Loc: East Texas Piney Woods
I recently picked up: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF OUTDOOR SURVIVAL Based on the Training and Techniques of the SAS by Barry Davies BEM (I don't know what BEM means)
I found it at my local Half-Price Books.
The book starts out with a "Survival Essentials - Aids and Techniques" with sections in Basic Equipment, Medical Priorities, Survival Medicine, Shelter, Fire, Water, Food, Navigation, Travel, and Rescue. After this there are sections regarding Arctic, Desert, Jungle, Sea and Coasline, and Military.
The book is well written and lots of good pictures ( we all love pic's!) I picked up a few tidbits about navigation that I didn't know.
The back cover says Barry Davies served with the SAS for 18 years and became an expert in the art of survival. The SAS sent him to International Long Range Patrol School in Germany as the senior survival instructor.
I have seen that in bookstores and leafed through it. Lot's of interesting information and ideas. I tend to rely only on what I have actually seen or done but it would be a great resource for ideas to try out, specific to the places you hike. It is rather heavy to carry, but would be good reading in winter camping when the nights are long. If I was to carry a reference with me for survival it would be a aide memoire that I wrote myself and made sketches in with room for notes. Not that I know anything, but I think by transcribing more specific material ahead of time you would be more likely to be familiar with it and able to find it useful. It is rather like studying for an exam, isn't it. It is really better to do you homework yourself and attend all the labs throughout the year rather than relying too much on cheat notes. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
My local Costco has one called "Camping and Wilderness Survival" by Paul Tawrell (see it at amazon here http://tinyurl.com/o6zho ). It's partly survival info, but really just the most amazing collection of outdoor info I've ever seen. It's the sort of thing that you can leave lying around to just pick up & open to a random page for quick bits of interesting reading.
"Camping and Wilderness Survival" by Paul Tawrell.....That's one of my favorites. It's one of those books you can find something new every time I pick it up. Lots of useful info. Check out the "fire starting section".
the SAS survival books are very good. I have the mini edition, fits in my pocket. Has 250 pages of good tips on survival. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
98.6 Degrees, "The Art Of Keeping Your [Edited for inappropriate languge, please review forum policies for more information] Alive." Yes that is the title, by Cody Lundin. For about thirty five of my forty seven years on this wonderful planet I've had an interest in survival. Not survivalist. There is a difference. Wondering if something happened to me in the back country whatever the circumstances and I won't even begin to list scenarios for there are as many as the number of footsteps we take on a trek. Would I be prepared. Unfortunately after all those years of reading what I thought were decent survival books ( not knowing what decent meant), and getting tired of the seemingly repetitious SAS references, if you look at the vast majority of them it is just what they are. Some look like they just went down to Kinkos copied as many pages as they had coins in there pocket, put a name on there stack of slightly enlarged or reduced pages,( so they could call it there own), and send it off to a publisher who is willing to print a few copies next to the latest cookbook he is printing that we don't need. And frankly folks I know there is some good information in the SAS type survival manuals but a good deal of it really doesn't apply to us. That said I do own one. But on a more practical level back to the Cody Lundin book. I had an enlightening experience. I saw a program aired on OLN of this barefoot guy in shorts and a t-shirt leading a group of 5 or 6 20 year olds around in the desert for I believe 3 days. In a survival senario. Nobody was hurt, nobody was dehydrated that I recall just a little hungry, cold at night, little sleep, and disoriented. The kids were rapidly falling apart, so much so that when the SAR plane flew over one of the young men frantically waved an screamed at it as though it was his last dying day and the others weren't far behind him. By the way as I recall, I believe they were never more than a mile from were they left their car. Mr Lundin just keIpt running them in circles. I thought there had to be something to this guy. And here it is. He slept for two years living in a brush shelter sleeping on pine needles and cooking on a open fire, at the time the book was published was the only person licensed to catch fish with his bare hands in the state of Arizona, runs an aboriginal living skills school, survival courses short and long term, is an adjunct professor at Yavapi college and is a faculty member at the Acosta Institute. Lives in a passive solar home completely of the grid in which he has another book from this experience about urban survival if the crap hits the fan while you are at home. He lives what he teaches. Anybody know how there going to go to the toilet if the sewer can't be used for two or three weeks? Please don't count on FEMA to give you the answer, you can't go without a bowel movement that long. I digress. Let me put it this way in the last two years I've given away about 15 of these books to total strangers when the topic of backpacking, back country driving, or especially day hiking comes up . I keep a couple stashed in my car at all times to give aaway. After I read the book I didn't know whether to cry from sheer joy or run down the street jumping in the air yelling, it's finally been done. I'm not saying buy only this book which Mr. Lundin states that you would be stupid to do so. But I truly believe this will be a mind altering read and you will think differently about what a survival experience may be and how you will be prepared with your pre-departure planning, your kit, your ability to use your kit and last but as important as the rest, your psychological preparedness of which you really won't know until the day it is put to the test. In beginning of the book Mr. Lundin explains the reasoning behind the style in which the book was written which I have never seen in any survival book to date. His approach, and I'm paraphrasing, is filled with in your face blunt facts, poor humor, parlor tricks, and mental pictures. Anything to help you remember the information. How someone can have you laughing one