The First Rule of Bushcraft: Never Ask What Bushcraft Is
Woodcraft, field craft, prepping, wilderness survival, back-to-basics camping, Bushcraft is a lot of things to a lot of people. It may be just the current label for all the old outdoor survival skills we dutifully learned at summer camp as kids, then slowly forgot as jobs, family and responsibilities crowded them out for different pursuits. It may be just a faddish, anti-consumerist trend, a kind of Punk Rock of Camping, where the point is to get as much mileage out of basic, inexpensive camping gear and stuff you find on the ground just to see if you can do it. Or it may simply be another name for an old, old need; the need to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature on more basic terms.
But just as there is no one way to do that, there is no one way to define a style of camping that has blossomed on the internet in recent years, particularly on YouTube, where big, carbon steel knives, canteen cup bread, Swedish axes, and Army surplus tarps generate as much joy and glee as the latest $500 super gizmo to hit the pages of Outside Magazine.
“Bushcrafters” flourish on YouTube producing short, simple videos about wilderness survival skills and building rudimentary campsites. There is a lot of chopping, lashing, whittling and fire starting. For the most part, there isn’t much they do that isn’t covered thoroughly in a 1960s edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, but that’s hardly a knock on the Bushcrafters. Instead, it’s an enduring testament to the wisdom of the Boy Scout Handbook, and all the other wilderness survival guides we’ve collected – and neglected – over the years. These skills are fun, useful and if you spend a lot of time out of doors miles from civilization, one day they might actually save your life.
So here are some of our favorite YouTube Bushcrafters. Check them out! It’s like Scout Camp all over again. And it’s true. There really isn’t much you can’t handle with a good knife, 100 ft of paracord, and a reliable fire starting kit.
It probably helps to have a cool accent to become a bushcrafting phenon, but that's OK with us. Survival Lilly's semi-weekly show has tens of thousands of followers who follow her every move in the Canadian wilderness. Austrian by birth, Lilly is getting close to 30 million total views, and our theory is that it's mostly because of how awesome it is to watch her beat the living heck out of the bushcrafting knives people send her to review.
Boise's Own Burning Beard
Support your local bushcrafter! Burning Beard is LONECONE's resident expert on all things woodsy. Although we haven't quite got to helicopter insertion level yet with Burning Beard's weekly show, he can beat the living heck out of knives with the best of them. And he sings. There's nothing but upsides at Burning Beard Outdoors.
Joe's has a great channel with a lot of high production value. Joe thinks a lot about the larger meaning of bushcraft (if there is such a thing), and he's no elitist about what is or what isn't officially "bushcraft." Which is great. Whatever gets you out of doors and enjoying some detachment is Joe's passion. He's Canadian and has a cool logo. All good things too.
Great Outdoors Adventure
There are a lot of Canadians in this business, but bushcrafting isn't just a north American thing. Joel Buhia runs Great Outdoors Adventure out of Hong Kong, one of the most urban places on earth. He's also a fan of Bushcraft Essentials stoves as are we so that makes GOA alright in our book! If you can bushcraft in Hong Kong, you can bushcraft anywhere.
Stephanie Margeth - Bushcraft Stephi
We're not exactly sure if Stephi is a model who also does bushcraft, or a bushcrafter who is rapidly becoming a model, but it doesn't matter. Stephi paints, camps, provides social commentary and hits German night clubs all with equal aplomb. Super fun channel.
Shane Coffey Outdoors
Shane Coffey is an expert on the stove and fire side of bushcrafting and also runs several camping stove focused facebook groups. If you need to bake, broil, fry or sauté something next to your tarp-covered survival hut, Shane can hook you up and knows just the kind of stove that will get the job done. Fun stuff.
Scrambled O is a legit self-reliance guru with a lot of great, high-production value videos. He's crazy. Crazy like a fox, but that's what makes his show so entertaining. Check out the Banana Boat Breakfast sometime. Just keep on being you, Scrambled O.