10 Bushcraft Hacks To Improve Camp Life

When it comes to camp life, two words we need to remove from our vocabulary are struggle and hassle. Every problem we face in the outdoors can be solved with the help of Mother Nature. Sometimes, you just need to know where to look!

Y Branches Are Your Friend!

The forked branch in a tree, which we commonly refer to in the Bushcraft World as a “Y branch” can provide continuous assistance at camp. Here are 10 of my most favorite ways to use the Y Branch!

1. Hang It 

By flattening the backside of a Y branch, you can easily make a hook that can be tied to a tree. This hook provides a dry place to hang wet or damp clothing or gear. 

2. Tent Peg

With 3 cuts and few shavings, you can quickly make a tent peg in the field. This is a great option for everyone who is forgetful or who does not want to carry extra gear.

3. Pull It

Use a long stick with a Y on the end that looks like a hook. Using this type of stick will make for an easy way to reach high places and pull down dry firewood.

4. Give It Air

Fire needs heat, oxygen, and fuel to burn. When building a campfire, it is imperative to give your initial flame enough oxygen. Placing your fire starter in the Y of a branch allows for an ample supply of oxygen to reach the flame. 

5. Hot H20

Boiling water in your water bottle is easy, but getting it out of the fire is much more difficult. Take a Y branch and slide it into the top of the bottle. The Y will compress as it passes through the opening and then will spring open and catch the shoulder of the bottle. Then you can easily pull the bottle out. Burnt fingers are now a thing of the past! 

6. Pot Hook

Use a Y branch as a hook to reach through the flames and remove your kettle or pot – it is that simple!

7. Cook System

Are you tired of burning your food or not having a stable place to put your pot? Having two Y branches on each side of your fire along with a straight stick laying across them provides for a perfect cook station. 

8. Smelly Boots

Wet, damp boots are a nightmare to dry out. A Y branch will come to your rescue. Place two Y branches into the ground and position your boot opening over one side of the Y (the other side of the Y will support the toe portion of the boot). This set-up will allow for better air circulation. And if you are brave, you can start a small fire underneath the branch to get some heat inside those smelly things! 

9. Frozen

Frozen tent pegs are almost impossible to pull out of the ground with your bare hands. Use a Y branch to gain a mechanical advantage and a better grip – frozen ground and frozen tent pegs do not stand a chance!

10. Double Trouble

One stick, two marshmallows? Yes, because life does not get much better than that! 

Fire Starting Emergency Kit

Be ready for everything with this Fire Starting Emergency Kit from UCO.

About The Author


Dan Wowak, Owner and Instructor, of Coalcracker Bushcraft and the Appalachian Bushman School, has been an avid outdoorsman since childhood. His love and passion for the outdoors began while fishing and hiking with his grandfather in the hills of Appalachia. Over the years, he continued pursuing his love for the outdoors through backpacking, camping, hunting, and trapping.

As time went on, Dan’s enthusiasm for the outdoors compounded with his drive for reaching his physical and mental limits. The collision of these two passions launched him into the unforgiving, highly dynamic world of survival and bushcraft. He spent years honing this craft and was driven to inspire individuals to pursue a love of wilderness skills. Dan has been formally teaching and sharing knowledge of survival and wilderness living for several years. Most recently Dan has had the opportunity to put his lifetime of knowledge and foundational survival approach to the test on History Channel’s Alone Television Series.