t miss or use any of the usual items such as propane for lighting and cooking and camp stove even though I brought them just in case.

My sources of learning bushcraft and primitive living were almost exclusively youtube videos but special thanks go to Dave Canterbury with Wilderness Outfitters and Adam from Equip2Endure for their awesome tutorials and the detailed information they post!

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