Trekking: Learn the basics with “Bushcraft 101”

Bush-craft

Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a quick surf session or seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons. One day we may highlight an ultra-light stove and the next a set of handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace, so get outside and live it.

We still have our reservations about any book that lands on the New York Times bestseller list. After all, the publication features more than 35 weekly lists, spanning everything for hardcover graphic novels and business guides to children’s picture books and mass-market fiction. Fortunately, Dave Canterbury’s Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival ($15) is not the usual humdrum you might find buried within the slew of boxes at the garage sale across the street.

Bushcraft PageCanterbury’s book wasn’t penned so much for the apocalypse as it was the backcountry. Before writing his book, the 51-year-old author made a name for himself as the co-owner and supervising instructor at the Pathfinder School in Ohio — not to mention his work as managing editor of Self Reliance magazine and former co-star of Discovery’s Dual Survivor. His 250-page field guide serves a companion piece for the everyday adventurer, offering invaluable advice covering what he calls the 5Cs of Survivability (cutting tools, covering, combustion devices, containers, and cordages).

Amid the melange of instructional illustrations and resourceful information, survivalist expert Canterbury provides basic methods for a wealth of backcountry basics. He outlines how to prepare an emergency kit and how to manufacture vital tools and supplies, along with the proper way to collect and cook food when in isolation, among a laundry list of primitive skills vital for outdoor survival. Moreover, he pays homages to others such survivalist Mors Kochanski and writer Horace Kephard, while introducing a welcome mix of old and new technology that’s as thorough as it is entertaining.