18 Most Important Bushcraft Skills and How to Survive in the Wild 

When you are out in the wilderness, away from civilization, it is best to be prepared for anything. Bushcraft skills will have a significant impact on your survival rate if something goes wrong. There are many skills and tricks that bushcraft masters use to survive in the wild.

On this list, you’ll find all of these best bushcraft skills as well as some basic ones that will help you get started, and you can increase your chances of survival dramatically. After mastering these basic bushcraft skills, you’ll be able to take on any survival situation, and if something does go wrong, you won’t panic!

1: Find Your Way Without a Compass

Find Your Way Without a Compass

Find Your Way Without a Compass: If you’re lost in the wilderness, finding your way without getting too far off course can be best. This process is called “dead reckoning,” and there are many ways of doing it. All that’s required is some basic math skills! Check out this list of dead reckoning methods below, or learn more about how they work here.

Estimate distance traveled by counting steps taken (matter every left step as 100 yards). Then estimate the time elapsed since the last known location. Let’s say 1600 hours = 16 hours until sunset, and we’ve walked 2700 paces, so our current estimated location should be just over 12 miles from where we started about 20 minutes ago at 1700 hours.

Use your watch to find the sun’s direction with the time of day. It’s best if you don’t have a compass, and it can also help figure out which way north might be.

2: Create Fire Without Matches or Lighters

Create Fire Without Matches or Lighters

Create fire in the wild is one of the essential bushcraft skills you can learn. Learning how to create a fire without matches or lighters is the best way to get started in bushcraft and survival skills.

Fire-making basics are essential: be sure that your tinder bundle has enough fuel (dry leaves, small sticks), as well as kindling (shorter pieces of wood) and larger logs ready at hand before lighting it up. Get comfortable with this process before venturing into more challenging situations, and it’s also very important bushcraft skills for camping.

Create fire by friction: Basic equipment needed includes two long dry sticks about 12 inches longer than the arm, a bundle of Tinder (dry leaves, dry moss), and a flat stone.

First, lay the two sticks parallel to each other on the ground, with one end overhanging the edge by about six inches or so. Hold down this end firmly against the floor and rub it briskly back and forth with your hand until all that’s left is hot coals at the tip of your best bushcraft skills. Add some kindling to these coals before blowing gently into them for more oxygen to coax fire out from smoldering pieces; best bushcraft skills! Then add larger logs’ best basic bushcraft skills.

Create Fire With Flint Stones: This method requires only natural materials found around your best bushcraft skills. The basic bushcraft skills are a complex, compact rock that has jagged edges. The best way to use your bushcraft skills for fire-making is by using it on top of another piece of wood and then striking the sharp edge with an iron-bearing stone (like quartzite) or other metals object.

One can also make sparks fly when they hit together two pieces of steel, like old railroad spikes, if this method doesn’t work out after repeatedly trying the best Basic Bushcraft Skills!

Create Fire With A Lens: This process requires light to generate heat. You need three things: dry Tinder, a focusing lens made from rocks, or acrylic lenses.

3: Water Collection and Purification

The most important bushcraft skill is finding and purifying water, whether it’s rainwater or a natural spring. There are many different ways of doing this according to the terrain you’re in: digging for creeks, finding runoff from mountainsides during heavy rains, tipping over large stones that conceal pools or lakes underneath them, etc.

One way of filtering out impurities from flowing bodies of water is by using activated charcoal combined with sand. Water Purification is also crucial for your health. It must include bushcraft skills to practice because it will help you to stay hydrated in the wild.

4: Use Knives and Axes

A knife is an extension of the hand and should be used with that in mind. It just can not only carry out many different tasks, but it also helps to protect you from attackers when defending yourself or your family by using it as a melee weapon.

Axes are indispensable for bushcraft because they help clear away brush and trees, often called heavy work to prepare a campsite; build shelters; harvest firewood on large tracts of land; cut logs into sleepers. If you are confused about how to select the perfect axe for your next bushcraft trip checkout this article about Best bushcraft axe.

The trim branches off fallen trees so they can be dragged along the ground without being wedged under their weight between two neighboring obstacles like rocks, roots, stumps; remove bark from felled tree trunks before bucking them lengthwise into boards, etc.

