Review – Water-to-Go Water Filtration System

Water-to-Go bottle

In general, water bottle filtration systems work by filling the drinks bottle with untreated water; you then suck the water through a micropore filter, rendering it safe to drink.  They are great because they reduce the need to carry all your water supplies, you just re-fill a small bottle at the nearest water source, be it a muddy puddle or a river.  They are especially useful for travellers (in areas where tap water  is unsafe), wilderness campers,  survivalists and preppers.   They also bring peace of mind to those concerned about fluoride and chlorine added to your water supply.

I am currently reviewing the Water-to-Go filter bottle and have found it a robust and well designed bit of kit. It is made of tough food grade plastic with a rubber sleeve to improve your grip.  It has a wide neck which aids water collection and it also has a lever on the nozzle that makes it easy to flip out without contaminating the mouth part.

Over the last few months I have used it in a variety of situations; for example, on survival courses, while hill walking, canoeing and in places where I would be wary of drinking the water without treatment.  In fact the water supply to my house comes directly from a hill stream and drinking it through the Water-to-Go bottle reduces the irony taste, improves the clarity and seems to increase hydrating quality of the water.

What is particularly impressive about this filter bottle is its ability to the remove 99.9% of pathogens and most chemicals from practically any condition of freshwater (not seawater).  It can even be used in turbid water and test results from three independent laboratories (in London, India and the USA) give you confidence when using the bottle with dubious quality water.  For more details see the Water-to-Go Website: www.watertogo.eu.

So how does it work?  Here is a quote direct from the product website:

“Water-to-Go uses three different technologies forged together in one filter to filter over 99.9% of all contaminants in water. The medium used in the filter was designed for the NASA space programme and consists of:

A) Filter medium with one of the smallest pores sizes ever developed for water filtration
B) The traditional technology of activated carbon particles (that reduce bad taste and odours) used within the filter medium so that it is much more effective as there is less adhesive holding the carbon in place thereby providing a greater surface area for the carbon to work
C) The medium releases a positive hydrostatic charge when it comes into contact with the water

No other water filter technology combines these three technologies and delivers results at low cost.”

The replaceable filters typically last for a couple of months of regular use and will process 130-200 litres.  There are two main models available – the 50 CL and 75 CL bottles which come in at  £12.99 and £24.99, respectively.

I am sufficiently impressed with Water-to-Go that I am considering selling them on my survival courses.

 

Review – Montane Featherlite Down Jacket

On my trips to the Arctic and the Scottish mountains my heavy duty down jacket has been vital during periods of inactivity or when serious cold sets in.

Recently I was asked by Blackleaf.com to review for one of their lighter weight  jackets – the Montane Featherlite Down Jacket:
http://www.blackleaf.com/Montane-Featherlite-Down-Down-Jacket/bl3319519.htm?colour=Black+Kiwi

I have been testing it out here on the West Coast of Scotland for the last few weeks and I have to say I am impressed so far.

Firstly, being down it naturally compresses to a very small size. The coat and sac weigh an impressive 460 g  which can compress to a ball of only 14 cm in diameter. Actually the stuff sac is not totally necessary as you can use the pocket of the coat as a sac and then zip it up on itself.

For those interested in travelling light and optimising warmth per unit size and weight, this jacket works really well. I have used it recently while climbing on the Skye ridge and it is great for instant warmth when you are waiting around or belaying. Also the windproof pertex outer is great when the wind picks up.

Clearly the coat is well made and designed – it uses high quality 750+ fill and a variety of the baffles help to minimise heat loss. I am over 6 ft tall and I like the way it has ample space around cuffs and lower back.

The liner is fast breathing and quick drying so it copes well with sweat and showers.

All in all a very useful, minimum bulk item – great as backup insulation on a canoe trip in the event of a capsize, on a cold winter’s night or up in the mountains.

I am looking forward to testing this out in the Arctic next winter and will report any extra observations to this page.

 

Winter Bushcraft

swedengroup photo

With the winter solstice past, and Christmas festivities coming to a close, the new year is a good time to get out in the woods and hone winter bushcraft skills.  There are many challenges out there at this time of year: shorter days, colder, windier, wetter conditions, plant food is scarce and tree identification is potentially harder because the leaves have fallen.  There may also be conditions unique to winter such as snow and ice.

Extreme examples of these conditions are found in polar and mountainous regions. These can quickly become life threatening environments without the correct equipment and skills. However, temperate conditions with wind and rain  often take people unawares and with the associated chill factors can also be deadly.

