Survival expert Dave Canterbury’s latest book, Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival, is set to be released on September 1. Coming off the success of his previous book, Survivability for the Common Man, Dave says that both books share many of the same core themes, but Bushcraft 101 is an entirely different animal.
“Survivability for the Common Man was exactly that, it was about survival. It is a book based on what you should put in your kit for short-term survival purposes,” Dave told me. “This book is more about woodcrafting and bushcrafting where you choose to be there, in the woods, for a longer time. Bushcraft 101 [consists of] techniques and methods you need to know whether you’re camping, trekking, or things like that.
“There is a big difference between self-reliance and woodcraft compared to survival. Survival is life or death situations, whereas woodcraft is asking yourself, ‘What can I do to make my stay in the woods better?'”
Dave starts off the book talking about the “Five Cs,” the five base elements that one needs in an emergency situation and are difficult to produce in the wild: cordage, containers, combustion devices, cover elements, and cutting tools. Dave emphasizes that few tools are more useful than a knife when it comes to bushcraft. From these basic guidelines, the rest of Bushcraft 101 delves into what kind of kit should one pack for certain situations, how to cook in the field, a comparison of fire starting methods, how to set up camp and navigate terrain, making the best use of the natural resources around you, trapping and processing game, and an assortment of tips and tricks for life in the woods.
“It’s an old-school embodiment of previous authors’ knowledge, tactical field knowledge, and things drawn from practical experience,” the author said.
And Dave has 20 years worth of that kind of experience. He is the founder of the Pathfinder School in southeastern Ohio, which every year instructs hundreds of students on self-reliance techniques. Dave is also an accomplished writer with published articles in American Frontiersman, New Pioneer Magazine, and oversees his own publication, Self Reliance Illustrated. He also regularly uploads videos to his YouTube channel, where he gives detailed tutorials on bushcraft basics.
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“The contents and context of the book [are] exactly how I want it. It cuts through the 80/20 rule of 80 percent of everything you read is useless and only 20 percent is what you need,” Dave said.
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For Dave, the book is a also a culmination of his lifelong fascination with living in the modern frontier. He dedicated Bushcraft 101 to the frontiersmen, woodsmen, and authors who came before him and through whom he learned so much.
“I am a student of woodcraft, a scholar in that area. I have just about every book there is about the subject, and being able to reference past authors to illustrate certain sections of the book, it empowers the book.”
Look for Bushcraft 101 in paperback in store or online at the Adams Media bookstore and other retailers.
Image courtesy Dave Canterbury