So before talking about primitive camping, one must first define what primitive means to you, or in this case what it means to me!
Below is the definition of primitive that can be found in most dictionaries, and I would not argue with that, it seems very fair, and certainly does not mean camping in a nylon tent using a sleeping bag, gas stove, aluminium cookware and freeze dried foods!
primi•tive (prim′i tiv)
1. of or existing in the beginning or the earliest times or ages; ancient; original
a. characteristic or imitative of the earliest ages
b. crude, simple, rough, uncivilized, etc.
3. not derivative; primary; basic
4. ANTHROP. of or having to do with a preliterate, generally isolated, culture with a relatively low level of technology
Primitive Camping to me means pre 1840.
Primitive Skills to me means skills that were first used in pre history.
Any other skills I refer to by date, as in 18th century living skills.
So primitive camping to me means using pre 1840 clothing and equipment, in my particular case I use pre 1760 clothing and equipment and I practice primitive skills and 18th century living skills.
Camping for me started in the 50s. In those days it was cotton canvas tents, open fires, bush poles for fishing, a good sheath knife and a clasp knife, and of course the belt axe. Cooking was sticking some meat on the end of a stick and holding it over the fire.
But as I moved into the 60s, camping got more sophisticated, and this modern equipment that I first thought was fun, slowly took all the fun out of camping for me. For me camping was the thought of camping out like Daniel Boone and other woodsmen of his period and earlier. Digging a small fire pit and cooking over a wood fire was a big part of the attraction. Carrying a sheath knife and a belt axe was compulsory. It was all a part of learning how to be self-reliant.
Putting up a tent or shelter using an oil cloth took some skill, as did making fire, making a bow and arrows, learning to fish with just hook and line. Making a wooden pot hook with a pocket knife and learning how to make snares and snare rabbits. All this the children of today miss out on. Now it is all made for them and little skill is required to set up the modern camp.
So this short article is to try and encourage people to try historical trekking, or primitive camping, it really does put the fun back into camping. If you have kids then for me this is the only way to camp. The skills my three boys learnt have never been forgotten, nor the times we spent together.
First time camper being taught to throw the tomahawk.
Time spent together.
There is much to learn.
A young woodsrunner.
Waiting for that billy to boil.