Bushcraft Essential Gear List: Tools to Survive in the Wilderness in 2023

Bushcraft is a type of outdoor activity that focuses on living with the natural world. It requires knowledge of skills like building shelters, starting fires, and identifying edible plants in order to survive. Bushcrafters use these skills to live more simply and enjoyably outdoors.

Bushcraft Essential Gear List is a comprehensive list of the important pieces of supplies, tools, and equipment for the outdoor adventurer one must always carry on the trip to the wilderness. These tools are any form of equipment that can help you cross natural obstacles and stay safe in the wilderness.

This blog post contains the most updated information that will teach you what supplies are needed for bushcrafting so you can start practicing this entertaining hobby! 

? 20 Bushcraft Essential Gear List Items in 2023: Ultimate Survival tools to carry in the Wilderness

Down here you’ll find the items to ensure your safety and survival in the bushcraft adventure.

You’ll need to tick your checklist once you pack these tools before heading out into the wilderness.

1. Custom Bushcraft Knife

Custom Bushcraft Knife -Bushcraft Essential Gear List

A knife is one of the most important items to have on your bushcraft essential gear list. A solid, reliable blade will do more for you than any other tool and can make up for a lack of tools in some cases. 6-12 inch knives are considered standard, but length should be based on preference.

Bushcrafters use bushcraft knives to cut rope and branches, make stakes or snares, assist in fire making, cut down small trees, and dig into something that is hard; like an apple or pineapple.

You can also use it as a means of self-defense if you ever need protection from animals in the wild. Furthermore, it’s also used for cutting small pieces of wood to start a fire and for many other purposes.

Below are the top picks for the bushcraft adventure.

Casstrom Bushcraft Knife CI11804
 Casstrom Bushcraft Knife
  • Blade Material : Alloy Steel
  • Blade Length : 4.5inch
  • Blade Edge : Drop Point
  • Compatible for wood splitting
Helle Knives – Temagami
Helle Knives – Temagami
  • Blade Material : Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length : 4.3inch
  • Blade Edge : V-Grind
  • Leather sheath for easy access
Tom Brown T-2 Tan
Tom Brown T-2 Tan
  • Blade Material : Carbon Steel
  • Blade Length : 6.25inch
  • Blade Edge : Drop Point
  • Comes with a Kydex sheath

You can also check the below articles to get the required knife for you:

2. Bushcraft Axe

Bushcraft Axe - Bushcraft Essential List

You should always carry a bushcraft axe in your bushcraft essential gear list. It can perform multiple functions, such as chopping wood for firewood to make kindling (to start fires) or building logs into shelter components. Must check our article on the best axes for bushcraft and get one as per your usage.

Bushcrafters also use axes for digging holes or other tasks that require more force than their knife has. They are commonly made of steel or titanium and are useful to cut down small trees, for self-defense, and for other bushcraft purposes.

You can also use the machetes for the same activities and tasks. Check our article for the best bushcraft machetes.

3. Navigational Tools

Navigational Tools - Bushcraft Recommended List

Bushcrafters should never go on an adventure without navigational tools on their list. These include a compass, map of the area, GPS device, and often more than one of these items.

These tools are crucial for finding your way home if you get lost or are trying to go on a longer camping trip that requires multiple days of travel. They ensure you can return home safely if something goes wrong in the wilderness.

Bushcrafters should also carry land navigational tools like rocks, sticks, branches, etc. for marking trails and the surrounding area so they may find their way back to a certain spot later.

4. Fire Making Equipment

You can never rely on natural fires when in the wilderness. Bushcrafters should carry some fire-making equipment to ensure they can make a fire at any point. Some of this fire-making equipment includes matches, lighters, Ferro rods, and flint for starting fires using friction.

A lighter is usually preferable instead of the matches because they are easier to carry around, do not require striking strips, and can be used in wet conditions or high altitudes where it is difficult to make a fire with traditional methods.

Note: Just be aware that lighters can run out of fuel, so having a backup plan is advisable!

Swiss Safe Fire Starter Ferro Rod is highly recommended to carry in the wilderness to start a fire due to its multi-purpose. It includes a navigational compass, emergency whistle, and a paracord along with the Ferro rod that is highly useful in an outdoor adventure.

Swiss Safe Fire Starter Tool - Essential Item You Need for Survival

5. Shelter Components

Right before you leave on your adventure, it is highly recommended to always carry some shelter components. This can include arrow shafts for use as stakes, rope, paracord, and tarpaulins for creating shelters using natural materials like pine boughs and tree branches.

Shelter Components (Tarps) - Essential Bushcraft Tool

As with most things in bush crafting trips, there is no single shelter that works fine for everyone. Bushcrafters often build their own shelters using knives, axes, and saws faster to live in or modify the ones they purchase from companies.

