Anyone who has ever camped in a dense forest knows that finding an ideal campsite can be tricky. You need to look for a sufficiently-flat and spacious clearing between trees, and ensure that debris and fallen logs aren’t obstructing it. It’s simple enough to move small pieces of wood out of the way, even if it may be tedious. But what can you do if there’s a heavy log laying smack in the middle of your chosen location?

Photo: U.S. National Park Service / NPS.gov

In many forests, clear campsites are few and far between. Photo: U.S. National Park Service / NPS.gov

Most fallen timber can be moved with the help of some friends, but if you’re camping alone, you shouldn’t try to muscle it out of the way at the risk of throwing out your back. As the saying goes, work smarter, not harder. In the video below, Coalcracker Bushcraft demonstrates an easy technique for moving fallen timber with nothing but a piece of strong rope. It doesn’t even require any knot-tying knowledge.

Coalcracker Bushcraft one man timber hauler rope log forest wood 1

After determining the direction you want to move the log, find a sturdy tree and loop the rope around it. Then pull both ends of the rope under the timber, over it, and back to the tree. This provides an anchor point with a mechanical advantage that reduces the amount of strength you’ll need to roll the log out of the way. Check out the full video:

In addition to clearing campsites, this method could be used to move freshly-felled logs towards your camp for fire-making and shelter-building. Also, a word of caution: remember that the presence of fallen timber could be a sign of danger. Keep an eye out for widowmaker branches overhead, and avoid camping near the base of dead or dying trees.

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