Bushcraft is all about applying survival skills using the available resources in one’s natural environment. Learning to make the most out of the bare minimum can help not just in your outdoor adventures, but in your day-to-day life as well.
However, bushcraft projects aren’t all work and no play. They’re quite the opposite actually. It may be about survival at its core, but it is also an activity that you should enjoy pursuing.
Some bushcraft skills can easily be done from the comfort of your home so that the next time you step into the wilderness, you will be better prepared.
In this article we’ve compiled some of the most fun bushcraft projects you can do at home with materials that are readily available in or around your house.
Based on its historical context, flintknapping was the skill used to break larger pieces of stone to craft tools like knives, scrapers, as well as items like spear points, darts, and arrowheads for weapons. It was later also used to manufacture gun flints.
As with most skills, flintknapping will take a while to master. There are three basic tools you’ll require to practice this skill: a hammer, retoucher, and working pad.
You’ll also need to wear protective gear, including gloves, leg protection, and safety goggles.
One book you can refer to for this bushcraft project you can do at home is Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools by John C. Whittaker.
2. Feather Sticks
One of the most useful yet simplest bushcraft skills to learn is how to make feather sticks since they allow you to start fires regardless of the weather.
Making a feather stick basically involves taking pieces of dead standing wood or dry branches from a living tree and removing its outer layer (bark) to get to the heartwood.
The piece of wood is then shaved with a knife (make sure it isn’t a dull knife) to give you sticks of wood. This is where it gets a bit tricky as you need to have uniform movements as you apply your cutting techniques so that the shavings are consistent and you’re able to whittle a branch into pieces.
Using feather sticks are especially useful in humid or wet conditions like if your firewood has become wet.
This skill also lets you brush up on the art of bushcraft whittling. This is a great bushcraft project you can do at home to increase your comfort level with survival skills like these.
3. Water Purifying Techniques
The water you find in the wild may not be drinkable most of the time. Here’s where your knowledge of water purifying techniques comes in handy.
The easiest and most common way of doing this is boiling water from a water source.
You can also distill your water by creating a solar still with your water bottle. Dig a hole in the ground, insert a water bottle with a straw, and cover the water bottle’s hole with clear plastic so that no moisture escapes but the hole gets sunlight. The evaporating water will condense and get collected in the container.
Another effective way to filter water is by taking two containers — one should be a pot of water while the other should be covered with a piece of cloth. Crush charcoal from your campfire and place it on the cloth. You should then run the pot of water through your new filter. This removes sediment and contaminants in the water while improving its taste.
No time spent on this bushcraft project you can do at home will be wasted on something as important as supplying yourself with drinkable water.
4. Building Shelters
Building a bushcraft shelter is a basic skill that lets you camp in comfort. This bushcraft project you can do at home is easiest if you live near woods, but even if not, you may know someone who does whose woods you could borrow for a day.
On the list of important bushcraft skills, this is right at the top. Building a shelter provides you with much-needed protection from the elements and gives you a relatively safe place to rest.
The most basic and simplest of shelters can be made using materials like tree branches, leaves, etc. This skill is pretty important but it can also be easily practiced at home when you have time.
5. Making Rope
Yet another essential skill you need is knowing how to make a reliable rope out of bushcraft woven bark. Whether it’s to keep your shelter together, making animal traps, or fixing up a makeshift hammock, knowing a few braiding techniques can be extremely beneficial when you’re out in the wild.
Some of the best plants to use for rope-making are:
- Western red cedar
- Stinging nettle
This is another bushcraft project you can do at home to prepare yourself for survival situations.
6. Knotting Techniques
Learning different knots is one of the best bushcraft projects you can do at home for beginners. Though you won’t learn how to make knots overnight, you can become skillful at it with time and practice. The best part is you can easily practice knotting at home.
All you need to learn this skill is a guide. You can use online videos or physical books. Research the type of knots that will come in handy when you’re out in the wild and make it a point to practice at least once a day.
7. Making Hooks
Hooks are another useful tool to have when you’re out in the wild and are by yourself. Making hooks isn’t that difficult either, so this is an good bushcraft project you can do at home without too much effort. You can make a few at home and have them ready in time for your next trip.
