Accelerate Your Bushcraft Learning: Bushcraft Show 2017 Presentation

Accelerate Your Bushcraft Learning: Bushcraft Show 2017 Presentation

Bushcraft Show 2017 talk from Paul Kirtley

It’s often said that you can’t learn bushcraft skills overnight, that there is always more to learn, that many skills take years of practice to even approach mastery. So, how does the average person with a job and a combination of any or all of kids, mortgage, family commitments, weekly shopping, gardening, DIY, and who doesn’t live outdoors, make significant progress with these skills?

Watch my presentation below for some strategies and methods for bushcraft skills acquisition so you can speed up the process of learning the most useful and relevant bushcraft skills and knowledge for your outdoor life…

The above presentation was given at the 2017 Bushcraft Show. It can also be viewed on my YouTube channel.

The bushcraft skills list, I mention briefly in the above presentation can be found via the following link:

Bushcraft Skills List

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog

#AskPaulKirtley Episode 53 – LIVE at the 2017 Bushcraft Show

The Value Of Using Wilderness Skills Closer To Home: Bushcraft Show 2016 Presentation

Integrating Bushcraft With Modern Outdoor Life: Bushcraft Show 2014 Presentation

39 thoughts on “Accelerate Your Bushcraft Learning: Bushcraft Show 2017 Presentation

  1. Hi, Paul.
    l wanted to start from the beginning, to learn,l want to learn from scratch it was a very long time l did this . l needed your help

  2. Paul this sounds just like i wrote it .im not trying to say I’m an expert i apply this to all my life ,not just bushcraft at the moment I’m trying to teach my nephew skills for life fantastic video

    1. Yes, this type of thinking can be applied to many areas.

      Your nephew is a luck lad.

      Warm regards,


  3. Very good, Paul. It’s a pleasure to hear you speak and i’d be surprised if anyone left that lecture and wasn’t motivated to work their butts off on specific skills to improve. Like I’ve said before, even in their gardens, or homes if you can hide the mess from the partner – you really don’t need a woodland on tap to become good at many skills.
    For those who truly want to improve their practical wilderness knowledge, that golden word obsession is far and away the key to success.
    You can take the dog for a walk and find a fallen branch on the side of the road to take home to make a bow drill set, cordage, carving material, tinder, tree id, candles, digging stick instead of letting them chew it to bits, walk the downs to identify trees and plants, dig for roots in your back garden, pick up naturally shedding birch bark from the floor in towns, walk the river bank and pick up fallen cattail leaves to thatch baskets or fallen stems on the floor to make hand drill sets, find fibers to twist whilst on a walk, nettles in your back garden to eat, make cordage, tea etc, dandelion to eat from the garden or the root to create a drink, ask a tree surgeon for the wood they will otherwise chip etc etc etc the list is truly endless … I hate the excuse “I don’t have land”, work around it.

    Rant over, brilliant work mate, very impressive.

    1. Hi Tom,

      As always, it’s good to hear from you.

      You definitely have the right approach and I appreciate the rant 🙂

      Warm regards,


  4. By far one of the best presentations i’ve seen within the realms of Bushcraft and full of practical advise. Getting a mentor is one of the biggest lessons i’ve learnt and is sadly often looked down upon in the wider Bushcraft community because there’s this pressure to ‘look cool’ and assume you know it all. I always endeavour to find the best I can in various skill sets and learn from them, so much value in spending time with an expert who’s take many years to refine their craft. Many thanks for sharing Paul ~Peace~ Zed

    1. Hi Zed, thanks for your comments and I think your approach is a humble and honest one, which will result in you learning a lot, not only looking cool.

      Go well.

      Warm regards,


  5. Great talk Paul, nice intro and going back and forth to the Pareto-principle, made your point very clearly.

    I see loads and loads of canvas, leather and feather-stubs rather than -sticks ( must say, I also posted a knife and featherstickphoto a few weeks ago) on Instagram lately, and the knife is being reinvented every week it seems. Started weeding through the profiles I was following as I’m being flooded with the same photos over and over again.

    As I’m now healing after surgery I finally found the time to read and learn more about birds and how they look like in the air (profile), which is a skill/knowledge that was one of those 5% -skills up untill now.

    1. Hi Ruud,

      Yes, time spent on studying nature is never wasted.

      I hope you are healing well my friend.

