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Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival Paperback – September 1, 2014
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"Canterbury covers everything: building out your kit, manufacturing tools and supplies, food collection, cooking and protection from the elements. If you want to 'be prepared' for time in the wilderness, this is a great guide." --CoolMaterial.com
"To say Dave is a survival authority is putting it mildly. Dave gets you ready for your next backcountry trip with easy-to-digest advice and practices on how to build the most critical survival skills. Bushcraft 101 is a very inexpensive insurance plan that any practical person should buy, read and stuff into a backpack before heading off the beaten path." --New Pioneer
"It offers a lot [of] detail...focusing on everything from knots to cooking to trapping.... If you want to learn primitive skills, it's a treasure trove of information." --Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"All the survival gear in the world isn't going to help you if you don't know how to use it. Penned by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury, Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival aims to make sure you know your craft.... Even if you're not escaping the apocalypse, but instead heading out into the backcountry to escape modern life for a few days, this is an indispensable guide for your outdoor travels." --Uncrate.com
"With Canterbury's guidance, you'll prepare yourself for any climate and situation and you'll learn how to use the art of bushcraft to reconnect with nature." --Uber Apparatus
"We're quickly on our way to mastering the great outdoors with this copy of Bush Craft 101. Written by famous outdoorsman Dave Canterbury, the volume covers everything from the proper knots to know to scavenging edible food in the wilderness. This thing is serious. A must-have for anyone looking to go off the grid." --Selectism
"The advice in this book can help you live comfortably and manufacture tools from nature." --Gear Junkie
"Proficiency comes with practice, and everyone needs a starting point. Enter Dave Canterbury. This illuminating field guide in no way alienates the new student. For those passionate in their pursuit of the backcountry, it's a must read." --GrindTV (Yahoo! Sports)
"For the traveler who likes to get way off the beaten path and experience the thrill of the wild...Bushcraft 101 is a must read.... This book is sitting on my bedside table right now, and not only does it make me appear masculine as hell, I'm learning a lot." --Trevor Morrow Travel
"A welcome mix of old and new technology that's as thorough as it is entertaining." --The Manual
"Get ready for whatever nature could throw your way with this guide on bushcraft, the art of surviving in the woods with as little modern gear as possible. Detailed lessons include firemaking, manufacturing your own tools and gear, foraging, and trapping and processing game." --Washington Trails Magazine
About the Author
Dave Canterbury is the co-owner and supervising instructor at the Pathfinder School, which USA TODAY named one of the Top 12 Survival Schools in the United States. He has been published in Self Reliance Illustrated, New Pioneer, American Frontiersman, and Trapper’s World. Dave is the New York Times bestselling author of Bushcraft 101, Advanced Bushcraft, and The Bushcraft Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild.
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The unedited review below got so hate mail I posted this update.
A good reviewer is supposed to stick to the book or item being reviewed instead of touting their own horn.
But an actor on a survival show seems to have so much credibility (gravitase) that someone who has legitimate reasons to criticize an actor's book; hordes if the actors fans descend on a reviewer in a firestorm: so I am going to show the actors fans and viewers who think they are learning survival skills. Well here goes.
First off I learned survival from a retired Marine in 1973. Yes that makes me over the hill.
In 2005 a survival instructor of AirForce pilots moved into my apartment complex in 2006. And we taught each other a great deal of things. I taught him about alcohol stoves that weighs 1/4th an ounce that gives off no smoke, and very little light because alcohol burns with a blue flame. I also taught him taking cross bearings with a lensatic or sighting compass and going back to a buried cache and dig up a cache of food or fuel.
I could have written a booklet explaining why I don't like Dave Canterbury.
I listed much of the reasons below.
Dave talks of the five C's of survival.
You do need all of those; but what survivalist leaves out the most important C of all
Now. Dave recommends boiling water to disinfect it. Boiling will kill all bacteria, cysts, Protozoa, and viruses. However boiling water does nothing to remove fecal material, herbicides, pesticides, and other polutants. If you are willing to listen to bad advice be my guest.
