I have always loved the outdoors.
When I was a child, while the other girls were taking babysitting classes in 4-H (the Canadian version of Girl Guides), I was studying outdoor cooking and outdoor survival.
I love camping and hiking, although I have to admit the most serious camping adventures I have done are multi-day hikes through New Zealand which are generally well maintained and well marked. I have never had to resort to consulting my (out of date and lacking) wilderness survival skills.
Even thought the addition of a little one to our family means our family camping trips are mostly restricted to campgrounds with running water and cooking facilities, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of the New York Times Bestseller, Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival. Written by survivalist and travel expert Dave Canterbury, this book gets outdoor lovers ready for their next backcountry excursion or camping trip.
The book is divided into two parts; the first part is all about gear while part two is all about in the bush.
How much can you write about gear? Well when it means surviving in the wilderness… a whole lot. This book will help you choose a backpack, it will teach you about knives and saws, it will show you how to tie useful knots and will educate you in building a shelter in the wild. So yeah, there is a lot to say about gear!
My favourite piece of packing advice is this: “In general, every item should have three uses..” Imagine packing for your next holiday with that in mind! It would be a challenge but you but be sure you didn’t over pack!
But the most exciting section is the “in the bush” section. The section on setting up camp will show you how to put together your camp, as well as several ways to make a good camp fire using both primitive and modern techniques. The navigating chapter is probably the one that I would need to study the most. I think I am fairly decent at navigating through a city, but I would be absolutely useful trying to navigate using a purely topographical map.
And if you are going to be out in the bush for a while (by choice or not) there is a whole section on trapping and hunting game as well as a bush cooking and bush recipe section, although I hopefully never have occasion to make Raccoon Stew or Snapping Turtle in a Pot.
If you’re going to be spending any amount of time out in the wilderness, or are just interested in bush survival, then I really recommend this book.