      Warm regards,


  6. Thank you for filming and sharing that video. I have a desire to grab my bag, sleeping setup, some food and my boots and heading to the nearest tree covered area! 🙂
    I wish I could have come on over to the show and taken a lot of it in, but my situation leaves me unable to do many of the things under the umbrella of “Bushcraft”.
    I have some basic kit, a tarp and tent, a sleep setup, fire lighting things, food for the road and a means to cook it. The things I lack are wet weather gear, and a pack to pack it all in. I have noticed that you (Mr Kirtley) use a Karrimor SF pack with zip on/off pockets, may I ask if you would recommend it for someone with lower back problems? And if so, what version do you use? Does it have a hydration bladder, or can you add one after the fact?
    Thank you againg for the video. Have a good one!

    1. Hi Kevin,

      I’m not a chiropractor or specialist back doctor so I can’t recommend a rucksack one way or the other based on “lower back problems”. Sorry.

      It may be best to speak to a physiotherapist or chiropractor.

      Warm regards,


  7. Hi Paul, I loved this talk. The comparison between the number of words in a language to the ones needed to understand it on a basic level, and the vast number of skills out there in “Bushcraft”, and the ones you need to get really skilled at to get by in a “Bushcraft” situation, was very effective. As always the audience (myself included) were captivated. As you said, aim to get extremely proficient at the most required tasks.
    All the best, keep safe, Dave H.

    1. Hi Dave, it’s good to hear from you and I’m happy to read you found this presentation very interesting.

      Warm regards,


  8. How on earth did you come up with that analogy?!? It makes sense of not just Bushcraft but many aspects of learning. I think my children are very much the do a little of this and move on even if I try and encourage them to spend more time mastering a subject. As a Beaver Scout Leader my job is to get them on a path that allows them to master tasks laid out in badge work that is refined and improved upon as they move through Cubs, Scouts and then hopefully Explorers…

    If you don’t mind I’d like to try and apply your thinking to future programs for not just my own children but all of the kids I work with. If you ever have a few moments to expand on how you might do this I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts!

    All the best chap.

    1. Hi Matt,

      I’m glad you appreciated the analogy. I’m always interested in learning, teaching, coaching, improving performance of skill acquisition and the concept of having a small but highly applicable functional vocab in language has been around for a while.

      Further, I’ve applied the Pareto principle in my life and my work for many years. It all seems to fit together very nicely.

      I hope you can indeed use some of this in your own programmes to improve/speed up the learning of the kids.

      Warm regards,


  9. Paul,
    Really enjoyed this, I think your mentality to learning is excellent and specialising is something I am going to have to start doing.
    Thanks for all your thoughts,

  10. Paul, This Video was unlike others. Everything I’ve viewed, and I’ve been with you for some time, has all been the leading source I’ve ever found for real world teaching and information that I both directly benefit from and enjoy. This specific one has indeed, put my thinking into a new focus! I have a plan now, a way to organize my efforts in a new manner that will provide the most benefit with a faster and enjoyable concept.

    For me, it’s another significant contribution from the Gentlemen Professional who clearly brings the most significant good to the bushcraft community through selfless generosity and devotion to public good. It is no wonder that your business is so successful. You generate loyalty of audience and audience appreciation. I do hope you will continue to expand on this theme. With rich gratitude I thank you my friend. Blessings to You and Yours from Oregon. …. Oregon Mike H

    1. Thanks for your comments on how this presentation has been so useful in forming a plan for you to move forwards with your skills.

      Thanks also for your kind words. I’m glad this video resonated so strongly with you.

      Warm regards,


  11. Very good “lecture’ Paul.
    My comments:
    It is absolutely necessary to own as many bushcraft skills as possible, but, you’re right, they should be perfectly owned, which means learning from the best of the best and applying these to make them our own. As a youth, I did not know any of these as “bushcraft”, but I read Scouts manuals (both English and French) to get different perspectives, and the skills were translated perfectly, regardless of language, as the knots were the same, the pioneering skills were the same, etcetera. Bushcraft is a universal skill, and from many different cultures, commonalities can be seen. My skills at fire making using paper matches in any weather or season were honed, because of need, at a young age. I loved going outdoors and cooking and being warmed by a fire, so I had to practice in all conditions using paper matches. Later on I discovered ferrorods, and began expanding my fire skills with these; then, I experimented with solar, then percussion, and finally, because I knew I could manage without friction very well through the years, I ignored rubbing sticks together, being confident that I could make fire whenever needed. It was your encouragement (or perhaps bold-faced challenge) that success with the fire bow technique is a “defining moment of bushcraft”, which set me off to attempt it. I consciously performed the posturing and the execution, as you demonstrated, and voila! an ember! But, as you said also, bushcraft is about knowing the bush, what to use, how, when, where, and why that matters, and that takes a lifetime to master, but it’s an enjoyable and rewarding journey. One needs to experience the bush to uncover its bushcrafting values.
    That said, I am privileged to have you as a mentor, and teacher of bushcraft. Having read and seen the likes of Mors Kochanski, and Ray Mears, through books and videos, and having studied the works of other greats like Baden-Powell and Kephart, it is obvious that you easily rank among them. This is not blowing smoke up your derriere, it is a fact. Your skills and knowledge are most impressive, and yet you dedicate yourself to sharing all you know. It is most appreciated.

