I'm a newcomer to this great magazine and quickly got hooked. So hooked that I decided to drop the $50 for their four "Best of Backwoodsman" collections. I thought it would be useful to review and summarize them for others who may want to take the plunge.
In short, if you love this magazine, you will love the "Best of..." collection. Backwoodsman Magazine is kinda like the pre-Internet version of BCUSA, and the "Best of" collection is a dive into the deep end of that vibe.
However, if you are not sure and or want to save some money by maybe buying only one or two of the volumes, here's a summary of the contents:
Summary of contents:
Volume 1 & 2 (both in one publication) - Outdoor skills, survival, primitive weapons, archery
Volume 3 - black powder weapons, homesteading, clothing & crafts
Volume 4 - old time crafts, blacksmithing, fishing and boating
Volume 5 - homesteading, hunting, black powder
To be clear: All the volumes contain a huge mix of subjects. The above is just an attempt to describe the dominant theme of each volume.
- The volumes are repetative. There are many cases where the same article appears in multiple volumes.
- You will get an overdose of the typos and bad grammar that are common with this magazine. The copy editing, shall we say, is primitive. For me that is part of the appeal, but at times it verges on "hard to read" in these volumes.
- Don't expect helpful illustrations. Either the current issues of the magazine have improved a lot in this regard, or they just left out a lot of illustrations in the "Best of" volumes to save money. This makes some of the crafts and projects hard to understand. Many of the illustrations they do include are simply illegible.
- Likewise, don't expect photographs. By that I mean "any" photographs. There are hardly any to be found.
In short, if you want to support a magazine you love, the $50 is well spent and you'll have a great addition to your bushcraft library.
If you are not sure, let the contents list above be your guide and maybe just get one or two volumes.
For me, I probably would have been happy just with Volumes 1 & 2, but I don't regret buying the whole set and I'll be keeping them all.
Thanks for reading!