7 Best Bushcraft Gear For Survival and Preparedness

Bushcraft GearThe Essential Bushcraft Gear For Serious Survivalists

The ability to invent, create and use tools is one of the major ways humans differ from animals.

Bushcraft gear is the group of tools we first invented as a species.

The gear we first crafted from sticks, stones, and bones found in nature. To make knives, arrows, spears, fire, shelters, etc.

The best bushcraft gear are the tools used to make other tools.

For example, having a bushcraft knife opens up a world of possibilities to build hundreds of other useful tools and items.

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Before humans became advanced engineers and scientists, we played by the rules of nature.

If you go back far enough in history, survival was an everyday endeavor; it was the only lifestyle we knew.

No comfortable couch was waiting for us at home, or a steamy hot shower either. There were no grocery stores or prepackaged food to meet our hunger pains.

And worse yet, no indoor plumbing, so when “nature called,” we were already there because the wild was our home.

Living in those circumstances required a very particular set of tools and skills. What we today call bushcraft.

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So What Is Bushcraft?

Over the years, we’ve refined and perfected our instruments of survival. And bushcraft became an art form, much like martial arts or rock climbing.

The tools have remained unchanged for centuries, while our computers and iPhones seem to evolve every few weeks. However, bushcraft gear and tools are timeless.

Today living in a remote off-grid wilderness is much the same as it was for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Our bodies need the same security: fire, shelter, food, and water. And the tools used to secure those needs are impressive in their simplicity and functionality.

Now, in today’s society, we typically don’t get to choose when and where, and under what circumstances we end up stranded in the wilderness. So a collection of bushcraft tools do you no good stored in your garage.

For example, if you go down in a plane over the high country, you won’t have many bushcraft tools with you. (And if somehow you do, kudos, that’s impressive).

So I’ve compiled a list of the best, most essential bushcraft gear. I’ll describe their purpose, where you can buy them, and briefly explain how to improvise each. But first, let’s get one important definition out of the way:

Bushcraft is the art of surviving in the woods. The official definition is:

“The skill gained by or necessary for living in bush country.”

What’s Bushcraft?

But I’m going to apply the term more generally in this article. I am not limiting it to surviving “in the woods or forest” but to in the wilderness at large.

Surviving in the mountains, lost in the woods, stranded on an island, or traversing a desert. Bushcraft is the art of survival anywhere. And bushcraft gear is useful in any survival situation.

Best Bushcraft Gear For Getting Started…

1. Survival Hatchet or Axe

If you haven’t read Gary Paulsen’s book, Hatchet, you need to do yourself a favor and get it now. The book follows a young man stranded in the wilderness with nothing but his trusty hatchet.

He then uses this hatchet to survive through a winter in the wild alone. It’s an incredible example of how versatile and useful bushcraft gear can be.

With a quality survival hatchet, you can cut wood for a fire, shape branches for arrows/bows to hunt for food or build a shelter. The possibilities are endless!

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This is exactly why I bring a hatchet with me on every excursion I go on.

For the most part, using a hatchet is straightforward: hack away.

And, if the hatchet’s edge is sharp enough, you can also use it to shave and score wood.

There are tons of places to buy a hatchet. Any outdoor store or hardware worth visiting will carry an assortment of hatchets.

And if you search online, you’ll find a selection of brands, shapes, weights, and styles to choose from. You’ll be able to find the right hatchet for you regardless of your style, need, or budgetary restrictions.

Don’t worry; there’s a hatchet out there for you.

Choosing A Proper Hatchet

1. Gransfors Bruk

Gransfors Bruk is my favorite company for hatchets and axes.

These hatchets are high-quality, but they are not the lightest (nor the cheapest).

But you can’t beat the quality.

So you know these bushcraft axes will last you a lifetime.

2. Friskers

If weight is your primary concern, then go with this Frisker 14-inch hatchet.

This hatchet one only weighs 1.4 lbs due to its light (yet still strong) Nyglass (nylon/fiberglass composite) handle construction.

Improvising a Hatchet

The most important part of any hatchet is the head. It needs to be thick and sharp. However, it doesn’t need to win a beauty contest.

There are a lot of things that you can use to achieve this. Scrap metal and sharpened stones are usually the best improvisation options.

Once you select a hatchet head, lash it securely to a handle using cordage. It should be good to go when you are sure the head will not come flying like a lethal projectile.

Here’s a video showing a stone hatchet without using cordage.

Primitive Technology: Baskets and Stone Hatchet

2. The Fixed-Blade Homemade Bushcraft Saw

4. Flint and Striker

Fire is the granddaddy of a survival essential.

I never leave the house without a survival lighter, and I keep a pack of stormproof matches in every backpack I own. Plus, I bring a fire striker on most trips.

Why? Because a spark has saved countless lives over the years.

And the best part about a striker and flint is it works even if it gets wet.

So if you want to keep an emergency fire starter on your boat, you should use one of these. If you plan on backpacking through a coastal region, use flint and striker instead of matches.

Lots of outdoor manufacturers and survival companies make flint and striker setups. Some are cheap and lightweight; others are a little more expensive and flashier.

But they all serve the same purpose, and they are all reliable.

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