In December, our Winter Bushcraft weekend on the west coast of Scotland was very well subscribed, and we have another date scheduled for Sussex in January.  So, what can you learn on one of our Winter courses?   For a start we look at clothing systems to provide the first level of protection from the environment.   We cover ways by which you lose heat, and cold injuries (such as frost bite and hypothermia) – how to avoid them and how to treat them.  We also look at shelter building in winter, how to survive a winter’s night without your sleeping and shelter systems.  For example we  look at heated shelters such as long log fires, heated beds and enclosed shelters.

For some people, identification of trees becomes a challenge once the leaves have fallen, so we look at tree shapes, colours and bud identification.  Knowing your trees in winter is obviously very useful – for example choosing hot, slow burning woods for a long log fire can make a big difference.  We also cover game preparation and trapping as this may be an important food source with fewer plant foods around.  Lighting a fire in winter can also be much more challenging in wet and windy conditions – we will demonstrate how to do this with nothing but a spark or friction ember and natural materials collected in the woods.  I’ll write a blog article all about wet weather firelighting soon – something you need to cover in depth living on the west coast of Scotland!

So while winter may not seem the most inviting time to be out in the woods it can definitely be very rewarding and  fun. Also, having developed these skills, it should boost your confidence and effectiveness if you find yourself in a winter survival situation or even get caught in a drawn out power cut.  If you want to take things a step further have a look at our Arctic courses which cover survival skills at temperatures often below -20 degrees with deep snow and ice.

Autumn Foraging in a Mast Year

hawthorn processing

hawthorn processing

It’s a great year for Autumn foraging! In the woodlands of Sussex and many other parts of Britain, we are experiencing a mast year.  Mast years are those years when trees produce fruits or nuts in great abundance.  Mast years are probably caused by a complex combination of natural periodicity, climate and weather conditions.  For foragers, both human and animal, they are a rewarding time and provide an opportunity to store up for lean times ahead.

Last weekend in Sussex we saw large numbers of chestnuts, acorns, hawthorn and crab apples as well as edible fungi. Fungi-wise, in a single  meal we mixed slender puffball, penny bun, shaggy ink cap, beefsteak fungus and parasol mushroom – delicious!

Amethyst Deceiver

Amethyst Deceiver

basket of chestnuts

basket of chestnuts

Nuts and fruits also made a tasty and nutritious addition to our evening meal of spit-roasted rabbit.

Sweet chestnuts, (not to be confused with the toxic Horse Chestnuts aka conkers) taste best when roasted by the fire.  They are also quite good eaten raw, once dried out properly.  Sweet chestnut is a great timber tree, often grown for fence posts and shingle tiles for roofs.  Although naturalised throughout the UK, it was originally brought to us by the Romans.

Acorns are another plentiful resource this season. I really enjoy this time of year when acorns are constantly dropping around us.  It’s good luck if one lands on your head! Actually most people don’t realise that acorns can be eaten if treated to remove the toxic tannins. These are bitter compounds that can be removed by repeated boiling until their water no longer goes a red brown colour.  Each time you have to change the discoloured water. The other, more passive way to remove tannins is to soak them in a stream for several days. The processing is worthwhile as, nutritionally, an acorn is about 50:50 starch and fat.

acorns being boiled

acorns being boiled

Talking of acorns, last weekend we made a good brew of acorn coffee.  This was done with two, 20 minute boils, changing and dis-guarding the water each time. The shells tend to split during the boiling process and are easy to remove.  Once shelled the kernels are rinsed, drained and roasted next to the fire in a metal pot. We were careful to keep stirring them so that most of the nuts went a coffee brown colour, but did not char too much.  The roasted nuts were crushed in a mess tin using the flat head of my axe.  They were then ready for spooning into a cup of hot water rather like conventional coffee. It’s a reasonable substitute for De-caf coffee and a real taste of the British woods in Autumn!

There were also fruits to be found – we came across elderberries, bird cherries, hawthorn berries, sloes and crab apples.

Shelling acorns

Shelling acorns

On other occasions we have processed the pithy, slightly sweet, hawthorn berries into a puree, removing the large pips (containing toxins). The puree sets cold into a jelly and can be sliced and dried into fruit leathers.  It is remarkable how this process both preserves the fruit and also intensifies the sweetness.

