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Over 50 Years of Woodcraft, Camping, Adventures

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

My Goal: Help Others to "Smooth It" In The Great Out There!

"Nessmuk" wrote his legacy book, Woodcraft in 1884. Woodcraft remains in print to this day, and now is also available as an audio book and Ebook! Much woodcraft is timeless in application.

He wrote, "Perhaps more than 50 years of devotion to 'woodcraft' may enable me to give a few useful hints and suggestions to those whose dreams, during the close periods of work, are of camplife by flood, field, and forest."

Nessmuk Woodcraft and Camping
Woodcraft, by Nessmuk 1884 First Printing

Reading this time-treasured account by George Washington Sears, I have now reflected that I, too, have accumulated over 50 years of "woodcraft" experiences. Nessmuk wrote of high-laced leather boots, woolen clothing, and canvas tents. He would be amazed at modern lightweight tents, Kevlar canoes, titanium cookpots, and fast-drying synthetic garments. In my opinion, Nessmuk would be an "early adopter" of every modern invention.

In Woodcraft, Nessmuk also wrote, "Go light; the lighter the better, so that you have the simplest material for health, comfort, and enjoyment."

But Nessmuk is most noted for his clearest admonition. He bristled at tourists and "outers" who spoke of taking to The Great Out There to "rough it". In contrast he wrote, "The last phrase is very popular and always cropping out in the talks on matters pertaining to a vacation in the woods. I dislike the phrase. we do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it."

Nessmuk Woodcraft
Smooth It: the Admonition of Nessmuk in "Woodcraft"

He repeated, "And to these I would say, don't rough it; make it as smooth, as restful and pleasurable as you can."

The Great Out There blog is inspired by Nessmuk's credo. Over more than 50 years of woodcraft, the Number One mistake I see adventurer's make is the fascination with and the over-accumulation of stuff. I, too, love the latest technology. But MORE important is the RIGHT stuff. This sentiment extends beyond the outdoors to "minimalism", with the byline: Less is More.

Second, there is an over-abundance of information that is usually contradictory in the correct, efficient, and safe usage of woodcraft tools and outdoor gear. These two topics, the proper selection and usage of your outdoor kit are the emphasis of The Great Out There blog.

I invite you to read along, as well as add YOUR inputs and experiences. My intended audience is the "outers" who value Nessmuk's advice. There was a day that I could single-carry a 75-pound Grumman canoe and 50-pound Duluth pack across a rough portage. Even if I could, I won't any longer. There are NO bonus points for agony or injury. Don't rough it, smooth it!

Although I have decades of varied outdoor experiences, I am the first to admit that I still enjoy learning new tips, techniques, and ways to "Smooth It". Please read along, and Subscribe for exclusive content. Please also follow The Great Out There on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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