5: Fishing


There’s more than one way to catch a fish, and it depends on where you want to go fishing.

The most common way to fish is by using line and hook. You can make a fishing rod out of flexible branches or bamboo, rope for the string, and some hooks made from metal wire or just strong twigs in need of sharpening. If you want to catch larger fishes like sharks, use bait on your hook instead of worms used for smaller fishes like carp.

The best places where you could try this method would be small streams with shallow water without too many obstructions, so you have direct access to the bottom where there’s more likely going to be fish hiding.

The lakes offer plenty of space between trees and bushes around them because it will allow more effortless movement when pulling out the caught fish from under these obstacles.

6:Using Rope and Tying Knots

Tying knots is one of the essential bushcraft skills. It can be used for fishing, trapping animals, and many other purposes. There are various ways to tie different types of knots, and each has its use. For example, a bowline knot is often taught in school because it’s easy to learn how to tie with just two steps.

However, if you want something more secure, try using a constrictor knot which will help prevent anything like weeds or branches from slipping through the line when you tighten the rope around them.

Below this article, we’ll explore three common yet valuable knots that every aspiring survival and bushcraft person should know:

The Bowline Knot: A simple way to make loops out of any long piece of cordage, the bowline knot is an essential skill for any outdoor adventurer.

The Constrictor Knot: This durable and secure double loop knot will not slip like a single line, but it can be difficult to untie when wet or dirty, so make sure you know how before using this one in dire situations.

A Lashing Knot: A multi-purpose survival tool that can be used as a tourniquet bandage, tent stake, clothes hanger, or more!

Some of these knots are easy enough to learn after only a few minutes of instruction, while others might take hours to master completely. You must consider your needs before choosing which type of knot is best suited for you.

7: Wood Carving

Wood Carving

Wood Carving- One of the most popular and best ways to start a fire in a survival situation. It’s also the most challenging and time-consuming to master.

How to do precisely Wood carving in a survival situation? The best way to do this is to use a knife to carve the carving into a branch. The best end of the wood is where you start, and it will be easier.

This Wood Carving should only be done when there are no other options for fire-starting or if you know how to make char cloth from items like cotton t-shirts, wool sweaters, linen, etc. (see following sections).

This skill takes time and effort before being mastered but can save lives in an emergency. If you are confused which knife is best for woodcarving we have already cover the topic about Best bushcraft knives reviews and Best Budget bushcraft knife.

These tips may seem very straightforward, but they’re worth knowing because not everyone knows these basics yet, Be prepared!

8: Hunting

Whether you’re looking to hunt small game or big game, hunting is a collection of skills, and it’s one of the most complex bushcraft skills to master. To be a successful hunter, one needs to have the patience and ability to track and a good understanding of animal behavior.

The first step is knowing where to start looking for your prey:

In open spaces with little or no brush or cover (think grassland), you’ll want to find trails through tall grasses that are used by a small game like deer, rabbits, foxes, etc.;

If there’s more vegetation available, then look for things like droppings, knocked-over branches, or disturbed leaves on the ground; watch out for tracks in muddy areas too! Try not to disturb any animal when possible, though.

Hunting can sometimes get ugly, but it’s a fantastic bushcraft skill that will surely help you if done right.

9: Prepping and Cooking Meat

Here’s a simple bushcraft skill for beginners: Prepping and cooking meat over the fire.

If you’ve hunted and killed an animal, the first thing to do is get the skin off. It will help your meat from burning while cooking it later on;

Pulling or peeling the fur away with a bushcraft knife can be tricky so try using heat (a lighter, for example) instead of place hot coals under a small area of skin until they turn black, then peel them away.

If there’s not enough fat, just cut around any blubber that needs removing too.

Now gutting: Cutting along the belly to remove entrails such as stomachs and intestines before cutting out organs like heart, lungs, liver, etc.

The next step is butchering, which leaves us with cuts of meat in various sizes. Any meat can turn smaller pieces of meat into roasts, while larger ones are ideal for slow cooking with stews/soups;

The final step is to dry the meat using a salt and sugar solution (or just plain old rock salt) which helps it last much longer.