As for the crab apples, we chopped them up fine and added them to a flat bread – a great lemony taste. We also chopped and boiled crab apples into a fruit sauce to add to our trout.  It’s a tough life surviving in the woods!

acorncoffee

drinking acorn coffee!

acorn granules

acorn granules

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace

This summer I joined a “Leave No Trace” trainers course at Glenmore Lodge.  Minimal impact is something that Wildwood Bushcraft has always built into its outdoor practice, but I was interested in learning more about this formalised approach and the prospect of passing this on to other outdoor users.  Leave No Trace originates from the Center for Outdoor Ethics in the States, but its framework is being increasingly accepted by outdoor providers here in the UK.

Literally leaving no trace can be tricky, but it is an aspiration that makes us think about the effects we each have and the multiplication of those effects by the many people using the outdoors.

Leave No Trace is founded on 7 key principles:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Leave No Trace has arguably a higher relevance in Scotland where  Outdoor Access rights allow greater freedom to roam and camp in the countryside.  You only have to look at areas close to population centres to see the effects of irresponsible land use.  I once collected up 3 bin bags worth of rubbish left by a single group of campers on the side of Loch Lomond!  Litter is an obvious blight and one that most of us are aware of, however people vary in what they consider acceptable to leave.  For example some people burn cans and plastics and leave the residue in a fire site or leave bio-degradable food waste and cigarette butts behind.  These signs can be ugly for others to see and there is also the effect that organic waste may have on plant growth, nutrient levels in streams and the effects on animal movements. It is also quite surprising how long some common items persist before they decompose.  Here are some decomposition times for common items given by the Australian Department of the Environment:

  • Banana Skin 3 – 4 weeks
  • Paper Bag 1 month
  • Cardboard 2 months
  • Apple core 1 – 2 months
  • Aluminium Cans > 1 million years
  • Orange Peel Up to 2 years
  • Cigarette Butts Up to 12 years
  • Plastic Bags * Up to 20 years
  • Plastic Bottle * 450 years
  • Glass 1-2 million years

* Petrochemical products never truly breakdown and remain in the environment forever.

For these reasons we  burn organic matter and carry out all other litter on Wildwood Bushcraft courses.

Wild fire in Inverpolly, Scotland

Wild fire in Inverpolly, Scotland

Fire is another potentially big impact.  A campfire is fundamental to bushcraft and a wonderful thing to experience in the wild, however, when fires get out of control the effects can be devastating.  I remember a couple of years ago encountering a massive wild fire in Inverpolly during one of our canoe expeditions.  During the same weekend multiple fires took hold all over the country – this was  due to the combined effects of dry, windy conditions and a bank holiday weekend with lots of campers.  One of the main problems was that people didn’t recognize the high risk conditions and carried on with their normal firelighting practices.  Burning toilet paper was reportedly responsible for a least one fire.  Apart from the human safety risks caused by wild fires there are also the impacts on nesting birds, invertebrates and tree regeneration programmes.  It is therefore vital to recognize the changing fire risk levels and then either avoid fire lighting altogether, or take extreme precautions.

It  is also worth thinking about the effects of our activities on the ground and erosion in general.  One person is unlikely to have much impact but in popular areas we need to consider the cumulative effects.  Leave No Trace philosophy suggests we travel and camp on durable surfaces.  In popular areas we should stick to existing paths, where practical, and in remote places distribute our impacts.  We should build our fires on mineral ground where the fire site  is more easily restored, less likely to damage the ground, use an existing fire site or use a fire bowl or similar that protects the ground and the seedbank.  If we ignore this advice we end up with multiple burnt patches which are ugly and unnecessary.  Managing, extinguishing and disguising fires is also an important part of the Leave No Trace approach and also good bushcraft.  When I am traveling in the wilderness  I really don’t like finding traces of other people and their camps – it’s as if the wildness of the place is somehow diminished.

Respecting wildlife is another important cornerstone of Leave No Trace.  This includes an awareness of protected areas, breeding birds and avoiding damage to plants and ecosystems generally.  Many of us love to watch wild animals up close, when we can, but we must balance this with the need not to disturb them.  We should also avoid feeding animals and keep our pets under control.

