Bushcraft is a subject I tend to stay away from in online discussion forums. (Web gurus often debate survival versus bushcraft, with some objecting to others’ kits as not being “bushcrafty” enough.) About five years ago is when Americans had caught wind of the idea and then ran ahead with it as if it were entirely new to the universe. Once videos of bushcraft expert Ray Mears circulated the Internet, people were converting—their gear and tools followed suit. Soon, every custom knifemaker had a bushcraft model named “the bushcrafter.” At one point, I remember counting close to 25 knives all with the same name, most sporting a version of a Scandinavian grind. A few years after the custom makers, a handful of semi- and full-production companies jumped on the bandwagon.

The term “bushcraft” has been alive in Australia and the U.K. for ages, long before most Americans heard of it, so the practice of bushcraft isn’t anything new. A century ago, the most influential books on wilderness living and skills came into the mainstream market, and back then, it was simply called woodcraft. However, woodcraft didn’t have as many rules, and when people took to the woods, their gear was usually what you would find in the kitchen drawer or stuck on the stump near the woodshed.

Read more in the November 2013 issue of Tactical Knives

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Bushcraft is a subject I tend to stay away from in online discussion forums.…