Thursday, 14 July 2011

BUSHCRAFT ETIQUETTE: Common Sense and Basic Good Manners

Here is a document compiled by members of the Bushcraftuk comunity forum regarding Common Sense and Basic Good Manners around camp. It does not in anyway mean to preach correct ways of doing certain things, but highlights some of the day to day happenings that may cause friction between individuals, and raises some issues that some people may have with how people conduct themselves. Its aim is to try and create a better harmony and peace around camp while out bushcrafting with others.

Please feel free to message me on any other issues you find are not highlighted here.

  • Never shine your light into someone's camp and never shine your light into someones eyes. 
  • When someone wants to enter another's camp, they ask before approaching and when they have been asked to the fire, lanterns and flash lights should be turned off, prior to entering the camp.
  • The person who starts the fire owns the fire.
  • Never burn plastic and other rubbish in the fire, someone might want to cook over it later.
  • Never borrow peoples tools without permission.
  • If you are going to brew up it would be courteous to see if anyone else fancies a drink too.
  • No leaving knives and axes on the ground.
  • Consider where you go for the "natural stuff", keep well away from living areas and water sources.
  • If washing cooking gear in a standing water source, like a lake or stream, do not empty the dirty water and old food etc. back into the water.
  • "If you have a fire, add some ash and water to your pan.
  1. Ash + water = alkali + gritty silica
  2. Alkali + fat = soap
  3. Soap + gritty silica + slight scrub = clean pan.
  4. When you have washed the pan pour the water into the fireplace, this area has already been affected by the alkali.
  5. Rinse with water and again pour it into the fireplace.
  6. On the next rinse you can pour the water away elsewhere but not into the water source.
  • The cook should never have to fetch firewood or water. If you have time to spare offer your services to the cook, washing up, peeling potatoes etc
  • When food is cooking on the fire do not heap on firewood without making the cook aware of what you are doing.
  • If it’s your turn to cook wash your hands and clean your fingernails.
  • If you need to clear your throat it should be done away from the general camp.
  • Stale clothing and body odour are as difficult to stand in the bush as anywhere else. Your bush skills are poorly developed if you do not know how to return to civilisation as clean as you left it.
  • Do not step over food.
  • Do not put rubbish into the fire whilst food is cooking or people are eating.
  • Do not leave dirty (or clean) dishes under foot. if washing your own dishes is camp custom take care of this chore immediately, generally it is excusable to do away with most eating utensils and even to eat with the fingers, however do not handle someone else’s food with your hands.
  • Pay particular attention to the corners of your eyes and mouth when washing, after eating ensure there is no food on your face.
  • Do not ask to borrow someone’s private knife, axe or saw. If a job needs doing and you do not have the required tool, ask the owner to do it for you.
  • When on the trail if the branches from the person in front are slapping you in the face, it’s your own fault, don’t follow so closely.
  • When visitors happen upon your camp, it is the custom to at least offer tea.
  • If you are a loud snorer, or prone to considerable flatulence you should have the good manners to set up your own camp an appropriate distance away.
  • Cleanliness and neatness of persons are desirable quirks.
  • Good manners dictate that all vulgarity, mishaps, blunders and accidents on the part of others be let off without comment with a philosophical indifference.
  • If you have children, try to keep them under some semblance of control.
  • If you do use a flash light (torch) at a campfire at least aim the beam to the ground out of everybody’s eyes, turn it off at the first occasion. Bring along a bag of marshmallows for all to use.
  • Don’t untie someone’s hammock when they're sleeping, no matter how funny it seems.
  • A small torch or a candle lantern is all that is really needed to navigate bad terrain in the dark. 
  • If you have a searchlight or a super bright gas lantern is it really needed to get yourself to the campfire?
  • I would say though that olive green or black guy lines stretched out across a pathway do need either flags or marker lights if you do not expect someone to demolish your camp in the dark.
  • Don’t drive goats into the other team's camp when out on a competition.
  • It’s better to use the established fire circle and leave it tidy for the next party. 
  • Of course, if you're making a fresh one you should clean it up.
  • In any situation, anyone should feel able to calmly and politely express concern at the unsafe behaviour of others, if you see someone swinging an axe in a way that is going to injure them or a kid taking a canoe out on the water alone and with no PFD you should say something…Don't make someone uncomfortable about looking out for your safety.
  • If you want to wash yourself or your kit then collect enough water and take it somewhere that others won’t have to walk through after you've finished.
  • People playing loud music either recorded or live, through a ghetto blaster is a big no no.
  • Enjoy the outdoors and respect your surroundings.
Have fun!