Leaving things as we find them is potentially a challenge when practicing bushcraft.  Nevertheless, with a little thought and effort we can minimise our impacts.  I have already mentioned managing fire impacts but when we build debris shelters or harvest materials such as live wood or edible plants we are obviously not leaving things exactly as we find them!  Here I think the key is to minimise ecological and visual impacts and operate in a sustainable way.  For example, if we need to cut small amounts of live wood for carving we just remove a few branches not young trees. We weigh up the visual impact of removing a branch and tidy up offcuts. We also select trees that can withstand coppicing and will thus re-grow.  As for leaf shelters, in the wild sites we use in Scotland we tend to dismantle shelters after use and distribute the materials.  When foraging, be it for plants or shellfish, we make sure we don’t over-exploit an area by spreading out our efforts and allowing areas to recover if necessary.

Another more general consideration is the spread of non-native invasive plants.  If visiting an area where invasive species are rife we should make a concerted effort to clean our shoes and clothes to avoid spreading seeds to pristine areas.

One important thing we can do to help with all this is, to plan our trips into countryside.  A well planned trip will mean we are well equipped to deal with waste disposal, fires (including back up methods such as stoves if fire risk is high),  we will also have researched and have considered wildlife issues.

In my opinion  Leave No Trace provides a useful framework for taking care of the countryside and minimising our impacts.  Wildwood Bushcraft provide one day workshops on request,  offering guidance and training in the 7 principles.  This can also be incorporated into an expedition or other outdoor activity.  For those attending such training days we provide  a recognised Leave No Trace certificate.  Give us a call on 01687470415 if this is of interest to you or your group.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a Buff in your survival equipment?

Do you carry a buff (aka bandana = cylindrical, flexible fabric, typically used to protect face and neck from cold) as an essential part of your outdoor kit?  It certainly ticks three important boxes for survival kit, being lightweight, compact and multifunctional (including some life saving uses).  For years I have used buffs  in mountain environments where they provide vital wind protection for neck and face.  They are also essential on our Arctic Survival expeditions.  If you try dog sledding, snowmobiling or just going out in windy conditions at Arctic temperatures you will soon be risking a frozen face without one!

Most buff owners know that the garment can be configured in different ways to make a cap,  a balaclava, a head band, a scarf, a wrist band and so on.

Discussions with our Arctic instructor, Toby, led me to think further about other uses for a buff and what an incredibly versatile piece of kit it is. For example, it can be used as a sling for an injured arm, a bandage or even a tourniquet (though tourniquets should be used only with medical training to prevent extreme blood loss).  A buff could also be used as a crude water filter, a small foraging bag, or a bag for soaking and leaching tannins from acorns.  It could even provide glare protection if you have lost your sunglasses. The list goes on. Let me know if you have used it for any other survival applications.

Survival Weekends

I’ve just finished running our 70th Wildwood Survival Weekend!  Over the past 8 years we have held these courses in woodlands of Sussex, the Trossachs near Glasgow, and on the west coast of Scotland. It has proved a popular concept!  Take people away from their technology-driven lives and spend a weekend living off the land and getting to grips with the basic realities of life! Activities like collecting water, finding  food, creating shelter and lighting fire – all things we take for granted at home, but are vital skills  in the wild. wildwood3

Why do so many people seek out this Survival Weekend experience?  It  takes some motivation to forsake the comforts of modern life and spend a challenging weekend living frugally in the woods! Many people tell us they want to reconnect with nature and to attain a degree of self-sufficiency and simplicity. I guess we are going back to our neolithic roots and there is something deeply satisfying in that – something that is missing from modern life.  Some folk joining the course are concerned about climate change and sociological breakdown and feel they will be better placed with the skills they can learn on a Survival weekend.  Others are just looking for a challenge, an adventure or a new experience. They are tired of watching others doing it on TV and want to have a go themselves!

So what happens on a Survival Weekend?  For a start every weekend is different, coloured by different people,  weather and seasons. We also like to mix things up a bit!

Our Survival Weekend is based on the idea of surviving in one place rather than navigating out or seeking rescue. It  has a strong bushcraft survival element. The course is open to novices as well as those with more experience – I think the course works well for both levels, as those with experience can build on existing skills and test themselves, while for novices it is a real adventure.

foraging   DSC00296

We want to give our students a taste of living off the land without it being an endurance challenge or boot camp.  Some modern ingredients and game are provided at the beginning. After all, it is a learning experience and we don’t feel this would be served by challenging people too hard at the start. As the course unfolds we remove and phase out the brought in ingredients. Some of the first tasks students get to grips with are spark firelighting, setting traplines, collecting and purifying water, gutting and skinning rabbits, foraging for wild plants and fungi and of course building a shelter for the night. It is common for people to hit the wall a bit on the Saturday afternoon due to tiredness and withdrawal from sugar and caffeine. However by the evening when we are tucking into our spit cooked rabbit and foraged vegetables morale has usually lifted!  This is a great opportunity for stories and banter round the fire.

