Bushcraft is having fun in the forest without using technology. That’s my understanding, at least. Like any outdoor activity, it has its unique characteristics. Doing Bushcraft is slow, for example. You don’t want to exert yourself, because working up a sweat means you have to dry your clothes and you need to collect more water. So Bushcraft is relaxed. It’s is also defined by reducing everything to the bare minimum: no need for a gas stove when a fire suffices. No need for a tent when a tarp is enough. This reduction means that the more you know, the less you carry: knowledge about using your environment and available materials means you need to take less equipment.
I love this slowed down, deliberate way of being, which heavily relies on skills and knowledge. I call it the Bushcraft Mode. Like the martial ways, the benefits of the Bushcraft Mode extend far beyond its immediate practice.
Applying it on the job, for example, could mean thinking fast and planning well, but working slowly and deliberately. It can mean focusing on quality and the application of all my knowledge in contrast to the dreaded ASAP culture where doing comes before thinking. Working in Bushcraft Mode is slow enough that you can be ready for any situation. Just because you’ve had the time to prepare. It can lead to doing the right thing because you’ve taken the time to gather all the knowledge, instead of trucking on in the wrong direction because you need to reach that milestone by tomorrow.
To apply the Bushcraft Mode in my private life can mean focusing less on stuff and more on friends, less on owning many things and more on knowing how to skillfully use everything I own. It can mean using my environment to get creative instead of buying more stuff. Cooking in this mode, I will use few high-quality ingredients—and take my time and produce something simple but great.
For me, operating in Bushcraft Mode is akin to a rediscovery of slowness. Of quality. Of deliberation. Of taking time to do things right.