Archive | Primitive Skills RSS feed for this section

hickory-husk

Readymade Woods Whistles

While enjoying some much needed alone time this past weekend in the Chattahoochee National Forest, I was cutting through a stretch of woods with tulip tree, white pine, hickory, and oak. As I usually do, I picked up a large acorn cap for a whistle. Even though it’s been decades since my mother taught me […]

Read full story Comments { 3 }
Bite Me

Arrow Making

by Jeff Martin Primitive cultures and their means of making bows and arrows have always been an interest of mine. As a young boy, I remember visiting museums throughout the West with my Grandmother, where I had a deep fascination towards the Native American way of life. I always asked my Grandmother where the arrowheads […]

Read full story Comments { 3 }
Tata (13)

Aeta Jungle Survival Trek with Colonel Thomas “Tomahawk” Moore

I was lying on my bamboo bed in the cool of the early morning jungle dawn. I was using a damp cotton bed sheet as a blanket, and my reeking pack as a pillow. It was very uncomfortable. The humidity and my wet clothing were conspiring to make comfortable sleep impossible. It had been raining […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Bushcraft_Sidebar_1

Rabbitstick 29; Sept 13 – 19

Rabbitstick is the Granddaddy of them all when it comes to primitive skills gatherings, so make your plans now to attend. I hope to be there for a few days myself after a visit to the far north, so let me know if you are coming. Not familiar with the event? Let me fill you in […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Wild Woman

Wild Woman Claire Dunn: a Me vs. Myself Survival Story

A lot of people talk about “getting away from it all.” This woman did it Australia. For that, and the increasing interest in rewilding here in North American, I felt it pertinent to share her story from The Morning Bulletin… IT WAS another morning of missing lunchbox lids and avoided voicemails when a familiar voice […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
setonfrombuffalowind

Two kinds of fires…

Please consider this my humble attempt at a supplement to Steve Watts’ excellent article on the Camp Stove vs. Camp Fire.  In that article, Steve quotes Ernest Thompson Seton in favor of the campfire. Here is a great story about (and pictures of) Seton educating men (and boys) on fire in the traditional way. From the Fire-Craft chapter […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }
IMG_0912

Why Carry A Knife (and Fire-starter and Cordage)

There are very few things in this world outside of breathing, eating, etc. that I feel I need to do. Of those few, one of them is carrying a knife. I know I am not the only one, many of you reading this feel just like me. Perhaps it’s in our DNA. Personally, this desire of having […]

Read full story Comments { 10 }
Photo:  Brandon Jacobs

1 degree; Wilderness Fire Starting Considerations

NEXT TO KNOWING HOW TO DRESS WELL, FIRE IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSH SKILLS THERE ARE, BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF THE FEW MEANS AVAILABLE TO MAKE UP MOST GREAT DEFICIENCIES. Master Woodsman Mors Kochanski’s excellent quote above sums it up.  Next to knowing how to dress well (reducing heat loss), fire is […]

Read full story Comments { 6 }
Steve Watts

Steve Watts Flint Knapping Videos

Two great videos of Steve Watts briefly discussing and demonstrating the skills and context of knapped points.   Steve Watts directs the Aboriginal Studies Program and the Traditional Outdoor Skills Program at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, North Carolina. Watts is the author of Practicing Primitive: A Handbook of Aboriginal Skills, Gibbs Smith […]

Read full story Comments { 2 }
Some of the author's Flint and Steel Kits.

Punkwood

When the realization set in to all the things punkwood offers with fire, and how available it is in the woods, I did the quintessential face-palm. This also happens frequently when I read the classics from Kephart, Jaegar, Beard, Seton, et. al. and see those simple and cool solutions that I didn’t take advantage of in […]

Read full story Comments { 5 }
Yes, that's me 20+ years ago.

Natural Insect Repellents

I was in my early twenties the last time I used manmade insect repellent. I hated what DEET did to my gear, especially plastic. And one can’t help wonder what it was doing to me! At that time in the eighties, I was really into hunting and fishing. Luckily those bug jackets that hold the netting […]

Read full story Comments { 15 }
Front view of debris shelter before being stuffed with leaves and door.

Suggested Outdoor Skills To Learn First…

When it comes to Outdoor Living Skills, I’ve heard it asked many times over the years… “what should I learn first?” It needs to be stated at the beginning of this article that our society is more fast paced than ever. And while the extraordinary amount of information that is so readily available is fantastic, […]

Read full story Comments { 3 }
Red Hands3

Trip Report: Australia

Just got back from more than a week in Australia.  While work took me there, I was fortunate enough to take my wife Stacie and spend a few days exploring the bush, learning from the Aborigines, and hitting some of the tourist attractions. For this report I will break it into four parts.  First, the […]

Read full story Comments { 10 }
Ernest Thompson Seton reintroducing friction fire to Native Americans.

