Thursday, August 15, 2019

Book Recommendations: Survival Handbooks

& is used with permission.
Today I received a PM from a friend which said:
Hey! Long time no see! I've started watching a series on YouTube on the American Frontier (Townsends is the channel, with Coalcracker being a guest for some episodes). Watching this stuff has me longing for my boy scout days. Can you recommend a good field manual? Something for plant/tree identification, tying knots, and other wilderness/forest survival?

I've found that the SAS Survival Handbook is a good, all-purpose book, rather like an old Boy Scout Handbook but for adults. There's a lot (a lot) of excellent information inside it, from bushcraft to survival skills to plant & animal identification. There's first aid and knots and navigation. There are plenty of full-color illustrations to help you understand what's being taught. It's a legitimate weighty tome, both in information density and in actual weight (it's a trade paperback but it weighs at least as much as a hardcover book.) Fortunately for those of us worried about weight, there's both a Kindle edition for your survival e-reader and an app version for both Apple and Android phones.

Another book which I recommend is Wilderness Survival by Gregory J. Davenport. This is smaller and lighter than the SAS guide, and the illustrations are less detailed, but I feel it has a different focus. The SAS Survival Handbook is geared towards "Here's how to survive anywhere on earth, and your efforts should be focused on getting rescued or self-rescue", while Wilderness Survival 
is more "Well, you're stuck here, and could be here for a good long while. Might as well make yourself comfortable." It, too, is also available in Kindle format, and has earned itself a place in my survival e-reader.

If you're looking for good book on bushcraft skills and general survival, you won't go wrong with either of these. Put SAS in your bug-out bag and Wilderness Survival in your camping backpack and you'll be better prepared than a lot of people.

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