Favorite "non-mainstream" wilderness skills book?

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by Diogenes2000, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Diogenes2000

    Diogenes2000 Tracker

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    This book was my first real exposure to texts on wilderness skill sets, long before I had heard the term 'bushcraft'. I found it in a used book shop and when I thumbed through it, it was clear I needed to take it home. I recommend it to those looking to expand their knowledge base but to be honest I've never seen another paper copy. Though it's sacrilege to say so, I think it has taught me more than Kochanski's 'Bushcraft'.

    [​IMG]


    I thought that if I held this book in such high regard, maybe there are other books some of you know of that aren't mainstream enough for other people to have seen. What's your favorite example of such a book? I'm always looking to expand my library!
     
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  2. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The old Foxfire series was very educational, also the older issues of Mother Earth News...
     
  3. Sean Baek

    Sean Baek Boomslang Supporter

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    I enjoy "Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass" by Harold Gatty
     
  4. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The older BSA handbooks hold a fair amount of knowledge. joe
     
  5. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Just ordered from Amazon. His book with Townsend Whelen is one of my favorites.
     
  6. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

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    I don't know if they are non-mainstream.....maybe just published in days gone by.....gotta watch some of them.....one person said one thing in a book and before yea know it ........it's "gospel".......even tough it might be very much wrong and maybe get yea killed....and other people repeat the same thing......I like Angier......How about AR Harding......lots of book/booklets on outdoor skills, many trapping......I think I have at least one original and at least on reprint.....I'd have to go check my shelf....I like the old plant and insect books for their art work plates--great stuff----I have a hawk book that has some early work of Roger Tory Peterson---before he became famous for his Bird Guide.....
     
  7. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I don't know if I have that book or not. I do have quite a collection of older outdoor books ranging from compass use to the camping "bibles". I must have 3 or 4 dozen books. I love reading the old books, and especially the illustrations in them. :)
     
  8. x39

    x39 Supporter Supporter

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    Bradford Angier.... classic stuff, I must have every book he wrote. This pursuit predates anyone on this site. Great stuff by Dan C. Beard, Ernest Thompson Seton, Ellsworth Jaeger, and others already mentioned, the list is seemingly endless. J. Wayne Fears wrote some really good books, but seems largely unknown now.
     
  9. bam7765

    bam7765 Supporter Supporter

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    J. Wayne Fears is underrated. His fiction books are excellent as well as his outdoor books.
     
  10. Whit Spurzon

    Whit Spurzon Scout

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    Another book worth grabbing if you ever come across a copy is Jack-Knife Cookery by James Austin Wilder. Whimsically written with a lot of good bushcraft lore from long ago.
     
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  11. x39

    x39 Supporter Supporter

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    I agree. If I recall correctly, he was an Air Force survival instructor.
     
  12. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Some of Angier’s writings are hair raising. Tales of frost taking over the cabin, survival living at the extreme. I really like his books. Must find them again.
     
  13. x39

    x39 Supporter Supporter

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    There are a lot of autobiographical books having to do with wilderness living as well. One of my favorites is "This Was the North" by Anton Money, his narrative of heading into the Canadian wilderness after the First World War, homesteading, and gold mining. It's really a stellar read.
     
  14. MaineFlyfishingGuide

    MaineFlyfishingGuide Tracker

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    02AF3DA8-002E-4941-AAD7-F0AF7C95F263.jpeg ABF75735-144D-4088-B9D5-AF7B0F6BC56D.jpeg 2391CBAD-52CF-4501-822F-0FD9BEAE4762.jpeg Originally published in 1972, and could probably use some updating, but this is still in use by Maine DIFW.
     
  15. Scooter

    Scooter Scout

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    Anything by Calvin Rutstrum is a good read.
     
  16. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Supporter Supporter

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    Camping and Wilderness Survival by Paul Tawrell is a favorite of mine. Only thing I'm not too fond of is the size and weight of it. I'd never take it with me on a backpacking trip.
    Last night I was reading through Tom Brown's Field Guide.
    Books are what I learned from as a kid. No internet in the 70's and 80's, and no one in my family was into anything more then camping. So I would read, then put my knowledge to the test.
    Experience is the greatest teacher, and the best lessons learned, are the ones learned the hard way.
    I'll be watching this thread now. I haven't bought a book in a while...
     
  17. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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  18. Malamute

    Malamute Guide

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    Outdoor Survival Skills, by Larry Dean Olson. Probably the best Ive seen overall. His basic assumption is you have nothing, and proceeds from there. Its based on Great Basin Indian skills and methods from what I understand. I knew someone that went and spent some time with him when he was doing classes.