10: Make a Tripod Pot Holder

Making a Tripod Pot Holder is a simple but most overlooked skill. A tripod pot holder is constructed from three sticks, and it is one of the first skills taught to new Scouts. The tripod allows for more excellent stability when cooking food over a fire or boiling water to purify it.

Creating a campfire requires that you have an open flame and Tinder, kindling, and larger pieces of wood, so they are prepared before needing them. Collecting these ahead of time will make your efforts easier during emergencies or on camping trips.”

Making a Tripod Pot Holder might seem like just another skill, but there’s more than meets the eye! It’s not only used for carrying around hot items such as coffee pots safely without scalding yourself too severely (or burning your hands), but it also doubles as an emergency signal for rescue. You can make a tripod pot holder using three rocks or logs that are well-spaced and at least 12 inches in height.”

11: Navigate With the Stars

navigate with stars

“Navigating with the Stars in the wild is something that not many people know how to do, but it’s a skill that could save your life one day. If you’re ever lost and trying to find your way home at night; there are three things you need to have: A map (preferably of an area where you’ve been before), some form of light sources such as a flashlight or headlamp, and knowledge on how stars can help and guide us.

12: Flintknapping for making tools, weapons, and other items 

One of my favorite bushcraft skills is Flintknapping. And even though it’s not something that I do very often, the few times that I have done this craft are some of my best memories from when I was living in a cabin deep in the woods for three months with no one else around to talk.

A knapper works on flint or other types of stone because they know how to shape stones into sharpened objects such as arrowheads and knives. A good example would be someone who has learned these techniques through years of experience and practice, but like any skill, there are many different ways you can achieve this result.

Flintknapping takes time and patience. It’s a craft that can be learned by anyone who has the dedication to understand it, and I would highly recommend this skill for any survivalist or bushcrafter because of how valuable these skills are in many different situations.

13: Identity Common North American Trees by Their Leaves, Bark, and Acorns

This section will tell you about the leaves, bark, and acorns of some familiar North American trees.

Leaves: Oak Trees are a species that is easily recognized by their distinctive lobed leaves that make it easy to differentiate them from other plants with similar leaf shapes such as maples or elms. Oaks also have broad, shallowly-lobed leaves compared to those on an ash tree with pointed lops on their edges due to being used for scouring pads. The oaks’ alternate branching pattern can be seen when they grow into extensive forests across the country, making them one of the most plentiful types on this continent’s landscape during any given year.

Bark: Oak trees also differ in the type of bark that they have. This can be categorized by whether it is smooth, which indicates a younger tree, or has small cracks in its texture showing an older tree known as “salt and pepper” because of how patches appear on their surfaces.

Acorns: Another way to tell what kind of oak you’re looking at is from the size and shape of their acorn’s cap – these are usually found at the top end where, when ripe, will eventually fall off, revealing a one-seeded fruit commonly referred to as “mast.” The caps themselves come in different shapes such as circular, heart-shaped, cylindrical (often called a cap), oval with pointy tips, or lobed like those seen on leaves.

14: Get Your Knife Sharp Enough in the wild

get your knife sharp

One of the essential skills you can learn this bushcraft skill at home is how you can sharpen your knife. This skill itself, and there are many methods for doing this, but we’ll cover one quick form here. You can use just about anything on hand as abrasive sandpaper, rocks, or even concrete. Still, one of the best things you have available to you when it comes time to get your blade sharpened up again is water stones (usually sold under the name “whetstones”).

These work by grinding away at any steel surface until a fine enough edge has been created across its entire width, so they’re perfect for getting rid of those annoying nicks and chips that always seem to show up after going through rigid material like tree branches.

We had cover an in-depth guide about: How to sharpen your bushcraft knife

15: Tinder selection and use

The best Tinder for starting a fire is dryer lint, but you can also use dead leaves and pine needles. It would be best to always carry some lighter or matches with you when going into the wilderness.

You want to have three different types of Tinder in your kit:

Small pieces that are easy to light.

  • Larger pieces like sheets of newspaper.
  • Strips cut from fabric.

These last two items make excellent stealth fires as they don’t produce much smoke because there’s no need for blowing on them constantly – place it over the red hot coals left by an old campfire or pile up sticks until they ignite.

