There are a handful of specific tasks you need to know how to do before you can carry the title of outdoorsman. Here are five things every outdoorsman—and some may argue, every man—should know how to do.
1. Find Your Way Back
First, anyone that calls themselves an outdoorsman must have both strong traditional path-finding capabilities and a willingness to use modern technology when necessary. Although an outdoorsman often has a great sense of direction, the more important characteristic is that he is humble enough to admit when he’s lost. That’s when the importance of preparation (including packing a rad GPS gadget or old-school map and compass) becomes crystal clear.
Outdoorsmen know how to prepare for any emergency situation (including being lost). For example, a veteran outdoorsman will know to have an emergency backpack or two with the party at all times. The key is to avoid overloading your emergency pack while keeping the essentials on hand. Always make sure to carry extra water, some light snacks, canned foods, or rations, a couple of warm blankets or a sleeping bag, and an LED headlamp. Don’t forget your fire starter and GPS utility!
2. Build a Temporary Shelter
When an outdoorsman realizes he won’t be able to find his way back by night fall, he doesn’t freak out. Instead, he calmly takes out his trusty multi-tool and gets to work building a shelter. To call yourself an outdoorsman, you don’t have to know how to build an elaborate log cabin or fort. Rather, you must know how to string, tie, nail, or stack together to provide a simple form of shelter. The point is simple: keep yourself warm by keeping the elements out.
3. Skin a Fish or Wild Game
The truly experienced outdoorsman knows how to skin a fish or wild game. While catching the fish or rabbit or other small game may be just as difficult, you won’t do you or your party any good if you can’t skin said food source properly. Thus, if you want to be a real mountain man, you should prepare yourself by researching the various proven and time-honored skinning techniques—and don’t forget to always have a sporting knife on hand to do the dirty work!
4. Build a Fire
If you have procured some fresh meat or happened to have brought rations, you will need some way to heat things up. Fire sanitizes your food and provides warmth. You can go without food for a few days, but you can’t go without heat on a cold night without risking major illness. Because you never know what will befall you in the wilderness, it’s important for outdoorsman to know a few fire construction techniques. Also, it’s wise to carry an LED headlamp to keep your hands free and make things easier when you’re looking for firewood in the dark.
5. Pick a Lock
Why would an outdoorsman need to know how to pick a lock? Simple: to get indoors! If you and your party find yourself lost up on the mountain or out in the middle of nowhere, chances are there is some sort of shelter or cabin nearby. More often than not, though, said shelter may be locked to keep intruders and critters out. But in times of emergency, you may need to find a way inside. Thus, know some basics about picking a lock. This is another good reason to carry a multi-tool on your belt for all your outdoor adventures!
[Photo by: JasonB]