I will never waste fuel or send smoke signals to tell bad guys my location. Here is the way I will treat water. Sawyer Mini. A .1 micron water filter that gets rid of 99.9999% bacteria, cysts, and Protozoa. Then use unscented Clorine bleach to kill the viruses. I have an adapter where I can set up a secondary filter of activated charcoal to remove the herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals and other nasties in water.
Another thing that drives me up a tree. Dave demands the knife have 90 degree spine for scraping wood, ferro rod, and striking the spine of the knife with flint to generate sparks.
Most bushcraft knives are made of 1095 steel the steel that files are made from. A file is 5.5-6 on the Moh's hardness scale. Cheryl, quartz, and flint are a 7 on the Moh's hardness scale. When you strike the back of the knife with flint; you are tearing little pieces of steel out of the spine of your knife. Striking the spine of your knife is damaging the most important tool in your pack. Now what genius thinks this is a good idea?
Now a ferro rod is round, and you are scraping the ferro rod instead of slamming the spine of the knife with a sharp rock.
I am leaving the original review intact including the typos.
Have a wonderful day. Talon and others thinks Amazon should remove the vine voice logo from my reviews. That is Amazon's choice but if they do that does not invalidate my legitimate concerns about this horrible book.
Hate this book!
Nothing new here that you haven't heard a hundred times before on You Tube and other vids.
1. Dave Canterbury I'd not a survivalist nor a Bushcrafter.
Dave Canteebury is a throw back to the 18th and 19th centuries. In the days of GW Sears, Horace Kephardt, etc.
A true survivalist does not turn their back on technological advancement such as warmer and lighter sleeping bags for wool blankets. Turn their back on lighters and ferro rod for flint steel and char cloth.
Nessmuck or Horace Kephardt would have given their eye teeth for ferro rods, or a sleeping bag with new technology where the bag weighed a pound or two and kept them warm down to freezing.
They would have given their eye teeth for an army fire steel and tinder that went to fire instead of an ember then needing to baby that ember till you can blow it into flame.
They would have given their eye teeth for a hammock that gets you up and off the cold hard ground.
Now about Dave Canteebury's 5 c's.
Why not a 6th C for compass? You obviously need an orienteering device to take you from point a to point b.
One thing about Dave Canterbury's 5 C's that drives me crazy is he recommends boiling as the only way to treat water.
I will never waste fuel boiling water
I carry a Sawyer Mini (a.1 micron water filter) and that removes 99.9999% of all bacteria, cysts, and protozoa.
Then I carry unscented Clorine bleach or use UV radiation to kill the viruses and whatever gets through the filter.
This is every bit as good as boiling and you are not wasting finite resources. The mini can filter 100,000 gallons, and two drops of bleach to a liter of water and you have safe water.
I will say that if there are chemical polutants and poisons in the water boiling will concentrate the solution in the water.
If you have activated charcoal from a Brita filter, it activated charcoal from a pet department you can set up a second stage filtration on the Sawyer mini by using an adapter from www.Batchstovez.com, or Minibulldesign.com.
Put activated charvoal in a small plastic bottle with tiny holes made by a needle or pin. And set up a gravity filter. Pour dirty water in the top stage. Clean water comes out the filter. The clean water goes through the adapter into the activated charcoal, and the chemical polutants is trapped there. Then a few drops of bleach kills anything live that got through the two stage filtration
I would rather use this method.
$24 for Sawyer mini.
$5-10 for adapter
$5-10 for a box activated charvoal
A 12-16 OZ empty water bottle is free
I would rather do the above than spend big bucks for a Berkey filter that is only good for filtering 400 gallons.
I took survival training back in 1973 to show my guardians I could take care of myself so I could drive the car alone.
I get sick of throwbacks to the 18th and 19th century label what they do as bushcraft or survival, and use pressure "if you don't do it my way you're not a survivalist or Bushcrafter."
