5 Outdoor Skills Everyone Should Know

1. How to build a campfire

There’s a primordial link between men and fire. While it’s no longer necessary for our survival, man’s connection to fire still exists. It’s both exhilarating and calming, dangerous and assuring. There’s nothing like sitting around a crackling fire under a starry sky while poking the embers with a stick and meditating on the big questions in life. Just for those reasons alone a man should know how to build a fire. But it’s also vital to know so you can build a fire while camping in order to cook a solid meal for yourself and those with you.

2. Survive a Bear Attack

While bear attacks are rare, a man should always be prepared. Whether you’re camping for a weekend, or simply out for a morning hike, you never know when you’ll need this information. Believe it or not, just weeks after I compiled the research for our AoM guide on the topic, I encountered not one, but two black bears on a popular trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. It does happen. I was surprisingly calm with this useful knowledge at hand, and I felt confident I could have taken down those black bears should necessity have called. Alas, it didn’t, and I mourned the loss of the new rug I was looking forward to for my living room.


3. Cast a Fishing Line

Fishing has been a skill that fathers have passed down to sons since time immemorial. It’s not only a fun and relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon, but hearkens back to our caveman and caveson days, when fishing was more than just a pastime, but a survival skill. And one of the first steps to learning fishing? Knowing how to cast a line.

4. Always Know North

A man always knows his direction, be it philosophically in life or physically on the road. He can find North without a digital aid. A compass is the easiest and surest way to do this, of course, but there are other methods as well, including using an analog watch, sticks and shadows, the constellations in the night sky, and the moss growing on trees and rocks. But each of these methods of finding North involve a good deal of know-how and nuance, so it’s definitely a skill you’ll need to master before you really need it.

The Shadow-Tip Method

Place a stick upright in the ground so that you can see its shadow. Alternatively, you can use the shadow of a fixed object. Nearly any object will work, but the taller the object is, the easier it will be to see the movement of its shadow, and the narrower the tip of the object is, the more accurate the reading will be. Make sure the shadow is cast on a level, brush-free spot.Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 2.00.07 pm

5. Fillet a Fish

What makes fishing even more satisfying is being able to fillet and cook your catch for a real water-to-table experience. Throw it in a skillet with some garlic, lemon, and butter, fry it over the campfire you’ve built, and enjoy a wild dinner under the stars.

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