Is Depth Or Breadth Of Knowledge More Important In Bushcraft And Survival?

Is it better to know a little about hundreds of outdoor skills, or to know a lot about a few core skills? This is a heated debate, and the answer often depends on how you live your life. For the urban set, where bushcraft is a trivial pursuit, breadth wins you more kudos at skills gatherings.

For those who spend their life outdoors, whether as professional guides or in some other capacity, depth is more important. It’s been much more important to me as both a guide and an instructor.

With a shallow level of understanding, only the most cursory knowledge is known and it isn’t tested. You may discuss it, but you don’t own it. When you practice it, you follow the rules.

With a deep level of knowledge you own it. You’ve used it countless times. You’re familiar enough with the topic that you start getting creative with it, innovating or at least altering how you do it to meet your current needs.

This is the difference between learning how to light a fire on a weekend course and living with fire as your primary tool for several months.

The best short course, in my opinion, would focus on fire, tool safety and getting an adequate night’s sleep. When one knows these topics well, the others come much more easily.

First learn to be self-sufficient and safe, then expand out.

Blog, Educational Philosophy

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