During the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, we want people to learn how to plan food and meals for an extended trip, starting with themselves and finishing with planning for a group. We also want them to learn how much water water they need on any given day in order to feel good and have their body perform. The way they learn this is by writing down everything they eat and drink for a few weeks. By creating a written record of what they consume, they’re also creating a blueprint for what their body needs on an expedition. It gets even easier if they eat foods during that period that are similar to what they would bring on the trip. In addition to writing down their intake, we also ask them to comment on how they felt. Over time they can trace how they felt with what they consumed, and figure out what they need to be at their best.
We live in a world of averages and generalizations. There are lots of great books out there advising you how much water to drink each day. But none of them can compare to first hand knowledge of knowing how much you need based on past experience. It’s about knowing, not about guessing.
Know thyself. This ancient advice is the core of one of the seven elements of Jack Mountain Bushcraft School programs; the self component. The complete list of those seven elements is:
Skill – Journey – Craft – Nature – Culture – Sustainability – Self
The self component is about learning your personal parameters in a world of generalizations. How much food do YOU need every day (and what kind)? How much water? How large of a bed do you need to sleep well? How much sleep do you need? How warm do you need to be to sleep? All of these things, and much more, comprise the self component. You can’t learn this from books, only experience. Again, it’s about knowing, not guessing. Know thyself.