wildwood8

Most people get a better nights sleep on their second night – aided by fatigue and their new improved shelters. On Sunday we usually cover wet weather fire lighting, fire by friction, fish preparation, improvised traps, cordage and carving.  It is interesting that even after a day or so you start to acclimatise to the diet and way of life. Sleep patterns begin to follow the  day-night cycle, and routines are established like water collection and trap checking.

wildwood15

Recently we introduced a two day add-on to the Survival Weekend which we call the “Survival Challenge” course. After learning the skills on the weekend course we spend a further two days living entirely off the land.  During this phase we only eat what we forage or catch and only drink what we collect. In some ways it is a more leisurely phase as we have done the ground work building shelters and establishing trap lines.  The time is roughly shared between foraging,  fishing and resting! It is nice because we have done the withdrawal phase and have settled into a simpler diet and mode of life.

As the course draws to a close, perhaps we view modern life from a new perspective.  Taps, kettles, fridges, hot showers and comfy beds!  Most of us will return to the comfort and convenience of our lives with renewed appreciation, but nevertheless part of us remains forever connected to the simplicity, self-reliance and beauty of life in the wild woods.  Many of us will return. I hope you enjoyed reading, and hope to see you on a course soon! all the best, Leon

wildwood1

 

Lime – Swiss army knife of trees

lime leaves

Lime foliage

The lime has got to be one of my favourite trees – not just for its tall leafy elegance, but for it’s multitude of uses in bushcraft.

When I mention the lime tree on bushcraft courses people sometimes think I am referring to it’s exotic, citrus-bearing namesake! In reality, the small-leaved lime is native  to Britain and was, in fact, one of the early colonisers after the last glacial retreat.

The scientific name Tilia cordata alludes to the cordage (string) that can be made from it’s inner bark fibres. Another name for the lime is “Linden tree” – derived from the old English word Linde which again means rope. In early summer I sometimes harvest a small branch, score and prise off a gutter-like length of bark.  The bark is then left to soak in water for 2 weeks.  This allows bacteria to break down the inner bark so it transforms from stiff “cardboard” to flexible layers of ribbons.  Although a somewhat fetid process, once rinsed and dried the fibres acquire a pleasant, leathery fragrance!  They make fantastic soft cordage – great for everything from fishing lines, bow drill strings and rope.

Lime cordage

Lime cordage

At one point in my bushcraft career I was lucky enough to work in a woodland sprinkled with lime.  I quickly discovered that the same bark fibres make great tinder (material that lights with a spark). If you can find a dead standing branch, snap it and pull off the bark and then work it with your hands you will soon have a fine mass of hair-like fibres.  Even when wet, these fibres can be quickly wrung out and dried in a warm trouser pocket.

Lime timber is also known as “bass wood” -  a material with some quite unique properties. It has a very low density, is soft, and has a low combustion point (easy to set fire).  It makes for a great carving wood due to its softness and tendency to hold its form and not warp.  In the past, lime boughs have even been hollowed out to make dug-out canoes! The wood also makes a great kindling, particularly feather sticks (shaved sticks used for firelighting) and an excellent fire by friction wood. In fact, it is possible to make up an entire bowdrill (fire by friction) set from the lime tree, including the bow string!

In the spring the newly emerged leaves make a good addition to a fresh leaf salad, with their beautiful heart-shapes.  Later, in early summer the lime flowers drip nectar on unsuspecting cars!  At this time the flowers can be collected and steeped to make a pleasant “Linden Tea”.

So the lime can provide you with a drink, food, great carving wood, a fire, and some string!  If you have a lime in your woods you should indeed count yourself lucky!

 

 

 

 

What is the difference between Survival and Bushcraft?

wildwood1The terms “survival” and “bushcraft” are often used interchangeably and yet sometimes treated as separate, even competing, disciplines. As a bushcraft survival instructor I obviously have my own views but I wanted to take a step back and look at these terms anew.  It set me thinking about what these expressions really mean, how they relate to each other, and in fact whether they are discrete entities or perspectives on the same subject?

Here are some dictionary definitions I found for “Survival”:

“The process of remaining alive or in existence.”
“The process of carrying on despite hardships, trauma.”
“The act of perseverance or remaining functional or viable.”
“The act or fact of surviving, especially under adverse or unusual circumstances.”