    Warmest regards,

    1. Yes, ownership is a key aspect Marcel 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts too.

      Warm regards,


  12. Great presentation Paul. I love the intro too… I hope this will encourage many to just get out and begin experimenting, rather than lament that they are overwhelmed. I’ve loved too, your growing blog that has become quite the go-to place for bushcraft info. I’ve been living in West Africa for many years, watching from afar, but this year I’m bringing my family back home to UK and I look forward to attending one of your courses. Until then, all the best, Andy Gorman

  13. Very good as always. This was a great presentation, truly inspirational. Thanks for doing this, Paul. All the best, Phil

  14. Hi Paul, from someone who is fumbling along this is good to hear! For the last month especially I’ve been asking myself if I should breakdown everything I’m learning into segments of what bushcraft items I need to know well I.e useful trees, edible plants, means of producing a flame etc… and concentrate on these for what I want to do, instead of trying to understand everything!

    For those who found this video helpful Paul runs an online tree and plant ID course (as well as many other practical bushcraft courses) which, like his presentation is broken down in a way that is easy to follow and highly recommended!

  15. Hi Paul,
    Another useful and enjoyable presentation from you, thank you. I found it good from the point of view of ‘that overwhelming feeling’. When we set out on the bushcraft path, it can seem as though there’s so much to learn that it’s hard to know where to begin. So lots of great info there, I’m going to apply it as wisely as I can.

    1. Hi Gill,

      Thanks for your comments. I’m happy to read this was both enjoyable and useful.

      Good luck with streamlining and tailoring your bushcraft path. You know where I am if you have questions.

      Warm regards,


  16. Hi Paul, new to here but an old hedgerow harvester at heart. I would like to throw at you at the talk that whilst you did discuss ways to improve quicker at bush craft and the learning curve and common and well distrubuted spieces was stunning, especially Juniper, stunning pointer that. loved the interaction, i know my self theres nothing harder than trying to wake an audiance up, but by about half way you were getting them interacting very well. I personally was expecting a few practical pointers, Tom mentionsit higher up, getting to multi task whils doing other items, plant ID when walking, tree ID when on the bus commuting and so on, bow drill can be done in the back garden, family walks combined with other ideas and things. A couple of times you lost the train of thought which lost me, the higher lower was a great party trick, but i think lost on anyone under 40 years old now, depends on who is in front of you i suppose. I loved the ten knots ideal, a great tip that, far to make try to learn far too many knots and then struggle. over all a easy ten out of ten for a great informational learning video

  17. Hi Paul.
    This has taken me some time to get round to watching for so many reasons, but at long last, I have succeeded.
    Your presentation is fantastic and just listening to this one subject, things start to make sense. I am currently signed in to your online bushcraft class. Again, slow going but for me, it is the best way to absorb each of the parts that make up each complete subject.
    Thanks again Paul for these insights to what is a vast subject and for making it all so interesting and inspiring.

    1. Vic, the right time comes at the right time, so to speak. I’m glad this presentation resonated with you, adding a useful perspective on your learning through the Online Elementary. I’m happy the process and format of the course is working for you.

      Warm regards,


  18. Hi Paul,
    You are a great teacher, getting the attention to your key message is great.
    I can not only relate to this on bushcraft, but to my selve in my real live also. Just focus at one craft at a time get awsome at it and move on.
    Keep up the good work, I am very glad I came across you through YouTube…

    1. Thank you for your positive words Erwin. I’m happy this presentation resonated with you. Warm regards, Paul

  19. Hello Paul

    great talk. Its great learning some thing new from someone with a love to teach And share knowledge.

  20. Thank you Paul, for your logical approach to a world that can seem daunting and overwhelming at times. While I had not heard of Pareto or his principle before, I realize I have used similar logic in some other aspects of my life and I wonder why I never thought to apply it to my bushcraft learning. Your presentation has inspired me, thank you!

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