In dialog with Bushcraft and Survival expert Dave Canterbury

Powerful, pithy appearance, tattooed and a constantly keen eye: A picture of Dave Canterbury (born 1963) could easily be printed in the encyclopaedia next to the entry “Survival”. Born in the USA, he served in the US Army from 1981 to 1988. Dave Canterbury was already known as an adventurer and expert in survival techniques before beginning his international TV career. Today he is Co-Owner of the Pathfinder Survival School (Ohio, USA), two-time New York Times Best Selling Author (“Bushcraft 101”, 2014) and goes around the world to inspire people to live independent and self-determined lives in and with nature. The traditional brand Petromax as well as the high-quality equipment focussing on the issues fire and light, outdoor cooking, Bushcraft and Survival are very familiar to him. So, he was happy to answer for us questions to share his personal experiences.

The right attitude is what counts when it comes to Bushcraft and Survival

Whether Bushcraft beginner or advanced: Those who want to experience outdoor adventures need a feel for nature, a good grasp and some manual skills. Where can I set up my camp and how can I build a permanent shelter? How do I live with my natural environment and what equipment do I need? These are the key questions that come with an original Bushcraft experience. It’s an advantage if you’re already mentally prepared for it, as Dave Canterbury confirms. He’s often asked the question about how he understands Bushcraft and what matters in nature.

Petromax: When you are interested in the history and techniques of the Bushcraft, you will often come across the term “Woodcraft”. What’s it all about?

Dave Canterbury: „I am often asked this question. […] When Richard Graves wrote his book “BUSHCRAFT” in 1973, he wrote it against the background of his position as an Australian Air Force Survival Trainer. The term was therefore probably inspired by his homeland, as the Australian outback is also known as The Bush. Originally, Bush Craft describes the manual production of utensils from natural resources of its environment and in the best case […] with only one source tool. […] on the other hand, in the American English, the term “Woodcraft” is used. The techniques were taught at the scouts and several tools (knife, axe, saw, etc.) are used and taken on planned stays in nature. […] Both directions apply techniques of track reading, botany, fire making, shelter building […], trapping, etc. The difference is that one [Bushcraft, PX] is based on a survival situation and the other [Woodcraft, PX] is based on planned excursions. […] The term Bushcraft is now generally used, although according to Graves the original idea today probably goes more in the direction of survival. […]“

Reliable equipment for Bushcraft

Petromax: What tool has literally helped you out of a tight spot before?

Dave Canterbury: My Swiss Army Knife is my constant companion. […] Once I was out and about in uninhabited woodland. Since it was only planned as a day trip, I didn’t pack much equipment, not even my Survival Knife. I had walked too far into the forest and it was already dark. So, I had to set up an improvised camp in the wilderness. With my Swiss Army Knife, I could build a shelter and – together with a stick flint – light a warming fire.

Petromax: Which equipment to you use the most?

Dave Canterbury: I take my Belt Knife and my stainless steel water bottle every day. This equipment can be used for almost all tasks and situations during an adventure in the wilderness. Dehydration is one of the biggest dangers and a good cutting tool makes it easier to build other items and eliminates the need for additional tools in your luggage.

In spring 2019 we met the Bushcraft and Survival expert Dave Canterbury at the Survival Expo in Paris. We started a conversation immediately and Dave took the time to talk to us. It was a huge pleasure. Thanks again, Dave!

Find out more about Dave Canterbury:

Website and Blog

Official YouTube channel

Official Instagram @pathfindersurvival