Steve Watts Bow Drill (1985 video)

As our great friend Steve Watts says, “…without the context, it’s just arts and crafts.” To briefly put into context, the video below was shot in 1985, almost 30 years ago. That was BEFORE the internet. You remember, that time in our history when people actually shared outdoor living skills in person because they didn’t […]

Read full story Comments { 4 }
"Vortex" fire lay with chestnut logs.

Traditional Skills for the Modern Outdoorsman by Thomas Ray

Disclaimer: Although most of us here mix modern and traditional skills all the time, this article is aimed mainly at the individual with little or no knowledge regarding the use of traditional skills in conjunction with modern gear in the outdoors. Hopefully it will be helpful to those outdoor persons who happen across this site […]

Read full story Comments { 7 }
Close-up of the modified toggle for the Paiute Deadfall.  Click to englarge.

Modified Paiute Deadfall

Because it is such a quick trigger mechanism, you will find significant information on the Paiute Deadfall in ‘survival’ books and on the web.  At Rabbitstick this year I saw a modification that was new to me.  This mod makes it easier to set and I see no loss in speed.  Here is how you do […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Cool_Pyre_Mark_Warren_Article

Primitive Survival Skills in the 21st Century by Mark Warren (4 of 6)

If you missed Part 1, 2, or 3 start right HERE. A Light in the Forest ~ seeking the company of Fire ~ On the list of what to do in an emergency wilderness survival situation, building a fire is often assigned a low priority by survival experts. Here in the Southern Appalachians, two factors have […]

Read full story Comments { 1 }
Richard Bell teaching knots.

Primitive Skills Day at Chattahoochee Nature Center by Richard Bell

As a volunteer Naturalist at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell Georgia, I often incorporate a bit of primitive skills and knowledge into my interpretive hikes. When we walk along the river boardwalk trail, I may point out how the indigenous Cherokee or Creek would have used Black Willow as a headache remedy and materials […]

Read full story Comments { 3 }
Photo 3 - cairn

Instinctive Navigation: Keeping the ‘Dead’ out of Dead Reckoning by Patrick Farneman

As a child it amazed me the way my father could navigate in the woods.  It also amazed me that he could go the whole day without having to go to the bathroom, but that is another story!  We could head out on a trip, whether for a few hours or a few days, with […]

Read full story Comments { 2 }
Squirrel Leaf Nest

Primitive Survival Skills in the 21st Century by Mark Warren (3 of 6)

If you missed Part 1 & 2, start right HERE. A Place to Rest My Cold, Cold Body ~ self-made shelter ~ The earth giveth. And the earth taketh away – especially when it comes to body heat. The cold ground saps a mammal of its precious warmth. When you need to stay overnight in […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
The basic kit takes many forms, depending on the time period (primitive, historic or contemporary).

Packing for the Cherokee Campaign...Davidson's Fort...on the North Carolina Frontier

Steve Watts Opens his Wilderness Survival Kit(s) for Lost in the Woods (2 of 2)

This is part two of an interview done by the blog, Lost in the Woods.  Part One is HERE. By Liz Childers | Published December 9, 2011 In addition to directing the Aboriginal Studies Program at Schiele Museum of Natural History, Steve Watts is a member of the International Society of Primitive Technology. Their biannual publication is a great way to […]

Read full story Comments { 6 }
Practicing_Primitive_838

Steve Watts talks primitive camping skills with Lost in the Woods (1 of 2)

This article originally appeared in the blog, Lost in the Woods, and is a perfect fit for this site as we explore the different facets of Outdoor Living Skills.  Part Two will be coming with an added picture from Steve that did not appear in the original article.  Thanks Steve!   By Liz Childers | Published December 7, 2011 […]

Read full story Comments { 2 }
primitive survival skills

Primitive Survival Skills in the 21st Century by Mark Warren

The physicality of satisfying our essential needs today is virtually effortless – like strolling through the aisles of a grocery store or turning a knob to heat an oven. So why turn back history and roam forest and field to dig up edible roots? Why twirl a stick in your hands to near exhaustion in […]

Read full story Comments { 9 }
Mark Warren

Survival Foods in the Forest: the quest for protein by Mark Warren

Very few people actually plan a strategy for survival foods and survival when lost in a wilderness for a substantial length of time. As research has shown, however, a little survival training can go a long way when one is truly confronted with life-threatening circumstances. These days, it is worlds easier to simply stroll down […]

Read full story Comments { 2 }
Tinder Bundle made from the inner bark of Tulip Tree (Yellow Poplar).  Click on photo to enlarge.

The Tinder Bundle

  For fire and its continuation (chain reaction) three components need to come together: heat, fuel and oxygen.  So many folks into Outdoor Living Skills focus on the ignition or heat source.  While obviously a critical component, the other two-thirds are equally important… So let’s put ugly on the table.  Can’t tell you how many […]

Read full story Comments { 4 }