minute and seriously contemplating a point the next is brilliant. The illustrations are one of a kind. Look at them closely there not just for entertainment purposes. Some may not like his humor. They can read the NOLS book. As he states, " a true survival scenario will tax you beyond belief on all levels of your humanity, and one of the first things to go down the toilet will be your fine and complex motor skills- cognitive, physical, and otherwise. Overall you will be reduced to basic gross motor-motor-movement activities and simple "thought pictures." Any one still romanticizing about being in a survival situation? I had the benefit, in a way, of succumbing to a good case case of hypothermia and thought pictures were just about all that was left. It was rapidly heading in that direction. Thank goodness for a sleeping bag rated 20 degrees below what the average low temp is for the area. This happens to be my safe zone for keeping warm due to temperature extremes. And I got this in 50 degree weather, 15-20 mph wind, with the slightest drizzle on a four hour hike. I don't use 2.99 emergency ponchos any more. In a way I wish every one could experience what I experienced. It was eye opening. That's enough about me. I hope those who read this pick up his book. I think it is a must read. Especially for the the light weight or minimalist backpacker and hiker. I to often read in backpack forums people saying " I don't mind going minimalist, (and we are all looking for ways to lighten our loads) because I'm generally not more than a days hike away from my car and I never go off trail ." Well we are all tempted to go off trail even to take a leak. So if you go on a 2 or 3 mile cross country day hike or a half a mile exploration down a canyon and shatter your knee cap It is no longer a days hike out. Hypothermia, hyperthermia, dehydration, and panicking are the real killers, (the first two at the top of the list) not so much breaking a kneecap or not knowing how to lash ten logs together to float down stream. If people know where you are you don't need to build a boat. The book is based on a three day survival scenario assuming people know where you are. And they should. At least generally. As he states, statistically there is a 3 day window when most people are found dead or alive. After 3 days your chances of being found alive drop drastically. But you can go two or three weeks if you have water and keep your core body temperature at 98.6 degrees. So if you really aren't concerned about you're own safety, at least have the common decency to think about the safety of all those paid and unpaid SAR folks who are risking there lives to haul you back to the comforts of home or a pine box. Do yourself a favor. Sometime when your camping in cooler weather 40's 50's set up your camp. Then right before dusk pack a bag that you would take on a day hike from your camp and hike out 100 yards and camp there overnight. Keep your base camp visible and do this with a buddy or two one who is fully prepared to assist you. See what your experience is. See how warm that space blanket keeps you with the clothes that you would take with you on a typical day hike. See what kind of shelter you could make with a 1 oz knife. I think you will be surprised at what happens. You may change your gear or at least carry different items with you at a given time. You can do something similar in hot temperatures. I grew up in Arizona and when I read books saying a have a gallon a day as a rule for survival in the desert, or how to make a solar still, it frankly pisses me off. You'll probably be dead before your half way through building the thing. I live in california now and when driving I'm through the desert to Phoenix I carry three gallons per person in my car just in case I break down and have to wait 2 or three hours on the side of the road for a tow truck. Water is gold never forget that! I don't mean to go on and on which I am a pro at. So I will say one last thing. Ok maybe two. What I think gets us into trouble most often are two things. First: not being properly prepared, ie with supplies, physical well being, knowledge or just poor planning. We don't know what we don't know until the moment comes when we need to know it, so don't just read about it, practice it, so when you need it, it won't be the first time you have done it. And it's fun. Second : our excitement of being in the back country or wherever. And it doesn't take much excitement to distract us from what we need to be doing for our safety ie. properly tied shoe lace( I almost broke my shoulder and a near miss of a nice pointed piece of granite 1/2 inch away from my temple over that one ). Proper hydration. Met a guy in the Sierra who a day earlier was found face down out cold in the middle of the PCT ,w/ backpack on, from dehydration. He said he didn't remember a thing. Off trail who knows what his fate may have been. Oh, he had been hiking the Sierra for thirty years. He told me he was just so excited to do this particular hike he got away from the basics. So as we take our risks hopping boulders, hiking steep trails, crossing streams, looking up at the wonders before us and doing our daily risk management, keep the basics always on your mind, keep on learning, in which we owe a great deal of thanks the good people who run these forums, those who participate, and those who write the books, teach the classes and make the products that allow us to go pretty much where ever we want. We've come along way. I think the book 98 Degrees "The Art Of Keeping Your [Edited for inappropriate languge, please review forum policies for more information] Alive" would be great part of any back country book collection. Actually, "a must read" before anyone ventures into the wilderness. Be safe! Be prepared! But have a blast!
Loc: California (southern)
I prepared for future survival situations by reading the annual, "Accidents in North American Mountaineering" and a really great old book, "The Survival Book" by Paul Nesbitt, Alonzo W. Pond and William Allen (1959). From their intro - "But tools and training are not enough; none is effective without the will to survive." The book is slanted toward survivors of plane crashes and depends a lot upon WWII incidents, but the material and their philosophy is still valuable today.
You are exactly right in your approach to the eventual tough situation you are bound to encounter someday.
This is so true! And a quick destroyer of the will to survive is hypothermia. The biggest danger, IMHO, to solo hiking [although it doesn't deter me] is becoming hypothermic without realizing it, and being unable you save yourself.