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The Absolute Best Bushcraft Gear for Survivalists

Despite what advanced survivalists might suggest, you should have more than a simple pocketknife on you when navigating a wilderness environment. The best bushcraft gear can help you create a makeshift shelter, stay well fed and hydrated, and even craft other helpful bushcraft tools!

If you want to start your next survival adventure out on the right foot, check out the best bushcraft gear list below!

Bushcraft gear on wooden table

Best Bushcraft Gear for Shelter/Safety

1. Tarp or Tent

To thrive in a wilderness environment, finding shelter should be one of your main priorities. Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the luxury of an RV or cabin, and you may not have the time or the well-honed primitive skills to construct a stable wood bushcraft shelter from scratch.

You can, however, rely on bushcraft tarps or tents. Either one of these shelters will effectively shield you from the elements and provide you with a dry space.

A tent is highly convenient, as it will usually include poles, stakes, and any other accessories required for setup. With some very basic knowledge, you can set up most tents within a half hour.

tarp shelter might have a slightly steeper learning curve than a tent; but with a little know-how, you can pitch an A-frame shelter using little more than a few guylines and poles!

2. Sleeping Bag or Space Blanket

As much as you might wish that you could bring your cozy bed along for the journey, you’ll need to turn to something a little more lightweight and portable. Sleeping bags and space blankets are two of the best options for a chilly evening!

Although a sleeping bag can usually be rolled up and stuffed inside a carrying sack, it still manages to take up a significant amount of real estate in a survival backpack.

If you can’t afford the room, try a space blanket! Although it doesn’t provide quite the same warmth as a sleeping bag, is both lighter and smaller. What’s more, it allows you to retain up to 90% of your body heat!

Bushcraft fire starting

3. Fire Starter Kit

One of the best bushcraft skills you can possess is the ability to start a fire, as it provides you with an energy source for light, warmth, and cooking!

While there are a handful of ways to start a fire — with a magnifying glass or a battery, for example — a fire starter kit allows you to start your own fire in just about any environment and at any time of day.

A fire starter kit might include any of the following items:

  • Lighter
  • Matches
  • Magnesium fire starter
  • Flint spark wheel
  • Cotton balls
  • Fire starter squares

Of course, you can buy a top-notch fire starter kit that is equipped with all of these items; but you can just as easily build your own!

4. First Aid Kit

While starting fires, crafting tools, and gathering resources, even the most experienced survivalist is at risk of an accident or injury — whether it’s a burn, cut, bite, or break!

In these types of scenarios, having a first aid kit on hand could very well save your life. A high-quality first aid kit will usually include the following items:

  • Bandages (various sizes)
  • Medications
  • Cold packs
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Adhesive tape
  • Splints
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Latex gloves
  • … and more!
Bushcrafters holding the compass in hand

5. Compass

Nothing puts a damper on an outdoor adventure quite like getting lost in the woods. Not to mention, delving into the unknown and losing track of your base can quickly put you in harm’s way.

compass provides you with a much-needed sense of direction and allows you to navigate unfamiliar territory. Purchase one and keep your pocket navigation handy in case your life ever depends on it!

Best Bushcraft Clothing

6. Bushcraft Headwear

There are a few different types of bushcraft headwear you should consider bringing along, depending on the season.

During the hot summer months, a wide-brim hat — and to a lesser extent, a baseball cap — will help keep the sun from damaging your skin. During the winter, on the other hand, you might opt for a warm beanie.

Another piece of gear to consider is a head-torch. If you need to do any exploring during the evenings, you’ll be glad that you packed this handy light source!

7. Bushcraft Shirt

Expert survivalists will tell you that layering is critical during any bushcraft trip, and flannel is a safe choice for most environments.

While you may be tempted to shed a layer or two during a summer day, the combination of an undershirt and a long-sleeve flannel will serve you well during a fall or winter evening!

Man in plaid shirt using friction bow to start a fire in the forest

8. Bushcraft Jacket

A heavy-duty bushcraft jacket, also known as an outer hard shell, is a must — not only because it provides maximum insulation but also because it protects your body (and clothing underneath) while you’re performing rigorous tasks — such as chopping wood, clearing brush, and collecting resources.

If you’re adventuring during the chilly winter months, you should also consider bringing a fleece or down jacket for extra warmth!

9. Bushcraft Pants

Combined with a pair of long underwear, a pair of rugged bushcraft pants will provide you with all of the warmth and protection you need to battle the harshest conditions — whether environment-related or weather-related.

During the summer, you can opt for loose, breathable, synthetic materials. During the wintertime, on the other hand, consider layering a pair of warm, fleece pants. Just remember to avoid cotton at all costs!

10. Bushcraft Socks

Wet socks can quickly turn an otherwise enjoyable outdoor adventure into a miserable nightmare. Make sure you pack multiple pairs of socks, and more specifically, wool socks with your bushcraft gear.

Wool socks not only keep you warm but also prevent your feet from getting sweaty. You’ll be especially thankful that you packed a few pairs of these cozy foot-warmers once temperatures drop!

11. Bushcraft Boots

A top-notch pair of bushcraft boots will not only keep your feet warm but also provide some much-needed protection.

After all, outdoor environments aren’t very kind to the feet! As you step on branches, rocky terrain, and other objects, the reality is that the average sneaker doesn’t stand a chance. Invest in a pair of boots made from durable materials instead — like leather or Gore-Tex!

