Bushcraft, the art of thriving in the wild by utilizing your surroundings, is a skill that combines resourcefulness, practical knowledge, and a deep connection with nature. This blog post will delve into the essential bushcraft tools you need and walk you through the steps to build a weatherproof survival shelter, ensuring you're well-prepared for outdoor adventures and unexpected challenges.
Essential Bushcraft Tools
Before we start building a survival shelter, let's take a look at the critical bushcraft tools you'll need:
Fixed-Blade Knife: This is your most versatile tool, essential for cutting, carving, and various tasks. For this purpose, we love the Campcraft Delta, made by Smith & Sons Knives.
Folding Saw: Perfect for cutting wood for your shelter and crafting various camp necessities. The Silky Gomboy is hard to beat as far as folding saws go.
Axe or Hatchet: Helpful for processing larger pieces of wood, such as logs and branches. I like the Council Tool 24" Woodcraft Axe for this task.
Cordage: Paracord or bank line is vital for securing your shelter and camp setups. I usually opt for bankline in my shelter builds; it holds knots better, and I get more bang for my buck.
Building a Weatherproof Survival Shelter Now, let's walk through the steps to build a weatherproof shelter using these bushcraft tools:
Step 1: Choose Your Location Select a suitable location for your shelter. Look for level ground away from hazards like falling trees and flash flood zones. Consider the prevailing wind direction and position your shelter's entrance accordingly.
Step 2: Gather Materials Collect a variety of materials for your shelter, including:
Long, sturdy branches or logs for the frame- I always choose a wrist-thick log for any load-bearing structure.
Smaller branches or sticks for weaving and insulation.
Leaves, grass, moss, or bark for insulation and waterproofing.
Cordage to secure the frame and lash materials together.
Step 3: Frame Construction Begin by setting up the frame of your shelter. Use your fixed-blade knife, folding saw, and an axe or hatchet if necessary. Lean large branches or logs against a central ridgepole to form an A-frame structure. Secure these with cordage.
Kids Building an A-Frame Structure
Step 4: Insulation and Waterproofing Layer your shelter with insulating materials, starting with smaller branches or sticks. Then, add leaves, grass, moss, or bark to add insulation. Ensure there are no gaps where rain or wind can penetrate.
Step 5: Create a Bed Construct a raised bed within your shelter to keep you off the ground and away from moisture. This also offers insulation from the cold ground.
A-Frame over a raised bed
Step 6: Fire and Ventilation Incorporate a small fire pit inside your shelter for warmth and cooking. Ensure proper ventilation to allow smoke to escape without compromising the shelter's waterproofing.
Step 7: Roof Covering Layer your shelter with waterproof materials such as leaves, grass, or bark. Overlap them to create a watertight barrier. For added waterproofing, use a tarp or space blanket if available.
Step 8: Entrance and Closing Create a shelter entrance that can be sealed to keep out the elements. Use a flap or door made from additional materials and cordage.
Step 9: Final Inspection Double-check your shelter's sturdiness, insulation, and waterproofing. Make any necessary adjustments before settling in for the night.
Building a weatherproof survival shelter using basic bushcraft tools is a valuable skill that can keep you safe in the wilderness or during emergencies. Incorporate the right tools into your bushcraft kit, and you'll be well-equipped to handle various outdoor scenarios. Happy bushcrafting!