Wednesday, May 23, 2012
What is it with this "bushcraft"-thing?
I keep running across this word and the use of it and those that do wear it as a badge of honour and knowledge, fiercefully defending that title.
To me it seems this word is merely a clever disguise of the old and boring word "camping".... There, I said it.
You are a camper, skilled or not, but you are a camper!!! Or a hiker, a backpacker, an accomplished explorer or adventurer, hunter, fisher, outdoorsman, woodsman, trapper or whatever label you'd like to pin on a person....
In whatever form, ultralight hitech or weighed down with traditional materials, you still are a camper. You take your gear, go out there and stay there for any length of time and return home. To me, that is camping.
Kephart a bushcrafter? No, a old days-camper. Skilled and inspiring, true, but still a camper.
Nessmuk? The same goes for him and all the others, too.
Ray Mears? As much as I respect him, his knowledge and his skills, he still is a camper to me. Allthough I do believe that he could do very well as a bushcrafter. He has the knowledge and the skills. he just needs to sever the link to modern society and go LIVE the other way.
Real bushcrafters are the bushmen, living directy of the land, the original native Americans did the same. And the keyword here is LIVING, as on a permanent basis, 24-7 all year round and using the land's resources in a very direct way to sustain yourself.. Bushcraft is "primitive living", where primitive stands for no or very short processingtime as in the hunter-gatherer-way.
Western men has stopped being a bushcrafter long ago, the day they stopped using the land's natural resources directly and started to use these resources to manufacture items. Items like clothing, permanent houses and shelters, food and tools.
All those wonderfull skills and arts displayed by craftsmen working the leather, wood and bone... To me that has nothing to do with bushcraft.
Taking a hide, tanning it and wearing it as clothing or footwear... That is. But as soon as you start to process it, in any other way than strictly necessary.... it stops being bushcraft.
Bottomline to me;
Bushcraft is living your life out there, 24-7, all year round, using the resources you find in their most basic form to sustain your living.
This has nothing to do with disrespecting all those people who go out into the woods, hunt, live, make fire, knap flint or forage. It has nothing to do with being viciously envious of those able to whittle, carve, sew or otherwise make the most skillfully crafted knives, bowls, kuksas or leather items. (allthough I am a bit envious on htose who can).
I know the whole BC-community is going to be all over me. I don't care. Deep down they know I'm right if they stopped and honestly gave it some thaught.... but than again, that is not necessarily men's greatest ability anyway....
This is the way I feel about this thing, but I can be completely wrong about!!
Not that any of it matters, really.....