Bushcrafting vs. Gearcrafting: "
Below is a post from scoutsurvivor over on bushcraftusa.com. I asked him if it was okay to share on this blog and he said ok. I’ve had a lot of the same things on my mind lately and really liked how he put his ideas together. enjoy.
I was looking at my Mors pot the other day and it got me to thinking… dangerous, I know… then I’ve been following the “Axes-the next big thing in the survival crowd” thread… and I’ve read numerous threads over the past year about this piece of gear or that piece of gear… and I took a hard look at all of the crap I bought over the last year… and yesterday afternoon I looked at my lonely little charred coffee can with a piece of wire on it for hanging over a fire sitting on the floor in a corner of my shop… Hmmm… Guilty. I’m guilty. I have made the transition from being a bushcrafter to being a gearcrafter. I have lost my way. For me, bushcrafting is, or at least was (until I realized what I have become), about using simple gear to craft simple things to live simply and (relatively) comfortably in the woods, desert, name your environment. Bushcrafting was not supposed to be about buying the latest, coolest, shiny thing to take to the woods. The Mors pot is a case in point. Did I need it. Nope. Did my forlorn little coffee can do a fine job? Yeppers! But the Mors pot was shiny and had a bail, a spout, and butterfly handles and I had to have it. Guilty as charged. I don’t regret getting it. I like it. Just like I like my Zebra. But my coffee can did the same thing as my Zebra. But Zebra was shiny.
I have knives coming out of my ass. I have bought far more knives in the quest to find “the” knife than I can ever find a use for. Spent a crapload of money the last few years on knives. Some customs, some high end productions, etc. Funny thing is, what’s in my pocket right now, the one that always finds its way back in is my $8.95 Opinel #8. Old reliable. I have carved more tent stakes and feather sticks and and shaved more shavings with this thing… oh, can’t forget cutting up veggies, taters, tape, envelopes, cordage, meat, myself, and hundreds of other things with it. All for $8.95. Fortunately, I haven’t succumbed to “Axe madness”. I bought a Trailhawk and a Wetterlings and have been perfectly happy with those. Thank God.
I’ve got a dedicated industrial three-tier shelf system in my shop for my gear, currently flowing onto the floor. Mind you, this has all been accumulated over the last 25 years, but I have added substantially to my insanity over the last 5. Stoves, tarps, tentage, cooking gear, packs, follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road…
As a result of this pursuit of gear-to-make-bushcrafting-camping-backpacking-easier, my bushcrafting skills have deteriorated a bit. All because I have lost my way. Bushcrafting, to me, is supposed to be about bushcrafting. I applaud those of you who have found balance between skills and shiny things. I applaud those of you who discard shiny things more in favor of the bushy things.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because it just really bothers me. There is another bushcrafting forum that became all about the gear and less about bushcrafting and I sometimes see this one start to lean in that direction. I understand and appreciate that we can only see so many variations of the bow-drill fire starting method or the Paiute dead fall, but we just need to be careful that we don’t become all about the gear. We’re a collective influence on some very young members and we have to be cautious that we don’t infect them with gear madness. 90% of the time, we do a good job of it. Then there’s the other 10% where we get hooked on a must have piece of gear. That’s not what bushcrafting is about. At least, I don’t think so…
Suffice to say, I’m going to be taking a hard look at my inventory in the coming months and doing some serious downsizing (seriously, do I REALLY need four 2-burner Coleman stoves? part of a Coleman collecting craze a few years back). I’m going to work on improving my skills over the course of the next year… getting my balance back, making MY bushcrafting less about the gear and more about the bush…
I think my coffee can will thank me.
An no, you can’t have my Mors pot.