Learn how to build an overnight bushcraft camp with this DIY tutorial and earn a survival skill you can use for life!
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In this article:
- Bushcraft Is More Than a Survival Skill
- More Tips for Building an Overnight Bushcraft Camp
Build an Overnight Bushcraft Camp and Survive the Night!
What Is Bushcraft? Made popular in Australia, this is another term for wilderness survival skills. It also means living off the land and thriving in nature without modern amenities.
Bushcraft Is More Than a Survival Skill
In today’s featured topic, you’ll learn how to build a bushcraft shelter from scratch. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what bushcraft is in terms of survival.
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At its core, bushcraft is about being one with nature. Men have always used natural resources to his advantage; however, it’s important not to take it too far.
This can be a difficult line to toe, but it’s very important that we, as survivalists and outdoorsmen, have respect for nature. It is also critical that we do our best to leave it at least as good as we found it.
Bushcraft itself can be quite simply explained as the skills needed to enable you to survive, live, and thrive in a wilderness environment. Generally, without any modern amenities, these skills can only be gained through knowledge and real-life wilderness experience.
Here, we will teach you how to build bushcraft camp, plus some tips and techniques on bushcraft and camping!
1. Pick a Location
First, location is everything when building a bushcraft camp for your comfort and safety. Thus, the ideal location will have to be even and flat, and far from possible hazards like falling rocks and dead trees.
On that note, avoid loose ground ledges and set up camp as far from the water’s edge as possible to avoid flooding hazards. An area with a good vantage point will also be ideal, and a morning shade is a welcomed bonus.
2. Consider the Wind Direction
If you’ve been camping for a long time, you are probably familiar with the prevailing wind of the area. This wind rose resources from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will also help.
The idea is to build your overnight bushcraft camp shelter opposite the prevailing wind. Based on experience, this helps prevent rain from blowing in your shelter and for ventilation.
But, this is also situational, and you may choose to be weird about this and have it your way.
I like my camp entrance facing the rising sun so I can wake up to it. After all, your own experience will be your best teacher.
3. Collect Materials
Now that you’ve decided where to set up camp, collect materials in the area. Collect anything with potential use around camp for your shelter, though.
Materials for building a fire shelter and for starting a fire, for instance. Fallen trees, debris, leaves, twigs, and barks are valuable, both in starting a fire and building a shelter.
You might also want to employ your botany 101 to avoid poisonous plants like poison ivy.
4. Make a Rope
Ropes are a bushcraft essential when building a shelter and for other survival uses like tying things up or for first aid. It’s also a good thing you will not run out of fibrous materials to make some sort of rope wherever you are.
If you find yourself in the desert, you can make rope out of the yucca plant. The barks of trees like cedar are wonderful sources of rope out in the forest, indeed.
The following are also plants from which you can make a rope:
- Water Hyacinth
- Coconut, etc.
5. Know Your Knots and Lashing Techniques
Basic know-how of the essential knots is a given among survivalists. In fact, it is also important in building a bushcraft camp, but you also have to consider the type of knot used when building a shelter.
Besides the knots, how to tie pieces together is another important skill you need in bushcraft camping equipment. Lashing or ropework is important if you don’t want your makeshift roof crashing down on you in the dead of the night.
What Is Lashing? It is arranging rope wires using a linking device which rigidly secures two or more items together.
When doing the lean-to design, a square lashing is ideal when you are using trees as support for your shelter.
- Bushcraft 101 A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
- Canterbury, Dave (Author)
6. Make a Fire Shelter
Survivalist or not, we need not elaborate on how fire is essential for survival. Fire provides clean water, food, warmth, and defense from wild animals, and so much more, indeed.
Yet, keeping a fire protected and going can be the least of all concerns, especially for inexperienced campers.
Building a fire can be tough even for survival experts. Keeping it going, especially in the rain is even more challenging, though.
It can be frustrating to see the fire you labored on put out by rain. It is even a smart idea to build a fire shelter first before you start a fire, especially in areas where precipitation is highly likely.
More Tips for Building an Overnight Bushcraft Camp
When building a bushcraft camp, the design or style seems of little importance, but remember, a bushcraft camp setup does not allow you the luxury of amenities. You will have to rely on the environment and what it has to offer.
Consider these 5 bushcraft shelter ideas and styles when building a bushcraft camp:
- A-Frame Shelters
- Lean-to Shelter
- A quinzee or snow cave
- Debris Hut or Spider shelter
- Swamp bed shelter
You may also want to consider these tips: How To Build A Shelter Using Natural Resources!
Bushcraft is not all about how to survive in the wilderness — it goes far beyond that. It is also, if not more, about creating sustainability and being able to live comfortably within a natural environment.
Being able to live your life by being part of our natural world using a more indigenous human approach is also at its core. Using these skills to live off the land is one of the most satisfying things you can do, both physically and mentally.
The connection you get back from nature is hard to compare with anything modern life can offer. These bushcraft skills take time and effort to learn but all are learn-able for everyone, regardless of age.
Want to give bushcraft a try? Check out the video below from Joe Robinet to learn how to build an overnight bushcraft camp:
As modern people, we can always learn new skills and ideas from old ways. In fact, learning how to build an overnight bushcraft camp is the perfect example!
What would you add to this guide for building an overnight bushcraft camp? We will appreciate your tips and suggestions in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 5, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Last update on 2020-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API