Bushcraft USA Hardwoodsman Challenge

Iz Turley of Turley Knives created a set of outdoor skills known as the Hardwoodsman Challenge that has been posted on the Bushcraft USA Forum.

Each task must be video taped for proof of completion and approved by Iz or the other hardwoodsman graduates. In 2017, I completed the challenges and no doubt have more confidence in my abilities as a woodsman.  If you’re looking to improve your skills in a free, go at your own pace, set of challenges, I’d like to encourage you to check it out.

Here is a playlist of my 22 challenge entries.


Fire Chain to be done all at one sitting
○ Knife and man made cordage allowed
○ Make a fire using a friction method of your choice ie. hand, bow, plough ect..
■ All material must be gathered and made on site, if wet must use split
wood and shaving method
■ Natural tinder only gathered on site
○ Once fire is going char natural material WITHOUT container or man made vessel
○ Make a 2nd fire with flint and steel using the charred material just made

Man in creek drill 
○ Ignition source can be anything you normally carry in fire kit
○ Dump whatever is in your kit and light it
○ Knee high flames
○ Move with a purpose, try to do a shore of lake, creek ect.

Split wood fire 3x prep
○ Must start 3 fires consecutively
○ Firesteel only, no other ignition source
○ Must use shavings or scrapings, no other tinder allowed
○ Close up video of making one split wood fire

Solo overnight NO dogs or people
○ Build natural shelter with NO tools and spend night in it

Navigate to spot you’ve never been
○ Map and compass only
○ Pick a spot on topo map and navigate to it, off trail

Splitwood fire in rain
○ NO birch bark or fatwood
○ Firesteel only

One handed, weak hand splitwood fire
○ No twigs or fat wood or birch bark
○ Must use weak hand
○ Must use fire steel
○ Use whatever tools normally carry



Pocket knife split wood fire 3x prep
○ pocket knife and firesteel only
○ all wood gathered on site, use only pocket knife or hands no other tools
○ 3 fires lit with fire steel only, all in consecutive order
○ knee high flames

Tree and Plant ID
○ Positively ID 2 trees and 2 plants
○ Demonstrate two uses for each, show it don’t tell it

Navigate to somewhere you haven’t been
○ drop something there and leave it
○ return in min 2 weeks and attempt to find it

Split wood fire with full size axe
○ 20” min overall length of axe and fire steel
○ use axe for all prep, may use rock found on site to strike fire steel
○ knee high flames

Bow drill with full size axe
○ 20” min overall length of axe and actual shoe lace your wearing
○ everything done with axe including notch, no 2 stick fire board

Knee high flames with just shavings
○ fire steel and cutting tool of your choice
○ Make pile of shavings enough for knee high flames, NO scraping
○ 7 strikes MAX allowed to start fire or do over with new pile of shavings

Fire with firesteel only
○ Find everything you need in woods
○ No blowing or fanning to keep fire going
○ no fat wood or birch bark
○ knee high flames

Split wood fire
○ knee high flames in 1 min or less
○ NO scraping or tipi
○ normal bracing and base nothing fancy to make flames higher

Navigate with only a compass
○ travel outbound min 1hr
○ stop for 20 min break
○ go back to start
○ do in area you’ve never been in before

Floating fire
○ make base that will float, make fire
○ must burn min 1min while floating without contact from you
○ Only fire steel and shavings to light, no birch bark or fat wood
○ if you have to tie wood to make raft, use only natural cordage

Green wood split fire
○ knee high flames
○ only green wood
○ fire steel and no blowing or fanning
○ green wood that works with firesteel:



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