16: Practice with Ferro Rods

To practice with Ferro rods, you’ll want to get an old can and fill it with finely shaved pieces of steel wool. You’ll also need a piece of paper that’s been torn into strips about the size of your finger.

Light up one end of the rod by scraping hard enough on it until sparks come off, then set fire to some tinder-like dryer lint or dead leaves – and slowly bring the lit tip towards the shavings in the can.

We’re using this method because lighting flammable material directly from a burning metal is complicated without additional help (a magnifying lens). Still, if you use these makeshift tools instead, anyone can start their fire! If you have a lighter, you might be able to make one of these.

17: Maintaining Your Tools

Tools are expensive! They also take a lot of time and energy to create, so taking care of them is essential.

Use natural materials found in your surroundings as much as possible instead of spending money on replacements when they wear down or get lost. For example, if you use strips from clothing for cordage, bark for kindling, or leaves for bedding – things that will inevitably need to be replaced anyway.

Keep all tools clean at the end of each day by wiping off any dirt with mossy sticks and washing them in cold water before putting them away. If you have soap available, it can be used to remove tougher stains like saponin (waxy coating plants produce), but make sure not to leave anything submerged overnight.

18: Tracking People and Animals 

tracking people and animals

Tracking People and Animals is a critical skill. You might need this if you are lost and can’t find your way back, or trying to hunt an animal for food, or even just out of curiosity about what’s going on around you—one of the best ways to track people by their footprints. It would be easy if the snow on the ground would be easy because all tracks will show up as clear imprints.

Still, most places have dirt trails that are harder to follow without knowing some tricks like walking slower or stopping more frequently than typically means they know someone else is tracking them, so make sure not to get too close; otherwise, you’ll scare them away. Another trick for following animals is looking at the droppings and the imprint of their feet as they left it.

You can use animal tracks to find food, water, or just about anything you might need out in the wilderness. If you’re lost, following a path will get you home more quickly than all those other bushcraft skills combined.

Here are some tips for reading animal tracks: Birds leave small round-ish footprints with two long front toes on each side of their three back toes.

Deer have four toe pads per foot that show up well when there’s snow on the ground because they like to run through low-lying bushes & shrubs where branches can’t touch them (making a “brushy” impression). Still, if there is no snow, then these impressions may not be as clear.

Apes have a big arched foot with four toes on the front and two back, while bears have five fingers per hand (usually claws).

Squirrels leave small round-ish footprints close together; chipmunks will come out of their hole to mark it by scratching one or more times in the dirt around its opening before going inside again. Rabbits are another common animal that leaves tracks: they’re fast plant-eaters that like to go forward then backward – this is called “crisscrossing.”

But if you see an impression where there’s no visible track for about three feet behind it, then keep following straight because that rabbit has stopped eating and gone into hiding underground!

Apes have a big arched foot with four toes on the front and two back, while bears have five fingers per hand (usually claws).


We hope this list of the 18 best bushcraft skills and how to master them has been helpful for you! Whether it’s just a hobby or you want to make a living out of your passion, we have compiled the must-know information. Try and master some of them on your own; these are all excellent bushcraft skills that anyone can develop into becoming an expert with practice. What’s next? Start practicing these 18 important bushcraft skills today. You will be glad that you did. When it comes to mastering any skill, there is no substitute for experience, so get out there and start practicing.

What are bushcraft skills?

Bushcraft skills are skills that you’ll need to use when you’re out in the wilderness. It can include any tool or technique that you might need to use to survive. You’ll probably use your bushcraft skills for anything that you’d be doing in the wilderness. There are quite a few different skills that one can learn to become a bushcrafter. The most common and most widely known are building shelters to hunting down food, wilderness survival, outdoor gear, and outdoor cooking. Learning your skills and what you’re comfortable doing is essential, so you can go about knowing what tools to look for.

How to learn bushcraft skills?

You can learn bushcraft skills by doing wilderness trips, wilderness survival courses, bushcraft courses, or online instruction. There are many skills and techniques that you can learn about bushcraft that other people don’t allow themselves to learn. These are things like making fire, how to hunt, how to use traps, and how to build shelters. You can also practice some bushcraft skills at home. These things can be helpful in other situations, but specialized skills like these are best learned by practicing them in the wilderness.

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