Why traditional gear?

This is no doubt going to be one of the most frequent questions we are asked as we launch our traditional canoe tripping and handcraft courses.  It is a good question whose answer is complex and diverse.  There are issues of sustainability, economics and accessibility, aesthetics, and function among other things, but I am going to focus here on what I see as some of the core ways in which I think traditional gear and knowledge benefits the individuals who choose to pursue traditional wilderness living skills and experiences.

Utilizing traditional crafts, gear, knowledge, and skills (“Traditional Ways” from here forward) in our outdoor pursuits connects us to the land, the past, and ultimately ourselves in deep and meaningful ways (“Deep Relationships” from here forward) that modern alternatives to Traditional Ways cannot.  Furthermore, learning the knowledge and skill inherent in crafting  handmade traditional wilderness material goods like birch bark canoes, hand carved paddles, wooden snowshoes & toboggans, bow drill fire kits, mukluks, buckskins, and traditional food from the land, and using these goods as they were intended to be used, is a rewarding and interesting, often life changing experience.

When we rely on the land and the Traditional Ways passed down to us by countless generations of nameless craftspeople, and hunters of old we are transformed from mere visitors (in some ways alien) to wild places to active participants (more at home) in the natural world we all depend upon.  Practicing Traditional Ways is a deeply empowering experience that fosters a strong sense of self-confidence, practical knowledge, and Deep Relationships with the Land, the Past, and Self that cannot be achieved through theoretical knowledge alone.

Hands on experience in Traditional Ways in wilderness settings and the Deep Relationships and appreciation for the land that Traditional Ways foster is largely lacking, or poorly developed, within our modern disconnected relationships with the land. Conventional wilderness recreation, in some cases, fosters similar relationships through environmental lessons, tripping, and skill development, but it does so in a more abstract and theoretical way, that is not the same as knowing by doing.  Our Wilderness trips and wilderness based courses create real tangible connections and relationships between people and the land, while also, changing people’s inner landscape, the way that only hands on experiences can.

Boundary Waters Bushcraft & Wilderness Adventures: Wilderness trips and courses are designed to reconnect people with wilderness ecosystems in real and tangible ways while also awakening their human capabilities to live, create, and commune directly with, and from wild lands sustainably and responsibly.