16 Sep 2021
By Neil Morgan, Managing Partner at MorganHR and Creator of SimplyMerit
Many old-world skills are on the endangered list. When was the last time that you went foraging for mushrooms in the forest? My mother did as a child. Within one generation, the ability to identify edibles has seemingly disappeared… or has it?
We live in an age where you can learn virtually anything sitting on your couch. Yet, with all of this instantly at our fingertips, many of us would rather rely on the trappings of our modern society… drive to the grocery store to pick up mushrooms or throw lighter fluid (and TONS of it) on a stack of firewood to start a bonfire.
Over the past several years, I’ve become increasingly interested in some basic skills that fall under the category of “bushcraft.” With YouTube and other streaming services, I’ve honed my knife sharpening skills, lit my passion for starting bonfires with nothing more than a Ferro rod, and secured my skills around tying a dozen useful knots.
Bonfires are an essential part of our backyard and RV fun. Having the fire building skills to source the materials from nature (bark from birch trees for the tinder source, twigs for the kindling, and larger branches for the fuel), to stage the materials to allow the fire to build gradually, and then to ignite a roaring fire from nothing more than a spark from a Ferro rod is immensely gratifying. But passing these skills onto the kids is by far the most rewarding.
Since getting into bushcraft, I’ve added a small pocket knife as an EDC (Everyday Carry). I keep this knife, a larger fixed blade knife, and a hatchet sharpened and honed using both a whetstone and a strop. Having a super sharp knife is an amazing experience whether you’re cooking in the kitchen or working wood for the bonfire.
Now, you’d be surprised how often you need to tie knots outside of tying your shoes. And while there are probably hundreds of knot variations, there are a handful of knots that will get you through life just fine. By far, my favorite is Corporals Corner improvised trucker’s hitch. It’s a quick way to secure loads or to string up a rope between trees on which to hang gear or tents.
Learning should never stop. There is so much information available literally at our fingertips that I challenge you to find something new and potentially master a skill.