    I read most or all of Rutstrums stuff, I think hes very good also. He did back country living off and on as a matter of lifestyle choice for years. I think mainly going out for seasons, sometimes overwintering in some remote place.

    I read all of Angiers stuff years ago and liked it. I stopped in Hudson Hope when driving to Alaska. EDIT: The people in the chamber of commerce or visitors center claimed he never lived there full time. Reading his bio online, I question the accuracy of that claim.

    A very enjoyable read on cabin and back country living was Cache Lake Country by John Rowlands. Not presented as a wilderness skills book per se, but filled with interesting stuff that was day to day stuff for him in the period that he lived in his cabin and cruised timber. Its formatted as each chapter is a month, and talks about all it entails in the country around him and things he did, with some history and native stories. Highly recommend for pure reading pleasure.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  19. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper Supporter

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    Bushcraft: The Ultimate Guide to Survival In The Wilderness by Richard Graves. Even though it is written with the Australian OUTBACK in mind, it's still a great read and one of my favorites.....
    Dominick.........
     
  20. Carvey

    Carvey Tracker

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    Woodcraft and Camping by George Washington Sears; Camping and Woodcraft by Horace Kephart. Older BSA Field Books too.
     
  21. Wasp

    Wasp We are GO for Sting!

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    I have some books I like to look through for information and ideas.

    Country Living (book)
    Army Field Manual
    Trappers Bible
     
  22. Gitzenhemmer

    Gitzenhemmer Tracker

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    Here's a vote for the Craighead Brother's and their survival manuals they did for the Navy.
     
  23. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Guide

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    Desert Survival Skills by David Alloway.

    Anything by Tony Nester. A skilled instructor with facts and experience in his books.
     
  24. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    This book. If you want to know how to make primitive items and live primitively, this is a must have. I mail ordered this as a kid (I was a nerd)..learned lots from it long before I had the internet.

    wildernessbook.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  25. x39

    x39 Supporter Supporter

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    We do indeed still use that book, I've probably handed out a thousand of them through the years. A few years ago I approached the head of Recreational Safety about the possibility of updating it, maybe even coming out with a digital edition, but was told there was no funding available.
     
  26. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    The 'Book of Outdoor Survival' by J Wayne Fears. (It's John Wayne Fears but he didn't care for the kidding that came with the first and middle name)

    It's the very first 'survival' book that advocated carrying a Bic lighter for firestarting. Every book that I'd read prior to that one showed every method to light a fire except matches or a lighter. Sometimes the obvious isn't so bad.

    Steve
     
  27. x39

    x39 Supporter Supporter

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    A good example of what I like about his writing. Very nuts and bolts practical stuff, without any tactical, apocalyptic, or spiritual component in the mix.
     
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  28. MrKnobbie

    MrKnobbie Scout Bushclass I

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    "Participating in nature" by Thomas Elpel
     
  29. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporter Supporter

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    The download link is dated 2003
     
  30. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporter Supporter

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  31. Red Yeti

    Red Yeti Mostly Harmless Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Yes! My experience too with this book many years ago. Also Olsens wilderness survial. I also really was inspired by "the last of the mountain men" about Sylvan Hart who lived on his own terms in Idaho.
     
  32. x39

    x39 Supporter Supporter

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    I kind of misstated what I had proposed when I mentioned a digital edition. What I had wanted to do was make a video version of the book using updated information. I had hoped to find a college film group to produce it, using young folks as actors so it would resonate better with those taking recreational safety courses. Sorry for any misunderstanding.
     
  33. remington79

    remington79 Scout

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  34. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporter Supporter

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    That is a great idea, it reminds me of Peter Kummerfelt's videos at

    http://outdoorsafe.com/category/video/

    These are done for Colorado Park & Wildlife
     
  35. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporter Supporter

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    I found and ordered this book on thriftbooks.com for 3.88 and .99 shipping.
     