Some types of shelter components include:

  • Tarps/sukkah sheet (lightweight, easily transported material for walls and roof)
  • The waterproof outer layer (stops rain from getting into your shelter and keeps you warm)
  • Pillow materials (e.g.: down comforter, space blanket, wool hats)
  • Emergency survival blankets (provide heat in colder conditions)

You can check our detailed article on the best bushcraft tarps, however, if you are in a hurry, check out the top three picks below.

Best Overall
Aqua Quest Defender Tarp - Best Overall Bushcraft Tarp
Aqua Quest Defender Bushcraft Tarp
  • Material: Nylon
  • Weight: 2.68 Pounds
  • Size: 10×7ft
  • Protection: Waterproof
  • Colour: Olive Drab
Editor’s Choice
DD Hammocks - Best Waterproof Bushcraft Tarp
DD Hammocks – DD Waterproof Tarp
  • Material: PU coated Polyester
  • Item Weight: 1.74 Pounds
  • Protection: Waterproof
  • Colour: Olive Green
Budget Choice
REDCAMP Hammock Rain Fly Tarp
REDCAMP Hammock Rain Fly Tarp
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 2 Pounds
  • Size: 10×12ft
  • Protection: Waterproof
  • Colour: Black

6. Sleeping Bag

A sleeping bag is also believed to be an important bushcraft gear for carrying in the wilderness. They are useful for keeping warm at night when sleeping outdoors with temperatures dropping below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius).

Bushcrafters recommend carrying around sleeping bags during the day and night of their trip to sleep comfortably anywhere they go on their bushcraft adventures.

Sleeping bags with an outer layer of down or synthetic material is recommended that can be disassembled into separate sleeping bag parts if wearing one sleeping bag for traveling is too inconvenient.

Sleeping Bag - Bushcraft Camping Outfit

You can choose the TETON sleeping bag as it’s highly durable, comfortable, and keeps you warm in cold winter temperatures.

7. Thermal Blanket

Having a thermal blanket in your kit is great because they reflect heat back to you. This will help keep you warm if it’s freezing outside, and could even save your life by preventing hypothermia.

You can use it as a ground cover to keep the moisture from the earth away from your body, or even as a pillow if you’re tired and need to take a nap under the shade of a tree.

A thermal blanket can also be used as a waterproof cover for all of the previously mentioned gear so that everything stays dry inside your bag or box.

8. Cordage

Cordage like paracord is an item that should be in everyone’s bushcraft essential list of gear as it has a wide variety of possible uses. Paracord is useful for building shelter, pulling up water from a well, and many other tasks.

If you need to make a fire without matches, you can use some of the string to make a bow drill for friction fire, or split it into working strings. Bushcrafters also use cordage for traps and snares, so having at least 50 feet is recommended.

9. Water Carriers/Purifying Tools

Bushcrafters always carry a method for transporting water and purifying it. These can include a variety of items, such as a canteen or stainless steel bottle. There are also specific tools that Bushcrafters use to clean water before consuming it.

These include:

  • Portable Water Filters (remove microorganisms from the water)
  • Chemical water purification tablets (remove microorganisms from the water)
  • Rudimentary filtering techniques (strain out particles with mesh, coffee filters, bandanas, etc.)
  • Solar stills (create a stagnant area of water below plants and capture it)

10. First Aid & Personal Protection Equipment

Bushcrafters should never leave the house without a first aid kit and a set of protective equipment. The first aid kit must contain items that can clean wounds, control bleeding, stop infections from starting, and repair any damage to bones or organs.

Having a first aid kit is essential for getting out of an emergency situation quickly and safely.

Note: No first aid kit is complete without a good first aid book, such as the “SAS Survival Guide“. Learning how to properly bandage wounds and treat serious injuries means you will be able to deal with emergencies quickly and safely.

Furthermore, the protection equipment kit should include sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, sunglasses, lip balm with SPF protection, mosquito netting, and more to protect you from the elements, insects, and small predators that exist outside in the wilderness.

11. Flashlight

A flashlight is especially important for night hunts to avoid trampling on other hunters’ snares. There are many different types of flashlights available with differing brightness, size, and features – but any light will do!

Having a flashlight in your kit will help you see what you are doing when it gets dark outside. You can also use it as a means of signaling for help during the night.

12. Sharpening Stone

Knife Sharpening System - Important Item You Need

Keeping your knife and axe sharp at all times is essential to staying safe and productive. A dull blade requires more force, so if you have a large cutting job, your hand can get tired easily.

This in turn increases the chances of you cutting yourself. A sharpening stone should be in everyone’s backpack before leaving for the trip.

Check out the below video to know how to sharpen your knife;

13. Signaling Mirror or Whistle

A signaling mirror can be used to signal for help if you are lost, or if you need rescuing. Many of these have a sighting hole so that the person on the other side can see where you are pointing your distress signal. You can use them during the day or at night.

