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Woodcraft & Camping by Nessmuk

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by DocGP, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. DocGP


    Feb 22, 2009
    Ok, I just have to read this old classic about twice a year. If you like to read any outdoor books at all, you have to get a copy of this! About a hundred pages of really cool old school camping how to.

    Another one that I like is the two volume set of Horace Kephart's "Camping and Woodcraft". This bad boy is 470 pages of all kinds of stuff. Recipes, how to's on everything.

    So, do you have any recommended reading material? Any "must have" books for the book shelf?

    I am always looking for good books on old stuff. Have found some promising looking stuff at the Crazy Crow Trading post, and at the Track of the Wolf.

  2. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    Akkermans, Drake, Mattos, & Middleton, "Survival," 2007. Good but incorrectly advises cotton clothing in all weather and is obsolete on water purification.

    Angier, Bradford, "Survival With Style," 1972, is dated, especially on disinfecting water, and simply incorrect regarding using iron (rather than carbon steel) with natural flint to strike sparks. Contains good information on fire-making, cooking and direction-finding. (Angier’s older books are often republished decades later with no effort to update the information.)

    Beard, Daniel Carter, "Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties,” Diver 2004. Shelters simple and complex explained and shown by B.S.A.’s first “Chief Scout.”

    Black Dog & Leventhal, publishers, "Survival Wisdom and Know-how," 2007. Some inconsistent and inaccurate information, but this anthology is good on balance. Pp. 178-181 good on water purification.

    Gonzales, Lawrence, "Deep Survival - Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why," W.W. Norton, 2003. The current “latest word” on the mental aspects of survival.

    Kochanski, Mors, “Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills & Wilderness Survival,” 2008. Mr. Kochanski and Ray Mears (cited below) are the leading authorities on “bushcraft” (living in the wilderness with minimum gear).

    McCaan, John D., "Build the Perfect Survival Kit," 2005 has lots of worthwhile information on survival gear. It also has an inaccurate description of how a compass works, very obsolete confidence in iodine and chlorine "bleach" for making water safe, and unavoidably dated information on knife brands. There is no "perfect."

    McManners, Hugh, “BSA: The Complete Wilderness Training Manual, 2d ed. rev., DK Publishing, 2007. Good overall but suggests the inferior chemical potassium permanganate for water purification and pictures and suggests use of massive chopping knives. Advice on snakebite first aid is dangerously incorrect for North America.

    McNab, Chris, "How to Survive Anything Anywhere," McGraw Hill, 2004. Detailed information by former UK commando. Good but obsolete on water purification and wool as the only material for insulation layers. Also incorrectly believes that wood is the only suitable material for knife handles.

    Mears, Raymond, "The Outdoor Survival Handbook," 1992. Really about primitive living by the UK's master of that subject, but with much good survival information - except for a strange devotion to cotton clothing for all seasons and all weather.

    Stroud, Les, "Survive," Collins, 2008 is a serious book by one who is serious about the subject but strangely suggests fires inside brush shelters while occupants are sleeping ?!?!?!? Information on chlorine bleach and iodine for water purification is contrary to present expert advice.

    Sweeney, Michael S., "Complete Survival Manual," National Geographic (undated). Good but weak on water purification. The advice on placing food where bears “cannot smell it” is unintentionally funny. (Bears can smell food still sealed in the can.)

    Tawrell, Paul, "Camping & Wilderness Survival," 1996 at p. 75 has interesting detailed information on river crossings.

    Tilton, Buck and Bennett, Rick, "Don't Get Sick," Mountaineers Books, 2002, is authoritative but rather technical for non-doctors. Written before development of Chlorine dioxide for outdoor use. Sold by B.S.A.

    Towell, Colin, “The Survival Handbook – Essential skills for Outdoor Adventure. Another book by a former UK commando. Much excellent information. Handicapped somewhat by UK military jargon (e.g., PSK is called “belt order.”). Encourages gathering of wild food. Suggests use of inferior potassium permanganate for water purification and omits SOLIS method. Pictures and suggests use of massive chopping knives. Advice on first aid for anaphylactic shock neglects role of oral antihistamines. Assumes all Coleman fuel stoves need priming. Confused about various ferrocerium tools (p. 127). Illustrations sometimes conflict with text (e.g. text advises wearing hat but illustration shows use of cap). (An official publication of the B.S.A. on sale in July, 2011.)

    George Washington Sears does not make the list.
  3. scruffuk


    Jan 14, 2010
    "Wildwood Wisdom" by Elsworth Jaeger is a good book....contains a whole heap of information, skills and ideas, the illustrations are excellent.
  4. shunsui

    shunsui Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    Here's some oldies from the sixties.

    Euell Theophilus Gibbons (September 14, 1911 – December 29, 1975)

    Stalking the Wild Asparagus (1962)
    Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop (1964)
  5. fishiker


    Nov 5, 2006
    +1, a great read !
  6. Brian.Evans

    Brian.Evans KnifeMaker-EDC Knife Specialist Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2011
    +2. I've had this book since I was quite young. I credit it, among other things, with inspiring my love of wilderness living.
  7. russamurai


    Feb 24, 2009
    :thumbup: These books rock, as does wildwood wisdom

    Also have been enjoying reading the LLBean Game and Fish cookbook, published in 1983. Just awesome. Everything from bourbon buck to raccoon pie.
  8. JB in SC

    JB in SC Gold Member Gold Member

    May 19, 2001
    Stalking the Wild Asparagus remains one of my favorites.
  9. Corso


    Aug 16, 2007
    big fan of kepharts work

    plenty of free ebooks online too
  10. Codger_64

    Codger_64 Moderator Moderator

    Oct 8, 2004
    Buzzacott circa 1913.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  11. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine by Paul S. Auerbach MD. Very good, includes some veterinary info as well. Drug tables and the like. Lots of the info is well into the last ditch category, but worth having if you needed it.

    As for Les' book, I quite like it. My thoughts on most advice in books, is that some will change back and forth every few years, with every new study. and some stuff in the book because its in other experts books. Les isn't a scientist, so I'm not sure why exactly he phrased it that way (or maybe its thanks to the editor) not to start that debate here. Just to say that if there was no room for opinion, there would only be one book!

    Horace Kephart's Camp Cookery, is another great one, and never pass up an opportunity to pick up a copy of any of the Foxfire volumes when you get a chance. Not so much survival as primitive living, but there is some great stuff in it.

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