American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Monday, November 03, 2008

Getting Too Good?

Is it possible to get too good at various aspects of bushcraft?

I can regularly start a fire with a single strike of my firesteel in any conditions and it's getting more and more difficult to put enough wear and tear on my firestarting kit to make it look like I've been using it.

I have built a firestarting kit that all but assures success under most circumstances and it all fits into an Altoids tin. I've wrapped the tin with electrical tape and submerged the tin for an hour to see if water would leak in and ruin my tinder but I've had no problems.

The kit contains small pieces of fatwood, a Bic lighter, firesteel blank, cotton balls, a file, and some charcloth.

We've all heard the mantra: The best anything in a survival situation is the thing you have with you at the time and the best anything you're NOT carrying is worthless.

I carry this kit with me at all times when I'm outside and it makes my lack of mastery over the hand drill, bow drill, and fire saw less significant. I can use my file to strike rocks to find one that sparks, use the charcloth to get my tinder burning, and then use the Altoids tin to make more charcloth. The cotton balls work with the firesteel and lighter and the fatwood can be added to burning tinder to get wetter twigs hot enough to burn.

A tough to start fire may require me to restock the kit when I get home but half the fun of an outdoor adventure is the preparation.

Thanks for reading,



At 4:26 PM, Anonymous said...

It's like anything - practice makes perfect. Think of all the people, very educated people in fact, that have no idea how to use a match to start a campfire. They would simply hold the lit match under a green log and expect it to catch fire. Compare that to an eight year old who skillfully lights the family wood stove every morning using dry twigs or birch bark as tinder.

At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too good at bushcraft? Not possible.

You are not practicing bushcraft. Using up the contents of a pre-made tin is actually practicing survival skills.

If you go to the bush for 3 months, you will exhaust your pocket tin. Then what? Just because you do not do that, does not make it less relevant. It is a matter of perspective. If I never left my house, I could claim that turning the knob on the stove to boil water was "bushcraft" and I was perfect at it :)

Bushcraft is about looking at the environment around you. Knowing want plants and trees are your allies, and if they will work for your particular need (catching a spark), while at the same time understand how you can nurture them to help them thrive too!

I rarely use the contents of my fire kit. Instead, I look around and try to find resources around me.

Once you can do that, in all 4 season, well then we could relocate you to another part of the country or the world, and the learning can be begin again.

Too good? I think that is near impossible.

I am not trying to come across negative. I love your blog. I just think you need some reflection on your perspective of bushcraft.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...

I think you may have misread the tongue in cheek nature of the post.


At 8:28 PM, Anonymous James said...

3 thoughts:

1) It's sad that by using your firestarting kit, you're already so much better prepared than the average American (and for the record, I'm an American).

2) One of the responsibilities of Bushcraft as I see it is to pass on the skills you master.

3) No one gets my humor either.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...

LOL! Sometimes it's the medium and sometimes it's the joke...

My wife didn't really get the humor of it either.

Ah well, keep trying I guess. ;)




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