These definitions cover all forms of survival and not specifically wilderness survival, nevertheless they are useful.

Bushcraft on the other hand is defined as:

“Skill in anything pertaining to bush country, as in finding one’s way, hunting or finding water.”
“Ability or experience in matters concerned with living in the bush.”
“Skills gained by, or necessary for, living in the bush.”

Important distinctions here are those of duration and adversity. Wilderness Survival is about methods and psychology for dealing with unexpected and adverse circumstances that threaten our lives outdoors. More often we are talking about a relatively short period in which we either return to safety or perish.

From the above definitions for bushcraft, one of the operative words is “living”. This implies a long-term strategy and not necessarily an unexpected situation, or an immediate threat to life.  The longer duration implicit in the term “bushcraft” also sheds light on another important distinction – the knowledge of natural resources and their sustainable use.  Our ancestors and modern day aboriginals were expert bushcraft practitioners – they would have possessed a profound knowledge of their natural environment, passed on from their forebears. In a survival situation however, use of natural resources may have less of a significance and sustainability would be low priority.  The longer time span allocated to bushcraft would also allow the development of tools, community effort and greater levels of comfort in the wilderness.

So on the surface there appear to be fairly neat distinctions between wilderness survival and bushcraft. Put simply survival methods are about unexpected emergency situations, keeping yourself alive and getting back to the safety of civilization. Bushcraft is about using nature to sustain yourself for protracted periods in the wild, often voluntarily.

So how do these ideas relate to bushcraft and survival training in modern society?  Most of our lives are relatively disconnected from the aboriginal hunter gatherer lifestyle, some city dwellers dramatically so.  To be thrown unexpectedly into the wild would for many be a hostile and life threatening experience. People want to know how to deal with such a situation – practical advice on what to do and how to think.  I suppose you could regard this as a kind of defensive strategy which fits well with the ideas of preparedness that extend to urban survival. In my view these are perfectly useful and valid approaches.

There is however another perhaps complementary approach which is to embrace the wilderness, seek it out and learn to understand and live in it.  This can be as simple as spending a few days living in the woods, collecting your own water and lighting your fires with sparks and supplementing your food with foraged items.  The motivation to learn these bushcraft skills is often a little different from the motivation to learn survival skills – it may be more about the satisfaction of re-connecting with nature, interest in learning crafts and gaining some level of self-reliance in the wild.  True enough some people attending bushcraft courses are concerned about the changes in society and climate change and want to be able to rely more on the land for basic necessities.  It is interesting that in some ways survival can be seen to look to modern civilization for short-term salvation, whereas bushcraft looks to the wild for long-term salvation! Personally I think both views are valid and not conflicting. The possession of both skill sets and attitudes make for a rounded approach.

Although I have made some distinctions between bushcraft and survival it is important to consider that some of the key skills are common to both approaches.  For example,  the four pillars of survival – fire, water, shelter, food contain skills that are central to both disciplines.  It is in the objectives that differences may be found.  For example, in a short-term survival situation food may be a lower priority, but for bushcraft, food is fundamental because by definition we are looking at a long-term situation. More to the point, with correct bushcraft knowledge, food is all around us in the wild!

Also the kind of shelter we would build in a bushcraft living scenario would be more elaborate than a simple overnight survival shelter.  Fire again can be very important in both survival and bushcraft but the number of uses for fire in a bushcraft living situation would be greater. In survival we might use modern materials to ignite and establish our fire, but in bushcraft we are looking to do this with natural materials. Again we are looking at a longer time span – modern fire lighting materials would eventually run out, however there are unlimited combustible materials in nature if we know where to look and harvest them sustainably.  Navigation is also an important bushcraft and survival skill, but it is the objective that is different. In bushcraft it is knowledge of your home range and the ability to move around to collect resources, in survival it is usually about getting back to civilization.

Perhaps it is because many of same skills apply, that distinctions between bushcraft and survival have become blurred and confused. If we have those skills we can use them to fit our objectives.

Of course it is possible for a survival situation to become protracted when rescue doesn’t arrive.  In this case survival often turns to bushcraft with a concomitant shift in mindset. Typically the survivor stops expecting someone else to rescue them, focuses on their immediate environment and gets on with plans to improve their lot.

Equally we could be happily practicing bushcraft in the wilderness when a change in circumstances throws us into a survival situation!

In the end, it is good to understand the distinctions of the two disciplines, but also where they overlap and complement each other.