If Dave wants to use primitive methods when there are modern methods that are much better let him.
I just wish he would go away so real survival ecperts could teach people how to survive either going 150 years into the past.
Dave Canterbury was dropped from Discovery's Dual Survival because he lied on his resume. That's it?
If you ever have any questions about bushcraft and survival in the wild, this book is a great way to start (thus the 101). That being said, if you're new to the idea, read this book before you start buying gear as you'll save yourself a lot of unnecessary expense, and you can start practicing a lot of what is in this book before you ever go outside the city.
Like another reviewer, I am also more experienced in the Bush and after reading this book, I thought long and hard about giving it either two or three stars. I gave it two because of the fact that this book attempts to do something that Dave Canterbury himself suggested NOT to do, that is confuse Survival with Bushcraft. They are not one in the same.
I've read every review of this book, and have to conclude that the overwhelming majority of individuals are reviewing the personality of the author rather than the book itself.
While the discussion of what is survival and what is bushcraft is murky, I think Canterbury in one of his excellent YouTube videos stated it nicely:(paraphrasing) Survival is an emergency situation of a life threatening nature in which your primary objective is to deal with immediate conditions in order for either a self rescue or having emergency personnel rescue you.
Bushcraft on the other hand is essentially learning how to handle yourself and live comfortably in the woods.
While this book claims that it is a "field guide to wilderness survival," It really is not.
If we were talking ONLY of Bushcraft, I would give this book three stars, but since this book attempts to include some "wilderness survival" I'd have to give it two stars.
And here in lies the problem: The book doesn't really do an adequate job of either one. It is essentially a mish mash of both. And to add even further insult to injury, it even includes trapping with traps which is completely inappropriate nor particularly helpful to the beginning bushcrafter.
Trapping is an advanced skill that requires an enormous amount of dirt time. You have to know the animals that you are attempting to trap, their habits, what they eat, and you have to be able to learn to read "sign" (which are indicators of animals other than actual tracks). I certainly would not consider this to be part of a beginning bushcrafter's skill sets and I don't know of anyone, including Canterbury himself that would think so.
The other problem I have with the book is its lack of focus. Again, Canterbury mixes different skill sets in an attempt to be all things to all people.
For example, Canterbury's background and interests lies in the area of the Longhunter era. This is the period between the founding of the USA to just before the Mountain Man Era. Canterbury has spent years in reenactments, and study and does a wonderful job of it. However, it becomes rather difficult for the average metrosexual bushcrafter to be able to relate to this style of primitive camping and to my mind certainly has no place in the initial discussion of survival, but it is appropriate when discussing bushcrafting and how it was done in the old days with the tools they had available.
I also have a problem with the author's focus of the book. The book is divided into two parts: 1) Gearing up which includes putting all the gear necessary to get ready for a camping/bushcrafting experience, which includes putting the pack together, the tools (knife, axe etc), Cordage, Containers, Coverage (wool blankets), and Fire. 2) The Field experience which includes
setting up camp, Navigation, Trees, and the Trapping and Processing of Game.
Clearly, there is way too much coverage and not enough pages to deal adequately with the subjects depicted.
And this lack of focus and discipline is also reflected in some of the subjects of the book, for example, in the area of sleeping arrangements, Canterbury is a devotee of wool blankets, but doesn't really mention that wool blankets are only appropriate for summer travel AND having a pretty good fire going in the fall and winter, otherwise you stand an excellent chance of freezing to death.
Interestingly enough, at no place in the entire book is there a discussion of personal clothing which is just as important as a tent, tarp or blanket. Footwear is also not discussed, though I think that would be very important in a Bushcraft 101 book given the fact that Canterbury decided to include medicinal plants, trees and trapping as part of the discussion.
