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The 5 C’s of Bushcraft

Updated: Mar 18

Surviving in the wilderness can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and knowledge, it is possible. One of the best ways to prepare for survival situations is to learn about the 5 C's of Bushcraft. These are the five essential items that can help you survive in any wilderness setting, or really most settings for that matter. In this post, we will explore each of the 5 C's and provide examples of how they can be used to improve your odds of survival with minimal equipment.

Cutting Tools

The first C is cutting tools. These tools are essential for preparing food, building shelter, and making fire. A good cutting tool should be sharp, durable, and versatile. The first cutting took that would go without saying is a knife. A good survival knife can be used for cutting, carving, and even self-defense. Look for a knife with a fixed blade and a full tang for maximum strength and durability. You can pick up something like a Esee 6 for just over a hundred bucks or if your looking for something a little more custom you can go check out the new Black Flag Outdoor Academy edition Bushcrafter from Tom over at Knives by Nuge! P.S. It just so happens that Tom and Nick are doing a drop of these tonight

The next most important cutting tool for me would be an axe. An axe is a versatile tool that can be used for chopping wood, making shelter, and even hunting and protection. Look for an axe with a sharp edge and a sturdy handle. It’s also important that which ever you choose can fit comfortably in or on your pack. Personally I carry a CRKT Fryer. It’s a good looking axe and at a fair price for me it checks all the boxes. The last cutting tool you might want to consider as a companion to your axe would be a saw. A saw  is also useful for cutting wood and making shelter and fuel for your fire. A folding saw such as a Silkie Saw is a good option for survival situations because it is compact and easy to carry.


Combustion Devices

The second C is combustion.Combustion of some sort is essential for making fire, which is important for warmth, cooking, and signaling for help. A lighter is a simple and reliable way to start a fire. In fact I never leave the house without two in my pocket. Look for something waterproof and wind proof like the arc lighter from Black Beard Fire Starters.

Storm proof matches like the ones from UCO another simple and reliable way to start a fire because soggy matches don’t work that well. As fun as they are to play with a ferro rod is my last choice simply because it takes more effort in sometimes uncertain circumstances. The unmatched benefit of a ferro rod is that it is reliable in almost any weather and Wazoo Gear Co does make a pretty awesome necklace that makes it easy to always carry a rod and striker on you! Last but not least if you are without a combustion device of any time you can always resort to a friction fire.



The third C is cover. Cover includes everything from clothing to shelter. In survival situations, it is important to have clothing and shelter that can protect you from the elements. Clothing is your first line of defense from the elements and should be durable, warm, and waterproof. Look for clothing made from materials like Gore-Tex or other waterproof and breathable fabrics. A tarp should be a standard part of any pack, a versatile piece of gear that can be used to make a shelter, collect rainwater, and even as a ground cloth. A good sleeping bag can keep you warm in cold temperatures and comfortable in moderate temperatures . Look for a sleeping bag that is rated for the lowest temperatures you may encounter.



The fourth C is containers. Containers are essential for carrying water, storing food, and collecting materials for fire. This can include things like water bottles, cooking pots or even foraging bags. The thing about bush crafting is that  any one of these types of containers will be used for a multitude of purposes. A cooking pot might be used for not only cooking food but first collecting the food and water for your meal Fire Maple Gear makes some really awesome stuff! A water bottle can be used for several things as well which would depend on the type of bottle you are carrying. Part of the beauty of bush crafting is that what you don’t have you can possibly make! Whether that be a cup, a chair or even a shelter. One of my favorite comedians Mitch Hedberg had a bit and it went something like “I once was lost in the woods so I said F*** it and built myself a house! I severely improved my predicament!"



Cordage can be used for a variety of purposes, including building shelter and making traps. One example of cordage is Paracord. Paracord is a strong and versatile cord that can be used for a variety of survival tasks such as securing tents, tarps and other camping gear. Paracord could be used to start a fire or a make shift fishing line. In a pinch it could even be used as a make shift tourniquet! Fishing line is another type of cordage that is good to keep on hand for obvious reasons and twine is also a great option due to its strength a the benefit of being light weight.


The 5 C's of Bushcraft are cutting tools, combustion devices, cover, containers, and cordage. Each of these items is essential for surviving in the wilderness. By ensuring that you have the right gear and knowledge, you can increase your chances of surviving in any setting. Remember to always prioritize safety and be prepared for any situation.

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