A whistle can be used to signal for help if you are lost, or if you need rescuing. Some people choose to carry whistles over signaling mirrors because they are less likely to break.

If both are in your kit, it could serve as a backup plan should your main method of signaling fail.

14. Handkerchief and Bandana

A handkerchief and bandana can be used as a means of filtering water if you need to drink some, but the river that you are beside might have parasites or other harmful things in it.

The bandana can be useful for packing gear to keep water from soaking everything inside your bag or box. They also come in handy as a sweatband if you need to endure some hard labor like chopping down trees but don’t want to get your hat wet.

Meanwhile, you can use your handkerchief as a napkin when you need to eat something messy like a piece of roasted deer or berries and cream or clean your knife from dirt.

15. Straw Mat

A straw mat is great if you need someplace to sit that isn’t on the forest floor. If the ground stays wet, you could get your clothes soaked through and it can be uncomfortable if you’re sitting there for a long time.

So having a mat that you can place on the ground and not worry about getting wet is great, especially if it doesn’t weigh much so you don’t have to carry much extra weight in your bag or box.

Also Read: What to wear for the bushcraft adventure?

16. Roll of Duct Tape

Duct tape can be used as a first-aid tool, as a bandage to help stop bleeding from a wound, or as an emergency tourniquet if you break your leg and need to slow down the blood flow until you’re able to seek professional medical care.

Duct tape is also great for repairing broken equipment like backpacks or tents, or even making a splint if you break your leg and need to walk on it until you can seek help.

17. Bushcraft Camp Stove

Bushcraft Camping Stove -
Minimalist Survival Gear List

A lot of bushcrafters believe a bushcraft camp stove is an important gear that needs to be carried on the trip. It is great for cooking food over a fire in the wilderness without a kitchen full of modern appliances to cook in.

Camp stoves can be used in place of bushcraft pots and pans which can be made in the field. The camp stoves are also useful for boiling water for drinks or cooking food when going for bushcraft adventures in colder climates to keep them warm.

But, if it is difficult for you to carry then you can use bushcraft pots instead.

18. Fishing Gear (Rods, Reels & Hooks)

You should carry three sturdy rods with you on your bushcraft rucksack. The first one should be a heavy-duty rod that you use to catch bass or other large fish.

You should also carry a lighter-gauge rod for smaller trout, catfish, crappie, or other smaller fish. The third rod should be a medium gauge that you use to catch panfish.

Moreover, you should also have a relatively large tackle box with lots of different lures and the hook and should have a strong enough line to be able to catch pretty much any fish in freshwater.

For saltwater fishing, you are going to need an entirely different set of tackle that you need to research more if you are interested in learning more about it.

19. Food & Water

Bushcrafters must carry around some food and water in their rucksacks as a backup because it is necessary for survival in the wilderness.

You should always have enough food and water to make it from one point to another point and then return back again.

20. Bushcraft Backpack (Rucksack)

Bushcraft Rucksack - Bushcraft Kit Checklist

Lastly, a bushcraft backpack is the most important gear that must be included in your bushcraft essential gear list as it is required to carry all the tools and items listed above that need to stay dry and safe, like a sleeping bag or tent, knives, compass, first aid kit, etc.

The backpacks also come in handy if you need to carry your bushcraft stove and cooking pots or even useful items like a knife sharpening stone. So, you must choose a backpack that is highly durable and lasts for a long time.

Furthermore, you must select the one that is big in size and have enough space to hold your maximum useful tools for a good bushcraft experience.

? FAQs

Yes. As you will be moving through the wilderness, it can be both fun and dangerous because there are no safety regulations in the wilderness.

So, you need to be well prepared for both your worst and best-case scenarios, like getting wet or having to sleep without a tent, because that’s where the gear will be crucial in order to keep yourself safe.

Bushcraft essentials can be broken down into these five groups: water, fire, shelter, food, and tools. It’s very hard to survive in the wilderness without them.

So, you must always have them with you on your rucksack, because if you get lost or anything happens to go wrong, you will be able to provide yourself with a safe place to sleep and food to eat.

Quality knives, axes, and saws as the most important tools for their rucksacks. You can also consider bushcraft pots, pans, and camp stoves as essentials.

Most bushcrafters consider boots as highly recommended gear in the wilderness.

? Conclusion

Bushcrafters can use this ultimate checklist to have the right tools to help them cook, hunt for food, and shelter themselves from the cold and other wilderness hazards. It’s recommended that you include all these bushcraft essential gear list items in your backpack and carries them on your trip into the wilderness for survival in all conditions.

These are among the many tools/kits you should have in your rucksack for your comfort and enjoyment of bushcraft. So take time to learn about each item on the list, because you will need them on your bushcraft journey.

Hopefully, this article has cleared your doubts and answered your questions. You can check out our other blogs to learn more about bushcraft for a safe and enjoyable experience!