My point is that what you are wearing is just as important as the gear you take because your clothing is the first line of defense in a survival situation, and Canterbury himself in his videos states this. So if you are going to include trapping, you should at least give a cursory mention to one's clothing and footwear. And I personally would leave out trapping and devote it to clothing and footwear, though and logical and valid case could be made that technically, clothing has nothing to do with Bushcrafting. And I would agree, though I would say the same about trapping and medicinal plants (at least in a Bushcrafting 101 book).
Oddly enough, Canterbury also discusses the felling and limbing of trees, and even recommends carrying "wedges," to process the felled trees--really? In a beginner's book on bushcrafting? I've never heard of anyone in bushcrafting actually felling green trees, most of us are using dead wood, and in some areas of the USA, cutting down trees is actually a criminal offense.
To my mind, such subjects should have been left out completely to more adequately cover much more important subjects and to flesh out more details in areas more important to beginners.
He also makes some statements that are either inaccurate, or dubious and questionable at best. For example, on the discussion of Tomahawks, Canterbury states that the difference between a tomahawk is primarily the fact that the handle of the hawk comes off the head which allows the head to be used as a wedge. Is that true? I don't know, but it isn't true for me.
The prime difference to me is that the tomahawk is a weapon, whereas its sister tool, the Belt axe or Hatchet is a tool for the processing of wood. And this fact is easily demonstrated by looking at the cheeks of a hawk and that of a belt axe. The hawk makes a horrible splitter because the cheeks are too narrow to facilitate the splitting of wood. The belt axe on the other hand is designed to split wood. Of course some belt axes do this much better than others.
He also makes the statement that the best axe size is around 18 inches. I think this true if you are talking about a belt axe, but in this case, Canterbury is talking about axe sizes in general, though he himself in his videos states that as an emergency tool, a cruiser style axe (about 26-28 inches in length) is the best tool to keep in your car in the case of an emergency (and while I tend to agree with him I myself carry a full sized axe in my vehicle).
In the area of navigation, Canterbury is also remiss, as he only mentions declination, never even bothering to discuss what it actually means. And this is a serious problem, because if you don't know how to factor declination into your navigating skills, you are in serious trouble.
Having said the above, let me compliment Canterbury for the fine job he did in explaining non compass navigating skills such as noting "Five Navigating Methods Every Woodsman Should Know." Here, Canterbury talks about the old ways of navigating by Indians and Longhunters before the common use of a compass: Handrails, Backstops, Baselines, etc. These techniques are invaluable to the beginning Bushcrafter and Survivalist as well. And here, Canterbury's study and experience with the Longhunter tradition really shines. You will rarely find this information in a traditional modern navigation guide but it is so important nevertheless.
So in conclusion, should you purchase this book? That depends on what your objectives are: Are you into Survival or Bushcrafting. If you say survival, then I would suggest that if you are an experienced survivalist with a good supply of survival books, then yes, purchase it. But if you are a beginning survivalist, there are much better books out there to purchase initially.
On the other hand, if you are a bushcrafter with zero experience, I would start somewhere else, and work your way to this book as perhaps a second and third addition.
At this point, given the other reviews, the question is always asked "like WHICH books?" I think the best survival book and cult survival classic is "Six Ways In and Twelve Ways Out." This is an in house publication by the US Army Rescue and Special Operations Group also known as SOCOM. The next outstanding survival book is Lofty Weisman's British work, the SAS Survival Manual. And of course, the Air Force and the Army's Survival Manuals are also good starts.
If you're talking about increasing your bushcrafting skills, there really isn't a better place than going to YouTube and watching Canterbury's videos and also the work of many of the Canadian and British Bushcrafters. For a hard copy, the best book on individual campcraft would be Wildwood Wisdom by Ellswood Jaeger, and the Mors Kochanski works. An old early vintage Boy Scout Manual is also excellent.
Oddly enough, the most touted books on bushcrafting, the Nessmuk and Kephart books I find both inadequate and difficult to read and digest. The other mentioned are much more efficacious.
Adding this Canterbury title is something every bushcrafting student should add, but the issue is when.