Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival

New York Times Bestseller in Sports and Travel!

The ultimate resource for experiencing the backcountry!Written by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury, Bushcraft 101 gets you ready for your next backcountry trip with advice on making the most of your time outdoors. Based on the 5Cs of Survivability–cutting tools, covering, combustion devices, containers, and cordages–this valuable guide offers only the most important survival skills to help you craft resources from your surroundings and truly experience the beauty and thrill of the wilderness. Inside, you’ll also discover detailed information on:

Community Review

  • Most books about survival and outdoor skills don’t become “bestsellers”. But somehow Bushcraft 101 made it onto the 2014 New York Times list of Best Selling Sports Books. Why was that? In our opinion this book was popular because it’s a good, basic beginner bushcraft/wilderness survival book that can also be enjoyed by an experienced outdoors person because of the author’s credentials, writing style and content.

    Written by Dave Canterbury, known to many people as one of the original two survivalists on the TV show “Dual Survival,” where he was teamed with Cody Lundin (Dave was the one that wore shoes), the book focuses on Dave’s view of bushcraft; a view that means taking advantage of what nature makes available to you and using a minimum of gear to survive and thrive in the natural world, carrying “the knowledge and skills needed to create items straight from the landscape”.
    The main way that Dave’s book differs from the first two books on our favorites list is due to his focus on the skills necessary to thrive in the woods – not just the skills essential to surviving in the wild in an emergency. Because of this much of the book is based on Canterbury’s “Five Cs of Survivability” – items chosen since they are extremely hard to make in the wild and directly impact controlling your body’s core temperature. Dave’s Five Cs are:
    1) Cutting Tools – to manufacture needed items and process food
    2) Covering Elements – to create a microclimate of protection from the elements
    3) Combustion Devices – for creating the fires needed not only to preserve and cook food, but also to make medicines and provide needed warmth
    4) Containers – to carry water over distances or to protect collected food sources
    5) Cordages – for bindings and lashings
    The book also shows how Dave has a “systems” mindset (e.g. never carry anything unless it can perform multiple functions).

    The book has sections on:
    Gearing Up
    Your Pack
    Rope, Cordage, Webbings, and Knots
    Containers and Cooking Tools
    In The Bush
    Setting Up Camp
    Navigating Terrain
    Trees: the Four-Season Resource
    Trapping and Processing Game
    Conserving and Utilizing resources
    Wild Edibles and Medicinal Plants
    Bush Recipes
    Dave’s detailed section on Tools is especially helpful for people new to camping. We also like Dave’s “Four Ws” relating to setting up a camp – Wood, Water, Wind and Widowmakers. Having 256 pages, measuring 5½ x ¾ x 8½ inches and weighing ~10 ounces this is probably a book that you learn from but do not take on the trail with you. Although shorter than all of our other recommended books, Bushcraft 101 is not intended to be all encompassing – since it is only intended to cover the “20 percent of bushcraft that is of the most value”.

  • This book contains lots of useful information, but falls short on details of many things it mentions. I guess it’s a good starting point, but you will need other books or additional training to actually learn how to do some of the things mentioned in the book.
    For example, there is a section about knots, but only a few of the mentioned knots have diagrams, and none of the diagrams show step by step how to tie them. Another example is the section on primitive traps and how great they are, especially with the use of toggle triggers, but there aren’t any examples of how to set up any primitive traps using toggle triggers, or even a description of what a toggle trigger is.
    I also picked up three other bush-craft books from Canterbury, and I hope some of those will go deeper into some of this stuff.


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