One of the essential skills any camper needs is how to make tools and equipment from what’s lying around in nature. Here are eight of the best to try.
1. Make a cutting tool from flint: Take a piece of flint and strike it with a stone to get the sharpest piece you can, then sand one edge of the flint so it doesn’t cut you when you use it. Instructions and photos here.
2. Build a lean-to shelter: The brush lean-to design is a basic shelter you can make using trees, a large rock or anything sturdy. Find two trees slightly apart, then tie a branch between them a few feet from the ground. Lean several shorter sticks vertically against the bigger branch, driving them into the ground. Then fill the gaps with brush and make a sleeping mat. Full instructions on lean-to shelters here.
3. Make a bow: It will take a bit of time to make a high quality bow, but making one quickly in the wild is still possible. Choose a good flexible piece of wood such as juniper or young bamboo, and cut notches to hold the bow string, made from fishing line, vine or any other durable material you can find. Full details here.
4. Make a cup or bowl from a coconut shell: Make a small hole in the bottom of the coconut with a nail and put the nut in a smaller bowl to drain. Then cut the coconut in half, take out the meat and sand the inside. Full instructions are here.
5. Make a mat from bulrushes: You’ll need about 25—40 bulrushes per mat, depending on what size you want it. Use a knife to cut the leaves to the same size, and lay them out horizontally. Take another leaf and weave it in and out of the horizontal leaves. More instructions here.
6. Weave a basket: You can place a rock in the bottom of the basket and sink it to keep food or drinks cold in a river. Make the basket using the same weaving method as the bulrush mat, weaving upwards rather than keeping the leaves flat. Video here.
7. Make a canoe or kayak from a hollowed out log: Humans have been doing this for thousands of years, from Cro-Magnon man to the Cherokee. The log is cut from a felled tree, split in half and hollowed out to make a dugout boat, canoe or kayak. More detail here.
8. Make wind chimes from bamboo: Bamboo wind chimes are one of the easiest bush craft items to make, using glass beads attached to bamboo stalks. Full instructions are here.
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