To make hooks, you’ll need v-shaped branches and some rope or cordage. These little tools can be helpful in a variety of applications, from helping you hang your gear on a tree to hanging your pot above a campfire.
It doesn’t take much to make hooks with v-shaped branches. You can easily practice at home, but you do will need some knife skills for this.
8. Making Stakes
Stakes have many practical applications, particularly when you’re building a shelter or setting up a tent on a camping trip. Making your own stake isn’t that difficult though it requires some whittling. It’s quite similar to creating a walking stick since you also need to shave the ends of wooden barks.
To sharpen a stake, lay it horizontally on a flat surface and sharpen one side until it becomes pointed. You can also put a notch along the body so that the rope or cordage won’t fall off. This is an important bushcraft project you can do at home to get some good experience for the wilderness.
9. Making a Bow and Arrow
Knowing how to make camp tools like bows and arrows isn’t just useful, but it’s also something you can practice building at home. Fashioning a bow and arrow from your surroundings is an extremely useful skill as it can help provide you with food that is critical for survival.
When fashioning your own bow, find a piece of wood that is durable enough. You can use twigs from a tree and check how it breaks. If it breaks in two, keep looking. If it refuses to break or forms a fibrous fracture, you’ve found your future bow.
While synthetic cords make the best bow cords, you can also use materials like dogbane, milkweed, yucca, or nettle to make one.
Arrows can be made from straight shoots from trees, the most ideal being maple or willow. You can sharpen the end of your bow using your knife. As you can see, bushcraft whittling and knife skills also come in handy here.
You will also need to fletch your arrows so that they are stable in flight with either feathers or leaves. This bushcraft project you can do at home will be much easier to so in the wild if you’ve practiced some first.
10. Carving a Bowl
This basic bushcraft project you can do at home can be a fun activity if you have the required tools such as a spoon knife. It’s also a great way to practice your bushcraft whittling and knife skills. Using a regular knife or even better Buck knives work too. Just make sure you’re not using a dull knife because the odds of injuring yourself increase.
You can also make a bowl in the wild by using hot coals straight from the fire and placing them on the piece of wood you’d like to turn into a bowl.
11. DIY Stove
In survival situations, a stove can be a lifesaver since it can help you cook, stay warm, purify water, and can even be used to create tools since it enables you to work with soft metals.
Commonly found materials like tin cans, rocks, logs, etc. can help you harness fire and take your survival skills a notch higher. This bushcraft project you can do at home may be a little more involved, but well worth practicing.
12. DIY Cooking Tripod
An essential for camping trips is having a tripod that acts as a bushcraft furnace for cooking food. All you have to do is gather three fairly straight tree branches that are around 2 meters in length. Stand them up and bind them together with some twine at the top.
Once securely bound, spread the branches around 1 to 1.5 meters apart. Position your tripod directly above your campfire when it’s cooking time. You won’t regret practicing this bushcraft project you can do at home before going out into the wilderness where you’ll really need it.
13. DIY Fishing Kit
Instead of relying solely on ready-to-eat snacks and freeze-dried bag food, why not enjoy a fresh catch with your DIY fishing kit? Be warned, however, that this is more of a hardcore bushcraft project you can do at home that requires quite a bit of bushcraft skill to accomplish.
Don’t let this discourage you though. There are many tutorials online that will help you practice and prepare for making your own fishing kit.
14. Making an Animal Trap
One of our best camp cooking tips is to learn how to catch your own dinner. If you’re far away from lakes and bodies of water, make traps and snares for small animals. It’s a great way to make camp life enjoyable, get tastier food in the wild, and you get a wonderful sense of accomplishment when you see your traps work.
Wrapping Up Bushcraft Projects You Can Do At Home
Basic bushcraft projects like these help us feel more connected with nature and teach us practical skills. They remind us that there’s a world beyond Facebook, Wi-Fi, and Netflix that we can explore and learn more about.
They also take our camping skills a bit further by challenging us to develop our own basic tools and make do with whatever our immediate surroundings supply us with. We hope that these basic bushcraft projects inspire you to hone your bushcrafting skills and help you have fun. Don’t forget to keep practicing! If you’re looking for more bushcraft projects you can do at home, check out this list of 20 Bushcraft Leather Projects for Survivalists.