  36. Myr1ad

    Myr1ad Scout

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    Australian General Rescue Handbook. At first glance you would not think it had any bearing on bushcraft. The more you go through it the more you will find that is useful. This manual shows how to do rescues with manpower, not fancy machines, like it seems is necessary to do anything here in the states. Knots, rope, webbing, rigging, compass skills, etc.

    https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/media/1992/manual-35-general-and-disaster-rescue.pdf

    I also put a copy in the resources section here on the site.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  37. thereandbackagain

    thereandbackagain Scout

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    This isn't so much out of the box, as off land. HEAVY WEATHER SAILING by Adlard Coles saved my life, literally and probably a few others. I qualified as a lifeboat coxswain on one of the last two active service 36' double ended motor lifeboats on Tillamook Bay Oregon and partook in the now lost ritual of 'riding the glory hole' a small bow cockpit crewmen would occupy to throw lines etc. You would be taken out into heavy surf and soaked much like the storm scene in DAS BOOT. I went on to push our two 44' MLBs and whoa! entirely different handling. Meanwhile, with Vietnam and funding in general winding down my actual training was a class on the Columbia River Gorge and a fast learning curve in the real world with little advice except anecdotal snippets from the older 'boats' and local fishermen.
    I found this and learned more than I can remember offhand decades later. People can find themselves unexpectedly on the water; ocean, lake or river and learning that FLUID environment beforehand is a worthy skill.
     
  38. Tor Helge

    Tor Helge Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    My favorite is "Overlevnad" (swedish army survival handbook).
    A survivalbook that is suitable for my environment (fennoscandia).
     
  39. C Bryant

    C Bryant Supporter Supporter

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    Bump for great thread. Even though it cost me money.
     
  40. Doc.

    Doc. Scout

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    Allen Eckhert’s wilderness series of historical novels. Can’t be beat. Doc
     
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  41. Galen blazer

    Galen blazer Scout

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    The copy of lost ways i got from nevadablue was alot of old school info thanks nb
     
  42. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    Yeah, I've got a few to add...

    THE book I wish I'd read first was Townsend Whelen's "On Your Own in the Wilderness" (also co-written with Brad Angier, of whom I am not a big fan.) I think the first edition was in the late 1950s, maybe 5-7 years before Whelen passed.

    Another one I wish I'd read much sooner was Calvin Rutstrom's "New Way of the Wilderness". I'm pretty sure it was written in the 60s.

    Finally, much more mainstream, but wish I'd read sooner, was Kephart's "Camping and Woodcraft". Whelen mentions it as one of the best books written on the subject, to which he had little to add (from "Wilderness Hunting and Wildcraft", another good book. The first half is about hunting certain large mammels, and the second half was more of a repeat of sections of "On Your Own in the Wilderness".)
     
  43. crewhead05

    crewhead05 caffeine, nicotine, knives and nature. Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  44. highlander

    highlander Supporter Supporter

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    Got the newest SERE Training Manual a few weeks ago from @foxfire in a GAW. It’s about 2” thick, not as entertaining as most books, reads like an instructional manual (because it is), but it’s packed full of wilderness and primitive skills with thorough explanations. The explanations are what makes it stand out. Very useful. It’s not really mainstream I’d think.
    I’m fond of the Foxfire Series and had a nice collection of the old American Survival Guide magazine before it went defunct in the mid-90s and came back as an advertisement driven publication with half a million adverts and 3 articles.
     
  45. badgerthehobo

    badgerthehobo Scout

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    I’ve really liked Dan Carter Beard's Book of Camp lore and Woodcraft.
     
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  46. yellowtruck61

    yellowtruck61 Tracker

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    Wow! So many new books to seek out! Thanks for adding to my reading list!
     
  47. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    :dblthumb::D
     
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  48. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

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    Getting inside the minds of our great grandfathers and great grandmothers. They knew how to do so much we have forgotten. Not what we might call bush crafting skills, but everyday living skills. How to survive much more independently. Gardening. Farming using animal power. Getting by in the lean, dry years. I raise a garden mainly to cut calories, but growing your own food. People worked so hard 4,000 calories a day was nothing. That takes a lot of food. Then add on you need grain for your work animals.
     
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  49. kelpie13

    kelpie13 Scout

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    Thanks for the heads up on this book. Was able to find a paperback version online and have spent all weekend thumbing through it. I love these old "how-to-guides" from the days of my youth and before. They weren't so much about what gear you had to have but more about what things worked together. Call me a packrat or hoarder but I still have some of these from my teens and keep adding to my library.

    Cool thing is these paperbacks travel well so I can take them on business trips or getaways weekends and I can share 'em with my grandson. As far as I'm concerned having these books and the time to read them is one of life's simplest pleasures and it really doesn't cost much.
     
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  50. Zunga

    Zunga Supporter Supporter

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    The first ever guide I found to living on a boat long term. A lot of rare knowledge in it. I read a friends copy years ago. Its available on amazon.ca but $75.
    Cheers Jim
    71ZrI64KGeL._SL1500_.jpg
     
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