I saw a very interesting video today on you tube pertaining to the defination of what is bushcraft .......... the video my Tim Smith detailed a chart designed by a friend of mine Stuart Goring (credit where credits due) which contained three overlaping circles - circle one was primitive skills, such as fire by friction. circle 2 was modern skills such as camping and the use of a nylon tarp. circle 3 was re-enactment or classical camping such as canvas shelters and flint and steel - now the video argued that where the three circles overlapped that was bushcraft ......... further it argued that by being thus viewed it was also inclusive of all "disciplines of the outdoorsman.

A good theory and a nice cuddly way of including all people no matter how little or much they know or how little or much kit they like to use and one I would say was pretty reasonable.

BUT (and no words before a but are usually worth anything)

I still cant argee, and further I still cant understand the need to define bushcraft ........... firstly where the three fields overlap they create a triangle of skills that would surely be bushcraft and not the entire circles ........... if we thus agree this small triple over lap area is bushcraft then surely this tells us that a small part of such field is bushcraft and not the whole? It therefore doesnt define which skills are deemed bushcraft and which arent? For example how much bushcraft is there in modern camping where the camper rolls up in his mobile home with electric fittings and satellite tv? Yet going by the defination used on the video this is bushcraft??

Do we need a definition?? I dont feel I need to define my hobby, the thing that gives me pleasure - it just is what I do and have done all my life ..................if I need to define them then I'll turn to Ray Mears Original and best book "the survival handbook" (the green one as its know) here Rays introduces us to bushcraft thus,"do you like clean air, fresh water and the wonders of the natural world? if so read on for this book is wrtten for you. The skills contained within this book are not new, experts have been writing about them for nearly a hundred years, grouping them together under the well-suited title of woodcraft ............... the aim is to describe the methods by which you can find natural alternatives to modern outdoors equipment, and by so doing enhance your perception of nature"



Anonymous said...

Gary, can you post a link to that video? I'd like to watch it, too. Thanks!

Survivall said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxvVfgx9PBU&feature=g-u-u your wish is my command

Anonymous said...

Thanks, genie! ;)

Anonymous said...

After watching the video, I'd have to agree with you, Gary. There really isn't a clear indication of exactly what is considered "bushcraft" in each of those outdoor styles.

In any case, I think the term "bushcraft" is just a modern invention which covers certain popular activities and commercial products. People have always been doing outdoor activities and will continue to do so. Some use modern gear, some traditional and some ancient. Most people these days combine all three (myself included). Regardless of what name we give it, it really just comes down to camping and wilderness living. :) I don't even like using the term bushcraft anymore because of the meaning it has taken on in recent years. I prefer the terms "woodsmanship" and "woods loafing" these days because they're vague. ;)

Anyway, thanks for bringing up the topic.

Ross Gilmore said...

I think you are exactly right.

I don't know why people need to define anything. It seems to be human nature. We feel a very strong need to belong, and in order to do that, we need to define our own group and exclude others from it. "You are not doing bushcraft", "You are not a real woodsman", etc are just ways of saying "Our fraternity is the best".

bored adult said...

Speaking from a UK perspective I don't think bushcraft means anything much any more (that's assuming it ever did of course). The activities that now seem to be included under the heading are so far ranging that almost anything outdoorsy or olde worlde can be shoehorned in. If I were being cynical I'd say some of the inclusiveness I mention above is market driven - the more 'bushcrafters' there are, the more money there is to be made from them.

For myself I rarely use the term bushcraft for what I do as for me it conjures up images of overweight middle aged men sat on camp chairs round a fire a couple of hundred yards from their car showing off their latest shiny toy or whittling yet another mishapen spoon. Come to think of it perhaps I have found a definition of bushcraft after all.

Survivall said...

Bored adult - you may have something there!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you'll never admit it, but you're still just camping out.

Survivall said...

Anonymous - why didnt you leave your name?? But thats another matter.

Your wrong I will admit it - of course its just camping in one form or another BUT thats not the point - the point is the "inclusiveness" bracket!!

Other comments on here echo my own views