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Father Nature: 10 Manly Skills Yours Better Know How to Do Outdoors

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If your man isn’t exactly the outdoorsy type, it’s OK. Some people are just more equipped to live in a city, or at least the comfort of a very well stocked and well-maintained home. But even if your partner is a bona fide city-guy, there are certain manly skills he really should know how to do outdoors, if not for bragging rights, then for the well-being and happiness of his family. Hint: if he can’t run the grill and he is no help when your kids want to make s’mores by a campfire, then you might want to have a talk about his outdoors prowess.

There’s something really sexy and really comforting about a man (or any partner for that matter) who knows his way around a campsite and who you can depend on in the face of any natural obstacle or crisis. And don’t worry if you don’t know how to do any of these things, outdoors skills, and survival skills for that matter, are developed and learned over time. Little baby boys aren’t born knowing how to pitch a tent or hunt. Here are 10 things that your man, and any man really, should know how to do outdoors. And if he doesn’t know, there’s never been a better time to learn.

1. Make a Campfire


Perhaps you learned this skill back in your early boy scout days, or maybe not. But if you don’t know how to make a campfire, from scratch (no cheating with those logs soaked in lighter fluid) then you better learn now. You need a few key ingredients: tinder, kindling, fuel wood and matches. There are also several techniques for building a successful fire, and equally important, there are a few important steps in safely putting out a fire. Know them, practice them, and get comfortable with your technique.

2. Barbecue and Master the Grill

While some people might argue that a woman is better suited to cooking and controlling the kitchen, we’re not so sure about those traditional gender roles. That said, every man should know how to work a grill. And yes, once you get really good at grilling your meat or fish, you can try other methods of cooking, but being able to make a killer steak and perfectly charred hot dogs is a gift, and every man should know how to do it.

3. Chop Wood

A man's ax for chopping wood

Speaking of campfires and grills, none of those things really work without firewood. Know where to find it, how to chop it, and how to use it. This is one of the most crucial (and sexy) manly skills there is.

4. Know Which way is North

In the digital age when our Smartphone tells us almost everything we need to know, including which way is north, it’s still a useful survival skill to know your directions, during the day or at night. Make sure your man can use the position of the sun and the shadow it casts to read which way is north, south, east and west. And at night, use the stars for direction. Simply find the Big Dipper and the North Star so that you can establish which way is, well, north.

5. Read a Map

A man looking at a map

And if using the sun and the stars isn’t necessary, your man should be able to read a map, use an atlas and follow directions. And maybe equally challenging for a lot of guys—he should be able to ask for help if he can’t navigate his way.

6. Build Shelter

If you’re camping for pleasure, or in a survival situation when you need shelter, your man should be able to provide that safe haven for you. This might be as simple as being able to pitch a tent (most of which, are designed so they are easy to assemble), or it might mean making shelter from only natural ingredients you find in the woods.

7. Find Clean Water


A man should be able to find water, know if it is clean water, and tap into that water source when necessary. And when need be, he should know how to boil water to sterilize it for drinking.

8. Paddle a Canoe (and Flip Over if you Capsize)

Let’s be honest: sometimes you just want your man to do the heavy lifting when it comes to a casual canoe outing or even a kayak adventure. He’s got bigger muscles; he should be paddling with more power. But if he’s not doing it right, you’ll not only stay still, but you’ll also risk going in the wrong direction or capsizing. Make sure he knows how to steer and propel your canoe forward efficiently, and if you do capsize (it happens), make sure he knows how to properly flip the canoe back over so you can climb to safety.

9. Tie a Secure Knot


If you ever took sailing lessons or went on an outdoor adventure when you were younger, you may have learned how to tie some knots keys: Like the figure of 8 or a square knot. If your man forgot those skills, it may help to brush up on his knot-tying skills. You never know when you may need to use that knot safely, for survival, safety, or first aid.

10. Tend to a Wound

Last but not least, moms and women are usually the ones who make boo-boos better, but a man should also know how to tend to a wound and perform basic first aid procedure in an emergency. That includes cleaning a wound, stopping bleeding, treat burns and more.

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