Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine – Issue 84 – Jan/Feb 2020

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“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” (Henry David Thoreau)

Happy New Year from all of the team here at Bushcraft & Survival Skills magazine.

2019 was a superb year for us, with some notable highlights, including a visit to the phenomenal Global Bushcraft Symposium in Alberta, Canada, the IWA outdoor trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, and of course the Bushcraft Show. Also, in my new role as Global Ambassador for Bushcraft World, I travelled alone to visit some of our friends and sponsors in Sweden. But a new year means new beginnings, and it’s time for us to think seriously about our adventures and projects for 2020.

You can call it a New Year’s Resolution if you want, but having a plan of action (even if you don’t stick rigidly to it) is always a sound idea. Many of the activities that fall under the banner of ‘bushcraft’ are seasonal, and we often only get a short window of opportunity to make the most of them. One classic example of this is the spring harvest. By researching and making notes of the recipes that I’d like to try out in advance, it really helps me to take full advantage of every stage in the growth cycle of plants such as Allium ursinum (Wild Garlic) or the collection, tapping, of birch sap.  Another example is ‘bark craft’, which depends to a large extent on the easy removal of tree bark during the spring and summer months. This versatile resource can then be stored for use on craft projects throughout the year.

This philosophy of forward planning could accurately be described as hunter gatherer thinking, and for our ancestors the knowledge of when resources would become available, and how to make full use of them, would have been integral to their survival. By adopting a similar mindset, our experience of time spent outdoors can become far more rewarding and productive. And on the subject of productivity, in this issue Paul Donovan will be discussing that age-old survival question… should I drink my own urine?

In my experience all the best expedition ideas start with some plans written on a beer mat, and Megan Hine takes a look at how we can turn those ideas into reality.  Dave Canterbury considers fire lighting and tinder in this issue’s Bushcraft Basics, while Torbjörn Selin looks at the dangers of hypothermia.  Lofty Wiseman suggests that Life is What You Make It, while Tim Gent encourages us to consider wellies as bushcraft footwear and John Rhyder introduces us to the skills of trailing wildlife.

Ed Stafford looks at survival TV, while Marc Cox heads to the other end of the technology spectrum and tells us about mud.  Also in this issue, Rich Harpham looks at bushcraft, the outdoors and mental health, and Steve Evison considers our relationship with woodland.

For those keen to use the darker days to be constructive, Ian Nairn guides us through the process of making a budget waxed canvas billy pouch, while Ben and Lois Orford use salmon skin to produce a bag for our tinder.