Traveler in leather boots

12. Bushcraft Gloves

Even the most weathered hands should be equipped with trusty pair of bushcraft gloves. As you set up shelter, chop firewood, and clear brush from trails, it’s important that you not only keep your hands warm but also protect them against cuts and infections.

For maximum protection, invest in a pair of breathable, leather gloves. For maximum warmth during a cold night, add a pair of wool mittens!

13. Bushcraft Backpack

If you plan to bring all of your best bushcraft gear into the wild, you’re going to need somewhere to store some of these important items.

A bushcraft backpack, sometimes called a survival backpack, can help with this. These backpacks are much larger than your average backpack and feature multiple compartments for organizing your bushcraft gear.

What’s more, these backpacks are designed for carrying across long distances. Whether you’re trekking through the woods or hiking up a mountain, a bushcraft backpack allows you to bring your bushcraft gear along without it becoming burdensome.

Best Bushcraft Food

14. Canteen Kit

You can survive weeks without food, but you won’t last more than a few days without water. While the outdoors may have multiple water sources — streams, creeks, and rivers, for example — this water isn’t always safe to drink. It may harmful bacteria or toxic chemicals!

Canteen kits allow you to not only collect water but also purify it. A kit will usually include a metal canteen, filter, and metal pot that you can use to boil water over a fire.

Of course, this essential bushcraft cooking gear can be used for a handful of other purposes as well — including preparing and storing food!

Canteen Kit

15. Dry Food

Most foods can’t sit in a pack for weeks without spoiling. Certain dry foods, however, are the exception.

There are a variety of dry survival foods that not only boast an incredible shelf life and take up minimal space in a pack but also provide you with much-needed energy and nutrition:

  • Nuts
  • Granola
  • Trail mix
  • Dried fruit
  • Protein bars
  • Beef jerky
  • Freeze-dried meals

16. Fishing Line and Hooks

When your supply of dry food inevitably runs out, you’re going to need to turn to your environment for your next food source.

Fortunately, fresh fish can usually be found throughout nearby streams, lakes, rivers, and ponds. You just need a few survival fishing tools to catch them!

Of course, you can pack your fishing rod, tackle box, and full survival fishing kit if you have the space available. If not, you can make do with a roll of fishing line and a few hooks. Simply cut a branch from a living tree, attach your line and hook, and add some live bait!

Bushcraft knife

Best Bushcraft Tools

17. Bushcraft Knife

One of the best bushcraft gear items you can have on you in a survival situation is, of course, a dependable knife. In fact, many purists claim that a knife is all you need to navigate the great outdoors!

This is because a high-quality knife has many uses. You can use a bushcraft knife to cut rope, dig holes, split items, debone animal flesh, and more. You can even use a knife to defend yourself in a dire situation.

18. Knife Sharpener

A bushcraft knife is only useful while it’s sharp. Once a knife blade starts to lose its sharp edge, it’s no longer able to cut through branches, rope, and other items effectively.

To prevent your bushcraft knives from getting dull, invest in a top-notch sharpener that will allow you to keep your entire arsenal of knives in razor-sharp condition!

19. Bushcraft Axe/Hatchet

While a standard bushcraft knife allows you to make certain cuts, it’s not able to cut through branches and medium-sized timber very efficiently.

When it comes time to split wood, shape logs, or collect a bundle for a fire, a reliable bushcraft axe or survival hatchet is a must-have for your bushcraft gear. Although this small, compact axe can be wielded with one hand and may only weigh a few pounds, it can deal a mighty blow to a large branch!

Man holding bushcraft ax

20. Bushcraft Carving Tools

The truth is that having a few bushcraft carving tools and knowing how to use them can unlock bushcraft experiences.

Once you master the art of bushcraft and are able to wield carving tools skillfully, you can craft a wide range of items that become useful in a bush country environment — such as bowls, spoons, plates, and more.

A typical carving tool kit will include some of the following essential tools:

  • Carving knives
  • Carving jacks
  • Hook knives
  • Draw knives

As you continue to hone your carving skills, you’ll be able to bring fewer items from home and lean on your environment’s resources!

21. Bushcraft Saw

Although woodcutting is an essential bushcraft skill, a knife and hatchet will only get you so far. There are various tasks — such as handling large timber, clearing fallen trees from paths, and collecting large amounts of wood — that call for a bushcraft saw.

A saw allows you to not only cut through timber at a much faster rate but also cut precise lengths for building purposes. Fortunately, today’s modern saws are more portable than ever. Folding saws and pack saws take up very little room in a backpack!

Girl holding a saw and sawing wood

22. Bushcraft Shovel

While not quite as important as a survival knife or hatchet, a shovel is a bushcraft tool that often gets overlooked. When spending a significant amount of time in nature, however, it’s important that you “leave no trace.”

Waste not only prevents you from practicing good hygiene and keeping your environment clean but it also attracts animals. With shovel in hand, however, you’ll be able to dig holes, bury waste, and keep your area clean!

Load Up Your Backpack With the Best Bushcraft Gear!

Are you ready to stock up on the best bushcraft gear and try your hand at a survival experience out in the bush country? Whether it’s a survival situation or a planned trip into the wild to practice and grow your bushcraft skills, be certain to thoughtfully pack your bushcraft gear. You can never be too prepared.

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